Thursday, June 01, 2006

VG REVIEW: Rampage: Total Destruction

Midway, for PlayStation 2 and GameCube
rated E +10 for ages 10 and up (violence), $19.99.

Older gamers tend to feel a strong nostalgia for the arcade titles of years past, like "Pac-Man." Hence, the number of renovated and revitalized versions of older franchises, like "Pac-Man World."

But not every moldy arcade game has aged so well that it deserves a rebirth. The monster destruction game "Rampage," for example, should probably have best remained a distant but happy memory in gamers’ minds. As the new sequel, "Rampage: Total Destruction" proves, it’s not a game that warrants a second trip to the well.

Despite the flashy 3-D graphics, "Destruction" is pretty much identical to the original. As before, you are a giant monster, a la King Kong or Godzilla, and your job is to smash up the city and anything else that gets in your way. That’s about it.

There are a number of different monsters to choose from, and more are unlockable within the game, so you can wreck havoc either as a big ape or a very large octopus. Each monster, however, operates basically the same, with only a few minor variations, making the diversity much less impressive.

The game’s formula is simple: Destroy a city block using the limited moves available (punch, kick, etc.), smash any tank or helicopter that attempts to stop you, eat the people and power-ups to regain your health, and repeat ad nauseam. After about 10 minutes, the problem becomes obvious — "Destruction" is too repetitive and, ultimately, too dull to be worthwhile.

Had the developers added more variety — a few more specialized powers, larger levels, different enemies — then "Destruction" might have been more fun. By simply updating the original, it proves how shallow it was to begin with.

That’s fine if you’re playing in an arcade, designed to pump as many quarters out of you as quickly as possible. But if you’re playing at home on a console, something with more depth is needed.

Even at $20, "Destruction" is too slight to warrant purchase. Rent it if your hazy memories of the original are too strong to be overcome, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself returning it the next day.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2006


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