If the recent Senatorial team cracking down on video game violence thinks that Duke Nukem 3D is a prime example of our plummeting moral standards, wait until they catch a glimpse of Interplay's upcoming splatterfest, Redneck Rampage. Developed by Xatrix using the patented Build 3D engine, the first-person shooter rivals the playability and violent overtones of action favorites such as Duke Nukem and Quake. This time, however, instead of blasting away gruesome zombies to get from point A to B, the player has to toss some old-fashioned alien trailer trash into the dustbin.
Before our readers in middle America start firing off incendiary letters complaining about the content of this game, let me make one point clear: The exaggerated, backwoodsian characters you get to waste in the game are characters you love to hate. Definitely taking their cue from Hollywood B-movies, the scrawny, senile grandpa and the portly, barefoot, even-more-senile drunk-guy-with-a-shotgun could have come straight out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It ends up being a particularly pleasurable experience to blast these guys in the face after their last plaintive "I'm 'a gonna git ya'!"
In Redneck Rampage, like most first-person shooters, there are several weapons to pick up, ranging from native armaments of the boondocks, to some that are just plain ridiculous. You begin with a revolver and quickly upgrade to the staple double-barreled shotgun. A country bar, general store, and few buckshot-riddled corpses later, you'll start to find more powerful weapons. Dynamite happens to be particularly effective, and once it's lit, it has to be jettisoned as soon as possible lest you "blow up real good!" Other weapons which will be featured but were not included in the beta we received include a saw-blade gun, which can fire serrated-edged discs at baddies which ricochet and hit more baddies; a bear trap; and perhaps the most bizarre of the bunch, the alien-arm gun: a dismembered extra-terrestrial arm that happens to have a firable cannon fused to it. And what game taking place in the south would be complete without a crowbar to bend around some poor chap's cranium?
According to Xatrix's plot, your adversaries, though they look like chaw-stuffing humanoids and wear overalls, aren't humans at all: They're actually supposed to be the alien-fabricated genetic clones of the denizens of a remote Arkansas shantytown. While this explanation seems like an afterthought to mask the controversial fact that you're mowing down countless humans throughout the entire game, it must be remembered: The plot of an action game doesn't mean jack as long as the game itself is fun.
It might seem ridiculous to say this, but with its reckless pick-up trucks, mosquito-infested outhouses, decrepit shacks and chicken pens, and incessant cursing, Redneck Rampage is an incredibly beautiful game. Trekking along the remote dirt trails, surrounded by tall grass, listening to the maddening chirp of crickets, rummaging through squalid, dimly lit rooms lined with photos of deranged relatives, anticipating the next encounter with a crazy inbred holding a shotgun - these elements, despite their campiness, provide quite a chilling experience. It will be interesting to see how people react once the game is finally released (projected for April '97). Personally, I can't wait to try out some more levels or even empty some shells into another player over the network. Redneck Rampage is sure to offend some, but hot damn, it's a heck of a hayride.