Rampage: Total Destruction
Smash! Kill! Sigh!
The original Rampage was a repetitive 1986 quarter-muncher that let three players bash the crap out of a whole bunch of practically identical cities. Twenty years later, the formula hasn't changed a bit.
- Multi-player mode
- Controls offer no precision, irritating sense of "humour"
The four-player mayhem modes serve as a nice social break from the campaign's limited partnership, but even then the sheer brain-numbing repetition quickly drains all the joy from taking a wrecking ball to the world. Given that the Wii is shaping up to be one heck of a party game platform, you shouldn't have to wait long for something much, much better to come along.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
If you want more gameplay depth than endlessly punching buildings and crunching on bystanders, keep walking.
Streets of Rage
Each "neighbourhood" is a single city block of pristine real estate waiting to be reduced to rubble. Punch holes in buildings to reveal helpful items like speed boosts and food, or harmful garbage like nuclear waste and inexplicably edible fireballs. Smash tanks, wolf down up armed troops, and hunt down the evil scientist who did this to you.
Unfortunately, while the original game was disposable fun when taken in small doses, Rampage: Total Destruction doesn't add enough to the original recipe to qualify as a full-fledged modern game. There are over three dozen goofy monsters, ranging from lizards and apes to squids and chickens, but their wildly varying appearances make for the only variety you'll find. Each mutant can earn upgrades by eating the right number of army grenadiers, exploding enough helicopters, and so on, as the stage-specific challenge requires, but the new powers awarded do nothing to make the incredibly repetitive punching and climbing any more interesting.
Taking a Time-out
The Wii-specific motion controls feel a bit out of place, but you'll get used to them easily enough. Beat the air with the Wiimote to deliver a two-fisted blow to the ground, give it a flick to grab a vehicle or human, and twirl it to wind up a stronger punch. The real problem isn't that the controls are poor, it's that they offer no precision, and are simply ignored outright too much of the time. Hell, good luck getting your dude to climb a building when you want him to. As a result, playing this game feels more like punishment than recreation as a result.
It's bad enough that it's needlessly difficult to manoeuvre your beast into position to snag something from a particular window without accidentally ending his life on the poison proffered from another. Every time your mutant pauses to do something allegedly funny — like emit an earth-shaking belch, or pointlessly leer at the camera — you're left wondering when you'll be granted the privilege of playing again. Meanwhile, you continue to take damage from the multitude of machine guns and rocket launchers trained on you, amping up more aggravation than adrenaline.
What's most disappointing, however, is how pitifully the game's "attitude" falls on its face. Every last unfunny quip issued by the traffic chopper, every painful Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, every ham-fisted racial stereotype is so poor that you can't help but wonder "what were they thinking?" I mean, was that lawyer joke so funny that it really needed limp male and female reads? No. No it wasn't.
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