Original Rampage Arcade Game Cabinet (1988, Bally Midway)
Released in the twilight years of the '80s arcade boom, Bally Midway's Rampage gave players the chance to wreck havoc upon a slew of American cities in the guise of giant monsters. The basic premise: experimental vitamins have generated drastic mutations in a select handful of the population, causing otherwise placid and friendly people to transform into horrible creatures bent on hapless destruction.
Our cast of characters, all of which are inspired by classic movie monsters, include George, a King Kong-esque gorilla; Lizzie, who bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain giant lizard with a penchant for annihilating Tokyo; and Ralph, who is what Lon Chaney Junior's Wolfman character would be after massive steroid ingestion.
Damage is inflicted upon the characters in a variety of ways: by falling off buildings from too great of a height. From the military helicopters which are trying to take down the creatures with machine guns. From striking or eating harmful substances, such as electrical signs. If the player's energy is exhausted, the monster reverts to a tiny, nude, bewildered-looking human, who hurriedly shuffles away. But not to worry: if a monster finds himself running a bit low on energy, he can replenish some health by chowing down on a pedestrian. Such aspects are typical of the game's amusing, if dark, sense of humor.
Up to three players can participate at once, and depending on their temperament, can choose to team up or act as adversaries. In that sense, the game recalls the classic Joust from Williams Electronics: the additional player(s) can either become an ally or a hindrance in one's quest to wipe Peoria and other cities right off the map.
Each player of the Rampage arcade game has a joystick, a jump button, and a punch button with which to control their character. The joystick may be used in conjunction with the punch button to aim attacks. (Pressing up while pressing the punch button will cause the monster to punch the air above his head, for instance. This is a very useful tactic when attacking those pesky military helicopters.)
The Rampage arcade game remains a favorite of many video game fans to this day. With its amusing blend of wanton destruction, colorful graphics, and a mischievous sense of humor, Rampage is one arcade game whose entertainment value has not been dulled by the ravages of time. Or giant mutated monsters.