- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Here’s a look at some of the latest multimedia giants available on entertainment discs:

Rampage: Total Destruction, by Midway for PlayStation 2 and Game Cube, rated E10+ for violence, $19.99. A 20-year-old arcade classic continues to limp along with a face-lift that tries to bring some spiffy-looking monsters to the latest entertainment consoles while barely expanding on its destructive roots.

Basically, a gang of Godzilla wannabes wreak havoc on seven major cities in a mildly 3-D, mostly side-scrolling button masher. The classic trio of Ralph the Werewolf, George the Giant Ape and Lizzy the Lizard are joined by 27 gigantic creatures, who were human before drinking Scum Soda. The colorful additions, which are unlocked as buildings crumble, include Gilman the Blowfish, Rhett the Rat and Kyle the Cyclops.

For a couple of hours, the player will appreciate the fine level of B-movie mayhem that can be inflicted upon urban centers such as Chicago, London, Las Vegas and Tokyo. The creatures can climb up a building, grab and devour more than 20 helpful and harmful power-ups, toss vehicles around and consume pesky humans to regain health.

The mindless exercises often are humorous, as in the case of a rampage in San Francisco. If a beast picks up a cable car, he first lifts the car over his head and sprinkles the humans out of it and into his mouth as if enjoying the last pieces in a box of Raisinettes. The behemoth then tosses the empty metal away, and it explodes on impact.

Once the “pick up and beat up” novelty wears off, the player is left with a repetitive challenge that suffers from a lack of free-roaming environments, lame narration and the feeling that the developers missed an opportunity for greatness.

When the game enters a cooperative and competitive mode (four players for Game Cube and two on the PlayStation 2), its party potential delivers the best chance for fun.

The addition of the original Rampage and Rampage World Tour games along with a dirt-cheap price point make Total Destruction worth a look. Gamers in need of some serious and monstrous stress relief, however, will be much happier with Atari’s Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee or VU Games’ Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.

Godzilla: Monster Edition, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for DVD-enabled computers and home entertainment centers, $19.99. More on the topic of pointless remakes about legendary beasts: A newly released single DVD celebrates director Roland Emmerich’s 1998 version in which the King of the Monsters chases Matthew Broderick around the Big Apple, a film that nearly ruined the lizard’s reputation.

The DVD presents the critically lambasted event with extras mainly brought back from its original DVD release and a few new ones that are as useless as the main feature. Other than a smile for the interactive menu that shakes as the fake king walks, I can think of better ways to spend 139 minutes. How about a round of Rampage: Total Destruction?

The only mildly inspired bonus is a 10-minute infomercial titled “All-Time Best of Godzilla Fight Scenes,” which quickly highlights some battles of Toho Studio’s monsters and reminds viewers to buy plenty of other Godzilla DVDs.

I did enjoy the music video of the Wallflowers’ remake of the David Bowie classic song “Heroes,” but purely for nostalgic reasons, not for the film clips cut into the performance.

Viewers also get a trio of cartoons culled from two seasons of the mediocre “Godzilla: The Series” that will not inspire them to run out and buy more animated shows from the late-1990s program.

I was puzzled enough when the original film debuted, but the release of another DVD to honor this dud just makes Sony look greedy.

Write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; or send e-mail ([email protected]washingtontimes.com).

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