Rampage is a 1986 arcade game created 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.
Over the years it has been released on a variety of consoles, the main difference between the original arcade version being that it was possible to actually complete the game whereas you could spend forever feeding 50 pence pieces into the machine, only to repeat levels endlessly.
Playing with up to two other friends or alone, Rampage sees you take control of one of three characters familiar to all horror fans; a gigantic King Kong-like ape (George), a green Godzilla-like dinosaur (Lizzie) or a similarly-sized werewolf (Ralph), all of whom are mutated humans, escaping from an establishment called Scumlabs (George a middle-aged man, Lizzie a young woman, Ralph an elderly man). George was mutated after swallowing mega-vitamins, Lizzie was mutated after bathing in a radioactive lake and Ralph was mutated after eating infected sausages.
Faced with a metropolis of skyscrapers, civilians, helicopters and various other likely city fare, the aim is for your chosen monster to raze everything in sight to the ground, moving onto the next screen which contains even more metal, concrete and flesh to destroy.
The monsters can climb the buildings, punching them to pieces on the way down which will eventually reduce them to rubble. The various people can also be punched or grabbed and food items can be eaten. The player’s monster receives damage from enemy bullets, sticks of dynamite, shells, punches from other monsters and falls.
Damage is recovered by eating the various food items such as fruit, roast chicken, or even the soldiers. If a monster takes too much damage, it reverts into a naked human and starts walking off the screen sideways, covering its modesty with its hands (and in this state, can be eaten by another monster).
Smashing open windows generally reveals an item or person of interest, which may be helpful or harmful. Helpful items include food or money, whilst 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 at a window signaling for help, a player’s points rapidly increase when the person is grabbed. Each monster 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. After this, the cycle of cities repeats five times. After 768 days, the game resets back to Day One.
Some of the home console 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 Vermont are spared.
Rampage was ported to most home computers and video game consoles of its time, including the Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx, Atari 8-bit,Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS/IBM PC, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, NES, and Sega Master System. The Atari Lynx version added a special fourth character named Larry, a giant rat. The NES version excludes Ralph, reducing the number of monsters to two.
In July 2000, Midway licensed Rampage, along with other Williams Electronics games, to Shockwave for use in an online applet to demonstrate the power of the shockwave web content platform, entitled Shockwave Arcade Collection. The conversion was created by Digital Eclipse. Rampage was also ported to iOS as part of the Midway arcade app.
About a decade later, a sequel was released entitled Rampage World Tour, later followed by console-exclusive games including Rampage 2: Universal Tour, Rampage Through Time, and Rampage Puzzle Attack. The latest game in the series is Rampage: Total Destruction.
The game has enjoyed such lasting success that a film version of Rampage by New Line is being released in 2018 starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Daz Lawrence, HORRORPEDIA
Related: Rampage (2018 film)