Classic Games Resurrected: Redneck Rampage
Developers: Xatrix Entertainment (Win) - (now Activision)
Logicware, Inc. (Mac)
Publishers: Interplay (Win)
Logicware, Inc. (Mac)
Engine: Build engine
Release date: April 30, 1997
“I’m gonna get ya boy, I’m gonna get ya!”
I played the shareware version of Redneck Rampage some years ago. I got it off of a PC Format cover CD. I’d also heard of the game before like with many other titles, at school, when I was younger.
It was only years later that I got the full version of the game, and when I discovered ProAsm’s Redneck Rampage port, I got it out and started playing it again.
Redneck Rampage was a game released back in 1997, developed by Xatrix and published by Interplay. It is considered one of the big four of the Build engine games- the others being Shadow Warrior, Blood, and of course, Duke Nukem 3D. Redneck Rampage was based directly on the Duke Nukem 3D source code, but more than being a normal mod or TC which I often see, Redneck Rampage was inspired by Duke Nukem 3D, but had many of its own charms.
The game was followed by an expansion, Redneck Rampage: Suckin' Grits on Route 66, a sequel in Redneck Rampage Rides Again, and a spin-off title, Redneck Deer Huntin', as well as numerous compilation packs which include combinations of these titles together.
In addition to this, there was a cult following for the game, which may or may not be around to this day, but certainly not as dedicated to the game as the ones working on Duke Nukem 3D, which was always more popular.
It’s interesting to note that Xatrix, in addition to the Redneck Rampage titles (and Cyberia before it) went on to develop Quake II: The Reckoning, Kingpin: Life of Crime, and after a name change to Gray Matter Interactive, they co-developed Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Call of Duty: United Offensive, and Call of Duty: Big Red One. During the development of this title they were merged into Treyarch, the developer responsible for Call of Duty: World at War, as well as its map packs. Only some of the original employees remain, as the founder and other have since left.
So, some pretty major titles there under their belts.
Story-wise, Leonard and his mentally challenged brother, Bubba, are in their fictional hometown of Hickston, in the Deep South (possibly Arkansas and/or Louisiana), when they start experiencing weird events like an alien invasion. All of their neighbours start acting strangely, but eventually it’s found that they have been replaced by evil clones. Leonard and Bubba have to fight their way through many places in order to rescue their prized pig, Bessie, and stop the alien invasion. Bubba usually ends up getting lost or kidnapped himself though, it seems.
Of course in this kind of title, a story doesn't mean much.
You start off in a place surrounded by hedgerows. In my opinion, these first few levels, featured in the shareware version too, are some of the best, more suited to the game’s theme, out in the sticks, with farms, livestock, silos, and other things that you would expect to see out in the country.
After the first five levels, which are mostly situated in the country and such, other levels in Redneck Rampage include sewers, industrial complexes, factories, a lunatic asylum, abandoned ruins, a mortuary, underground mines, a mansion, and eventually aboard a mother ship. Despite the opinion of some that Suckin' Grits on Route 66 sucks,there are a few good levels. The levels in the expansion include an alligator farm and carnival, shooting range, a brewery, a flea market, a Slaughterhouse & Meat Packing Plant, a fun park, a brothel, dinosaur caves, a camp based on Friday the Thirteenth’s Camp Crystal Lake, an RV Show, a Bigfoot Convention, the Hoover dam, and an alien crash site. Although the cover of Suckin' Grits on Route 66's box art, with Leonard and Bubba wearing Hawaiian-style shirts, would seem to indicate that they're on vacation, there's little to point out this fact in game, and doesn't really keep up with this theme.
The main aim of the game is just like any other FPS- you have to fight enemies, find keys which unlock doors and other areas, flip switches and the like. It’s more of a “get from place A to place B”. Occasionally you will come across some traps and obstacles, some mazes and such, but nothing too major. At the end of the level you will come face to face with Bubba, who is drunk, and either urinating, or picking his nose or something, and you have to whack him with your crowbar to finish the level.
As far as weapons go, Leonard starts off with a .454 Casull revolver, but he will soon come across other weapons, like the Double-barreled shotgun (referred to in game as a scatter gun), possibly one of the only appearances it made in a game since Doom II, and the AK47 (referred to as a hunting rifle), and dynamite (dyn-o-mite). Leonard uses these weapons to dispatch the many enemies, which are disappointingly few in variation, at least initially. Later on you get the crossbow, which actually shoots dynamite, kind of like a homemade rocket launcher of sorts. You get the Ripsaw, which fires spinning saw blades quite inaccurately, the alien handgun, which kills most of the lesser enemies with one or two shots. And the gun right at the end of the weapon selection is the alien teat gun, kind of like double machine guns.
There are two other weapons that you won’t use much in the game, and these are the crowbar, and the bowling ball. The crowbar is used for whacking Bubba sometimes to exit the level, although you don’t always need to. The bowling ball is found in one level, in a bowling alley, no less, where you can play a sub-game or mini-game. Although virtually useless against enemies in singleplayer mode, in multiplayer, it was more functional, because if it touched another player, it would arm with the bowling ball and leave him open for attack.
You’ll mainly come across Billy Ray clones with shotguns, and the skinny old coot with the revolver. You can also shoot the animals, but beware, because some of them will fight back! The dogs are one of the most annoying, and surprisingly powerful and hard to kill with regular weapons. As you progress, you’ll find another irritating enemy called a turn minion which resembles a monkey, and flings faeces at you, and sexy alien vixen clones which look and sound like strippers or porn stars, which arrive in three different skill levels with different weaponry- skin colour, green, and blue. There are also other enemies like mosquitoes, and the difficult to beat alien hulk. He’ll come back to life unless you blow him up with dynamite or the powder keg.
Boss enemies or rarer enemies include Assface, the alien vixen (the others are clones) or alien queen, and alien saucers which only appear in the last level of the game, but are witnessed in the opening credits for the game. There’s also Sheriff Lester T. Hobbs, who comes out swinging with two revolvers.
The expansion, Redneck Rampage: Suckin' Grits on Route 66, brought new enemies and creatures, but only a few. These include the alligators that are found on some levels and a guest appearance by the Bigfoot, which is locked in a cage. He makes similar noises to Bubba when you press the use key while facing him.
The sequel, Redneck Rampage Rides Again, introduced additional enemies, including the Jackalopes, Mama Jackalope, Biker Frank Doyle, and cheerleader Daisy Mae.
Of course, these enemies all inflict damage, and so like other FPS games, there are ways to regenerate your health, chiefly in two ways: by drinking alcohol and eating food. The alcohol includes beer and “cheap ass” whiskey, which can be carried around in your inventory for future use. Beer comes in six packs and gives you five points of health each (30 overall), and a bottle whiskey allows for ten swigs, which each gives you ten points of health (100 overall). Drinking alcohol also makes you drunk, naturally, and you have different areas on the meter. Yellow is low, green is still fine, orange level makes you a little uncoordinated, and Leonard doesn’t always move in the direction that you want him to. This is aggravated when you get into the red, but in addition to this, the player view becomes grainy and distorted, and you can’t aim or see any of your weapons that you ‘re holding, but you can still fire blindly. At the maximum level of drunkenness, you throw up, lose health, and fall down; becoming motionless, and defenseless against attack, and you can’t use weapons. Drinking alcohol also makes you less vulnerable to enemy fire however.
As far as food is concerned, you can pick up a large back of pork rinds (30), which is instantly consumed and can’t be carried. There’s also the cow pies (or moon pie), which is similar to the six pack of beer- you can carry it and eat six slices of pie which gives you 5 points of health each (30 overall). There’s also a meter for eating too, with different areas presented- the more you eat, the more you fart (which will elicit a laugh or two when underwater), and this makes it harder for you to sneak up on enemies. It also propels you forwards a little, and so it may makes you a little uncoordinated, although it’s hardly that noticeable. Eating food also drops your alcohol level.
There’s also another form of liquor, and that is moonshine. When you drink it, its effects are similar to that of Duke Nukem 3D’s steroids- you move faster, and you can use this to reach hard to access secret areas in the game. Also, drinking moonshine will sober you up, perhaps because of the physical exertion- it drops your alcohol and food level back to the yellow area on both the meters.
You can also use the toilet, which gives you ten points of health, by urinating in to it. Unlike Duke Nukem 3D (which also allows you to use toilets, but only for humourous reasons, with no health benefit), you can’t use water fountains (probably because the water is so polluted in the game anyway).
Other items that you can pick up and use in your inventory include the home-made scuba gear, which consists of vacuum cleaner parts, and also hip wanders, which allow you travel faster through mud and mucky areas, like on the farm, similar to the protective boots from Duke Nukem 3D.
The game looked as good if not worse than some other build games. Playing it with the ProAsm port, you can up the resolution. Redneck Rampage also features ladders which you climb and there are vehicles and such, but you cannot actually drive them, like in Shadow Warrior, but in the sequel, Rides Again, you can ride vehicles such as a motorcycle, and a swamp boat.
Music & Sound
The soundtrack for the game is considered one of the best and most original when it comes to games from that time- the 90s, when most games, especially other build engine games, like Blood and Shadow Warrior, released in the same year, were using MIDI or EMIDI tracks. The music is referred to as psychobilly- sort of like punk mixed with country music, along with other influences. This led to a few catchy tracks, especially the track that usually emanates from the jukeboxes scattered throughout the game. The bands include Mojo Nixon, Reverend Horton Heat, Beat Farmers, and Cement Pond. The game CD can also be played in a CD player.
Quake used some of the first music besides MIDI, and Quake II did this too in the same year as Redneck Rampage. And so it was that towards the late nineties, most major titles did away with MIDI music, and perhaps Redneck Rampage was one of the first to adopt the newstandard.
The game, set in the south, is accompanied by typical sounds, such as pigs, chickens, cows, and other barnyard animals carrying on in the background, and the enemies with their typical hillbilly accents punctuating the game with phrases like “boy” featuring heavily.
The protagonist, Leonard, in typical build game fashion, is always spewing out cusses and such himself. The language in the game can be upgraded by using the Cuss Pack, which was available off of the game’s website for the PC, and included on the game’s CD for the Mac version. This made the language of the enemies and Leonard more colourful.
There was talk in 2009, although just a rumour, that there would be another Redneck Rampage title in the future, after it was discovered that Blizzard had bought the rights to the franchise. People further speculated that it would be an MMO, seeing as Blizzard is known among other things bringing us World of WarCraft.
Well, the singleplayer lasts for about 15 levels, and there are several multiplayer levels based on edited, shortened versions of the singleplayer levels. The expansion has about another 12 levels. Redneck Rampage Rides Again has 14 levels.
After this, there have been numerous level packs and such, especially by two authors in particular, Jon Hunt and T.S. Bolton. Three of their level packs, or unofficial addons, are bundled with ProAsm’s port, including “The Hickston Swamp”, which was meant to be a remake of sorts of Suckin’ Grits on Route 66, which they thought “really did suck”, “Night of the Living Dead”, an addon using textures from Blood and using a Blood theme, and “Redneck Rampage Rides Again, AGAIN”, a parody on the title of the official sequel, Redneck Rampage Rides Again. And bundled as well, are numerous single fan-made maps.
Observations and other comments
I have a strong feeling that Redneck Rampage, released a year earlier, may have inspired 1998’s acclaimed Unreal, or either it ripped off said game, seeing as Unreal was in development long before RR. The Ripsaw looks and operates similarly to the Razorjack from Unreal (Ripper in Unreal Tournament), and the alien handgun looks similar to the Automag, although the projectiles it shoots are more in line with the Skaarj’s fireballs. And the alien who wields the gun reminds me so much of some of the enemies from Unreal, like the Brute, or possibly the gargantuan from Half-Life.
The alien teat gun may look like something out of Austin Powers, especially while wielded by the alien vixen clones, but the blue crystal-like ammunition for the gun also reminds me somewhat of the tarydium crystals that the Stinger in Unreal used.
Long before Half-Life came out, Redneck Rampage used the crowbar as a melee weapon, although times were few and far between when I actually used it. The only real use it had was to hit Bubba to exit a level, similar to how Duke Nukem exits a level by hitting that symbol in DN3D, but sometimes the level exits automatically if you just approach Bubba.
On the box art for the game, you can see Leonard with the double-barreled shotgun and Bubba with the crowbar. It’s quite ironic that Bubba is the one hit with the crowbar in order to exit a level.
Leonard is almost always seen wearing his signature cap. In one of the level stats screens, after you finish one the levels, you see Leonard inside a car with Bubba, and at first I thought that it was a skinny old coot, one of the game’s enemies, but I realized that it was Leonard without his cap. Leonard may have black sideburns, but he’s possibly bald on top of his head, and so that’s why he wears the cap.
What’s available for modern systems (source ports, HRPs)?
Well, the only port of any kind that I’m aware of is the one I’ve used to play it on Windows XP, and that is ProAsm’s Redneck Rampage port. Once installed, it allows you to carry over the GRP and EXE files for the games, Redneck Rampage, Redneck Rampage: Suckin' Grits on Route 66, and Redneck Rampage Rides Again. The pack comes with the shareware version of Redneck Rampage, and the files for the expansion.
To play the full version of the game as well as the sequel, you have to actually own the games to be able to provide the necessary files for the setup to work for those games. In the frontend for the program, you can specify the usual controls, input methods (like mouse and keyboard), graphical options like resolutions, audio options, as well as have easy access to saved games, be able to skip to a particular level, choose which addons and user levels to play, which also come bundled with the port, and plenty of them. And it also includes the Cuss Pack!
It doesn’t look as though there is a high resolution pack, (updating the game’s models or textures) for it yet, though.
The program downloads are quite heavy though- the v 1.6 port is over 100 MB, and you also have to install the v 1.8 over this, which is a lot smaller. The reason for such a big zip file is because of all the stuff that’s bundled with it, including cheats and walkthroughs for the games too. The port works in conjunction with DOSbox.
I would recommend this port for Redneck Rampage. ProAsm’s port for Shadow Warrior is also very good, and comes with a high resolution pack. He has a port for Duke Nukem 3D too, but the one I use is EDuke32, no doubt the best.
You can also buy the Redneck Rampage Collection on GOG.com (Good Old Games). It includes all games except Redneck Deer Huntin', and all the games are DRM (Digital Rights Management) free, and work with Windows operating systems, with Windows-based installers, and DOS-run exes.
You can also try to run the game on DOSbox if you all ready have it. I've also read about some running it on ports for Duke Nukem 3D such as JFDuke, perhaps because it's based directly on the game's source code.
What I think of it
Redneck Rampage is a fun outing with many amusing little quirks, and the hillbilly theme is definitely something different that I haven’t really seen much any other games, even modern ones, except perhaps for Hitman Blood Money, which had a few missions in places like Mississippi (said to be the worst state in the USA, and also rumoured to only have 12 surnames in the entire place).
Duke Nukem 3D will always be my favourite build game, though.
What do you think of Redneck Rampage?
Questions & Answers
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