Redneck Rampage (1997)

Cover art for Redneck Rampage

Curiously, I believe this was the theme of my high school's senior prom...

UFO’s, Big Rigs and Bar-b-Q: A review of Redneck Rampage

I guess it gets a little old sometimes, playing the fearless space marine. Sometimes you just can’t face another uniform or another chest full of medals. All those med-kits and potions just aren’t doin’ the trick–you want to stick a chaw in yer jaw, knock back a few cold ones, and just blaze away at everything that dares to move, be it man, beast or gal-darn alien. If you finished Duke Nukem 3D a long time ago, and you’re looking for a first-person shooter with the same respect for human dignity and the same dry, mature sense of humor, then maybe Interplay’s latest is for you. On the other hand….maybe it isn’t…

Redneck Rampage is what we call in the business “a mixed bag”. Some of it is absolutely great. While I was playing it, I often found myself hootin’ and hollerin’ and laughing out loud. Not only that, but I got some deep and meaningful insight into the human condition–or at least the redneck condition–when I chugged a beer, standing out in front of a convenience store with a double-barreled shotgun in my arms, and found myself thinking: “Heh. Wonder if I kin hit that ol’ chicken?”

On the other hand, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t all Big Rigs and Bar-be-que, brethren. Redneck Rampage is one of the best jokes I’ve seen on the shelves lately, but it isn’t any great shakes as a piece of software. Frankly, I have some real problems with the “game” aspect of this product in general. The concept, the sound effects, and the in-jokes are all just great. But the graphics, the gameplay, and programming of this title are simply sub-par, not to mention way behind the technology curve–and honestly, I’m wondering if a 3D shooter doesn’t need more reason to exist nowadays, in a world where people have already tried Quake.

RR has very simple, very crude graphics and movement routines; it offers very little that’s new in the way of thrills for a 3D shooter, although there are a couple of cool bits. For example, I cackled quite a bit when I was running across the road and got hit by a truck–game over, pappy!–and I think that the “alien arm gun” is a chuckle. On the other hand, I didn’t get enough out of the levels, there aren’t enough new weapons, and the crow-bar and shotgun can’t be used to open doors. I saw nothing in Redneck Rampage which hadn’t been done better and more professionally in Duke Nukem–and with nicer graphics and more varied monsters.

Considering what you get when you load Redneck Rampage, the system requirements are pretty outrageous. I saw nothing that should stress a 486-133, much less require the Pentium 133 that is recommended on the box. And honestly, no game with graphics this primitive, and movement routines this basic, should have a problem running in a DOS box from Windows ‘95–but using my Pentium 150, with 32 meg, I had to restart in DOS to run this loser. That, my friends, is a pain in the hiney–especially considering that Quake, a game with ten times the graphical sophistication, runs just dandy from a DOS box! The question arises: what the heck were they thinkin’?

The game has network hooks in place; theoretically it would support 8 players in deathmatch, co-op and modem play. Unfortunately, all those lovely hooks are about as useful as teats in a boar-hog, as pappy used to say, because the majority of gamers nowadays are depending on the networking suite from Windows ‘95 to keep everything knitted together, and without Win ‘95, networking is the same old nightmare that it was two years ago, where you get to spend all day getting the machines to see each other, yadda yadda yadda. There is a bright spot, though–if you’re a Netgamer, you get 5 free hours on Engage when you buy RR. That and a buck-fifty will get you a pint a’ whiskey…

Basically, I give this game big points for its psychobilly soundtrack, which includes such lights of the Redneck stage as Mojo Nixon. I give it big points because it is genuinely funny at times, and there’s some good fun to be had using a crowbar to beat aliens, “Old Coots” and “Billy Rays” to death. I can’t give it more than three stars, though, because it has very little going for it other than style, and because it’s a pain in the butt to get it to run. Parents are duly warned that this title comes heavy on swearing, drinking, tobacco use, junk food consumption, graphic violence, nekkid alien vixens, and flagrant disregard for human life. If all this is something you’ve been waiting for in a game, and you have no problem with the DOS setup on your machine, go ahead and shell out your money for a rampage. If you have any lingering ghost of good taste (or is it good sense?), you might wanna stay home and tape Masterpiece Theater.

Tips:

1. Unless you really need a laugh–like REALLY need one–save your money, and go back to the level builder for Duke Nukem. You’ll get better quality gameplay and less hassle.

2. Watch that alcohol meter! If you can’t find pork rinds and you’re fading fast, you can afford to get blitzed to get your health back up to 100 in a hurry. Your buzz will fade quickly, so you can get away with it as long as you aren’t standing by the highway or out in a shooting gallery.

3. Ever tried chasing a chicken with a crowbar? Heh heh heh…

Facts :
Redneck Rampage
Interplay Productions
1997
Developed by Xatrix Entertainment

RATED: Mature, 17+
“Animated blood and gore, strong language, use of tobacco and alcohol*

originally written for CNet Gamecenter

© 1997 Arinn Dembo All Rights Reserved

About Arinn

Author, Game Developer, Anthropologist, reformed Supervillainess.
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