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The loading and the title screen music on this program is very impressive -- some of the voices sound like they're coming from a real synth. On starting the game you have to enter your name using a
Hypersports type entry. While you're doing so, an incredibly realistic synthesized drumbeat thumps away in the background. Unfortunately, the sound is just about the only high quality aspect of the program -- I found the sprites really awful and the animation very poor. The backgrounds aren't too hot either and the perspective on the trees and buildings seems slightly out. The full screen multi-directional scrolling is excellent, though; everything moves very smoothly with not a glitch to be seen. The object of the game is very simple and there's only one mission, and once it's been completed the game just returns to the start or the same mission. Rambo is fun to play, but I think that the initial enjoyment will be quelled once a hardened gamester, such as myself, has been through the same mission a couple of times.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Rambo -- First Blood Part II
1986 Ocean Software
Programmed by David Collier
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the tenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: 9 January 1986).
 

RAMBO
Ocean, 8.95 cass, joystick with keys


John 'Don't push me' Rambo is a figure likely to be familiar to most ZZAP! readers. You've seen the film, read the book, ate the burger and now, after three months intensive advertising, you can play the game. Rambo, opiate of America's masses, is a modern day mega hero who's been sent on a reconnaissance mission to take some photos of a prisoner of war camp deep within the Viet Nam jungle. His orders are clear, Do Not engage the enemy and Do Not attempt a rescue.

Obviously this would make for a very dull film, not to mention game, so placed within the enemy compound we find Rambo's old pal and buddy, Banks. Feeling pretty poorly having been strung up on a bamboo post since the start of the game (and for all of the time since the war finished), Rambo takes pity (and umbrage -- LM's Long Word Dictionary) and decides to break his orders. Uninformed that Rambo's really on a peaceful sort of mission, the evil enemy troops try to blast him apart, sapping him of that near-endless energy.

Rambo himself is a meaty sprite that remains centrally placed in the screen while the steamy jungle scrolls beneath him. The scenery takes up the whole screen and smoothly scrolls to some Martin Gallway music in the background. To keep Rambo up to date on his progress, score and energy levels are superimposed along the bottom of the screen. Though pretty tough, John Rambo is not immortal and, as a daring departure from the original script, he can actually die! If the energy band drops down to zero level, usually due to too many bullets bouncing of his chest, then the game is over. Score is awarded for killing the compound guards or completing one of the three stages in the game.

Rambo yomping to the south of the Temple. The
indistinct blur next to the Temple is a machine gun.

To ward off any attacking guards, Rambo is supposed lo fend for himself using three weapons with which he's supplied initially, although there are others to be found in the jungle. Each has a different characteristic and effect. Rambo's original inventory contains a bow, two types of arrow, and a pocket full of knives. One of the quivers of arrows is of the explosive type and though pretty powerful, it's best not to use them at first. The disadvantage of the more powerful weapons is that they attract the attention of the enemy, so on approaching the camp silence is a better tactic, and that means the use of the knives or ordinary arrows.

Once he's into the compound, that inescapable star-quality charisma alerts the gooks to Rambo's presence and they decide that he shouldn't really be there. Silence is no longer an advantage, and by using the space bar it's possible to switch to the noisier and slightly more powerful weapon.

The compound is mostly made up from huts and security towers, all displayed in a forced 3D perspective. Banks is held at the top left hand side of the camp; to collect him just guide Rambo past the bamboo cross upon which he is strung.

The next stage is to get Rambo and Banks to the wailing 'copter to the north of the compound. Once into the machine, Rambo must return to the compound to rescue the rest of the captive prisoners. The helicopter's fuel runs out with great speed and the landing spot must be found before the energy band gets to zero. To release the hostages, a hut in the bottom left hand corner has to be hit with a knife. A burst of music rings out and ten pale-looking prisoners run for the helicopter. Once back into the helicopter, you must fly northwards to friendly Thailand while coping with some hassle from an enemy gunship.

Throughout the program, sound is used to try and create atmospheric effect. Though there is probably more on later stages of the game, nine different tunes were counted during play.

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There's something missing from
Rambo, but I'm not quite sure what. Let me see -- it's certainly not lacking in presentation, as there are many superb touches throughout. Hmm, the music is very good, in fact excellent at times, and the graphics aren't bad -- well the full screen scrolling landscape is good, unlike the sprites which are rather poor, especially the malformed enemy soldiers. No, there's something else . . . I know -- someone forgot the gameplay during coding. Still, at least the game follows the film very closely, ie there's no plot.
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Though initially impressed with
Rambo after seeing the title screen, listening to music and entering my name on the drumbeat accompanied highscore, it soon became obvious after a few minutes play that Ocean had neglected the actual game somewhat. The only positive thing I can really say about it is that the scrolling's nice. There is some challenge to be had, but once the three sections have been completed, the game just cycles back to the start. The actual Rambo sprite is a bit ill-proportioned, with the exaggerated bulging triceps he's as wide as he is tall. The only reason I can see for buying Rambo is to listen in awe to the excellent Martin Gallway music. Apart from that, don't bother.
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Presentation 98%

Definitely Rambo's forte, there's little else to beat it.

Graphics 73%
Though of a pretty colour scheme the sprites are abysmal and the backgrounds unconvincing.

Sound 96%
Martin Galway has excelled himself in one of the first computer symphonies.

Hookability 59%
Initial impressions leave you wishing you'd never bothered and . . .

Lastability 60%
. . . the same goes for lastability.

Value For Money 65%
Too little game for too high a price.

Overall 65%
Rambo seems more like an exercise in programming rather than an attempt at producing a playable game.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (23 Aug 2004)

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