CHICAGO--Rampage: Total Destruction is the latest entry in Midway's Rampage series that's due to be announced shortly. The popular franchise started in the arcades in the late '80s and put you in control of one of three mutants--Lizzie, Ralph, and George--who are doing what massive mutated creatures do: run around and demolish stuff. The series got a face-lift in the late '90s with Rampage: World Tour, a graphical update of the sprite-based original that featured rendered incarnations of the trio. Rampage: Total Destruction marks a new look and a brand-new direction for the series that adds to the core gameplay in some promising ways.
For this latest incarnation of the series, Midway turned to developer Pipeworks, who is no stranger to the "giant monsters run amok and stomp stuff" genre, thanks to its work on Atari's recent Godzilla fighting games. The resulting new approach appears to be an interesting blend of old and new that has piqued our interest. The main concept appears to be sticking with the "smash everything" sensibilities of the previous games, but this time it aims to significantly expand on the game's canvas. There will be a free-roaming mechanic that will let you go over and smash anything you see. More importantly, in addition to the original trio of Lizzie, Ralph, and George, you'll find a bevy of other monsters to rescue. Once you do that, the new kids on the block will become playable characters that you can use in the adventure. Each of the monsters will feature unique stats and handling that will keep things interesting as you set out to level your surroundings using unique combos and power moves.
Though the new 3D overhaul for the franchise offers some unique opportunities for gameplay and presentation, the game won't mess with the time-honored formula too badly. It appears that you'll still be able to bash buildings, climb buildings, chomp civilians, and grab objects around you to use for beating stuff. There even appears to be some side-scrolling destruction to be had by bashing buildings and people on a 2D plane at points in the game. The fully 3D world you'll be demolishing appears to feature a hefty amount of interactivity, which will ensure that you'll be rewarded by the effects caused by your rampage. For example, if you break the water tower above a soap factory you'll see bubbles start to ooze out. Also, the world appears to be much denser, offering a welcome amount of things to break. Of course, as always, you'll find opposition from local armed forces that will try to stop you in old and new ways.
Though we only got a quick look at the game, we're interested to see what Pipeworks is going to do with the license. Rampage: Total Destruction is slated to ship in the spring of next year for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. At the moment it appears it will retail for $19.95. Look for more on Rampage: Total Destruction tomorrow when we get the chance to go hands-on with the title at Midway's press event.