Ahhh good old Rambo - the ultimate 80's action icon?
Stallone's on screen larger than life character was bound to make the transition to 8-bits, and Ocean Software won the rights to convert Rambo to the ZX Spectrum in 1985.
Surely such a well known action character would lead to a classic arcade game? Well, sort of...
According to the instructions this classic game took place in approximately 1 million sq. feet (scale) of jungle which featured the P.O.W. camp, a secret Temple plus many different types of terrain.
Good old Colonel Trautman, had given you very precise orders...
Find the P.O.W. camp, photograph the evidence then make your way north to the extraction point where a helicopter would whisk you to the safety of your command centre in Thailand.
Just like in the movie you were not to engage the enemy or attempt to rescue any POW's you may find.
Of course on finding captured soldiers and hordes of enemy soldiers your fighting instincts took over and it was time to kick some ass, in true Rambo/Arcade game style.
You had to free the captive POW (who was tied up) and then head north towards the extration point to where the chopper would be waiting.
The game was presented in standard 8 way scrolling, with the jungle scenery moving nicely around our hero. Of course there were plenty of enemy soldiers skulking around the playing area too, and in the beginning you could use the trusty knife or grenades to take them out.
The grenades were very effective but obviously noisy - so using them would draw more enemy soldiers towards you. The knife required more skill to use but was also more stealthy and kept contact with the enemy at a minimum. Even so, for some reason the bad guys 'exploded' when you threw a knife at them! They should've only done this with explosive tipped arrows?
Further weapons such as a machine gun, rocket launcher and the famous bow and arrow could be found in the jungle (in a different location each time you played), but only one could be selected and used at a time. The variety of weapons was a good feature and added something more to the arcade action.
Basically the aim of the game was to gain access to the camp (through a hole in the fence), rescue the soldier named Banks then head north to the chopper. Once in the chopper you had to locate the helipad where more hostages could be liberated. With the hostages on board it was time for a final duel with the enemy gunship before flying to safety.
The movies had already been popular so the arcade game ended up being popular too. This game was generally regarded as a reasonable effort in the arcade genre, and for a movie tie in was pretty well executed. It did well due to the popularity of the character.
The Test Of Time:
Well, I want what every other Spectrum games player wants, for this game to love me as much as I, love it! But unfortunately - it's not quite there.
Rambo is still fairly playable, but has aged more than other arcade games from the same era. The characters tend to flicker and it just doesn't play as well as the likes of Commando. Not bad, and worth it for pure nostalgia. Nice loading screen and cool 'drum beats' rendition of the film music too. Try it - cos if you don't I'll give you a war you won't believe.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Rambo for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: 1985
RELEASED BY: Ocean Software
DEVELOPER(S): David Anderson, F David Thorpe
PRICE: £7.95 - UK
Our hero wastes a few bad guys in classic arcade action:
Arcade Games, Classic Games and ZX Spectrum Games