SNES A Day 70: Rampart

rampart_us_box_art

Approximate Release Date: August 1, 1992
Genre: Action/strategy
Developer: Bitmasters
Publisher: Electronic Arts

Even though it’s a tremendously ugly game, there’s some fun to be had with Rampart for the patient.

Rampart is an interesting action/strategy game that is split into two alternating phases: the first has the player firing cannons at oncoming naval vessels and soldiers to prevent them from overtaking your castle, and the second involves rebuilding the castle wall using Tetris-like pieces and placing more cannons. Both parts are frantic, as the game doesn’t give a lot of time to accomplish goals. To win, you need to blow up all the invading boats, but if you run out of time before you can rebuild your wall, it’s game over.

And there will be game overs. Rampart is brutally difficult. I don’t know how many levels there are, but I barely squeaked my way to level 9. It’s hard to aim your shots, and sometimes boats that look like they were nailed by a group of your cannonballs end up undamaged. That first action sequence usually determined how the rest of the level went for me, so lucky shots were key.

I liked the castle reinforcement parts a lot. Quickly throwing together a continuous barrier around your castle with the random pieces the game provides gives the experience a manic quality. It’s probably impossible to make your castle look good, but you can give yourself layers of redundant walls between you and your attacks to help you survive. But it’s really frustrating to have only ten seconds left and Rampart refuses to give you a piece small enough to fill in the final remaining tiny hole in your defenses.

It’s very likely that I am missing some key strategies to make my Rampart experience easier, since I found myself relying on luck more than anything. But if you can dedicate yourself to the game and figure out what I’m missing, this could be an enjoyable mish-mash of ideas and genres. I sincerely hope there’s another, more refined Rampart game coming up later.

Tomorrow: One of Capcom’s forgotten arcade action games, Magic Sword, comes to the Super Nintendo.

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