Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.


Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

There are few action heroes more recognizable than Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo. Introduced in the movie First Blood, Rambo’s commando style has become iconic, particularly with the sequel, Rambo: First Blood: Part 2. With an international box office smash in the 80’s, a video game tie-in was inevitable. Today’s game is Rambo, developed by Pack-In-Video and released on the NES in 1987.

Rambo follows the plot of First Blood: Part 2. John Rambo is in prison after his rampage in First Blood. He has been given a deal, head to Vietnam and find evidence of POWs so that the army can recover them and he will be pardoned for his crimes. He is told to photograph the enemy and not to engage or rescue the prisoners. So, Rambo is flown into the warzone and sets off to investigate.

Rambo is a side-scrolling action game with some light RPG elements thrown in as well. In the beginning, Rambo faces off against various jungle creatures, large bees, snakes and jaguars, as was common on the NES back in the 80’s. Each kill grants Rambo experience points which levels him up. The general plot follows First Blood: Part 2 quite closely with Rambo being sent to meet up with Co in the jungle and the mission being a trap for Rambo that he must persevere through in order to survive. Rambo starts with his combat knife but does pick up a number of other limited weapons as well such as arrows, grenades, and even a rifle.

Rambo allows players to move around on a relatively large map by using symbols on the ground to move Rambo north or south. With the limited NES color palette, this creates a maze for players to journey through that can be hard to navigate without making a map.

Rambo was moderately well received at the time although most agree that it has not aged well compared to most NES titles. Then there were the missed expectations as well. Many expected Rambo to be more in line with the Contra games as run-and-gun shooters rather than the slow action against jungle animals seen in Rambo. Pack-In-Video would go on to make a number of other 80’s action properties into games such as Predator and Knight Rider although they would eventually go defunct in 1996.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.