C64 Rambo: First Blood Part 2

Ocean Software's "Rambo: First Blood Part 2" is a fun variation on the run and gun "Commando"-style theme. It's based on the "Rambo" movie starring Sylvester Stallone, but surprisingly, it actually makes a successful attempt to stay close to the theme and plot of the movie without too much sacrificing of the expected killin' hijinks.

On starting the game, you're confronted with a relatively large open area you can run around in (a few screens wide as well as tall, so you can run around in any direction you like), killing the 'Cong and looking for extra weapons before you find the camp, and free a POW to prove they're still around. Once you achieve this, you run for a helicopter, come back to the camp, save the rest of the POWs, all the while fighting off the enemy forces surrounding you, then make a break for safety while fighting off or avoiding the gunships sent to shoot you down. Sound exciting? It is.

You start with a number of different weapons - knife, rifle, exploding arrows - and using them actually is a choice of significance besides better firing rates. Anything other than the knife will draw increasing amounts of attention (more troops shooting at you), and yet you may need to use the exploding arrows to clear paths through the jungle.

Recon my ass.. go kill some people in pyjamas, champ.

Music? Fantastic - an excellent adaptation of the score from the movie, and a prime example of the kind of music that has the SID chip fondly remembered to this day - hyperbole? Probably.. the music made for "Miami Vice" and "Parallax" was even better. Graphics? Not bad, certainly comparable to the Elite conversion of "Commando" at any rate. I also remember being impressed by the large, pulsating fonts used the first time I played it - no idea how that was done, but was definitely cool to see, and still looks kinda neat now, if a bit less technically impressive.

How often will you be playing it? Well, the game's not hugely long to be honest, but once you've finished it the first time, you'll have at the very least a sense of achievement - getting past the gunship at the end isn't easy unless you know the cheat. The gameplay is still varied and interesting enough to be worth a return bout or two now and then, when you feel the need to make things bleed, but are tired of the glitchtastic C64 "Commando" conversion.

There's also a "Rambo" game for SMS, which was released as "Secret Command" (meant to be Secret Commando, presumably) in PAL territories, but it's not that great - just an Ikari Warriors clone with a rather excessive difficulty level. Also, I discovered recently that there's a "Rambo" game for the MSX series of computers - I've got it on the XBox MSX emulator, but have yet to play it enough to make a judgement as to its appeal. Any other "Rambo" games I've missed? (Yes, I realize there's a number of Rambo III games, but that's another story). Perhaps one with a "cauterize the wound in your chest" minigame, ala "First Blood". Hmm, there's a thought - the original "First Blood" would make an interesting enough setting for a game, maybe use the "Manhunt" engine, but add in explosives and hick deputies to off, and.. sounds dodgy, but I'm sure it'd be ignored in the marketplace unless someone puts some titties in it, then it's BANNIN' TIME.

What's the cheat? Well, once you're in the helicopter, push forward on a joystick in port 1 and pull backward on a joystick in port 2, and your helicopter will warp forward past any gunship fights. Don't say I never do you any favours.

A rather awesome video compiling footage from the movie to the Commodore 64 game music.

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