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Monday, 22 February 2010

Rambo III (Commodore Amiga)

I'm not sure what I expected of this game, but I didn't expect this.

This game was produced by Ocean, and it must have been at a time when they were churning out sub-standard, generic arcade adventures, because that's what this is. I've only played the first level, because it went on for ages and I got fed up, but what that involves is Rambo searching an enemy compound for General Trautman, who is probably as close to a friend as Rambo has.

Sounds great... there's a promise of action, bloodshed and slaughter, maybe with a bit of stealth thrown in as you're sure to be accosted by huge numbers of enemy guards.

That's what you'd think.


If I just walk up and down in this passageway, nobody will EVER get past...

"Accosted", though, is not a word I would use. These are the stupidest guards, or enemies, that I think I've ever seen in a video game. Take the first screenshot... Rambo is moving along a narrow passageway. A guard is walking across the passageway... up and down, up and down. At no time will the guard see Rambo coming towards him, because the guards only ever see you if you are directly in their line of sight. So you can casually saunter up to the guard, stand just to the left of him as he trundles up and down, up and down, and then stab him to death at your leisure on one of his passes.

And they're all like that. Every single guard. They will only attack you if you move into their direct line of sight. So if you learn their patterns you could feasibly get through the entire level without so much as a single enemy shot being fired. I suppose that qualifies as "stealth" on some level...


I'm facing the guard, and constantly thrusting my knife at him. But he can't see me, and will walk straight into the knife, and his death.

You will learn their patterns, too. Because every time you step back onto a screen you've already been on (yes, it's flick-screen, not scrolling), then all guards are miraculously restored, trundling up and down on their tram-track routes, not giving a joy for the presence of the highly armed half-naked man that's wandering around their building.

Oh, and "wandering" is an apt description. Rambo moves very, very slowly. I'm not sure if it's because he's so muscular that he can't get any speed up, but it's ridiculous. It takes forever just to get from one end of a screen to the other. That really doesn't help matters, at all.

I honestly don't care what comes next. It could be level after level of the best action sequences ever to grace the Amiga. I simply can't bring myself to go wandering around that first level, ever again.

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