So this means that Mr. Rambo is now 74 years old?

Review Date: March 28, 2021

Release Date: May 1, 1988

Platform: NES

Publisher: Acclaim

Genre: Nonlinear Platformer

How symbolic. I’d jump out of a plane, too, if I were forced to play this game.

Anecdotes: Looking around the Internet, there seems to be a general opinion that Acclaim ripped off Zelda II and pretty much copied nearly anything they could. However, Rambo was released first, as I haven’t covered Zelda II yet. (It’s scheduled for April 4.) So how could Rambo have cloned a game that didn’t exist yet? Well, that required checking out the release dates in Japan. Zelda II was released at the start of 1987; Rambo was released in December of that year. They had 11 months to rip it off and they STILL failed to make it halfway decent.

Description: Half naked idiot in a jungle? Where have I seen this before? What’s with all these games taking place in jungles? Other than them ripping off the jungle shooters, they also ripped off even harder Zelda II. I mean, look at this:

This cave is copied from Zelda II: the shape, the colors, how it becomes orange after obtaining the lamp, and then there’s the short range knife, the shadows on the floor, the EXP number on screen, and about 50,000 other things.

Positives: The game offers infinite continues and even a password if players realize that “pausing” during a dialogue scene will bring it up. It also uses every conversation as a checkpoint, so if Rambo dies, he goes back to the last person he talked to.

Co, Co, Co the boat, gently down the stream…

Negatives: There’s so much crap that I don’t even know where to begin. Ignoring how characters look in the action screens, what is up with the ridiculous, cartoonish look of the characters in the dialogue boxes? Take a look:

And I’m supposed to take these guys seriously? By the way, if Rambo wants to save the kid, shouldn’t he go to the cave?

Only Co got away with a good portrait. Everyone else looks absurd.


While that’s just silly, the game’s mapping system should have been left on the cutting floor. The North/South tiles are fine, but often, they are one way, so players can’t return easily. That’s bad, but the East/West navigation is much worse. Rooms can loop around. Rooms can lead into other rooms north or south of the current room. Rooms also can lead to something totally different by exiting the same way Rambo entered. It’s impossible to map and difficult to memorize.

Here come the killer flamingoes.

Grade: F

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