Amstrad Action

Rambo III

Author: Trenton Webb
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #42

Rambo III

John Rambo, the most macho man alive - so tough he makes even me look like a bit of a girlie! - is back. With guns smoking, muscles flexed, head-band blowing in the wind, he's looking for trouble, and he's most definitely found the right place.

Those darned Russkies have been and gone and kidnapped that good old Colonel Trautman (the nerve of some people; there he was doing a quiet bit of spying and these big guys in furry hats get all upset and want to tie electrodes to his naughty bits!).

In the grand Rambo tradition, our hero faces these adverse situations with a witty grunt and a pull on the trigger, until the world is a safe place once more.

Rambo III

The game is in three sections: the rescue of the Colonel, the break out from the Soviet compound, and finally the escape from Afghanistan itself. Each has a different objective (apart from slaying Russians of course, but only for the points you understand, no hard feelings!), and each requires the use of different articles gathered along the way.

The adventure takes place on a flick-style screen, with Rambo free to move horizontally and vertically. This occasionally proves irksome, since not knowing what lies beyond does not allow you to take preventive action - such as not walking into the guards, which does not do a lot for one's health.

Rambo's wellbeing is neatly shown by way of a portrait of Mr. Stallone which slowly turns into a skull as injuries are inflicted upon your person. This is presented under the main game screen, along with an inventory of the various vicious bric-a-brac to be collected en route and the weapon in use at the time, be it knife, pistol, machine gun or the old faithful bow and arrow (explosive tip? That'll do nicely).

Rambo III

In stage one, the mission is to rescue the Colonel from the prison in which he is being held and to free any other Afghans you stumble across on your travels. This requires an extensive search of the compound as you try to gather the right tools for the job: infra-red goggles to spot intruder alarms, mine detectors (for detecting weapons, would you believe?), ammo boxes to replenish your weapons for carnage later and rubber gloves to allow you to open electrified doors and the like. Who would ever of thought it? Rambo on the hunt for a pair of Marigolds!

Having collected these goodies it's off to get Colonel Sam (Shouldn't that be Uncle?). This requires lots of dashing around, but you must be careful; none of this blasting away with the first gun you find (when you can find one that is), because stealth is essential if you don't want to draw the attention of a large part of the guard to your person.

The knife you possess at the beginning is often your best bet: it's silent, it doesn't need ammunition and the guards are generally pretty dozy and let you walk right up to them and do your dirty work, sending them off to watch over that great gulag in the sky. But if you just can't resist a blast from your machine gun, the alarm does die down after a while - if you survive that long!

Rambo III

When you've found, rescued and presumably saved your beloved mentor from the evil camp, it's off to the great outdoors for a country stroll and a pleasant spot of boobytrap laying. Working your way northwards, it's time to leave a few parting gifts for your Russian brethren in the form of bombs.

The objective is to reach a helicopter that will whisk you to safety while you cause enough confusion, death and destruction to cover your escape. Only trouble is, you can't just do a runner straight for the helicopter (Mot that such a cowardly, albeit sensible, thought would ever occur to our Johnny!). The helicopter won't be ready for your escape until you've primed every last bomb, the number to be made already being indicated alongside the 'weapons selected' panel.

Strangely in part three, the helicopter you fought so hard to get to is ditched and Rambo hijacks a tank. At last all this sly stealth business goes out of the window and it's time for some serious wasting. The tank is to be driven to the border, but the problem is, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), a few Russian tank divisions have turned out to say thanks for all those lovely booby traps in part two. So it's fun time, but caution is still the order of the day: too much indiscriminate blasting causes your gun to overheat; and the tank is quite easily damaged, even by grenades. So be careful out there.

Rambo III

The layout of the game, and its reliance on cunning as much as killing, may come as a surprise. There isn't so much of the 'Ramboesque' machismo one is led to expect from the films. Neat touches are in evidence even if the suspense is lacking in parts. The injury level indicator, if slightly grotesque, is a refreshing change from simple bar graph indicators, while in part one the ease with which the guards can be dispatched does leave a little to be desired. Tell you one thing, though: Rambo on the CPC is a better actor than he is in the films!

Second Opinions

The game is reasonable, though it gets a bit boring after a while when you never find anything new. Graphics are brilliant, but I don't think much of the sound effects.

Very good graphics, but the sound's pretty awful. The on-screen inventory should be larger. You find things for weapons, but you can't find the weapon that it's for!

The Screen In Green

Rambo III

High contrast is OK

The Verdict

Graphics 73% P. Clear, well defined sprites. P. You feel a long way from your enemy.

Sonics 60% N. I didn't know knives went "phhutt".

Grab Factor 63% P. Dull start; gets much better.

Staying Power 68% P. Good variety between stages.

Overall 67% P. A solid, playable licence that will keep you excited for a long time.

Trenton Webb

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