Going On A Rampage

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

When I was little and I would get my weekly allowance, I would run to my local arcade and play Bally Midway’s Rampage; one of the greatest arcade games ever made. Warm memories of turning cities to rubble with George, Ralph or Lizzie’s fists are still fresh.

I felt disgusted when I saw the trailer for the new film based on the Rampage video game starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It actually made me a little angry. My first thought: Does Hollywood have to suck the life out of everything 1980’s nostalgia? Can’t they leave Rampage alone – something that brought me so much joy when I was a child.

I saw the Rampage trailer before I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. If Johnson can make Rampage as fun as Jumanji, the film just might work.

image source: Den Of Geek

Rampage was such a unique game. I hated getting hit with dynamite thrown by soldiers out of high-rise windows. There was something satisfying about causing so much destruction on each level. I usually played as Lizzie, a Godzilla-like dinosaur/lizard transformed by a radioactive lake. I chose Lizzie because I was a super fan of Godzilla movies when I was little.

The sounds of the arcade game are iconic. The familiar sounds of punching a building to pieces and reducing it to a pile of bricks gives me a childlike, reminiscent delight. The hardest part of the game was knowing if the people who appeared in the skyscraper windows were good or bad. Some were there to give you food, others were there to be saved for points, and some were there to throw explosives at you. The latter were the ones that made the game so challenging.

image source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

The helicopters that attacked you from above were my favorite part. There was nothing more gratifying than punching one of them out of the sky and watching the chopper explode. Punching the vehicles below you, like taxi cabs and railcars, was oddly gratifying as a kid as well.

I hope in the film they have soldiers and helicopters firing at the large creatures. That could be entertaining if the CGI team push their skills to the maximum. I believe the film is set in Chicago, a city that was on the dateline in the classic arcade game.

The filmmakers could do something original and exceptional with Rampage. Although, the track record of the quality of recent video game adaptations has been dreadful.