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Build Engine Retrospective Part 3: Redneck Rampage

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Original article: https://alyxxgameroom.blogspot.no/2018/05/build-engine-retrospective-part-3.html




GAME: Redneck Rampage

DEVELOPER: Xatrix Entertainment

PUBLISHER: Interplay




It's that time again, kids. No... not THAT time. No, it's time to look at yet another game using the famous Build engine and today we're taking a look at one of the more... quirky games to use this engine. Yeah. Quirky. I think that word perfectly sums up this game.


Imagine, for a moment, if you will, that you're a redneck named Leonard living with your brother of... questionable intelligence, in the fictional town of Hickston, Arkansas when suddenly one day aliens invade and steal your prize pig Bessie and your town fills up with clones of an old Coot and a fatass named Billy Ray. Yeah, that's kinda what you're dealing with here. A full scale alien invasion in the heart of southern America. And just like any self-respecting 'murican you of course go on a rampage. A... redneck rampage if you will.



Several questions come to mind. Why is there a car driving in circles, why is everyone trying to kill me and why the f*** did the chicken cross the road?


So yeah, this is where I normally get the story bits done with and start discussing the gameplay. Now, being a build engine game you'd expect the game to play basically like Duke Nukem 3D right? Well... kind of but remember how I said this game was quirky? Yeah... For starters let's discuss the weapons...


The weapons don't really handle like any other shooter I've played. Your starting gun is the revolver which feels really powerful despite its lackluster damage. It doesn't really work that well against most enemies but it has its uses for sure like shooting switches or smaller enemies. But you quickly replace it with the double-barreled shotgun which fires one barrel if you tap the mouse key, and both barrels if you hold it down. It's kinda strange to see shotgun firing being implemented like this, but you kinda get the hang of it after a while. It's a good close quarters weapon but does less damage over distance. After a while you pick up some dynamite which has an insanely short fuse (seriously, you can blow yourself up WAY too easily in this game), but has a ton of use in the game for blowing up walls and such in classic build engine fashion. The "huntin'" rifle is probably the coolest weapon in the game though it feels less like a hunting rifle and more like a bloody AK-47 with an insane amount of recoil and sounding like an automatic sniper rifle. It does have really good range though, and firing in short bursts is really recommended... The crossbow doesn't really fire arrows cause... why would you do that when you can use it to fire dynamite at enemies. I mean, it just makes more sense, right? The ripper saw I never used mostly cause it's just... kinda useless. Or I just suck at using it. Whichever you prefer. The alien arm gun is... an alien arm gun. You pick it up from fallen aliens after blowing them up. It shoots what I imagine are lasers at your enemies and is honestly one of the most powerful weapons in the game and you'll probably need it a lot for that reason during the later levels of the game where you'll be facing a lot more of the more powerful enemies. The powder keg is probably one of the most useless weapons in the game next to the ripsaw if only cause it's more likely to blow YOU up than the enemies. Even more so than the dynamite.And then there's the alien teat gun. You strap on machine gun titties. I'm not kidding. Sadly these only show up at the very end of the game so their addition is a bit wasted. To sum up the weapon selection I think it goes pretty much how the rest of the game goes. There's a lot of cool ideas and they feel really unique and memorable to use, despite their quirks and flaws.


Now with the weapons out of the way we can get to the really fun stuff. How you stay alive in Redneck Rampage. You see... in Redneck Rampage you don't heal via medkits or stuff like that as in more traditional shooters. No, you heal by consuming alcohol and food. Here's the thing though... these things affect you negatively. The more alcohol you drink, the more inebriated you become until you eventually can't walk straight. And the more you eat, the more bloated you get until you get really explosive farts that propel you forwards. This really adds a very unique dynamic to the game's entire flow where you are really given incentive to not get injured too much as in order to stay alive you have to do things that could make the game more difficult if you soak up too much damage. So playing the game like a trigger-happy amalgamation of Rambo and Arnold Schwarzenegger with a murderboner is actually kinda not recommended given you take damage very easily and it's more important to be aware of your surroundings and taking it slow. At least in my experience. Alcohol typically comes in the form of whiskey and beer, with food being pork rinds (which you consume directly when picking up), cow pies (comes in packs of 6), and Goo Goo Clusters, which is probably one of the weirdest product placements in any video game ever. I mean, I get the connection. They're rednecks and Goo Goo Clusters is a candy from Nashville. But seeing a real life product in a game where all the other consumables are not branded, it just feels strangely out of place. In either case, Goo Goo Clusters function largely like the nuclear health from Duke 3D and boosts your health beyond the maximum 100. There are also other items that affect your ability to survive such as the moonshine which for a limited time boosts your speed and resets your alcohol and gut meters upon finishing and using toilets in the game will empty your gut and make you fart free until you stuff your face again. Like I mentioned earlier, this does add a lot of strategy to the game regarding how you stay alive as food will lower your alcohol meter slightly, but alcohol can often be more potent. You also have mainstay items like the "vacuum hose snorkel" which lets you breathe underwater and the "hip waders" which allows you to effortlessly walk through mud or... mud-like substances.



Seems legit.


The game's enemy roster leaves a little to be desired. For like 50% of the game you're mostly fighting the same two clones of the old coot and Billy Ray, with the occasional space hulk and space vixen thrown in. The old coot just shoots at you with a revolver while spouting to "get off his land", Billy Ray will attempt to get rid of you using his trusty ol' shotgun while being generally impossible to make sense of what he's saying (I think he asks how I'm doing at times...). The space hulk will generally just shoot lasers and throw mines at you until you die (which is pretty quickly if you don't dodge his shots). It's important to blow him up since he will get back up if you don't. And doing so allows you to pick up his arm gun. The space vixens are some of the nastiest enemies in the game and will try to lure you in with a sexy voice and laughter that just made me cringe a bit. I don't really get the humor behind these and I'm pretty sure they're just there as an attempt at having some adult humor but in all honesty they just make me really uncomfortable but... well... then the game decides to give them machine gun titties and I'm totally on board again, so it's cool. You also have enemies like the poop imps (yes), which throw shit at you. Is it their own shit? Are they throwing their own flesh at you? This is raising way more questions than I dare to think about and they all involve feces so let's just swiftly move on...

Another enemy that kinda made me cringe a bit was the rabid dogs. When you kill them they let out a really sad whine and it made me feel really bad for killing them. I am glad the game didn't shy away from this but it does feel a little fucked up to be killing someone's pet. Then again, they are rabid so hopefully I'm doing them a favour...

You also have the occasional mosquito to deal with but other than that there really isn't a huge variety to the enemy roster in this game and it does make it feel extremely repetitive at times. I'm thinking they did this to have more non-hostile entities in the game like pigs, cows and chickens. Cause... I guess the aliens were only interested in YOUR pig.


The level design is simultaneously some of the best I've had the pleasure of playing and some of the worst I've encountered with probably the worst example being the sewers early in the game. This level almost single-handedly killed the entire experience for me as I was stuck for HOURS upon HOURS trying to find the way out until I caved in and resorted to a walkthrough (which didn't help much in all honesty). This level is just designed by a complete twat who expects far too much from the player. I think there was a similar puzzle near the end where I was completely stumped and I have no idea how they expect players to even be in the mindset for stuff like this. At times the game relied entirely on the player completing infuriating jumping puzzles, solving switch puzzles from hell or going through mazes. But then again you have so many memorable locations like an insane asylum, a meat packing plant, aforementioned sewers (like it or not, I will never forget them), a trailer park, a drive-in theater, a huge ass mansion, old ruins and so forth. This game really nails having memorable levels and I definitely feel like I remember more from this game than I do from Shadow Warrior. If anything cause a lot of the levels use exclusive textures that helps give each level its own unique tone and feel. So when the game wasn't making me pull my hair out I was legit enjoying the level designs.



For the love of god, NEVER think jumping puzzles belong in a first person shooter...


Graphically, Redneck Rampage looks really good for its time. There's an insane amount of detail in the textures, to the point that at times it's almost an early example of a photorealistic look. It has a very muted realistic palette that kind of offsets the cartoony designs of the models. And as mentioned, a lot of the levels feature unique textures and atmospheres that help give the game a ton of graphical diversity. I don't think I ever was bored playing this game and I was always looking forward to what I would see next.


I also really love the sound. The voice acting is superb with lines like "your ass is grass and I'm the lawnmower" really legit cracking me up and the weapons all sound powerful and beefy. The soundtrack is also incredible featuring a nice selection of psychobilly artists like Reverend Horton Heat and Mojo Nixon, with the latter easily having my favourite songs on the soundtrack. My only real gripe is the 8-track limit to the game's soundtrack but given the songs are really good and fit the mood of the game it can be excused. I am eternally grateful to this game for introducing me to the amazing thing that is "You can't kill me" by Mojo Nixon.



Now that's a guy I wouldn't mind making my chicken.


So... all in all Redneck Rampage is a bit of a mess. But it's an insanely quirky mess and it was REALLY hard to put down once I got into it. Some of the stuff in it like the space vixens and rabid dogs sat a bit wrong with me and left me feeling a little confused as at times the tone is a bit all over the place and I'm never quite sure if it's satire or just the devs putting something in for the sake of it being redneck-related, but for every time it does something that doesn't quite fit in, it succeeds in making you feel like it never takes itself too seriously, very much like Duke Nukem 3D. If I could compare it to anything I would compare it to being at a convention. Sure, it may be infuriating at times and testing your patience, but at least you're surrounded by pigs in shit.


STORY: 5/10



SOUND: 9/10



Game developments at http://nukedprotons.blogspot.com

Check out my music at http://technomancer.bandcamp.com

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