Rampage: Total Destruction
Review By: Jeff

Plop plop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is, Scum Soda to the rescue! Mmm.. tastes like awesome with a slight hint of radical. Now if they can just do something about the rampant mutations, then Scum Labs will a fuckin' winner on their hands. Oh well, nothing like a little urban renewal at the hands of giant monsters to launch a new soft drink, eh?

Rampage: Total Destruction for the Gamecube and PS2 is a budget title re-imagining of the original Rampage arcade game boasting a huge roster and a more structured level design. As mentioned at the top, Scum Labs (the evil corporation behind the previous games' mutations) has decided to get into the soft drink business with the advent of Scum Soda, a Mountain Dew style pop made by their best Biogenetic engineers. As a result, all thirty of their test market volunteers have been transformed into large variations of common creatures and now threaten to destroy the Earth. Or they would have, if Dr. Vector (Scum Soda project leader) hadn't managed to contain twenty-four of them in special cryo-tubes hidden throughout seven major cities around the world. Of course he forgot six of them but it's not like they're gonna go crazy and free the trapped ones...right?

Of course they are, stupid, and you get to help! So grab yourself a monster, hit the city streets and unleash all that built up rage while doing your best Godzilla impression. Cities are split up into several blocks that are completed by simply destroying all the buildings. Within each block, is a challenge that is offered and, if completed, rewards the active monster with a move upgrade (four in all) that makes the smashing much faster and more satisfying. Afterwards, your score is tallied and you then walk over to the next section and proceed to repeat the previous actions until you eventually reach the end of the city where you have to battle Dr. V and his arsenal of gray metal things that shoot stuff at you. It's all pretty basic stuff to anyone familiar with the series or has ever been on a drunken rampage themselves.

This being a budget title, I half expected it to look like a PS1 game and sound like a Speak & Spell but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall package. The graphics are decent which is due to the style used for the characters. Monster animations are pretty good although a lot of them have the same movements which brings up the question of why they put in so many of the damned things. I like variety as much as the next guy but I would have rathered they used the extra space to improve on the main three (George, Lizzie and Ralph) and just add a fourth monster to even the number. I will say however, that the intro and end movies were probably the best-done ones I've ever seen on a twenty-dollar game.

The music is pretty catchy and I found myself whistling along with the main/between level theme a few times. The sound effects are cartoonish and voice acting is better than average with the pedestrians offering some nice laughs with their reactions to your attack with my favorite being the Arnold Schwarzenegger army guy that yells, "I'm right here, come and get me!"

Controlling your monster is the biggest obstacle in the game as they've decided to implement 3D controls in a 2D game. Well actually the game is 3D in the same way that Paper Mario is 3D and what this means is that picking up cars/people or climbing a building can be a tough at first. I'd say the learning curve for the controls is about fifteen to twenty-five minutes; it really depends on how comfortable you are with the controller.

The developers felt they should toss in some extra modes to keep the repetitive act of beating up on buildings from getting stale. So we get Campaign mode, which is the main game for one or two players, King of the City, a four-player competitive take on the main game, seeing who can cause the most damage to a city. King of the World is like King of the City only now everyone competes to see who can cause the most damage to all the cities in the world and finally, there's good old Timed Run mode...does anyone other than bored attention seeking showoffs care about how fast they can get through the game? Hell, I'm just happy if I remember where I saved at after I've stopped playing for a couple of weeks. Anyway, the original arcade Rampage and Rampage: World Tour are included as well, so it's like being able to destroy cities in 3 different time periods for the price of one.

Let's talk about the bad parts of the game for a bit, shall we? First of all, it's insanely repetitive as were its predecessors so it's best to play it in small amounts of time. Otherwise, you'll get burned out by the second city. Next are the monsters, yeah there's thirty of them but so what, I doubt anyone will want to find all of them let alone get all their special moves. Finally why hasn't Midway ever thought about taking the franchise in a new direction? The story for this game would've worked great as an action comedy title done up like The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. It's just a shame that they went through the trouble of actually making a design for George's human form along with the doctor. and the Scum Labs board members only not to use them for anything other than the two cinema scenes.

All in all though, I'd say Rampage: Total Destruction is worth twenty bucks but not a cent more. It's really fun if you already enjoy the series and when played in short bursts, can last a long time.

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