Rambo III by Sega for Genesis, released at the system's launch in 1989. Hmm. A game about Rambo. What kind of game could this be? A racing game? A poker game? Perhaps a city sim? No dummy - it's about killing your foes with your bare hands, watching the blood pour out of their ears as you crush their heads - while you laugh maniacally!
Alright, well you don't really get to crush people's heads with your "bare hands," but at least you get to do some knife-stabbing. And there's my review, "Rambo III is knife-stabbingly good." This was a welcome addition to the Genesis launch lineup, a top-down military scroller where you're a one-man army out or Truth and Justice. Armed with the aforementioned knife, a machine gun, bombs and explosive arrows, you must go deep behind enemy lines to rescue your buddy Trautman in Afghanistan.
The game was very standard stuff, advance to your goal without getting mauled by your opponents - and do as much damage as you could along the way. This was what I wanted when I first got my hands on Metal Gear. Simple, straight-forward action with plenty to shoot at, suspenseful music, and lots of nice detailed graphics of military vehicles (well, at least Metal Gear got the suspenseful music down).
In between some rounds, you'd switch to a first-person (behind the shoulders) mode where you needed to take out some artillery (copter or tank) with... an arrow, 1-on-1 style. A little silly, but it looked particularly cool so no one complained much.
All in all, a stylish, classic game which unfortunately only appeared at the genesis (ahem) of the Genesis' career and was little seen as a genre otherwise (we got Mercs, Cal. 50, and not much else!) I guess top-down military shooters weren't in vogue anymore or something, which is a shame because it is a very fun genre, which was well-represented in the 8-Bit days.
Ah well. At least it was miles better than the 8-Bit Rambo game! Groan!
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