hunterob's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (Genesis) review

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Note first and foremost that the Sega Genesis version of this game is entirely different from the one on the SNES. That one was developed by Natsume, this one by Banpresto. Yes - the renowned Banpresto. Apparently they were a toy company who made a handful of licensed Japanese-centric games. Also note that though most (if not all) of their games were only released in Japan, though this one was released only in North America even though it was developed by Japan. Note further that this is based on the first movie of the show which essentially a handful of random scenes of a live action Japanese action show cut together with cheesy American plotlines/actors - a bastardization, one could say. So a Japanese company develops a game based on a movie based on an American show based on a Japanese show, and only releases the game in North America. Hope that didn't make your head hurt. You can probably stop noting now.

In my quest to purchase every halfway decent beat-em-up on the Genesis, I came across this mixed bag. It's not because I'm a huge Power Rangers fan. I owned this movie on VHS as a kid. I never liked it.

The gameplay is solid due to the sheer breadth of moves available for each Ranger. You can choose one of the 6 Rangers, or 2 if you somehow convinced someone to play with you. With 2 different jump attacks and even a charge attack, the controls beat some of the greats of the genre. I've never encountered a charge attack in a beat-em-up before (where you hold down the attack button for a more powerful attack) and it adds a lot, and that's something it has over even Final Fight and Streets of Rage 2. Each Ranger has their own unique weapon to use for this, giving the player a real reason to switch around. You'll also find yourself changing characters to provide change to such an unfortunately repetitive affair.

Beat-em-up's can be repetitive. There are many factors that a beat-em-up has to employ to successfully engage the player throughout a playthrough. Streets of Rage 2 is the example most would point to as having executed that properly, and even then it'll bore most of the casual audience after a couple stages. Power Rangers fails to provide variety in both music and enemies - two of the most vital things. You will fight the same enemy over and over in each stage. One stage will have all of one certain enemy, and the next may use the other kind of enemy. There's some other kind of sub-boss that isn't used very well. That's really it. There may be a story for it, but no one can say this isn't lazy. This kills the enjoyment of a game that could have been great. Enemy types need to be varied in a beat-em-up; this can't be stressed enough.

Speaking of the story, they try to tell one here. Apparently they both try to cover the events of the movie and flashbacks of events during the show that happened before the events of the movie. The characters change between chapters due to this, though this has no effect on anything other than the character portrait at the select screen. You never even get to play as the Green ranger, despite a subplot about him becoming the White ranger. This jumping back and forth between stories just feels disjointed, and less interesting than it would be if they focused more on reinterpreting the story and locales of the movie. Not that the story could ever be incredible due to the source material, anyway.

Megazord stages break up the action and bring something kind of fresh, but they aren't that great. It's a boss fight on a different scale, where you have to be a character with different moves. They're not bad though, and they do their job for the game as a whole.

The game is too easy. When you master the controls, it'll be fun at first to play at such a high skill level, but it will quickly get boring despite the variety in the moveset. The difficulty and the repetitive nature otherwise work to weigh the large moveset down. Perhaps it would be more enjoyable if the difficulty were turned up - I don't know, I didn't tinker with the options at all. If it is an option I would recommend a higher difficulty over the default.

This game is old, obscure, too easy, repetitive, and based on a licensed property that really (when it comes to the movie) can't be that appealing to anybody. If you can get past those facts, and you're a big fan of either the Power Rangers, the Sega Genesis or the beat-em-up genre, this game may be worth a playthrough. That's if you have any interest in it, and if you have a decent means to play it. I paid little for a boxed copy, and I feel as though it was totally worth every dollar.

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