Such is the premise that begins Rampage by Activision for the 7800, a game that was translated, believe it or not, for the 2600 but which really shines in its 7800 version.
Your role in Rampage is simple - DESTROY! You get to be one of three different monsters - George, an ape; Lizzie, a lizard; and Ralph, a werewolf. They're transformed by things like drinking an experimental multi-vitamin, being exposed to a radioactive lake and, of all things, anger over a sausage scam.
You're out to smash the buildings while avoiding being hurt by people shooting at you from the building windows, tanks shooting at you from the ground, helicopters shooting at you from the sky and little punks carrying dynamite. Seems everyone is out to get you! The upside is you can destroy everything and eat the people to boost your energy - now, how many video games let you EAT people? You can also grab other items from the buildings to boost your energy, but be careful - some items will hurt you and drain your energy. While jumping off a building won't hurt you, you will be hurt if you fall - whether by being knocked off or if you fall down with the building.
Take too much damage and you'll mutate back to your tiny, naked human self. Not to fear - push the fire button to start a new game and you'll grow back to your furry alter-ego.
The game has great, colorful graphics and many of the arcade elements, such as the between city dateline levels with frantic messages about your rampage which also sometimes offer advice. The opening music is good, as are the in-game sound effects. There's no in-game music, but you'll be so busy smashing buildings you won't care.
The difference between the three characters is only in appearance; they all do the same things. You'll need a 7800 controller for this game, as one fire button punches and the other jumps.
While the 2600 version of Rampage is a fine attempt, trying to preserve much of the features that make the game fun, it comes up noticeably short because of the limited graphics capability. The characters look terrible, not much better than Donkey Kong - George and Lizzie are identical except for color and Ralph is too except for ears that look like horns - and the buildings have nowhere near the detail. Although, in the 2600 version your character is brought out dangling from a blimp and falls to the ground; on the 7800, you're just there on the street. But, again because of the graphics limitations, it's hard to tell what the heck it is dangling from that blimp because it doesn't look like anything recognizable.
Overall, the 7800 version is far superior and a lot more fun to play. Both games seem to be rare, but if you can find 7800
Rampage, it's a great addition to any collection.