By the late 90s it seemed that publishers had shipped every possible variant of the first-person 3D shooter. That is until 1997 when Interplay pulled the genre from the swamp.
And they did it with redneck jokes. Redneck Rampage uses the Duke Nukem 3D engine with a low-concept theme - invading aliens are cloning backcountry hicks - that could have very easily fallen apart. But Redneck Rampage works on several levels - as a shooter, adventure, and humor title. This is a clever, fun, and challenging game with great characters, crisp sound effects, and inventive gameplay.
The backwoods deep south is near-universally the butt of jokes, and the game delivers them through the perspective of Leonard, the game's rampaging hero. In the opening scene, the Jim Varney-lookalike cocks his pistol and says he's "out to open up a can o' whup ass." His goal is to kill off the aliens who snatched a pig right out of the bed of his pickup and, it turns out, are starting their invasion of earth by cloning the moronic local folk. The aliens in the first few levels are chirping, feces-flinging gremlins, while the local yokels greet you with shotguns and rifles. Vicious dogs attack without provocation, with the exception of one mutt that remains frozen in mid-leap until you get his attention with a bullet or crowbar.
The tabloid alien-abduction plot is nicely paired with plenty of splatter and gags. The player sends Leonard into a sewage treatment plant, dairy, junkyard, mobile-home park (complete with a nasty tornado problem), and other locales. He must find the skeleton keys that help him work his way to the nose-picking, crotch-adjusting Bubba and whap him upside the head with a crowbar to complete each level. Our hero's arsenal includes weapons such as a scattergun, a dynamite crossbow, and a gun that launches ripsaw blades. Thanks to the Build engine, he can blow up cows, trash jukeboxes, smash windows, and generally leave destruction in his wake, just as Duke could.
The game's humor works. The designers invested the time to load Redneck up with endless little in-jokes and details - the game is a rich, twisted parody of the deep south. Moon Pie snacks become Cow Pie power-ups, and Leonard has a repertoire of post-killing punchlines such as "You plays with the bull, ya gets the horns." Other touches of humor are more subtle. If Leonard dives into a well and swims along an underwater tunnel, he'll come up for air in the outhouse. Health is restored by drinking moonshine and cheap-ass whiskey - but watch your intake! Too much 'shine and you'll be lurching out of control. While Leonard can "take a quick pee" to sober up a bit, more obvious scatological gags fall flat - including the straining, splashing sound effects that start up whenever he nears a toilet.
Farts aside, the game's sound effects are sharp, from the echoing crack of an automatic rifle report, to the crash of pins in the bowling alley, to Leonard's painful "ow!" when he's hit or bitten by a giant mosquito. The Reverand Horton Heat pumps out of jukeboxes in several parts of the game, and Mojo Nixon and The Beat Farmers are included on the game's soundtrack.
While shoot-outs are fun, a strong adventure element underscores the gameplay. Leonard must open fridges, run machinery, climb hidden ladders, and ride concealed elevators. The player can easily get stuck, wandering endlessly in search of the well-hidden key that will open a door and advance a level. I
Redneck Rampage was a fresh, funny, inventive take on an aging formula. If you liked Duke Nukem, another popular game of the era, you'll find Redneck a hoot.
Redneck Rampage Rides Again
Redneck Rampage Rides Again is the sequel to Redneck Rampage, a game that slapped you into the brogans of Leonard, a hard-workin' fella who ain't got a problem with loading up his shotgun and kickin' some ass to save his hometown of Hickston, Arkansas, from illegal aliens - and we ain't talking about the kind that wade across the Rio Grande, either. These are space critters, and they were making clones of all the locals to do their dirty work.
After Redneck Rampage and the Suckin' Grits on Route 66 add-on, Leonard and his good buddy Bubba probably thought they'd seen the end of them ETs. They managed to hijack one of them fancy flying disks, but just when they thought they had it made, it took a nosedive into the desert in one of them states west of Texas. When the game opens, you are trying your dangdest to get back to the garden spot that is Hickston.
Along the way you square off against vicious jackalopes (rabbits with antlers), rabid pit bulls, clone bikers who've watched Blue Velvet one too many times ("Don't look at me!"), cheerleaders chucking dynamite batons, and a pack of other critters ranging from placid pigs to scary skeeters.
The Skinny Old Coot from the first game won a free trip to Vegas, and he must've paid as much attention to the lingo of the locals as he did to the card count at the blackjack table. When you get close to him he cackles "Groooveee, bay-bee, he he he...." just as he's whipping out a hog leg to end your time on this here planet. Move up into the higher levels, and the Coot starts shouting stuff like "Craps, you lose!" and "New shooter comin' out!" - and while it might sound pretty plain as you read it in this review, it's about fall-down funny when you hear it in the middle of an intense bloodbath.
But my fave has gotta be Daisy Mae, the clone cheerleader with the TNT batons. She's got so many good lines there's not room to print 'em all here: "I'm gonna slap you bald-headed!"; "Do you like that, boy?"; "Were you raised in a barn?"; "Now you've gone and done it!" and my hands-down winner for best line in a computer game: "Now I'm gonna have to open up a can of whoop-ass on you!" - the same line Leonard used at the start of the original Redneck Rampage.