Retro Coin Op Synopsis

Strategy, puzzle and action games fused into one in Atari’s Rampart, one of the most unusual games of the early 1990’s. Looking like a cross between Risk and Tetris, Rampart actually shared little in common with either, engaging up to three players in Medieval battle on land and on sea.

Each game took place on a lush green battlefield, seen from an overhead view. Several castles were up for grabs, and after each player selected his or her home castle, walls automatically formed around it. Your next decision was cannon placement, setting your offensive weapons down inside the castle walls, anywhere there was room.

Once bases were chosen and cannons placed, the real fun began. With the warning to “Prepare for Battle,” the game launched into a cannonball-firing free-for-all. In the two- or three-player game, rival castles fired on each other, trying to knock out walls before time ran out. After the damage was tallied, the “Build and Repair” phase began. Using Tetris-like blocks, players rebuilt the walls around their damaged castles and used the remaining time to expand their strongholds and enclose other castles on the map. Every enclosed space gave more room to place cannons, and as long as one castle was completely surrounded, that player moved on for another round of conquest.

The one-player game shared much in common with the multi-player, but instead of firing at and receiving fire from fellow players, your castle traded shots with approaching ships. Once the ships reached shore, they launched mini-cannons onto the ground, which would block your rebuilding efforts and fire back in the battle phase. Once one map was conquered, the player moved on to a new one, raising his or her ramparts on a fresh battleground.

Rampart arrived at the height of the puzzle game heyday, as Tetris and descendants like Klax and Columns managed to hang with the popular fighting games at the top of the arcade charts. Unfortunately, Rampart was left out of the genre’s glory days. The game’s building/battling nature may have simply been too much for younger gamers, who opted for another round of Final Fight instead.

Despite its lack of major success in the arcade, Rampart caught on with groups of die-hard gamers, who loved the game’s multi-player strategy/action combo and still cherish it as one of the highlights of the late 80’s/early 90’s puzzle boom

Arcade Machine Release History

1990 - Rampart

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