Rampage World TourSome classic coin-ops are worth bringing back from the past, but others...
With a nearly limitless wealth of arcade games in its resume, it's no wonder a mature game company such as Midway would on occasion dig through its library and retrieve a sweet little gem. And thus, the coin-op classic of unflinching damage and destruction, Rampage World Tour, is reborn into the modern age.
In many ways Rampage has made its journey into the future with very little damage, especially in the essential gameplay arena in which the game is still fast, hazardous to any urban dwelling, and humorous in a teenage-potty sort of way. Rampage, is of course, a follow-up to the arcade game that reappeared in the arcades a little more than a year ago. In it are a slew of new levels, more power-ups, and the ability to play with as many as three people. As with any retrogame, Midway updated the graphics so that they're better looking and more refined. And, special to the Nintendo 64 version is the three-player ability, not found on the PlayStation version. Still, Rampage is not without its faults or limitations.
Gameplay: World Tour is in many ways exactly the same game you played more than 13 years ago (in 1986, if you were even alive in those glorious -- cough -- old days). The differences are few and minute, even when compared side-by-side. But World Tour is a faster game, with more havoc to wreak. The camera scrolls from side to side, enabling more cityscape to see and destroy, as well as offering up occasional SCUM Laboratories for bonus power-ups.
The same characters, Ralph the werewolf-ish thing, Lizzie the Godzilla-like creature, and George the gorilla are all chooseable (plus one hidden guy), and they still climb up buildings in pre-set, limited ways. And, thankfully, when you grow bored with mere people and the repetitive, unimaginatively short list of buildings, you can turn on your pal, and wallop them to kingdom come. Finally, the choice of foods (eg power-ups) is larger, including lamps, couches, poison, tourist traps, planes, tanks, flying jet-pack men, and more.
Possibly one of the best/worst elements of the game is the unlimited lives feature. When you leave the physical, real world, and slink back as a naked lab animal to somewhere, simply hit the start button and you're back in action, jack. The positive here is that you won't ever have to slip another coin into the damn game, but that's why you bought the home version. The negative is that you will eventually feel as if there is little challenge (and you're be right, too), since life is free and unlimited. Other positives are that bonus worlds are aplenty, such as the weak-but-somehow-compelling wrestling matches, and in-between flying levels in which you pick up as many power-ups as possible in a sidescrolling fashion.
Graphics: The crude look of this retrogame is not up to par with even the medium-range PlayStation or Nintendo 64 games. In fact, it still looks just like a game from the late 1980s. The only noticeable difference between it and the PS version is this one it's smoother along the edges of each character and thing (no dithering, either), and it's just a touch brighter. The animation is better than long ago, and the gameplay enables more moves with adequate reaction from the characters. But it's clear that Midway took an old classic and pumped enough graphic life into it to bring it to acceptable levels, but nothing more. The pre-rendered sprites barely do the job. Just like Midway's NBA Hangtime, Rampage World Tour isn't a game you'll brag about to your friends when you're launching into the N64's amazing graphic prowess. But, let's be straight about it, Rampage World Tour isn't about graphics, it's about gameplay.
Sound: Rampage doesn't really accelerate in the "Specials" department, and sound-happy freaks will simply laugh at this game's limited approach to audio. It all boils down to this, Rampage's music is in mono, and it thus suffers in a tinny, 1D kind of way. Every PS game is in stereo and really, every N64 game should be too, since it's a 'superior' machine (some of the time). The sound effects, however, are cool. Weird gargles and barf sounds are, well, appropriate to the actions, and the range of animalistic grunts and screams from people about to be eaten creates a kind of urge in you to create the sound again and again. The sound effects are a big part of Rampage's humorous appeal.
Multiplayer: Yeah! You can now boast to your friends that your Nintendo 64 version is THREE-PLAYER -- ooooohhhhh! And their lame little PS version isn't. Big advantage! Um, back to my grown-up self: Essentially the three-player ability enables three people to team up and rip into skyscrapers and bridges, or rip into each other. Or hell, you can do a little of both. Even though Midway didn't really go the extra step with this game like it often does with others, it would've been nice if Rampage could have been four player compatible, as well as have a four-player wrestling match cage match. Now that would have been really fun!
Overall: Let's face it, Rampage is a fun, rapid bashing fest filled with repetitive moves, silly and enjoyable gameplay, and a simple formula that's tried and true, even in today's graphically snobbish world. It's a gem in a one-dimensional way, and it makes no claims to be anything else. As with many N64 games, younger gamers will like this one a lot, and 'more mature' gamers might give this a rent or three to bring back those old days when they played as pimply, lonesome geeks who had nothing better to do on Friday nights except hang out in the arcades with their pals. Ah, the good old days...