Rambo: The Video Game starts with our hero’s funeral and then goes back to the events at the start of the first film… then again, I thought at the time that we never saw him die in any of his big screen appearances, so I figured he’s not really dead.
What we have here is an on-the-rails shooter over 16 levels which takes you all the way through Rambo’s journey – 4 levels for the first film, 7 for the second and 5 for the last… well, Rambo III. Let’s just pretend that 2008’s Rambo never existed. It was terrible.
Rambo: The Video Game recreates scenes from the films with the original voice tracks from the movies, as opposed to recording any new dialogue with Sylvester Stallone and Richard Crenna, although you’d be hard pushed to get any content from the actor who played Col. Trautman because he passed away in 2003. All that said, the dialogue and the scenes are put together very well and do a great job of taking you through the storyline – obviously more concisely for First Blood, but then while it delivered aplenty in terms of suspense, it was the second and third films which went all-out for action and so you can understand why Reef Entertainment concentrated most of their game on those.
Some random observations about the game:
- In those first few levels, you’re supposedly playing alongside Staff Sgt Dalmar Berry who’s escaped with you at the same time, but unless you’re in co-op mode (I presume, as I’m only playing by myself), he never helps out, so you’re left to face the enemy alone.
- I rarely play games on the PC, purely because I’m more used to PS3 and Xbox 360, and with most of the levels containing sections which are like an Operation Wolf-style first person shooter, it was annoying that I couldn’t change the Y-axis movement of the mouse, as I’d prefer to push up to go down and vice versa, so here it goes up when you do that. Once you get used to this, though, you can generally complete most of the levels without too much hassle on medium difficulty. Having played this on the PC, however, I can see how much a mouse is beneficial than waggling your joystick, since such games are not easily played on a console. I know you can buy a mouse for the PS3 and Xbox 360, but they rarely come cheap.
- The second level, which sees Rambo locked up in the police station where a fight breaks out, is the first of several times you’ll experience QTE (Quick-time event) button-bashing, requiring you to press them on time for best results, a la Resident Evil 6 and The Bourne Conspiracy.
I’m not a fan of these as there are frustrating times when you just want to get through a level but you mis-time a step and end up having to redo a number of them. The game does have checkpoints, but they’re not always quite where you’d like them. In fact, after replaying this level a few times, it was from here on that I switched the game to the ‘easy’ easy difficulty because it does get very repetitive and I just wanted to get through the game so I could see Rambo’s story pan out.
Go to page 2 for more observations, my thoughts on the graphics and sound, and the overall score.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.