Rampage Retrospective

Rampage Retrospective

Dwayne Johnson not included

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Retrospectives on

Now that a movie based on Midway's classic giant monster arcade game is releasing for some strange reason, it's a good time to take a look back at the Rampage series. Get ready to kick a few buildings down and let's destroy this city!

The arcade originals

Rampage debuted in arcades way back in 1986. There were a handful of console ports, too, but the arcade game is where it's at. Back in the mid '80s, it was quite a novel idea to have up to three players cooperate to smash buildings and swat helicopters out of the air while controlling a few monsters. George the gorilla, Lizzie the lizard, and Ralph the werewolf may not be as iconic as Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde but they're still quite a legendary team of monstrosities. Besides, is there anything funnier than running out of health only to revert back into a human then seeing a friend scoop you up and eat you? Smashing walls to reveal items like delicious food and harmful cigarettes all while the military is hopelessly shooting their puny guns at you adds up to a ridiculous game that's still fun to play.

Get your Rampage on in Lego Dimensions

If you're a fan of Lego Dimensions then be sure to pick up the Midway Arcade Level Pack as it contains 23 classic Midway arcade games including the original Rampage and you might just come across some familiar characters in Lego form, too.

A whole eleven years passed since the original until Midway finally released Rampage World Tour. This sequel improved the visuals drastically with livelier monsters, buildings that are more enjoyable to destroy, and a variety of unique locations from around the globe complete with fitting detailed backgrounds. Who knows; maybe you'll even end up in space! There's also a power-up that lets any monster transform into the super-powerful Violently Enraged Radioactive Nemesis (or, more simply; just Vern).

Rampage (Arcade) screenshot
George and Lizzie are the OG demolition experts

The console exclusives

A couple years after Rampage World Tour debuted; Midway ditched the arcades in order to focus on console games. The first console exclusive was Rampage 2: Universal Tour. Wait... Shouldn't it be called Rampage 3: Universal Tour? It is the third game after all. Anyway, George, Lizzie, and Ralph are imprisoned so newcomers Boris the rhinoceros, Curtis the mouse, and Ruby the lobster must rescue them. Once you save them all, aliens start to invade but you probably saw that coming, right? Of course, it's up to the six united monsters to save the planet from invasion. There's a pretty funny ending after all the commotion but before that, one level tasks you with destroying the World Trade Center in New York City. Try not to feel awkward doing that, you monster!

The following year, Rampage Through Time released exclusively for the original PlayStation. It's generally the same formula as always except the locations are set around the world as well as different time periods. You'll find yourself in the Old West, the Jurassic Period, a futuristic take on Japan, the Renaissance era, and even within an alien civilisation. There are fun mini-games along the way and a new character: Harley the warthog whose butt blast fart ability will let you know what he had for lunch.

Six years later in 2006, Midway took one last stab at the Rampage series and released Rampage: Total Destruction for GameCube, Wii, and PlayStation 2. The 3D visuals and gameplay were a huge departure and the large cast of monsters is phenomenal for those who can't get enough Kaiju action. Overall, this may be the biggest and most contemporary iteration of the Rampage series but it's definitely missing a lot of old-school charm. That being said, it contains both classic arcade games: Rampage and Rampage World Tour.

Rampage Through Time (PlayStation) screenshot
Beijing was quite a crazy place back in 1327 BC

Rampage Puzzle Attack

Between Rampage Through Time and Rampage: Total Destruction, Midway unleashed a puzzle game spin-off for Game Boy Advance in 2001. Considering the Rampage series is all about fun-filled carnage, it's pretty disappointing how boring this puzzler is. It has solid mechanics but why is it a Rampage game? It doesn't have any defining features that tie it to the series that it's based on. Anyway, you basically swap coloured blocks in a row that hovers above the playfield then select two adjacent ones to drop simultaneously. Ones with diamonds on them make that same colour disappear upon touching them and it is kind of fun trying to achieve combos. It's similar to Puyo Pop but not nearly as exciting. There is a multiplayer component, though, as well as some nifty challenge modes.

Rampage Puzzle Attack (Game Boy Advance) screenshot
This is one puzzle spin-off that definitely doesn't retain the spirit of the original series

Well, that's the entire Rampage series so far. Am I missing something? Oh, right; a Rampage movie is coming out in April starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson! Does that mean there will be another game? Probably not. Well, the movie better at least be entertaining after 12 years of no new Rampage games. Stay tuned because I plan on watching that sucker in 3D and I'll be sure to write all about it. For now, boot up some of these classics and have a building-busting good time!

Gameplay video playlist for Rampage Retrospective 7:59
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