Thursday, February 08, 2018

Rambo III

Rambo III was released by Ocean Software and is an overhead shoot 'em up not too dissimilar to other "Gauntlet" games like Into The Eagle's Nest. I'm incredibly excited to finally own my own copy which I proudly add in AtariCrypt's Box Art section thanks to the tremendous Hollywood artwork. This is also one of few that has both a great front and back cover so I decided to take a piccy of both and double-up on our love for movie legend Sly Stallone!

I can't help but admire this superb screen. Okay, grab your knife because it's time to kick ass!!

The musclebound action hero is infiltrating a Soviet base which has Colonel Trautman held captive. Our mission spans over three levels with the first being the rescue before fleeing for our escape with a final shoot gallery stage that feels like a mash of Op. Wolf / Battlezone.

Gameplay is the same for the early levels but (ironically) you shouldn't run around like Johnny Rambo but carefully explore the complex looking for the best routes through and useful items like health, ammo and Infra Red goggles to detect otherwise invisible boobytraps!

Enemies occupy each screen but they feel more like automated drones than the Soviet elite as they robotically patrol back and forth. I imagine these guys also suffer tunnel vision because they are unaware of your presence unless you stumble directly in the line of sight. If that happens, an alarm sounds and nearby soldiers begin attacking - but at least you have an awesome health meter!

This might first appear rubbish, but it actually works well to distinguish itself from being a mere Gauntlet clone so play more like the real US Army Special Forces rather than the fake Hollywood claptrap. My only quibbles are trying to memorise the humungous map which is too easy to lose your bearings. Plus each room is blindly entered so try and learn where the soldier's patrol otherwise those Ruskies will gang up to give Sly a good kicking (health packs are scarce).

Tread carefully because most rooms are heavily guarded with many tunnel vision soldiers!

I understand why Rambo III failed to capture the hearts of most reviewers back in the day. It's a little like Marmite and you'll either love or hate it but I truly do think it's a belting game albeit with those niggles. It's not Gauntlet so use a stealthy approach and prepare thyself to spend many hours mapping the levels and sneaking up on bad guys.

Tear your shirt off and grab Rambo 3 on floppy disk from either Stonish or Old Games Finder (Automation #47). And for those weirdos who don't enjoy making their own maps: Speccy Screenshot Maps and Hall Of Light.

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