Review by Tony Bueno



Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Here's a game which should probably be damn near impossible to obtain. Rompers was included in Namco Museum Encore back in 1997 and it was produced in limited quantities in Japan only. It also included such overlooked classics as Motos, Rolling Thunder, and King & Balloon along with the duds Skykid and Wonder Momo. It's a pity that so few will ever see this disc or Rompers (which I don't believe was released in the States and isn't included in MAME), but I guess it's cool for those who have it.

rompers1ps1.gif (32922 bytes)Released in 1989, Rompers was a precursor to more recent titles such as Trog, Neo Mr. Do!, Namco's own Dig Dug update, and (my apologies in advance to all other DP staffers) all those overrated Bomberman follow ups. Rompers is superior to all other maze games released in the 1990's, however, and is one of the true lost treasures of our most beloved hobby.

From the prologue (not that it really matters), we learn that a devilish character and his fairy henchwoman have kidnapped the girlfriend (or sister? wife? friend? mistress? mom? co-worker? relative?) of a rather hickish young man, decked out in overalls and wide-brimmed straw hat. The fairy carries her away over a huge, imposing labyrinth, and our Tom Sawyer-looking hero must venture forth to save her.

The object in each level is to pick all the keys whilst avoiding enemies. Levels are composed of both stationary and moveable walls which may be shoved onto adversaries and their nests. A few speed up power ups assist, while the monsters get more and more bizarre. How bizarre? Pink and blue rhinos breathe fire or ice to kill or slow you down while little tile creatures (reminiscent of the work of R. Crumb) push down walls over you. Ghosts (some with cigarettes!) mindlessly pursue, and rhinos roll up into a ball and charge, to name a few.

Audiovisually, Rompers pleases and makes me laugh with its intermissions and humorous animation. Add this with insanely unfair scenarios (i.e. an anti-bonus all-spider stage every 10 levels), agonizingly close defeats, and at times frustratingly difficult levels and you've got yourself a real winner. While this game is almost certainly finite, I still can never summon the patience and courage to make it to the end. After around level 50, well, you might give up too.

Rompers is quite simply the best title on the best disc in the entire Namco Museum series. Namco and Sony must sincerely hate American consumers to not allow this gem to be released here. What a fucking shame, but at least those lousy cunts didn't prevent me from getting mine. Highly recommended.


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Last updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:29 AM