The PS1/N64 console era was my introduction to gaming. My formative game experiences included pouring hours into Final Fantasy VII and IX, perfecting my platforming with Crash Bandicoot, and planning world domination in Command and Conquer. However alongside these unattested classics, I experienced the simple and sheer delight of breaking stuff with the oft-overlooked PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 gem that is Rampage World Tour (1997). Nowadays games may be full of intelligent creativity and serious play, but sometimes you want nothing more than a good mindless romp of destruction – and that’s exactly the experience Rampage World Tour provided.
Rampage distils the essence of arcade gaming into its simplest form
Rampage distils the essence of arcade gaming into its simplest form. Having been turned into mindless behemoths by the shady Scumlabs Toxic Waste Corporation, monsters George, Lizzie and Ralph have been let loose on the world to exact their revenge. It’s a simple, tongue-in- cheek game that lets you become the monster in your own monster movie, raging across cities and suburbs in an attempt to dish out as much destruction as humanly (or inhumanly) possible. Channelling my inner King Kong or Godzilla (not that I had much idea who either of these iconic monsters were at that point), I relentlessly replayed each stage, shooting for the lofty end-of- level goal of 100% destruction.
You could scale buildings, wildly pulverising anything in your path and terrorising inhabitants; and as your riotous frenzy continued, both military and civilians would fight back with increasing intensity. Meanwhile, hiding behind smashed windows and compromised steel lay all manner of possibilities: a useful powerup could have you annihilating whole floors with one blow, a terrified man might be caught on the toilet, or an American flag could unlock a new exotic location across the globe from which to continue the destructive party. If you were really lucky, you’d come across edible radioactive waste that temporarily transformed you into an even nastier beast known only as V.E.R.N. (Violently Enraged Radioactive Nemesis).
It may not be as polished or finessed as a contemporary game, but this deceptively simple gem still delivers in the form of pure, maniacal fun.
I’d spend level after level toppling skyscrapers, plucking helicopters out of the air and guzzling down tasty human snacks; watching my points total satisfyingly tick upwards as I trampolined on steel girders and went toe-to- toe with giant military mechs sent to wipe me out. With three-way co-op play included, Rampage was one of my first multiplayer experiences which only added to the carnage. After all, the only thing better than playing as a giant gorilla is being joined by a huge dinosaur and a supersized wolf to share in the revelry.
However whilst Rampage is a classic power fantasy, you’re not invulnerable. Electric signs can shock you, eating too much junk food will make you sick, and a burst water pipe might squirt into your eyes, sending you toppling from your precarious multi-story throne to the unforgiving concrete below. In fact, there’s a surprising level of finesse to leaving the perfect trail of destruction in your wake, making Rampage World Tour a game that is both casually accessible and infinitely replayable. With over 100 levels of mayhem, the game is still perfect to drop into and blow off some steam after a hard day’s studying.
Rampage World Tour is the kind of game that is still a joy to play today despite its somewhat dated aesthetic and repetitive gameplay loop. It may not be as polished or finessed as a contemporary game, but this deceptively simple gem still delivers in the form of pure, maniacal fun.