It's fun to eat naked people!
Several companies decided to port recent GameCube releases to Wii in time for launch. Rampage: Total Destruction is one such game. Like the GameCube release, the Wii version is a budget priced title that includes the original two games (Rampage and Rampage: World Tour) as bonus content. It really is a nice little package.
The classic Rampage premise is still the basis for this game. You control a giant monster and destroy city blocks, one after the other, by climbing on buildings and using punches and kicks to cause mass destruction. Total Destruction includes plenty of different cities, monsters, and unlockable content. In the beginning, players can choose from eight different monsters. As the game is played, more monsters will be discovered inside buildings. By the time every monster has been found, the list of playable characters hits 40. Each monster has a different rating in each of three categories; crush, jump, and run. Crush represents how much damage the monster will do per hit. Jump determines how high they jump. Run obviously represents how fast they move along the ground. During any level, a bonus upgrade category may be announced. These bonuses are achieved by performing a certain number of tasks. These tasks are things like destroying trains or eating ice cream cones. If the task is completed, an upgrade will appear on the screen. The monster that collects this upgrade will have it applied permanently. Though quite basic, the upgrades give the game a simple RPG flare that works well.
Unlike previous games in the series, Total Destruction makes the jump into 3D. Now the monsters can climb on both the sides and the fronts of buildings, and buildings exist on different depths. These changes cause some control confusion that isn't present in the pleasantly simplistic earlier games. For example, holding up on the control stick represents climbing up if you are on a building and walking deeper into the city block if you aren't. Depth perception is a bit tough as well. The camera angle is very close to parallel with the street, so knowing exactly where your monster is can be tough. These issues can cause some problems but they aren't major as the game doesn't require a huge amount of precision.
The only significant difference between this Wii version and the GameCube version is the controls. The developers created two different control schemes. The first utilizes the nunchuck attachment. In this scheme, the only difference is that two attacks are mapped to gestures. A quick side-to-side swing of the remote causes the monster to pick something up if he is on the ground or perform a power punch if he is clinging to a building. A quick up-and-down gesture causes the monster to pound the ground if he is at street level or kick the building if he is clinging to one. The other two abilities, punch and jump, are mapped to the A and B buttons respectively. Motion is done with the control stick on the nunchuck. The gestures work, but they aren't overly precise. It is very easy to pound the ground when you want to pick someone up and eat them, or vice versa. Strangely enough, the d-pad on the remote works as a second means of moving the monster around.
If the game is started without a nunchuck attached, the movement of the monster is mapped to the different ways in which the remote is tipped. This is a very strange sensation. It's nice to know that they gave people who don't have nunchucks an option to play the game, but if a nunchuck is available, there is really no reason to play this way unless you are looking for a challenge. Strangely enough, the ability to control the monster with the d-pad is not present when the nunchuck isn't attached, which would make the most sense.
Once you become acquainted with the controls, Total Destruction can be a fun diversion for a little while. It won't take long for players to realize that there isn't a lot of depth there, but depth isn't something the Rampage series has been known for. Multiplayer is a lot of fun. There is still something incredibly satisfying about beating your buddy up until he shrinks down to a little naked person and then eating him for lunch. The inclusion of the classic games meshes well with what Nintendo is trying to do with the Virtual Console, and they add a lot of value to the purchase. If you are a fan of the series, you'll want to try Total Destruction out, but don't expect a thought-provoking experience.