Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


Rampart is one of the greatest video games ever made. It's one of the truly unsung heroes in the industry, passed over for Pac-Man, Defender, and countless action games. It never gets the credit it's due, with a simple (yet brilliant) concept, easy to pick up gameplay, and almost necessary multi-player modes.

rampartlynx1.bmp (555030 bytes)This Lynx port doesn't allow for the maximum three players like in the arcade, sticking with only two. That doesn't limit the fun factor at all. Players select their castle, place cannons, fire on each other (or at boats), and then frantically rebuild.

The action portion, launching cannonballs at opponents, is hardly where the game grabs players. You simply aim and shoot, adjusting for the arc from the cannons. When the castle walls have collapsed from enemy fire, and you're wide open, you need to seal the walls.

This is obviously inspired by Tetris, with similar shaped pieces that need to be placed to complete the new sections. This is one of the most intense experiences in video gaming, even on the small Lynx screen. You need to rush, but you can't. A single missed piece could be the end. If it's too much, build around another castle.

That's the type of hook all classic games have to keep players going. Pac-Man used power pellets and Defender used kidnapped humans. Rampart uses castle pieces. The strategy is different for everyone, and each game will be different.

rampartlynx2.bmp (555030 bytes)The graphics here are plain, and they don't need to be anything else. This port features incredible still shots in-between rounds, but after a few times, they serve no purpose. There should be an option to turn them off. That's the only thing slowing this version down. Voice work is minimal.

Controls are spot-on. Any mistake is made by the player. That's critical, and the programmers here have done a fantastic job of removing the necessity for the arcade's trackball.

What hasn't been changed is the single player game. It's just not as fun. Battling ships quickly becomes overwhelming, and seeing the finale will be something reserved by only the greatest players. You can still find plenty of entertainment, and you'll waste more time that you'll realize, but it's obvious the games length is being compensated for with difficulty.

That doesn't change the concept, which is genius on any console. Rampart is a combination of gameplay mechanics blended perfectly, and on the Lynx, it's one of the best. Ignoring the small quirks, this is a classic for the system, and a common sense purchase.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 10, 2005 01:26 AM