I somehow came into possession of three copies of Rampage for Sega Master System thanks to lot purchases. However, I’ve had Rampage since its release in 1988. At the time all Sega Master System games came in white boxes. Rampage, to my knowledge, is the only one that had a red box design. I’ve also seen it with the traditional white-with-grey grid box design, too. Oddly enough the box I received the game in was a cardboard one.
My dad and I would make a trek to Toys R Us when it came time to get a new game. Oftentimes I’d go with nothing in mind, only knowing that when we were done, I’d have a new game. The evening we came home with Rampage was different than others.
The way Toys R Us was set up back then, the game aisle actually had no games in it. There were only game box arts in plastic sleeves stuck to the displays. Flipping a box art over would reveal other details about the game, mostly just the back of the box art. Below each box art was a purchase ticket. To buy a game, you’d have to take a ticket up to a cash register, pay for the game, and then take the receipt to a game kiosk where an attendant would check it and slide your newly-purchased game through a tiny slot in the glass.
This was high security! And, how times have changed.
The evening we purchased Rampage was different because instead of getting the red plastic box, the attendant handed us a flimsy cardboard box with the game rattling loose inside it. There were no instructions, either. She said that they didn’t have the boxes for the game so all copies of Rampage were in cardboard ones. The box didn’t even have the Sega logo on it!
The thing is, they did have the game in its proper packaging. It was on a shelf behind the attendant. I pointed it out and Dad and I walked out of the store with Rampage, its thin instruction book, and its proper retail packaging.
But that’s not the only thing that made Rampage stand out for me. The game let me play as a bad guy, destroying cities for points! And it let me choose between three characters instead of being stuck as just one. It also had more stages than any other game I’d ever heard of (50 stages! That’s insane when you’re 9!).
The only times I was able to finish the game were when I played two-player mode. Admittedly the game is rather tedious, but it was also a lot of fun at the time. When I saw Rampage Total Destruction was available for the Wii, and for a very cheap price, I was tempted to get it. I passed in the end because as fancy as it might be, I’ll be more than happy with my three copies of the best 8-bit rendition of the game.