Rampage 2: Universal Tour – Nintendo 64
Platform: Nintendo 64
Developer: Avalanche Software
Publisher: Midway Games
Release Date (NA): May 31, 1999
Nerd Rating: 5 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
Have you ever wanted to run around the world as a giant lobster, rhino, or mouse and destroy buildings and eat people? No? Me neither. But good news! Now you can! Oh, wait… That was my canned response in case you said yes. Rampage 2: Universal Tour is the cure for all your unwanted desires! Seriously though, you will have a mixed bag of emotions when you play this.
Rampage 2: Universal Tour is the follow up sequel to the 1997 game Rampage: World Tour. All of the trademark Rampage elements remain unchanged. You will still perform all of the city destruction that you have loved since Rampage first hit the arcades in 1986. Considering that this is the third game in the series, some might be confused with the numeric “2” in the title. Rampage: World Tour was technically a remake of the original, thus making Universal Tour only the second game in the Rampage “canon,” if you will.
Story and Gameplay
Moments after placing the capstone on their new building, Scumlabs suffers yet another accident! Three new monsters have escaped the lab and are now on a hunt to rescue their comrades who have been captured.
And that’s it. That is the set up as laid out by a TV reporter reporting the news. While it may be brief, it is a sufficient set up for the game. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again right now: Some games just do not need a long drawn out complex story! Something like this is perfect for an arcade-style game like Rampage 2!
In Rampage 2, you and two of your friends (if you have any, ya nerd!) choose between the three monsters mentioned before (giant mouse, giant lobster, and giant rhino) and you must traverse the world and save your friends. Once they are saved, you must defend the Earth from an alien invasion and then destroy their alien planet! Each of the captured monsters is located in a different part of the world and you must destroy tons of cities in order to save them with each city representing a different level in the game. Eating humans and food will replenish your health, but be sure not to eat scissors, razor blades, and other harmful items!
Destroying cities is very straightforward and easy but can still be time consuming. You can latch onto the side of the building and punch the crap out of it in a bunch of different places, or you can stand on top and jump on it/pound it, all of which will make the building collapse. Destroy all of the buildings in a city, and you’ll beat the level! Sounds easy enough, right? But you will battle bomber planes, tanks, soldiers, homeowners with weapons, alien ships, and more! So it’s not as cut and dry as just destroying buildings to advance to the next locale.
It’s tough to determine what the worst part about Rampage 2 is. But if I had to be the judge of this shitshow, the shitty controls would win first prize, and the underwhelming graphics and below average sound quality come in a close second. At best, the controls are serviceable. I’m sure some might disagree, but there is way too much confusion on the computer’s part when determining if you are trying to latch onto a building or simply turn-around or walk past it. Furthermore, latching onto a building allows you to punch the windows out and grab items. Lining up your monster with the right area that you are trying to punch out is a guessing game, but becomes a little easier as you adjust and learn. Another negative control critique is trying to dish out attacks with a strange (but oddly understandable) button set up. You jump with A, you punch with B, and you kick with Down-C. None of the other buttons appear to do anything. I guess a 3-button layout like that on the 3DO or Genesis one would have made more sense.
Sights n Sounds
It would be dishonest of me to say that the graphics and sound suck because they really don’t. I’m actually a fan of Rampage 2‘s look. They haven’t done much to change the general appearance from the original arcade game other than the obvious polish and shine. There’s some solid texturing and shading on the character models that give it a 3D feel, but overall, the whole design feels extremely bland and lacking in detail. At least a few times I was completely incapable of determining what something was on the screen. So while the graphics are not the worst I have ever seen, they fall pretty far below the true quality games on the Nintendo 64, like Nintendo’s first party games.
The soundtrack and sound effects, however, aren’t nearly as “underwhelming” as the graphics, although they are a bit below average. I am a fan of the soundtrack style with hard rock and melodic distorted guitar metal playing on what felt like an endless loop. A few of the songs made me think of a Mike Judge cartoon show intro like Beavis & Butt-head or King of the Hill. The quality of the songs and sound effects, however, are really lacking in hi-def quality, something that the PlayStation version probably did better, but I have not played this on PS1, so I cannot say for sure.
From humping buildings into rubble all the way to flying-karate-kicking a helicopter out of the sky, developer Midway delivers a lighthearted gaming experience with a couple thrilling moments but mostly annoyances and headaches. I can’t sit here and say that I didn’t enjoy myself from time to time, but that’s exactly the problem: It was only on rare occasions. So when you ask yourself, “Hey, me, what exactly is Rampage 2?” The answer is simple: Same ol’ uninspired concept except this time it’s in different cities.
Rampage 2: Universal Tour’s graphics are decent at best, the music is enjoyable but nothing to write home about, the controls are confusing at times, and there is absolutely NO variety in gameplay. But the worst of all is the lack of replayability. Hell, it’s tough to get someone to want to replay the game when they don’t even care to finish it in the first place! As an arcade experience, the Rampage concept isn’t bad at all since it’s something to be enjoyed in short / small doses. But when playing on your home gaming system, you likely won’t care to endure the repetitiveness for too long.
Nerd Rating: 5 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
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