Since their debut 20 years ago, George, Lizzie, and Ralph have destroyed the United States., the world, and even the universe. Now they’re joining up with new monsters to get rid of an evil soda company whose toxic soda turned them into the hideous creatures they are today. To my delight, you can now destroy areas with some variety in your offense. Before, you’d just be able to kick and punch your way to victory. It’s one thing that made World Tour and the other later Rampage games feel so hollow - you just expected more, and ended up with a prettier version of an old game. Actual depth has been added, as have over a dozen attacks. Other new additions such as boss battles, the ability to roam the city blocks in 3D, achieving goals to unlock attacks, and being able to interact with every part of a building add longevity to the game.
These might not seem like major improvements, but they end up changing how you play the game. Area-specific challenges have also been added that beef up the levels a bit. On top of destroying the buildings and staying alive, you’ll need to meet a certain goal to unlock a new attack. It can range from just eating X amount of a certain kind of civilian to having to earn a jackpot in Vegas. The goals are pretty easy to accomplish and are a great way to add depth to the game while allowing you to unlock new monsters and attacks.
The new attacks range from super-powered punches to roars that allow you to inflict more damage, but they take more time to use than your basic punches and kicks. The risk-reward system works well, although I’ve found that the best overall special attack is the jump stomp, which can destroy an entire floor in one shot and is quick to execute. The helicopter punch works well for taking out airborne foes, although the screwy sense of depth can make it nearly impossible to hit them accurately. These new attacks aren’t really need to beat the game, but they will make it possible to do so in an efficient manner. They’re a Godsend during boss battles, which aren’t difficult on their own, but when combined with the Army and police shooting at you, can become real wars.
They’d become painful ones if the controls didn’t work properly, and luckily for everyone, Midway took the time and effort to ensure things controlled smoothly. There are some small problems (like the previously mentioned depth issue), but they only impede you for a second, and don’t hurt the game much as a whole. Punching, kicking, jumping, climbing up, down, and even between buildings - all of it is can be done easily with precision. Having two previous Rampages on this disc shows off the control improvements made. In both Rampage and World Tour, controlling the characters is stiff and clumsy (World Tour to a lesser extent), and that isn’t a problem here at all. The control setup works with you, and in a game like this, that’s a must.
Given the inclusion of prior games, improved visuals were another necessity that Midway delivered on. This isn’t the best looking game out there, but it does have a lot of visual high points. The animation has a level of fluidity to it that the serious seen before, and the overall look of the game is solid. Everything fits within its universe, which I didn’t feel was the case in World Tour, and the whole game feels like what the original Rampage was all about. Taken as a remake, the graphics bring the original concept to life. The graphics accurately convey being a massive monster who towers over everyone and nearly everything in its path - which wasn’t the case before. It’s one of many things this entry does better than all other Rampage games.
Audio is yet another impressive part of the package. The various monster growls and grunts all fit the characters, and the quips from the soon-to-be deceased people on the ground and in windows are hilarious. Sure, they’re simple statements, but when you’ve got a two ton gorilla stomping around, you’ve got bigger things to deal with than forming impressive sentences. Sometimes, a simple “you can’t kill me, I’M A LAWYER!” is all that’s needed. Musically, Total Destruction is fairly weak, but some work was done to make songs fit the areas you’re destroying, while also sound like menacing B-movie fare. I enjoy the game more with the music turned all the way down, and the sound effects cranked up. This allows you to accent the positives while eliminating (or at least downplaying) the negatives. It’s an effective tool that I wish more developers would use since it helps make their work look better and gives the player more control over how they experience it.
If you want to run around cities destroying everything in sight, Rampage: Total Destruction is for you. I doubt you’ll be dazzled by its visuals, but you will be able to find a lot to enjoy. Midway packed the disc to the brim with unlockables and value for the player. The two extra Rampage games are fine inclusions, but seem to be ripped from their respective Midway Arcade Treasures releases, meaning they run a bit faster than the originals. This doesn’t hurt the games much, but it does make them seem to fly by when they otherwise shouldn’t. They also use the MAT 2 menu style, which doesn’t really fit in with the style used throughout the rest of the disc. These issues shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying either the included game or the comparably robust main game. No matter what speed they’re at or what font is used, the thrill of destroying cities remains intact, and that’s something this series does better than any other.