Rambo III


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

Surely the term "popcorn movie" applies to the Rambo trilogy. Actually, just the two sequels; the original was quite somber and serious. If that same term can apply to a video game, then, ironically, it applies to this version of the "Rambo III" arcade game. It's loud, it's big, and it's flat out fun.

Two players, one controlling John Rambo the other his mentor Sam Trautman, head deep into Afghanistan to wipe out enemy forces. Violence is prevalent as the two heroes tear down helicopters, tanks, and missile launchers. You simply have to love a game that lets a player take down a fully armored tank with only a machine gun in tow. It's the same logic the movies are based on, perfectly translated into a video game.

This is really as pure an arcade game as you'll find. From a behind-the-back view, players wipe out anything in the path, almost non-stop. Cover is only available when fighting off the end level assault. A cursor deals out most of the damage as players can only move left to right. The screen automatically scrolls forward. Obtaining power-ups is simply a matter of shooting them. Weapons only last a limited time, but they do have unlimited ammo during that period.

Very similar in style to Konami's later release "G.I. Joe," this one actually plays better. Instead of simply bombarding the player early on, "Rambo III" gives players a chance early on, giving them the confidence they need to continue popping quarters in later in the game when things really heat up. These final stages are, without a doubt, absolutely brutal. It hardly matters when you're having this much fun with a body count rising to staggering levels.

Background objects are few in number, usually reserved for sand bag bunkers and other small barricades. Everything is hand drawn with care, scaling in sync with the ever-moving ground. All incoming attacks are easy to see even when things get hectic. The aiming cursors are big, bold, and hard to miss. You're always in control. A few more enemies would have been nice, but it's not like you have much time to look anyway.

None of the music from the feature film(s) has found a home in this game, but don't count it out completely. There's a nice mix under the action. That is assuming you can hear it over the brutal explosions that occur every few seconds. A few voice samples from the film's star really would have helped out, even if they had been lost too.

Oddly, the US version of this game would reuse the sprites, but take out all of the scaling effects, settling for a side scrolling view (though still behind the back). It's fun, but it's a much more intense experience running "into" the screen. "Rambo III" should be included in any list of best arcade action games, right up there with the likes of "Contra" and the above mentioned "G.I. Joe."


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Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 06:46 AM