Rambo III Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

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Rambo III (3) was one of the early Sega Genesis and Mega Drive titles, released back in 1989 for the US and in 1990 for Europe. It’s based fairly loosely on the film of the same name, which was a typical 80s action movie starring the muscle-bound Sylvester Stallone. Personally, I preferred the first two films, but this one still had a few memorable moments.

“Who’s This?” “I’m Your Worst Nightmare”

Most of the game is played from the perspective above Rambo, apart from a few boss battles where you must take down a helicopter or tank. The graphics are actually pretty good for such an early title, especially in these boss battles and during the digitised cutscenes.

As Rambo you are equipped with bombs, explosive arrows, a machine gun and his trusty knife which all serve a specific purpose. The bombs are used to destroy walls and watchtowers, the bow and arrows can be used to blow up barrels and ammo boxes, and the knife can be used up close to kill enemies. Why would you get up close if you can just use your machine gun? Well, because killing them this way can earn you extra ammo for special weapons and some much needed extra lives!

As you would expect, this game is very action orientated and fast paced at times. There are several moments where you have to fight your way through an overwhelming number of enemies, making some of the later levels quite difficult. Thankfully, there are some mission objectives that help break up the repetitive gameplay, such as finding a spy and destroying the enemy ammo reserves.

“To Survive A War, You Gotta Become War”

There are six levels in total which don’t follow the film too closely, but that doesn’t matter too much. The purpose here is to play as John Rambo, blowing up and shooting as many things as possible. The switch in perspective for the tank and helicopter boss battles always stood out for me and the detail in the graphics here are good for such an early title.

The sound effects are pleasingly loud and help deliver that arcade feel when running and gunning. The background music on the other hand has it’s ups and downs, with the third mission probably featuring my favourite tune.

Difficulty wise, Rambo 3 isn’t too bad. I’ve known a few people to have problems escaping the second mission, but once you find out where to go it makes it a lot easier. Later levels can be tough due to the sheer amount of enemies thrown at you, but beating this game shouldn’t be out of reach after a few plays.

There is also a two-player mode, but unfortunately it’s not co-operative. Instead you take it in turns to play through each mission or after one of you loses a life. I think this game would have been better with two players on the screen at once, but me and my Dad still had a lot of fun with this when I was a kid.

Rambo III Review Summary

B Recommended
Rambo 3 is a pretty good game considering it’s age. It's not the best game on the system, but it's not the worst either. Obviously being such an early title there are some drawbacks to the graphics and gameplay, but it still provides an enjoyable experience in my opinion. I would say it’s not an essential purchase, but if you can find it for a reasonable price, you’re likely to have some fun with it.

My first games console was the Mega Drive and I've been in love with video games ever since. Over the years I've owned many systems, which I hope to cover in the future. Most of the things I write and do videos about is considered "retro", but I do enjoy playing my Xbox One and PS4 as well...

Posted on October 19, 2015 | Last modified: 2nd February 2016