Monday, September 7, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Rampart

Retro Game of the Day! Rampart

Rampart by Atari Games. This showed up in the arcade in 1990 (oh, what summers those were, game-wise!) and shortly afterward on plenty of systems.

In the early nineties, Atari Games (arcade division) was really hitting it's stride. The home division was a poor shadow of what it used to represent, but the titles they put out in the arcades were always quite noteworthy. During the zenith of this period, a little strange hybrid of a game known as Rampart saw the light of day.

This was definitely not your average game. Three trackball controllers, a medieval theme, a cross between Tetris (somewhat) and a few other game styles. You controlled an army essentially, you'd have a construction phase to rotate and place random Tetris-esque pieces around different towers. Close them off before time ran out, and then you'd enter cannon-placement phase (the more towers you controlled, the more cannons you could place). Next phase was battle, where you'd move a crosshairs around the entire playfield and fire those cannons you'd just placed - destroy ships, advancing enemy armies, or the battlements and walls of another human players' castle.

Probably sounds a little odd to spell it out this way, but take my word for it - Rampart was some sure-fire good times, no matter what. A very tense game of risk-vs-reward, all that much more stressful with the strict time limits. The game was a joy to play, whoever designed Rampart knew their stuff!

Many home versions showed up, The Atari Lynx version was surprsingly capable (even with the tiny screen) and felt "Deluxe" in some ways. The SNES version even more so, with enhanced gameplay modes. But of them all, the NES version was my favorite, hands-down - though long on looks compared to it's counterparts, the designers really nailed-down the feel and true essence of that original arcade in this port.

Rampart is a must-play, especially with friends around. Any serious gamer needs to check this one out - it's still holding up very well!

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