Rampage World Tour Arcade/PSX
Review by Tony Bueno Midway Arcade
Graphics: 7 Sound: 7 Gameplay: 9 Overall: 8

The premise behind Rampage has got to be one of the best ideas for a video game ever conceived. Japanese monster movies seemingly live to be lampooned, often they borderline on self parody. Given their nightmarish scenarios, shoddy special effects, and even worse acting, one might expect the game to embrace similar values. Well, yes and no.

Rampage World Tour begins with a comely female lab technician babbling about stopping production of a chemical before... (large explosion, computer screen reads:)

c:> Lab technicians exposed

c:> General population not at risk

The next moment has our familiar characters George (gorilla), Lizzie (Lizard), and Ralph (Wolf), or any combination of these three wallowing in wanton, mindless destruction.

Your main adversaries are the machine gun firing helicopters, dynamite throwing soldiers, rednecks with shotguns, and policemen with pistols. It's all basically a short-timed game (not with a time limit, but rather an energy bar) where you die pretty quickly, then can't resist pumping more tokens into the machine to progress further. Like the original, when you die, your character shrinks back into a tiny naked human and covers his or her genitalia before creeping off the screen. Gameplay is nearly identical to the 1980's coin-op, with the addition of a kick as well as a punch. Kicking buildings repeatedly results in either side crumbling, whereas punching does limited damage. It also comes in handy with police cars, tanks, and ED 209 attack robots. People may also be kicked, which splatters them all over the pavement, but I generally prefer to press down and punch instead, so that they will be eaten. It should also be mentioned that your character may eat the splattered remains as well, but then you dn't get to hear the humans scream before meeting their grisly demise.

The graphics, while not outstanding, are above average, with the exception of the intermissions with the lab technician, Dr. Betty Veronica. Here, polygonal graphics are utilized to make a person appear more 3-dimensional than the traditional 2-D perspective. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I HATE POLYGONS! Why on Earth this trend has become so popular is an unfathomable mystery to me. I was one of the few people who felt Tomb Raider was overrated, not just because of the graphics (Lara Croft's breasts look like she just stepped out of an early 90's Madonna video), but also due to the puzzles that were either child's play or way too time-consuming. The monsters look similar to the rendered (I don't think they're polygonal, but I'm not positive) characters in Donkey Kong Country. Buildings, people, and vehicles fortunately are all 2-D - just the way I like them.

Rampage World Tour is, as you may have already deduced, chock full of humorous antics. Spotting a priest and a group of nuns, naturally these were the first people I chose to eat. Apparently this is a no no, because doing so resulted in my character getting struck by a bolt of lightning! The original Rampage had one human character that would be held rather than eaten for bonus points. I remember it being a woman in a red dress for George. But when I grabbed her out of the window this time - chomp! Destroying a mausoleum revealed a group of skeletons which, when eaten, caused my character to vomit. Strangely enough, when I ate a zombie roaming around the graveyard, my character munched him and muttered, "MMM!" just like with any other food item or human. Aside from the clergy, very little is sacred in this game. You are rewarded for eating homeless people on benches, elderly men and women crawling for their lives after leaping from the window, school children, and groups of tourists unfortunate enoughto be caught in a tourist trap (i.e. giant igloo in Deluth, Minnesota).

Regular food items include french fries, burgers, bacon and eggs, steak, turkey, coffee, fruit, and water bottles. Cows, chickens, pigs, cats, and goldfish may also be eaten for more energy. As the title implies, this game takes players all over the globe. A somewhat uninspired bonus stage determines what destination will be demolished next (I've made it to Madrid twice and Liverpool once). My only complaint is that the buildings and houses never appear too much different, regardless of the location. The preview for the game depicts a Scumlabs moonbase, complete with astronauts and alien adversaries, although this reviewer has never succeeded in penetrating that far into the game.

Rampage World Tour is by far the most fun arcade game I've played all year, surpassing even the Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Arkanoid upgrades. Not to be morbid, but there's a genuine sense of accomplishment and stress relieving pleasure to be derived from destroying every building and vehicle in sight while scarfing down citizens like popcorn.

As for the Playstation conversion - although I do like it and if it's not identical to the arcade, you'd have to do a direct side by side comparison and strain very hard to notice if there are indeed any differences, but there are some negative aspects:

1. Health meter no longer says "excellent" "Feelin' OK" "Groggy "Weak", etc.

2. Damage to your character seems very upscaled. You die a lot quicker in this version.

3. Damage is inconsistent. Sometimes six bullets take off 1/10, sometimes four bullets will take off the last 1/3 of your life.

4. The monsters, although polygonal, don't look bad. The intermissions between levels look terrible, worse than the cartoon Reboot (but, to be fair, they were the same in the arcade).

5. When continuing, you can't switch monsters.

6. There is no three player option.

7. The mid-level intermissions repeat themselves over and over and over.

8. There is no difficulty switch, and you are given unlimited continues.

9. There is little incentive to keep playing after completing this game once.

All of this may make it sound like I dislike the game, but that's not true. It's probably the best game to release aggression since Duke Nukem 3D. It will definitely get repetitive, however, and this one players should definitely try to rent before purchasing.

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