In the 1980s, Midway had a huge arcade hit by the name of Rampage, a game which put you in the control of a giant monster, your goal to destroy the cities of the World. The game proved a huge coin-muncher, striking a chord with gamers, especially those with a weakness for Godzilla movies, and earning itself ports on all the major computers of the day, as well as Segas 8-Bit Master System games console.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, when the popularity of their flagship Mortal Kombat games was beginning to wane, Midway decided to rework the classic game for modern audiences, and Rampage: World Tour was born. Released in the arcades to some success, the game found its way to the 3 major consoles of the day, Sonys PlayStation, Segas Saturn, and todays subject, the Nintendo 64.
Now, despite the huge jump in technology that took place between the release of the original Rampage and World Tour, its worth noting that when I say Midway reworked the game, I mean they took much the same game engine, added a few features and gave it a graphical overhaul. Thats it. Now some games stand the test of time based on sheer addictiveness, I mean, I doubt they will ever stop releasing versions of Tetris, but could Rampage stand the test of time?
As I mentioned in the opening, Rampage basically throws players into the role of one of 3 mutants, humans transformed into giant monsters by the experiments of the evil Scumlabs. George the Gorilla, Lizzie the Lizard and Ralf the Wolf , and take them on a tour of the World, destroying Scumlabs bases around the World, and everything in between. The game is in 2D, and basically sees you walk from one end of a stage to the other, climbing buildings and destroying them with various punches, kicks and stomps. Also on the agenda is eating any pesky humans who get in the way, destroying vehicles and dealing with the attentions of military and Scumlabs experimental weaponry.
The core of World Tour plays nicely enough, and the Godzilla fan in me enjoys smashing cities and taking on the full might of the military, and if you can gather 2 friends round for the 3-Player semi-co-op mode it can be a great laugh, but World Tour runs into the same problem the original game did when brought to a home console: its far too repetitive. Now, Im not one of these people who harbours a vendetta against Arcade games, and for a while I can definitely appreciate the simple fun the game brings to the table, but World Tour takes it to ridiculous extremes, making the player play through around 130(!) stages, with the bare minimum of variety. While the game sees the monsters taking a trip across various locales ranging from Edinburgh to Tokyo, Liverpool to Kathmandu, but there really isnt a great deal to differentiate between many of them, barring the static backgrounds. I mean some get the odd touch to make it stand out, Edinburgh has a generic Castle, London a large clock tower and so on, but the rest of the buildings, the military forces, everything else is identical. The game soon becomes less a case of enjoyment and more endurance. The last level offers a much needed change of pace, taking the monsters to Scumlabs Outer-Space base to go smashing, but its too little too late, vaguely amusing flying bonus levels dont do enough to stop rot setting in around the 50 mark, and sheer boredom taking hold around 100. In this day and age, when N64 carts can be found for a few quid, its not quite as bad, but I really would have loathed paying 50 notes for this cart new.
Im really unsure if there is any great difference between the 3 monsters, Ive heard there are minor differences, George is faster etc, but it really doesnt affect gameplay too much, they really seem to be there for the players preference. Ive always wondered about Ralf actually, Lizzie and George are clearly meant to be Godzilla and King Kong, but Ive never seen a movie about a colossal wolf tearing up the city.
Graphically, the game uses rendered sprites for the monsters, similar to those in Donkey Kong Country, and while they look slick and nice they dont look any better than DKCs visuals, which makes me wonder if this couldnt have been achieved just as easily on a 16-Bit machine. As you may have gathered via my repeated use of the word repetitive, and taken into account the fact this is a Midway game, the minimum amount of sprites have been used, which helps add to the feel of monotony, not even getting original sprites for the different countries represented.
Likewise the sound is nothing to write home about, we have some thoroughly generic music that really fails to generate any mood, and some generic screams and explosion noises. Its not noticeably bad to begin with, but the sheer length youll spend hearing the tunes will force you to grow to hate them.
When all is said and done, Rampage: World Tour is a really bizarre one to score. In small doses it can be simple, brainless, fun, but to try and complete the game, or play it for a prolonged length of time be detrimental to your mental health. It really is that repetitive. In this day and age, if you pick up a N64 on the cheap and just want a game to pass some time until you get your hands on some of the systems classics, you could do much worse to kill time, but its really not a great game.
What really says it all is that a few years later, for the launch of the Sega Dreamcast, Toho actually licensed Godzilla Generations, a 3D Godzilla Simulator that was very much like Rampage in spirit, and got slaughtered for being repetitive, despite being far more varied than this title
Review also posted on Epinions.com
I'm personally a fan of somewhat violent video games, with people screaming and destruction, you know... I actually received this game for free, from a friend who didn't need it anymore, so I'm not really sure about the directions in the box or the price. The woman in the short white skirt with the long legs and glasses...her face is sorta ugly, like her eyes are too small and her hair is a mousy brown, so that wasn't too exciting. I think the selection of monsters are too ordinary and the choosing is pretty small. The tanks that run around are REALLY annoying since you fall over and takes you awhile to get back up, then it shoots you down AGAIN, and so on. It's 2-D, which I think sucks...I'm sure if they had made this game in 3-D it would have gotten a higher rating and had more success. The game itself makes you come to the conclusion that the creators had just basically slapped it together in a month or so and started on another project. Overall, if you like the eating-people, smashing-buildings, breaking-glass, hopping-on-jets-blowing-up-civilization (in 2-D) this is a meager choice. If it costs you over five bucks don't buy it.