Rambo: The Video Game
Later entries in the Rambo movie series devolve into typical action movie fare, filled with scenes of Sylvester Stallone unloading machine guns into untold numbers of enemy combatants. Despite this, the original movie carries a clear theme of non-violence. He doesn’t want to hurt the policemen in the town of Hope, Washington, but he’s forced to rely on his military knowledge when they hunt him through the woods. At the end of First Blood, the body count stands at one (an accidental death after Rambo throws a rock at a helicopter). During the First Blood stages of Rambo: The Video Game, I killed almost 100 policemen. Inconsistencies with the film’s tone are the least of this game’s problems, which becomes apparent as you play through the events of the first three Rambo movies.
This is an on-rails shooter, although a few sections consist of QTE gauntlets. As the game shuttles you from location to location, Rambo occasionally has the option to take cover behind rocks or other objects in the environment. These locations are set, and many of them still grant your enemies with a direct line of sight to you. Often, these enemies are obscured behind walls or trees and still manage to get a good bead on you. When you manage to take out a foe, their bodies ragdoll awkwardly or clip through the environment.
Developer Reef Entertainment attempts features like active reloading and perks, but nothing manages to detract from the overwhelming sense of cheapness. Everything looks, sounds, and plays like an on-rails shooter that still would have been crap in the mid-‘90s. Stallone’s dialogue is ripped straight from the films, so you can imagine how good audio from 1982 sounds in a video game that comes out over 30 years later.
As awful and unentertaining as the game is, it’s at least playable for most of its duration. Difficulty doesn’t have many harsh spikes, and checkpoints are somewhat consistent. Things take a dramatic turn near the end of Rambo III, however, in a level that seems designed to ensure that players never see the final credits. Numerous battles in this stage throw enemy after enemy at Rambo, from dangerous turrets to armored foes wielding flamethrowers. Grenades rain down on your location, and taking cover offers no respite. One section in particular strings together at least four of these nearly impossible battles, with zero checkpoints in between. It’s absolutely infuriating, and bound to turn off the few gamers who wade through this garbage for that long.
If you want to watch John Rambo mow through waves of baddies in violent and satisfying fashion, watch the final half hour of the 2008 film. Don’t spend your money and time to recreate any moments in this cheap, broken wreck.