Rampage (Atari 2600) Review

I was really unsure of what to do here… My first exposure to Rampage was on the Atari 2600, it was one of the few games we as a family owned on the early console that I could actually play at my young age, and so I have extremely fond memories of it. Sadly it’s comparatively crap compared to the Arcade original, which I could just as easily have reviewed, but… I just wanted to get this version on my blog, it’s right up there with the very first games I ever played. So even though it won’t review well in 2020 (yes, probably worse than the film!) here is me looking at Rampage on the Atari 2600…

Background:

This is one of those reviews where the screenshots are going to be very… samey.

Rampage was released into Arcades in 1986, with home ports to a variety of consoles, from the NES, Master System and Atari consoles to PCs like the Amiga, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, coming out in the following few years.

It has also seen releases on modern consoles via package releases like the “Midway Arcade Treasures” and “Midway Arcade Origins”.

Gameplay:

Oh look… more block buildings have been destroyed… There’s also a block police car firing in this screen!

As you’d imagine with a game this early, the gameplay is rather basic. You pick one of the three monsters and your job is to level the city while eating items/people in order to keep your health up as you get attacked by tanks, helicopters and the like. You can climb and you can attack, the latter can range from punt kicking tanks on the ground to punching building windows and foundations as you mount various buildings. You gain points as you travel between cities (levels), making this a good old fashion leader board scoring style Arcade game.

This is all really exciting in the Arcade and NES versions, but I’ll admit the Atari 2600 is lacking in the graphics department, so much so that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between items and people when you attack and building window… Plus everything is a lot slower and there are far fewer of everything. … Hooray?!

Graphics and Sound:

… George is on the ground in this screenshot!

The graphics are Atari 2600 graphics, in other words … “understandably bad”. I can’t rag on them too much because it’s such an early system, so I’ll just say they’re … not as good as the Arcade and leave it at that… (well, the screenshots do most of the talking anyway…)

Sound can also be described as “Atari 2600 sounds”. Lots of beeps and boops and odd barrrnnnnntttt sound. Not much else to say…

Story:

Fair play to the programmers, they did port a lot of the Arcade game across, given the memory size difference…

A giant gorilla called George was mutated by an experimental vitamin, a giant lizard named Lizzie was transformed by a radioactive lake, and a werewolf named Ralph was made larger and more monstrous by altered food additives. These three monsters will now level all of the US… several times over, if you can get far enough!

Thoughts Then:

Wow! Blue buildings!

Such an early memory, but I remember loving the game because, as mentioned in the opening paragraph, I could actually play it and not do too bad. It’s safe to say I loved it at the time, but then I was also barely able to hold the controller, so… it’s not saying much…

Thoughts Now:

I wonder what will happen to all those lovely yellow buildings? Probably nothing, because I’ve grown bored now…

Now?! In 2020? What do you think? The Atari 2600 version is pretty awful. I know I should’ve reviewed the Arcade version, a quick go of which confirms that it’s actually still fun to have a bash about on. This was a slow and disappointing mess. 8-Bit NES and even Master System games normally still hold up well all these years later, but 2600 games? Not so much, beyond a few obvious classics…

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