Inside the Arcade: "Rampage" (1986)

Find a few friends, figure out who's gonna be who, drop in your quarters and let's tear this city apart

Inside the Arcade: "Rampage" (1986)

Rampage arrived on the scene a bit late in the arcade craze. But it was met with a welcoming joy. Following the success of the multiplayer Gauntlet just a year prior, Midway gaming provided us kids with yet another chance to team up and wreak havoc.

"Wanna be Wolf? Well, get in here!" Source: Bally Midway Gaming/Warner Bros.

Unlike Gauntlet though, Rampage was a bit simpler and easier to understand. You were one of three monsters (Ape, Giant Lizard, and Wolf). Your target was a city. Your job was to destroy it. If you managed to bring all the buildings down, you'd start over in a new zip code. No metropolis was safe, not while we were on the job.

My friends and I would punch and kick those buildings until they came down. We'd work a high rise together or, like the picture above, each grab a building to spread out our efforts. Once you broke enough of a building it would begin to fall. And when it did, jump clear of it or suffer some damage yourself.

While punching holes in the drywall we'd uncover all kinds of things: delicious food to refill our health or sometimes hidden dangers like a bomb or a toaster. Yeah, believe it or not, one of the most dangerous things to avoid in this game was a toaster. If you ate it, you'd get electrified and it hurt pretty bad.

Sometimes our monsters would expose people who lived in these buildings. When you found them, you could easily eat them with one push of the punch button. It was fun. But I always felt bad about eating the people who were taking a bath. I mean imagine soaking in the tub trying to relax and then all of a sudden a wall comes down and a giant wolf eats you in one bite. Seems like a bad way to go.

Ape playing solo. That helicopter is going down. Source: Bally Midway/Warner Bros.

You could play this game on your own if you wanted. And what was cool was that you could be competitive on your own. It was harder playing solo and you had to deal with all the army tanks and helicopters by yourself. But you weren't really penalized by Rampage for not having any friends. Or at least not having any friends available. And I always thought that was nice.

So, who was my preferred "guy"? I think it had to be Wolf. I recognized the Ape as King Kong and the Lizard as Godzilla. I had seen movies of both those characters razing cities. But I had never seen a giant wolf destroy a building. So if I had my choice I'd pick Wolf, if only for the novelty of it.

Lastly let's discuss the fact that Rampage is now a major motion picture. I have not watched it. I will not watch it. If you tell me it's worth it, let me know and maybe I'll change my mind. But darn it, I like Rampage in my memory just as it is. And although I enjoy Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, I don't feel like letting him and Hollywood taint those memories. So for now, I'll abstain.


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