Playtime: 2 Hrs
What To Expect: The worst movie video game adaptation of all time. A redefinition of the word hatred.
Video game adaptations of Manly Movies haven’t always been bad. There were a few good ones in the 1990s such as Alien Trilogy (review) and Die Hard trilogy (put out by the now defunct Fox Interactive, they made good games). But the exception does not make the rule and yes, they usually are shit. Last year it seemed that a period and full stop was put on just how bad video game adaptations can get with Aliens: Colonial Marines (review). That was it, we’d hit rock bottom and it could never get any worse. Reef Entertainment have something to say about that though with Rambo: The Video Game. It’s unquestionably one of the biggest pieces of shit ever mass produced on disc, game or otherwise. It’s closer to the Hot Shots spoof than the actual movies.
The game covers the first three movies and a prologue that features Rambo escaping capture from the VC in the Vietnam war. In between, the game takes canon and shits on it by suggesting that Rambo faked his own death after the events of Rambo II, it then ignores completely the events of Rambo IV. As a ‘cinematic’ game it truly is dire. Voice acting – take your pick between horrendous and hilarious, like it was the people in the development studio itself standing in pulling fake U.S. accents. The graphics are also intensely grisly, it looks like a beta-staged PS2 game with Stallone himself looking deformed and downright weird. His head 50% disproportioned too large for his body. His animations such as walking as rigid as RoboCop. Worse, it doesn’t look like him. The character looks like Al Pacino one minute, Detective Columbo the next minute.
The final insult though is the game play. Pre-millenials will remember the light gun format, where you’d go to an arcade and hold a physical weapon in front of a pre-determined route, shooting enemies who’d pop up. This game is a light gun game without a light gun. Shooting is, to put it mildly, like aiming with a man who has suffered two broken arms and is firing a gun crudely strapped to his chest. Worse than that, it’s so fucking tedious. Five minutes of it are pure exhaustion, it’s like when you start peeling wallpaper from a wall and realise how fucking long and dull it’s going to be. The tedium is only broken at first by cut scenes offering bouts of unintended hilarity. But even these jokes soon end as it’s clear even the developers have given up. Dialogue is cut and pasted, as if they’ve ran out of time and money or had just abandoned all hope. Or both.
It’s not exactly easy either and I’m no slouch when it comes to video games. I can hold my own and then some in the most intense Battlefield games. But here the game has not so much what I’d call difficulty spikes but bullshit spikes. Not demanding skill but persistence and forgiveness of horrible game design.
Some might be aware of all of this and hold out for the nostalgia factor. After all, this is the first Rambo game released on home consoles in 25 years – Rambo III was the last Rambo game to hit home consoles in 1989 and it was an okay game for its time. But please, don’t even consider it. Not even out of morbid curiosity. The steep asking price isn’t even worth picking it up as a collectible. If you’re in dire need of a Rambo rail shooter and I can’t think of why you would be, a superior version of this game, but still shit, exists in Japan in the form of Rambo Arcade. But then that’s probably a warning more than anything else, too.
A new low in the annals of preposterously bad adaptations. The undisputed champion and chief turd. Worst thing is, these chumps are now developing a Terminator 1 and 2 adaptation. What a waste.