For some, Rampage is a new thing – but for many, the Rampage games are our childhood
To celebrate the Rampage movie, we decided to take a tour (a Universal tour, if you will), of all the iterations of the Rampage video game throughout the years. After all, there is a lot of history that brought these monsters rampaging onto the big screen! Some of the games are amazing, and some made us realize we had some pretty heavy nostalgia goggles on when we thought back on them. Playing them again made us realize…well, maybe we were mistaken. There are some true gems in the lineup, though, and we think you should go out and find them because they’re worth it.
The first installment of this smash hit series came out as the arcade Rampage game in 1986. Three people controlled (formerly human) giant monsters and went on a…wait for it…RAMPAGE! You go around smashing buildings, eating people, and stomping the military in an ultimate showdown. The gameplay was simple: climb buildings and punch them, along with anything that shoots at you.
The first game had three characters, Lizzy (a godzilla like giant lizard), George (basically King Kong), and Ralph (a giant werewolf). Together, these three take on the city (and each other) to find out who’s the biggest, baddest monster on the block.
The game sparked a whole series of titles following these characters — and more. People had so much fun rampaging, it was ported to just about every console available at the time. And let’s not forget, this was just the first stop on the eventual franchise this badass video game would spawn. Just get a load of that retro gameplay!
Rampage World Tour
Much like the first game, this followup was an arcade title. It also got ported to all the major systems at the time, because people can’t get enough of giant monster action! This second iteration brought a little bit of plot to the senseless destruction. Scumlabs (you just know they’re a fantastic company based on their name) decides to unleashe our “heroes,” Lizzy, George, and Ralph, on the world after an explosion. They set out on a…you guessed it again…RAMPAGE, to destroy every Scumlabs facility and eat every employee. Of course, whatever city the facility happens to be in also gets destroyed. But hey, that’s what you get when you let Scumlabs infest your hometown!
The gameplay got a graphical update that made it feel a bit more modern. The animation got better, but the concept remained the same. Smash the buildings, destroy the city, eat the military. Let’s be clear — that doesn’t make it a bad video game by any means. After all, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it — then smash it, because it’s a RAMPAGE!
Rampage 2: Universal Tour
This is the sequel to the first two games (yeah, even though it’s the third game, they call it 2. Weird, we know). Rampage 2: Universal Tour picks up sort of where world tour left off, only our “heroes” are captured and out on display for the public! Lizzy is held in Tokyo, Ralph in London, and George in New York. Savvy fans believe this is a shout out to Godzilla, An American Werewolf in London, and King Kong, and we have to agree. It’s a little conspicuous and feels like an homage to the titles that it we just mentioned. Anyway — Scumlabs is back. And they have another incident with toxic waste (because of course they do)!
Three new monsters are created from this sludge: Boris the rhino, Curtis the mouse (it’s cooler than it sounds), and Ruby the lobster. These three new monsters head out to rescue the original three, and once they are freed, they are unlocked to play. Only then do aliens invade (because that was the only thing missing from this wild ride). You go on to rescue a new monster from Area 51, then rampage through the galaxy to wipe out the aliens at their source.
Once again, the game got a some graphic updates. As it was intended for console, they ramped (rampaged?) up the graphics and smoothed out the edges as technology got better. Smashing buildings is more satisfying when you are more than a bunch of pixels and have a bit more heft to your monster. We have to say it: we consider this the best game in the series. That might be a controversial opinion, but we will challenge you to a round or two of Rampage to prove it!
Rampage Through Time
If you’re rampaging your way through all the games in preparation for the Rampage movie, maybe skip this one. There are almost no improvements from Rampage 2 and the plot is flimsy, even by Rampage standards (they added Harley the warthog, but trust us. It’s not nearly enough). Scumlabs develops time travel this time, so they can clean up the mess the monsters left in Rampage 2. Yep, they’re building in the past so that the future is nicely cleaned up. It’s all good until the monsters somehow get back to Earth and get their hands on the time travel technology. It goes…well, basically how you would expect, and they rampage through time.
The campaign mode is unfortunately single player in this iteration, even though you have to fight NPC monsters. They also added a minigame to the end (every time you visit) that mirrors old games like Asteroids or Breakout, harkening back to the game’s arcade roots. The problem? You needed to earn as many stars as possible in the previous levels in order to get bonuses in the mini games. This lead to some of the minigames being incredibly annoying if you were struggling with one of the levels from that time. Mostly it was a contrived way to add something new to a series that was good as is. The long and the short? Sure, it’s a Rampage game, but we can’t in good conscience recommend it.
Rampage Puzzle Attack
This is technically a Rampage game so we have to talk about it, but don’t get too excited. It’s basically a knockoff Tetris-style game. We could see it being a minigame in Rampage Through Time, and that alone turns us off on the concept a little bit. Sure, it feels arcade-y and sure, it has a “destroying” aspect, but that’s where the similarities come to a hard and fast stop. There isn’t much rampaging in Tetris.
Gameplay? You drop multi-colored blocks and match colors to clear them. Sometimes you just want to clear the field, other times you want to rescue a monster from a cage at the bottom of the screen. That’s about it. Okay, there is endless mode, and a harder mode with fewer blocks — but let’s be real. This is nothing like the other Rampage games. We came here to have a good time and knock down a city, and this does not scratch that itch. It’s a puzzle game branded with familiar characters to sucker you into buying it. We’ve seen it before (we’re looking at you, Doctor Mario and Pokemon Pinball), but it rarely pans out. Maybe leave this one off your must play list — unless you’re really into block stacking games.
Rampage: Total Destruction
Rampage finally got back to its roots in 2006. The problem? Too little too late. In an era of Mario 64 and Zelda Ocarina, people are expecting big expansions to what they can do in games. People had come to expect a more expansive experience in their gaming as it evolved, and this Rampage offers more of the same.
Scum Labs created a soda that caused a small percentage of the population to transform into giant monsters. They tried to bury the secret, but the monsters — as you expect — get loose. Begin the rampage! Like the previous games, you rampage through cities, destroying buildings and unlocking new monsters. If you love that formula, then you will love the game. They added in a “power up” feature where you fill a meter and then get to go into RAMPAGE mode and roar. While novel, these quickly become repetitive.
The problem most people had is that the game play is the same for pretty much every level. Button mash, power up, repeat. With games of the time growing quickly more complex, a lot of fans were hoping Rampage would bring its A game and grow to meet the competition. It did not. The new features are fun, and if you want a heavy dose of nostalgia with some updated graphics, it’s a good time. But if you want a more modern approach to the Rampage franchise, this game falls a little short.
We still pick it up from time to time because we love a good rampage — but like a lot of players, after a few hours we move on to other games. You’d think that kicking up the roster from 7 monsters to 30 (40 if you play the Wii version) would have made up for some of what’s lacking, but most of what you got was…uncomfortable. We wanted this to be the title that brought us stomping back to the games, and the nostalgia is REALLY strong, but we can’t say it’s our favorite in the series.
Rampage: The Movie
So we were just as surprised as everyone else when we saw that they were going to make a Rampage movie. After the lackluster response to the last to the last few games, we sort of thought this giant monster brawl had passed silently into the night. The surprising thing? We’re really excited about the movie! First off, they got The Rock as the primary actor, so that alone has our attention. He’s been killing it in video game movies, and it’s clear he loves the genre. The monsters look fantastically animated, and the city smashing we’ve seen so far is excellent. Sure, the reviews have been lackluster, but don’t let that stop you. What we’ve seen from the reviews tells us that it is very true to its source material: a giant monster brawl that quite literally rampages through a city.
True, it might not be the long-awaited sequel we are all crossing our fingers and toes for, but it’s a start. If there is enough interest in the movie, we can be sure a game will follow (to the joy of all us nostalgic arcader lovers). We would love a new Rampage game to state our need for city smashing. Let’s hope it modernizes the series in the way Total Destruction couldn’t. We’re rooting for it.