How many movies have you seen about pandas razing cities?
As a kid one of my favourite games to yell at was Rampage on the Commodore 64. Climbing about as a great big gorilla named George, dino called Lizzie or a werewolf named Ralph the game was all about destruction. You had to destroy building by punching them repeatedly, and tall buildings had to be climbed and punched to a pulp until they went down in a cloud of rubble. Military men kept firing, and could be eaten to regain health. Tanks could be stomped, and choppers swatted like flies. It was an intense game that controlled barely ok, and this combined with the less than agile monsters gave me tons of frustration. It still managed to keep me interested, and got even better playing coop with a friend.
Playing Smash! Some twenty-five years later makes me wonder: haven’t we come further? Sure the cool characters George, Lizzie and Ralph have been replaced by Panda who is a rather angry panda. Pandas are cute bears with reproduction issues that I don’t really see as believable out rampaging. The gameplay is almost identical to the one found in the original Rampage. Panda climbs buildings, and smashes them. Then he smashes flying bombers, and archers to regain health. When all buildings are downed the level ends, and you get rewarded in stars. That is perhaps the only evolution this game has had from the original: three stars, and short levels.
The controls are quite horrid in old-school fashion with a button to jump, and another to smash. Collision detection is a major issue, and Panda can even walk on thin air at times when a building he was standing on has crashed to the ground. Overall the short levels hurt the pace, and intensity of the game. I never feel threatened, but rather only hurried to crush all the buildings.
As for the presentation it is far too simple, and lacking in personality to be interesting. Backgrounds are static takes on cartoon skies, and our hero Panda is limited in animations to about three different stages. Punching, jumping or climbing are the poses he can take. No rage, or snickering laughter, just a boring panda. Give this game a miss please. Now I want to find my old Commodore 64, my tac 2 controller and play the original game again.
Smash! can be found here.