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Rampage: Total destruction

August 9, 2010

“A repetative game with repetative monsters, levels and gameplay. YAWN!”

From the developer that brought you Godzilla Unleashed (Pipeworks) comes Rampage: Total Destruction. This is another monster destruction game that’s based on the old 80s arcade hit Rampage. The premise of the old game still holds true; you must cause havoc and devastation within a city.

However, unlike the hit of the past, this new version of Rampage suffers heavily from the introduction of 3rd dimensional physics. The old game was straight out 2D and with the introduction of heftier graphics comes a 2D port to 3D physics. This can be done well (as done in Godzilla), but with the playing field being locked in a 2 dimensional front on view, will can make gaming rather frustrating at times when it comes to movement.

This game is all about destruction and wrecking havoc within the city limits. It doesn’t get much deeper or complex beyond that. There is a storyline included but seems ancillary to the overall scheme of things. A unique gem in this game is the inclusion of the first two Rampage games. These retro games actually got more playtime than Total Destruction because of the nostalgia involved (yes, I’m an old gamer) and also because they are more fluid with easier game play than TD.

Graphics
The graphics are great in the game. You have high-resolution characters destroying cities and punching out windows. The pickups inside are easily identifiable and there are a tonne of special effects that will keep you “oohing” and “aahing”.

Each of the cities has a corresponding theme. Las Vegas will have you destroying casinos and hotels while Los Angeles will have you destroying movie studio lots. There are a lot of cities to choose from but with the action being so repetitive, they will all eventually end up looking the same.

Sound / Music
To be honest I didn’t even notice the music with the amount of effects going on in this game. Besides the cacophony of farts and burps and screams of people as you eat them, you’ll also have to listen to the sounds of constant destruction and building collapsing. With all that going on, it’s hard to hear anything playing in the background.

The voice acting in this game is pretty damn funny. You have funny calls from the random people but by far the best is the Arnold Schwarzenegger sounding army guy who taunts you and makes funny crunching noises when you eat him. This will probably amuse you longer than the gameplay! He will even recite some lines from your favourite Arnie movies, the best being when you ignore him he’ll try to goad you into killing him like in the movie Predator

Story
The story is pretty funny: There is a new soft drink being made. It was tested on 40 kids and all 40 of those kids quickly mutated into huge monsters that are currently destroying the city. It’s a public relations nightmare! Actually, the story is barely even noticeable in the game as the only parts of it that relate are at the end of each city when you have to beat the head researcher from Scum Labs.

Controls
The controls in the game are elegantly done. Punches are achieved by simple button presses, as are jumps. For more complicated and powerful manoeuvres you will have to swing the remote to employ the appropriate action. For example, once you have unlocked a monsters swinging power punch, you can climb a building and swing the remote and your monster will also swing their arm in the same fashion. It makes for a good game cohesion feel with the control system.

The biggest problem with the control stems from the 3 dimensional setup of this game. Jumping from building top to building top is nearly impossible with the view system fixed in a front on 2D schema. Often times, this game will have you grinding your teeth because of this imbalance. It’s obvious that the front on fixed viewpoint was chosen to give it an arcade feel, but with the update of 3 dimensional movement, 3rd dimensional camera play is also required. This game could have become so much more than what it is if they had gone for a moveable camera like in Godzilla.

Gameplay
And to the crux of the problem we have come. Gameplay is the worst aspect of Rampage Total Destruction because this game has substantial flaws that will annoy you and eventually make you not want to play this game. Sure, there are over 40 characters to choose from (when you have eventually unlocked them), sure there is a range of cities to choose from, but all of this means nothing if the game is just the same thing over and over again.

The problem here lies in the repetition of levels within level. To finish one level, you have to destroy ten city blocks. That’s the same 10-minute destruction repeated 10 times with no difference in gameplay. Sure, there are certain block specific accomplishments to do (like destroying 5 bombers or eating skateboarders) but they can easily be ignored and don’t require completion to get to the next stage.

This could have been so much better if they allowed you to choose a path of destruction through the city and each city had its own secrets and rewards to find, however they haven’t. Its just 10 blocks of the same stuff until you get to the boss level. This game moves way to slowly for my liking and I found myself playing the retro Rampage more because it had a quicker feel to it. Each level usually took no more than a minute to finish while Total Destruction racked up an hour minimum.

Another thing that you will find annoying is all the destruction that is caused by other objects such as bombers and tanks only hurt you. By this I mean that a bomber will drop a bomb that will miss you and hit a tank directly, but it wont touch or damage the tank at all! Or even worse, two gunships firing missiles at you, one behind the other will both shoot volleys at you, however one gunship will be hit by streams of rockets but wont ever explode by it. This discontinuity is frustrating as hell because it shows a lack of finesse to the games mechanics and reality. It breaks the illusion of the game and can really annoy you on levels where you’re getting annihilated and the enemy is not even scratching one another.

One more nail in this games coffin is the distinct lack of individuality between monsters. They all have the same moves and the same feel when playing. There are some really subtle differences (like aquatic monsters aren’t bothered by burst water pipes) but they all end up playing the same. What’s the point of that? Why not make certain monsters good at destroying certain cities or even give them unique attacks. Usually when playing games like this, people tend to have their favourites but to me they just seem as bland as each other.

The VERDICT
Look, this is a good game, it’s easy to pick up and play, it’s great for multiplayer, there is a tonne of stuff to unlock and there are 2 bonus retro games also thrown in. But to be honest, you’re not going to be playing this one for that long. It just repeats itself too much and becomes a boring experience.

If you’re out for a destruction game I would definitely recommend Godzilla Unleashed over this one because the monsters are different, they play different and the levels are more fun to destroy. I have both and by far the one that gets play more often is Godzilla. Most of my friends also prefer Godzilla because it’s just quicker to play a level. Though, that being said, Godzilla certainly isn’t as multiplayer friendly as Rampage is and the controls can get a bit wonky.

Rent before purchase is my advice because if you can play it for over a day and still want more than you’ll probably like this game over the long haul. In that day, you’ll experience everything this game has to offer. It’s a skin-deep game that could have been so much more if the developers had just gone beyond the constraints of the old Rampage games and injected some real individuality into the franchise. Sadly, I feel it will be the last in the line.

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From → Wii

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