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Rampage: Total Destruction

Score 2.5 out of 5
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It's been twenty years since the original coin-op Rampage hit the arcades. Is this $19.99 value title a worthy follow-up?

Midway brings that arcade classic to the Playstation 2 and Nintendo GameCube in the form of Rampage: Total Destruction! With all new graphics and some new gameplay; without substantialy changing what the game actually is. It's still the same smash and bash game that it ever was. And that's good news.

The story believe it or not loosely follows the original arcade game story, but with slight updates. A group of human subjects were taste testing Scum, inc's. newest soda, Scum Soda. Everyone who tried the drink mutated into a vicious monster who wants to wreak Total Destruction! The Scum Labs guys cryo froze the monsters so they wouldn't get loose, but they, I mean you did.

There are two ways to play Rampage: Total Destruction; by yourself, or with a friend. The Playstation 2 version supports 2 players, and the GameCube version supports 4. You can play through an entire campaign spanning 7 cities, or play King of the City and King of the World, two games where you battle it out with your friend(s) for the most points and the most destruction. Multiplayer is actually pretty fun. There's nothing like a little friendly competition when trying to wipe out a whole city block. Then again, it's also pretty fun to play the Campaign mode together.

Rampage: Total Destruction also includes the original arcade versions of Rampage, and Rampage: World Tour. They'll take you back in time.

The thing that makes Rampage so much fun to play is its complete simplicity, just like the original arcade game. Unfortunately, it may also be the game's biggest weakness, just like the original arcade game. As good as Rampage was at mindless and rampant destruction, and easy to use controls, it eventually becomes monotonous, repetitive and boring. Rampage: Total Destruction has the same effect, even though parts of the game are definitely upgraded from the 1986 original. The game in a nutshell goes like this. Think Godzilla, or every other Saturday afternoon 1950's gigantic monster movie you ever saw. You are a monster, you saw the story above. You walk up and down a city street beating the crap out of a host of buildings, trying to knock them down. While doing this, an ever increasing force is trying to take you out. It starts with just police, then graduates to military; coming at you with tanks and helicopters, etc;. The evil doctor that cryo-froze you in the first place before your escape also comes after you trying to put you back in the freezer so you don't get away. So you have a life bar. As you get hit with bullets, tank shells, and grenades, your health goes down. In order to keep your health up and not turn back into your human form, you have to find things to eat. In the buildings you smash up, you can grab from inside windows all kinds of foods which will give you life. But you can also grab things that will hurt you even more, like radioactive waste, bombs, and hot peppers. You can also grab and eat people, but they don't help your health. It does take care of your police problem though. Once you have destroyed all the buildings in the level, you move on to the next one where things get even more difficult. That's the gameplay right there. When you get through about 10-12 levels, you start to tire of things and end up turning the game off. That's the only complaint, and it's really just the way it is with games like this..

Midway tried with Rampage: Total Destruction to add some things to make it good for 2006. They are able to do just that without tampering with the core gameplay from the arcade. For example, in the arcade, you could punch and jump and move. In Total Destruction not only can you punch, but you can also kick, which is great for kicking the side of a building or a tank on the street. Not only do you have the fast punch, which also serves as your grab for items and food and such, but a full powerful punch that can really knock out a piece of a building. Another big change is the move from 2D to 3D, because of course you're working on the PS2 and GameCube. So while with the arcade you more or less climbed up and down the side of a building, in Total Destruction you can also climb up and down the front of it and punch out pieces of building ahead of you. This means that the buildings are also much bigger and need a lot more bashing. You can also jump on top of a building which does damage to it, albeit slower than punching and kicking it. You can also do a down bash which can knock out cars, people, and building tops. Again, all this new gameplay and it still feels like the original arcade game.

The coolest changes in the game from the arcade are that the number of playable characters has been dramatically increased. In Rampage, there were 3 humans that were mutated into monsters; George, Lizzie, and Ralph. In this game, there are 30! You start with the original 3, and work your way through the game to unlock the other 27. There are all kinds of crzay monsters that you can find throughout the levels. You have Leon the Lion, Jack the Jackalope, Bart the Bat, Rocky the Rock Monster, Wally the Warthog (which looks like the angry, evil twin brother of Pumbaa from The Lion King), Crock the Croc, and more. Each monster has his own attributes. Some are better at crushing, some at jumping, and some at running. They also have upgrades which make them stronger. These are special attacks like a Jump Smash or Roar Attack. And once you unlock them, you can switch to them after any level. Each level in the game also has challenges which you must complete in order to score higher points, or unlock some of these upgrades. They are deceptively difficult to acheive. Normally they are collecting a number of certain items, or destroying various things. Challenges aren't necessary to move on, but they do help you to unlock special attacks. Finally, there are a ton of levels to play through which span 7 cities; Las Vegas, San Franciso. You make your way through area after area in each city, which is where the monotonous part comes into play.

Graphically, for a $20 game, Rampage: Total Destruction looks pretty good. It reminds me of Kill All Humans. It's got a cartoonish feel to it. The cities are 3D rendered but the textures over the buildings all start repeating. But be warned, each level really looks like the last one because they overuse a lot of the textures, throwing in just enough new ones to make it feel different. But it isn't really different. But for the $19.99 price tag, it's insignificant. Same with the sound effects. It's just there, nothing special. The soundtrack is just average, and there are some voices in the game that tell you what's going on. And it's repetitive. Did I say that already?

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