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Rampage: Total Destruction Review

Developer: Pipeworks Software Publisher: Midway Games
Release Date: November 19, 2006 Also On: GCN and PS2

For a multi-console video game appearing on Wii to be worth picking up, it has to intrigue the player with controls that are more fun or simple to use than those on the standard control pad. That’s how a Wii game becomes a success. To beat a dead horse, games like Zelda: Twilight Princess, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, and Rayman Raving Rabbids are as fun as they are because of their Wii-specific controls. Unfortunately, Pipeworks Software and Midway Games didn’t get that message when they released the Wii launch title, Rampage: Total Destruction. Rampage is a pixel-perfect port of the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox version, but has controls that render the game unplayable and simply not fun.

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Smashing buildings was always a good time in the older Rampage games, at least for a while. Who could forget wreaking havoc as George, Lizzy, or Ralph? It was always an enjoyable affair because of its simplicity. Mash a few buttons and watch as your on-screen beast toppled a building in seconds. Rampage for Wii has the same concept, but its execution is so miserable that doing anything, even before bashing buildings, is…well…to be honest, there aren’t enough negative descriptors in the English language to describe how poorly this game plays.

Instead of even giving an option for standard controls, Rampage forces you to use motion-sensing controls that sense motion as well as a bat uses its eyes to see. This truly is a Wii game that doesn’t work. To move your character around, you turn the Wii remote left or right (like a key, as many games say) to move left and right, and tilt the remote up and down (like a flap) to move towards and away from the screen. You flick the remote left and right to punch left and right, and downward to do a smash attack. The buttons control your character’s ability to jump and pick up items on the screen. The problem is, these controls simply don’t feel right and don’t work. It’s difficult to go into detail about something that “doesn’t work,” it just doesn’t. Turning the remote to move left and right is simply not intuitive, and the smash attack doesn’t ever seem to work when you want it to. Why couldn’t the controller be turned sideways and used like an NES pad? That would have worked about ten times as well, and Rampage: Total Destruction might be enjoyable.

The gameplay mostly hasn’t changed. For players who can withstand the controls, there are bonuses and incentives to going through levels and collecting items. You can unlock hidden monsters, attacks, and other bonuses. You’ll also learn a lot of points, which lead up to a better rating and completion of the game. Still, the gameplay is as old-fashioned as it’s ever been. You smash buildings until the entire street is cleared of obstructions, then move to another level and repeat. Sometimes you’ll kill a boss character or complete some other sort of challenge, but at the end of the day you’re still smashing buildings that get bigger and bigger and that require more ridiculous flailing of the Wii remote.

Rampage: Total Destruction isn’t an ugly game, but it doesn’t flex the Wii’s visual muscle, either. As mentioned earlier, it’s a pixel-perfect port of the other versions, so it looks and runs similarly. A lot of pieces are repeated in levels, which make them much less interesting. You’ll see the same building multiple times, even in the same area. Sound effects are as atrocious and repetitive as you could expect, and the music…oh the music. The announcers aren’t all that tolerable, either. It’s safe to say that Rampage is best not enjoyed on mute.

Rampage: Total Destruction is a total failure as a Nintendo Wii title. If the controls worked whatsoever, it might have fared slightly better, but they don’t. They don’t at all, and that’s what makes this game so horrible to play. Rampage: Total Destruction quickly joins the ranks of flops like GT Pro Series and Happy Feet in the Nintendo Wii library.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 1
Gameplay: 2
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 2
Final: 3
Written by Cliff Review Guide