Saturday, November 19, 2011

Monster Video Games of Years Past Part 3 - Rampage!

With the announcement of the Rampage! movie I figure now is as good a time as any to return to this series of article...

Rampage is a 1986 arcade game by Bally Midway. Players take control of gigantic monsters trying to survive against onslaughts of military forces. Each round is completed when a particular city is completely reduced to rubble Sounds simple right? Well it was, but what made it so much fun was the artwork, the characters, the action...hell everything was fun about it if you were a giant monster fan at the time.
In the original Rampage up to three players could play simultaneously and cooperated in destroying the city and eating eating people and destroying helicopters,tanks, taxis, police cars, boats, and trolleys along the way. The storyline behind the original game was that when they were humans, George was a normal middle aged man, Lizzie was a young woman, and Ralph was an elderly man. They were experimented on at Scumlabs and turned into giant monsters.George became a huge Kong like Ape, Lizzie a bipedal Lizard/Dinosaur and Ralph a giant Werewolf. A fourth monster was added to the home version of the game for the Atari Lynx in the form of a giant Rat named Larry.

Monsters can jump and climb buildings, and punch enemies and buildings. Buildings also take damage when jumped on by a monster. The player's monster receives damage from enemy bullets, grenades, shells and so forth, and from falls. Damage is recovered by eating appropriate food such as fruit, roast chicken, or soldiers. If a monster takes too much damage, it reverts back into a naked human and starts walking off the screen sideways, covering its genitals with its hands. While in this state, the player can be eaten by another player. If the player continues, the human mutates back into the monster, or flies in on a blimp if off-screen, with a full life bar.

Smashing open windows generally reveals an item or person of interest, which may be helpful or harmful. Helpful items include food or money. Dangerous ones include bombs, electrical appliances, and cigarettes. Some items can be both; for example, a toaster is dangerous until the toast pops up, and a photographer must be eaten quickly before he dazzles the player's monster with his flash, causing it to fall. When a civilian is present waving their hands out a window signaling for help, a player's points meter rapidly increments when the civilian is grabbed. Each player can hold only one type of person: George can hold women, Lizzy can hold men, and Ralph can hold businessmen. Rampage is set over the course of 128 days in cities across North America. The game starts in Peoria, Illinois and ends in Plano, Illinois. In Plano, players receive a "mega vitamin bonus" which heals all the monsters and provides a large point bonus. After this, the cycle of cities repeats five times. After 768 days, the game resets back to Day 1. Some of the home port versions of the game start in San Jose, California and end in Los Angeles, California after going all around North America. The rampage travels through two Canadian provinces and forty-three U.S. states. Only Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermontare spared.

Rampage World Tour was released into arcades in 1997 featured the change from a 2D game to 3D graphics. The plot this time had George, Lizzie, and Ralph escaping due to an explosion at a Scumlabs facility where they had been imprisoned since the first game. The trio seeks revenge and begin to destroy all of Scumlabs' bases scattered throughout the world and kill its employees. In the last levels, Scumlabs CEO Eustace DeMonic turns himself into a monster in an attempt to combat George, Lizzie, and Ralph, but is defeated during a battle on a lunar base. After this, the only surviving Scumlabs employee, Dr. Betty Veronica, tries to kill the monsters with a ray gun on her spaceship, but this only shrinks them and they wind up inside her ship.

Like in the first Rampage game, the goal of every stage is to destroy all the buildings in each city while avoiding or destroying the military forces. If the player takes too long in destroying the city, jets will fly in and bomb the remaining buildings, ending the stage with a lower score. In this game, the player has some control over the course of the game. In the first level, Peoria, a tourism billboard cycles through different regions in the country (Northeast, Southwest, etc.). Destroying the billboard when it is showing one of these regions will send the player in that direction. Players may also choose to eat or ignore the "World Tour" powerups and control which country they can visit. After getting a World Tour power-up, the next few levels will take place in a foreign location until a Scumlabs plant is destroyed. The game will not end until every Scumlabs city has been destroyed, which may cause some erratic traveling around towards the end of the game (including multiple world tour trips if the players have missed or purposely kept from getting world tour flags).

And things were calm until...

Rampage 2: Universal Tour soon followed as a a direct sequel to Rampage World Tour and saw George, Lizzie, and Ralph have been captured for the world to see. George is held captive in New York City, Lizzie is imprisoned in Tokyo, and Ralph is stored inLondon (references to King Kong, Godzilla, and Werewolf of London respectively). Scumlabs, who has just rebuilt their facilities in Salt Lake City, causes another accident that results in three new monsters: Curtis, a mouse, Boris, a rhinoceros, and Ruby, a lobster. Players choose one of the three original monsters to rescue. The player then uses the characters in the part of the world where the rescue is held. They work as a collective to break buildings, eat people, and destroy cars and this creates competition among players. When a player (literally) unlocks Ralph, Lizzie, or George, then they become playable characters. Once all the monsters are rescued, aliens begin to invade the earth, leaving the monsters the only ones who can save the planet they just helped partially destroy. After fending off the invasion on Earth, the monsters rescue Myukus (a cyclops-like alien) from Area 51 before chasing the aliens through space, destroying the aliens' bases throughout the Solar System and eventually rampaging through their homeworld.

The city list this timeout was quite extensive since the rampaging went around the world and into space;

United States -
Salt Lake City, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, St. Louis, Miami, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City

Asia -  Beijing, Pyongyang, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Rangoon, Bangkok, Phnom Pehn, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Brunei, Manila, Fukuoka, Osaka, Yokohama, Kobe, Nagano, Sapporo, Sendai and Tokyo

Europe - Madrid, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Geneva, Brussels, Paris, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Florence, Rome, Athens, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Edinburgh, Dublin, Manchester, and London

Global Alien Invasion - Delhi, PerthMelbourne, Sydney, Honolulu (alien buildings begin to appear), Mexico City, Havana, Panama City, Caracas, Lima, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Moscow, Helsinki, Istanbul, Lisbon (all alien buildings from here onward), Toronto, Calgary, Anchorage, Vancouver and Area 51 (no alien buildings)

Solar System and Milky Way Galaxy - Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Phobos, Saturn, Io, Europa, Neptune, Jupiter, Halley's Comet, Uranus, and Pluto
Alien Homeworld - Drapheus, Skinsonatti, Les Vegees, Housteenk, Cornholens, Spamburgh, Uranelphia, Newd Yoke, Wazelskown, Yokmiyama and Flachulas

Most of the cities in each level were designed to better resemble their real-world appearances:
In London, one of the structures that could be destroyed is the Tower of London, Washington, D.C., one of the buildings that could be destroyed looks like the White House, and another looks like the Capitol. In New York, the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, and World Trade Center, could be destroyed as well, the game having taken place before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In Chicago, the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, can be destroyed.

Rampage Through Time - The next game picked up where Universal Tour ended with the world again rebuilding after the events of Universal Tour. To clean up the mess quicker, Scumlabs invents a time machine to send people back in time to fix the mess without having to do it in the present. Unfortunately, the monsters, returning George, Lizzie, Ralph, Ruby, Boris, Curtis, Myukus and new monster Harley the Warthog have somehow made it back to Earth, run into the machine and begin terrorizing the past, present, and future, messing up the time stream. The game differed slightly from previous Rampage games by adding a Campaign Mode.

In Campaign Mode, each timezone consists of four stages. The first three consists of traditional Rampage gameplay, in that you must destroy all the buildings in each city while avoiding attacks from enemy forces. Campaign Mode is only playable with one player, but the CPU will randomly select two other monsters to oppose you in that timezone. After each city is destroyed, all three monsters are awarded stars for inflicting the most damage on buildings, people, and each other.

The fourth stage is a multiplayer minigame that varies with each timezone, usually as a parody of games such as Asteroids or Breakout. In Campaign Mode, the player must win these minigames in order to continue with the main game. The stars earned in the Rampage stages are also translated into extra points for the minigames, making it important to earn as many as possible to increase the chances of winning.
The monsters are all given unique special powers - 
George has an Ape Stomp
Lizzie has Fire Breath
Ralph has Wolf Howl
Curtis, the Rat Bottom Feeder
Boris the Rhino Charge
Ruby the Lobster Claw Can Opener
Myukus has a Laser Eye
Harley the Boar Butt Blast

Timezones included -
Ancient Persia: 336 BC – A land full of magic carpets and dancing women.
Alien Planet: 3245 AD – Extraterrestrial planets with all kinds of sci-fi action and the aliens from Rampage 2.
Ancient China: 1327 BC – Avoid dragons and Chinese soldiers as you destroy the Chinese Empire.
Gangster: 1925 AD. – Fight mobsters in 20's Chicago.
Neo Japan: 2034 AD. – Robots and green suited soldiers try to stop you from destroying Tokyo.
Wild West: 1890 AD. – Cowboys and bank robbers are your foes in the old west.
Renaissance: 1478 AD. – You can look at the art later. Get smashing!
Dickens England: 1851 AD.- Oliver Twist and Charles Dickens run for their lives as you smash up London.
Eskimo: 1802 AD. – Trample over this outpost as Inuit hunters and ice spirits try to put you on ice.
Pirates: 1699 AD. – Argg, matey! There be monsters in this port town, eating landlubbers left and right!
Ancient Egypt: 1655 BC – Rumble in the sands and the pyramids, trampling over Pharaoh's city.
Medieval Europe: 1013 AD. – Destroy castles and peasant hovels as dragons and knights try to get medieval on you.
Atlantis: 9780 BC – Underwater mayhem as you rampage through the ruins of Atlantis.
Ancient Greece: 446 BC – Temples and theaters are all fair game, but watch out for the Minotaur!
Colonial America: 1751 AD. – The British are the least of Paul Revere's concerns now!
World War II: 1943 AD. – As if the Nazis weren't enough, along come giant monsters!
Mayan: 555 AD. – Conquistadors of a different kind, in this rumble in the jungle.
Neo Techno: 2112 AD. – A boss level; destroy the generator before the legions of robots overwhelm you.
Jurassic Period: 2,000,000 BC – Throw cavemen at the dinosaurs in this boss level.
Scumlabs: 2000 AD. – Tired of watching your rampage sprees, Scumlabs unleashes their ultimate weapon, the Mutant Buster

The Final Rampage Game to date was Rampage Total Destruction Released in 2004 the game introduces some new features such as the ability to climb on the front of a building to destroy it. Hidden in each city are tokens which, when eaten, will unlock new characters and special abilities. Playing well fills a character's special meter which can be used to utilize special abilities such as Rampage mode or the Roar power.

Total Destruction features four game modes. The first is a campaign in which players work to progressively take out cities around the world. King of the City and King of the World are competitive modes where up to four players compete. In King of the City, players strive to rule a city by dominating the most districts. King of the World is a series of King of the City competitions across various cities. The fourth mode is a time trial where players must complete all the districts of a city within a time limit.

The story this time is a reboot of the franchise and begins with a worker from Scum Labs showing a video about a man named George taste-testing the Scum Soda. Soda S ends up causing a mutation to George as the video ends. The man tells his boss Mr. Z that the Scum Soda had a reaction to a few individuals. When Mr. Z asks how many people went through the taste-test and had a negative reaction, the man states 30 (40 in Wii). When Mr. Z states that if the press gets a hold of this, Scum Labs will be ruined. The man states that they contained the damage as a scientist tells Mr. Z that the all 30(or 40) monsters have been cryogenically frozen and stored in specially-designed, high security storage containers. The scientist states that as long as the subjects stay in the Cryo-Tubes, they pose no threat. It is also stated that the Cryo-Tubes are hidden and it's unlikely that anyone is ever going to find any of them. The man states that Scum Soda is going to be huge as George in his monster form climbs the building and grabs the man. Mr. Z tells the other people with him that they have a problem.    

Total Destruction featured the largest number of playable monsters to date:

Amanda the Armadillo
Bart the Bat
Boris the Rhino  (exclusive to the WII)
Brian the Brain  (exclusive to the WII)
Bubba the Alien
Cal the Squid
Crock the Crocodile
Curtis the Mouse
Cyril the Squirrel  (exclusive to the WII)
Edwin the Alien
Eyegore the One-Eyed Alien
Fabio the Flea  (exclusive to the WII)
Fifi the Poodle  (exclusive to the WII)
George the Gorilla
Gilman theBlowfish
Harry the Yeti
Harley the Boar
Icky the Echidna
Jack the Jackalope
Jill the Jellyfish
Joe the Wild Man
Kyle the Cyclops
Kingston the King Cobra
Leon the Lion
Lizzie the Dinosaur/Lizard
Marco the Shark
Myukus the Slug
Natalie the Nautilus
Nick the Demona
Noobus the Martian
Philbert the Ram/Lizard
Plucky the Chicken  (exclusive to the WII)
Ralph the Werewolf
Ramsey the Ram
Rhett the Rat
Rojo the Bull
Rocky the Golem
Ruby the Lobster  (exclusive to the WII)
Sarah the Spider  (exclusive to the WII)
Shelby the Tortoise
Squirmy the Worms  (exclusive to the WII)
V.E.R.N. the Abomination (exclusive to the WII)
Venus the Plant
Wally the Warthog

Now time will tell if the Movie actually gets made and if so will we see a new Rampage, maybe one that differs enough to dispel the continuous problem of over repetitive game play that plagues the franchise.

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