Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rampage: Total Destruction - Review

About a year back, Rampage: Total Destruction was released for Gamecube and Playstation 2 for the budget price of $19.99. Now it is available for Wii with an RRP of $29.99. Are the Wii extras special enough to justify that $10 price difference? Well, if you're a Rampage fan then, maybe, but if you aren't then probably not.

There are a total of 40 monsters on the Wii version - that is 10 monsters more than what the Gamecube or Playstation 2 version had to offer. All monsters have their own specific animations that are full of life. From the slimy slither of some to the snarling howls of others, they are all unique in their overall appearance and attitude.

Each monster has their own unique stats ranging from three attributes - crush (damage), jump (how far they jump), and run (how fast they are). Sadly, all 40 monsters share the same special moves that can be unlocked throughout the game by accomplishing various challenges. I can't help but feel that there could have been a little variety thrown in instead of the same exact moves per monster.

Each stage sets up a certain challenge ranging from collection challenges, eating challenges, boss challenges, and many other types of tasks to fulfill. These must be accomplished in order to gain the special moves for each monster and you will want to learn as many as possible since extra monsters can be unlocked from building up the current monsters.

Extra monsters are also hidden in each stage. Punch a certain block of a building with a certain monster to find a cryotube that will unlock another monster. As I said, a certain monster must be used to unlock others, so this will lead to constant repeats of stages if the incorrect monster is used. This can get frustrating if there is a certain monster that a player is trying to unlock.

The overall gameplay is the exact same as any other Rampage games. Destroy a town then move onto another. As already mentioned, there are challenges per stage that help to break up the monotony. There are even boss fights at the end of each area, but these feel like nothing more than just another extra challenge. Bosses are nothing more than a slightly more damaging tank or helicopter. The repetitive gameplay that haunts previous Rampages is still here in Total Destruction it's just got a new sugar coating on top with the new graphics and slight gameplay enhancements.

Speaking of gameplay enhancements, this time the stages are 3-D and your monster is allowed to move into the background and foreground while below the buildings. The buildings are 3-D for the most part - the monsters can move around the sides and across the front but not the back of the buildings.

The stages have some ups and downs with the new 3-D appearances. On the whole, it allows for more objects to appear in the area and allows the monsters to interact with just about all of those objects, but the new 3-D setup seems to make it hard to control aiming at times. For instance, flying objects are sometimes harder to knock down since the monster has to be lined up properly with them when attempting to attack. Say for instance you're trying to swat down a helicopter, you have to make sure that your monster is perfectly lined up below it when your monster jumps to attack. This can also mess you up when trying to grab a human - there are many times where I accidentally grabbed a garbage truck or some other vehicle while attempting to restore health by grabbing a human.

There are a total of 8 stages (cities) to conquer - the Wii version contains an extra Dallas stage. Each stage provides a new setup of buildings and threats that the monsters must overcome. As the game progresses it becomes noticeably harder as many more tanks, helicopters, SWAT teams, and army men start to gang up and the small buildings from previous stages are now replaced with large skyscrapers. The difficulty can get a bit cheap at times since the enemies can literally spam the monsters with bullets and wipe their energy bar down to nothing very quickly as the monsters try to perform their usual slow animations when fighting back. This is the way all Rampage games eventually get it seems and Total Destruction is no different.

Thankfully, to compensate that difficulty, each stage within an area can be continued from with an infinite number of continues once a monster loses all lives. Only the current stage must be redone instead of the entire collection of stages within an area.

The sound effects in Total Destruction can get a little annoying at times. Constant burps, farts, and cheap laugh sound effects litter the game. Not even the main menu is free from these constant noises! Eventually you can get used to it, but it is annoying at first. Many of the monsters have fitting sounds that match them however. The stage music repeats the same tunes quite a bit and they are catchy, though your monster will probably be so busy trashing cities that the audio will be like a distant memory.

The Wii controls for Total Destructions don't really utilize the controller that much. In short, with the Wii remote and nunchuck setup, swipe the remote to make a monster grab or charge a winding punch and perform an up down motion for a ground pound or building kick. Sometimes the motion controls are not immediately responsive, which can lead to minor frustration with the controls. The analog on the nunchuk is used to move the monster and A and B are used for the punching and jumping respectively. The controls feel natural once some time has been spent with the game, but there is nothing revolutionary here.

The game can actually be played with the Wii remote alone. Point up to move into the background, point down to move into the foreground, rotate to the right to move right, rotate to the left to move left. Yes, it is as chaotic as it sounds! It is interesting to try however. I would love to see someone master this way of playing so I could sit back and enjoy the novelty.

Total Destruction still has not changed enough to bring in any new Rampage fans. If you're a fan of Rampage however, then this is the best one yet and the Wii version is the most complete version out there. There's tons of variety in the monster selection this time around, but the gameplay still has not evolved that much - it is only disguised with new graphics and 3-D stages. If you can handle the repetitive gameplay of the previous Rampages then this is worth a try, if not then this game is not going to change your mind.

The Good

+ New 3-D stages
+ 42 unique monster varieties, 10 of which are only on Wii
+ New Wii exclusives - 10 new monster, 1 new stage, and Wii controls

The Bad

- Still has the usual repetitive gameplay that all Rampages share
- All monsters have the same unlockable special moves
- Cheap humorous sound effects can get annoying

The quarter crunching classic that has basically remained the same throughout the years finally changes just a Wii bit, but still not enough to draw in any new fans.

Graphics: 7.0
Controls: 7.0
Sound: 6.0
Gameplay: 7.0

And therefore Berserker dubs thee: 6.8/10

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