I’ve spoken before about potential, right? That concept that somewhere along the line a really good idea gets bogged down by sloppy execution? There are a multitude of examples of it in the gaming world and to be fair, a lot of those games tend to be a case of ‘too many cooks’ or ‘not enough cooks’ or in some cases ‘probably burnt to a crisp by a rubbish cook’. Essentially, what games like that need are people to actually give a game some purpose or direction. People who can turn a great idea into a great game.
Banpresto are partly responsible for one of my FAVOURITE DS titles: Draglade. You may never have heard of it and if so BOO TO YOU GO FIND IT IMMEDIATELY AND DISCOVER WHY IT’S BONKERS AS ALL HELL GET OUT. And as such, I suppose I’m surprised that this game actually exists in the format that it does.
You ever see Power Rangers as a kid? I remember it being this kitsch, poorly-acted American ‘teen’ (use of the term incredibly loosely given that half of the cast were like mid-twenties as per the standard) action series where five obviously gifted in some unknown and unfathomable way teens were chosen to be the saviours of the Earth because some idiots let loose an alien witch BECAUSE OF COURSE YOU DO. LOOK AT THIS SUSPICIOUS MANHOLE STICKING OUT OF THE GROUND. LET US OPEN IT.
OH NO! WOMAN AND OTHER CREATURES INSIDE! RUN AWAY!
Because yes. That happens.
*RESEARCH TIME! Apparently, Red Ranger Austin St John was 19 when the series started and was the youngest cast member of the five original rangers! Good grief.*
So… if you’re making a game on the Power Rangers franchise… what avenue do you go down? You’ve got fighting teens who usually go into battle with the putties (or whatever the fuck they were meant to be) and then they face a slightly mightier enemy who then grows in size to be destroyed in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY by the Megazord.
What avenue do you go down?
It’s a fighting game. A one-on-one fighting game where ONE RANGER fights against the boss characters.
I’m sorry… did you not quite hear that? I didn’t quite hear how enraged you were at how much of a missed opportunity this was to actually… you know… MAKE A DECENT GAME IDEA WORK.
Look, I don’t MIND the idea of a fighting game. It DOES make some sense but HOLY FUCK HOW THEY NOT SEE THIS FRANCHISE AND THINK BEAT ‘EM UP. LET’S DO A PROPER OLD-SCHOOL STREETS OF RAGE-A-THON GAME WITH LOADS OF PUTTY ENEMIES AND THEN A MEGAZORD BATTLE AT THE END OF IT? I mean… seriously. Whatever, man, I don’t give a fuck.
Good frickin’ God, they had the chance and they wasted it.
Instead, we got a one-on-one fighter where all of the main characters (i.e. the Power Rangers themselves) are pretty much the same character.
And actually this ties into my gripe with the series in general. Character development was pretty much a massive no-no for that show. I mean… you got a sense of each character’s personality. Kimberly was the gymnast, Jason was the sparky martial artist, Billy was the geek, Trini was… Trini, and Zack was the smooth operator.
But as Power Rangers, we never really saw… any personality at all. There was no way of really telling who was who aside from costume colours. Everyone fought in the same way and never really had any special talents to bring to the battles. They SHOULD have made use of Kimberley gymnastic abilities much more than they actually did. I mean, I know the fight scenes were stolen from the original KyoryuSentai Zyuranger series so it was difficult for them to show it but…
UGH. STILL BAD.
LIKE THIS GAME.
Every character you play as in story mode plays in the same way save for ONE special technique EACH. Billy uses his weapon for a charge attack. Zack uses a Hurricane Tackle attack and Trini divebombs from the air. As for the other two, well fucked if I could work out their special attacks. I managed to find the power blaster attack FOR ALL OF THEM. But outside of that? Really came up with nothing.
So after you defeat the enemies once in battle, you then get the opportunity to listen to Rita Repulsa reel off her usual “OH NO, YOU DEFEATED MY CREATURE! NOW LET’S MAKE HIM A LARGER FEATURE!” spiel and watch as he grows… no taller on the screen.
Yeah, potential: wasted.
Given that there’s so much room on the screen for the characters to fit, to make the sprites as small as they did is a bizarre feat in itself. I mean it doesn’t really detract from the experience, particularly seeing as most other things do, but it really could have done with a little more polish in the presentation. It’s actually not too bad-looking at all. It’s a bit staid and bland at times and the animation can be a bit lacking but on the whole, the game looks reasonable enough. If only those sprites were bigger.
So after the enemy grows to their new massive size, you have to bring out the MEGAZORD (not a euphemism, but it will be now…) and fight it again. Basically, this is like round 2 of the battle and it needs a bit of juxtaposition in between the rounds to spice things up a bit. Because it was just SO heated that you need a break. You need to read some babbling text and then watch as lifeless screens of the Megazord ‘connecting’ together show up with some fizzly speech in the background yelling something teen-ish or whatever. I dunno, they probably said ‘Power Rangers on fleek’ or some such shit, I don’t give a fuck.
So after round 2 is over, the monster explodes and you’re back to playing as one of the rangers again.
And you can choose any of them before the battle, which is a nice enough touch. It does allow you the chance to play as each ranger BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE A BLOODY DIFFERENCE WHEN ALL OF THEIR MOVESETS BAR ONE MOVE ARE THE SAME.
And then you do this another four times in total and that’s it. Five levels. One of those is against Tommy, the Green Ranger, who you manage to snap out of his stupor by SHOOTING HIM IN THE FACE (seriously) and then he joins your team. His moveset is SLIGHTLY different but that’s not enough of an excuse.
Also, you will notice these initial battles all have the same stage background. Cheap, guys. Cheap.
I’m actually running out of things to say about this game purely because there is so little actually here. There’s no arcade mode so you can’t even take one of the rangers through the game in a proper fighting game way like Street Fighter.
There’s only two buttons: normal and fierce, leaving pretty much four other buttons unused for no discernible reason. I mean… FOUR BUTTONS. What an absolute waste that is to not even BOTHER to use the game’s controls correctly. They could and SHOULD have at the very least included a third attack button and there is no logical reason, other than bad design, for them not to have included it.
The controls are responsive enough though and you do get a sense that you’re actually playing as one of the Power Rangers, although you’ll never really tell which one it is. Seriously. Can I not stress that enough? Pffft. I dunno. I don’t give a fuck.
But here’s the problem, and it is something I have mentioned before: WHAT. A. WASTE. OF. POTENTIAL.
This is a game that should have been a proper side-scrolling beat ’em up. There were five obvious characters, six if we include Tommy, and each of them COULD have been given a different moveset to differentiate them. Each of them could have been able to bring out their weapons for a short period of time to attack enemies. You would most likely have had a mass of putties on screen all at once but you could have differentiated those – throw in a couple of other enemies from later on in the show’s runs. Basically… you could have had SO much with this game and somehow you chose to turn into a substandard fighter without any hint of personality or oomph. We could have had Street of Power Rangers. Think about it. Jason high-kicking the crap out of everyone. Trini divebombing like an eagle through swathes of putties. Zack dancing his way through enemies like a boss. Kimberly flipping about like a berserker gymnast. And Billy… being Billy. Whatever he does. He sorta did the whole “I don’t know how to fight” but can clearly kick ass throughout the series even though he was much more concerned with looking RIDICULOUS in his geeky clothes and whatnot.
It just lent itself so well to that idea. The thing about the Power Rangers was that they worked together. They made this HUGE thing about teamwork and working and staying together and whatnot but shoving that into a one-on-one fighter… kinda doesn’t feel genuine for that very reason. It feels like the developers forgot that IMPORTANT part of what made Power Rangers… a bit less shit. They tried to give a message out in some episodes although a lot of the time they ended being tremendously stilted and VERY poorly done. I mean, later episodes usually revolved around characters being arrogant and not realising they’re arrogant until they did something arrogant and realised they were arrogant.
Power Rangers in a nutshell.
You’re not missing anything. Trust me. They’re onto their ninetieth iteration, right? Have I got that right? Maybe eighty-ninth. I dunno. I don’t give a fuck.
And that is my major issue with this game in general. As I was playing through it, I genuinely couldn’t give a fuck about any of it. It went nowhere, the storyline was the same thing five times over and if truth be told, it never even FINISHED as a story. After five battles, all the rangers do is blow up Rita’s hideout with a Ultra Mega Hyper Super Mega Mega Power Zord or whatever, and then the game tells you that you won.
I don’t even know how we managed to get the Super Ultra Hyper Mega Delta Alpha Ex Plus Gem Fighter Zor-
FUCK OFF ZANGIEF. I’M WARNING YOU.
Anyway, I don’t know how they got their Megazord to the Moon to shoot Rita’s hideout in the first place. THE MOON.
THE FUCKING MOON. THOSE POWER RANGER SUITS ARE NOT SPACESUITS.
I don’t buy it. I don’t.
Look, it is not an AWFUL game by any stretch. It is, at best passable. It does its job, slightly poorly, but it actually isn’t much of an experience, even for fans of the TV show. It doesn’t work in the way it should at all and to be honest, it OUGHT to have been a lot better. It feels lazy and choppy from start to finish and given that the source material lends itself to being represented WELL in a video game (IT’S BASICALLY A VIDEO GAME AS A TV SHOW), it’s just straight up disappointing.
And now I’m thinking of the possibility behind a Power Rangers game in the style of Dynasty Warriors HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT WOULD EPIC BEYOND ALL REASON.
BILLY: GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND GET KOEI ON THE PHONE.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO WORK A FUCKING COMPUTER, YOU BASICALLY ARE A COMPUTER.
Do you know what? I’ll do it myself.
Or you could choose five teenagers with attitude to do this for me.
GO GO MAKE MY PHONE CALL!