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RELEASE DATE (NA): September 1994 GENRE: Platformer
// review by SoyBomb

Go, Go, Teenaged Vigilantes!

You know what we need more of nowadays? We need more teenagers with attitude because... er, wait, actually, we need fewer. Sorry. In the mid-1990s, they seemed to be a rare species because Zordon and Alpha-5 had to conduct a search to find such beings to become their Power Rangers. Nowadays, they could just transport five staff members at Old Navy and have a pretty good success rate.

Contrary to its Sega Genesis counterpart (which was developed and published by entirely different companies), the SNES version of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers is, for the most part, a side-scrolling beat-'em-up with some platforming thrown in for good measure. The first five stages start by letting you choose your favourite ranger. In other words, very few people will be picking Billy, and with good reason: he seems a bit overweight in this rendition, and he covers his head like a wuss when he punches. He's a far step from your typical superhero. Unlike in Super Mario Bros. 2 (where you can also select your character before each stage), the choice you make really doesn't affect the gameplay. Each Ranger may have his or her own special funky moves, but there is no clear advantage other than personal preference. Want to see the Pink Ranger flaunt her stuff in the park? Make it so, Kimberly.

Each area around Angel Grove has been overrun with Rita Repulsa's Putty Patrol, so you'll be in charge of wiping them out. Alone. Without backup. This game should be called Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger because the level of teamwork in these scenarios is pathetic. And aside from bosses, there are no other enemies to fight except for Putties. Just because they come in various colours does not mean they are different! Then again, on the actual show, what else did they fight? In other brawlers like Final Fight, Double Dragon, and Streets of Rage, characters are able to move not only left and right, but also up and down on the Y-plane. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers takes a step back and allows you to only walk left or right. This is counteracted, however, by the action elements where the Rangers will need to climb their way up and shuffle across platforms. In additional, environmental hazards and a few robots here and there will keep you on your toes. And yes, there's an underwater level. That's right: now the Power Rangers are swimming. How can we repeal this video game law requiring a water level in every game?

You start each stage as a teenager, not as a Power Ranger, perhaps head-scratchingly so. Why, when the entire town is becoming infested with Putties, would you NOT morph into a Power Ranger and take them out, no problem? If a fellow citizen were to see you jump-kicking Putties down the street, would they not be suspicious of you, possibly equating you with the Power Rangers? Wasn't your identity supposed to be a secret (for... some reason...)? It isn't until the boss character appears that your selected teen suddenly decides that it's time to don their colourful costume (and gain some significant muscle mass in the process). Unfortunately, the boss will then flee the scene and you'll have to deal with another half of a stage before that destined battle begins. Once you are a Power Ranger, you will not only gain new moves and a snappy weapon, but you will also have a special ability that can only be used once, provided you have found an enabling item, that deals a ton of damage to any enemies on screen. It's labelled as "BOMB" beside your life bar. It must be a bomb.

Whether in the park or in space, the Rangers'll get things done! Then it's back to the gym for more 'nastics, martial arts practice, and banana shakes.

After you complete all five levels, the game switches gears to a fighter-style pair of showdowns as the Rangers hop into their Dinozords and fuse together to become the Megazord. There, the Megazord must fight against Mutitus, a zombie creature who was the first to ever take down the Megazord and Dragonzord in the TV series, and two forms of Cyclopsis, a cyclops. (Yes, a cyclops. What did you expect, a mermaid?) The Megazord can use his sword, even though it only seemed to be called down at the very last minute on the show. As well, there is a power bar at the bottom of the screen that slowly increases over time; the higher the meter is, the more powerful your special attack can be (and it can deal some significant damage that can make or break the battle). It's a little jarring to have two fighter levels just thrown in at the end, but they're moderately entertaining.

The game looks fairly clean, and the animations on the characters are pretty neat. Although the Power Rangers share a very similar appearance and move list — they are a mere palette swap of each other, which explains how Trini gets so much muscle mass in her legs after the transformation and why Kimberly actually uses her bow like a sword — they are far more unique in "regular teenager with attitude" mode, often boasting unique moves and animations. Particularly notable is Zack, the Black Ranger, who pulls a sweet break-dancing kick every once in a while to fend off nasties. The environs are nothing to write home about (if you write home about video game backgrounds and such), but they are functional. The audio is typical, full of generic punches and whacks, but at least the music is chock-full of its fair share of pseudo-rock guitar riffs.

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers won't exactly require a significant time investment (an hour to an hour and a half is a pretty safe bet, plus the game sports passwords after every stage), but what it does provide is a fairly fun, if not sometimes generic, platformer that lets you play as some of the most rebellious teenagers known to man. You'll feel like you're really in Angel Grove! Too bad you can't play as Bulk and Skull. It would be simply thrilling to trip over park benches.

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