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CONSOLE: Sega Genesis DEVELOPER: Banpresto PUBLISHER: Sega
RELEASE DATE (NA): June 15, 1995 GENRE: Beat-'em-up
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

Oozing with inaccuracy?

Imagine the potential of a game based on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie. Ivan Ooze bellowing about the Spanish Inquisition, while conducting an orchestra of 16-bit destruction... Now imagine it squandered. Well, actually, you needn't have to, because this old school beat-'em-up shows us exactly how underwhelming a movie tie-in game can be. But it's not without its merits, so read on, intrepid Power Rangers fans!

The game opens up in a quite promising way. A summary of the main series plot is presented neatly with a fantastic rendition of the opening theme. In fact, all the music in this game is sourced from the television show. Ron Wasserman's sharp electric guitar-fuelled power metal rock blasts are converted for the console sound chip and it sounds truly exquisite. At least the game tries to summarise the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers for those who might just be new to the whole thing, unlike some of the other games. In Super Legends, they assume you know everything about the Power Rangers from 1995 to 2006... I stopped watching before the 2000s existed.

From the immediate get go, looks are deceiving. The quality of sprite art on the characters, and the attention to detail in the background, are fantastic. Absolutely no gripes whatsoever when it comes to presentation. The artwork, great. The soundtrack, awesome. It radiates brilliance, both loudly and brightly. But a few moments in, after a few groups of purple enemies, it hits me. What the game needs is variety. Variety! Like those Kellogg's packs where they let you try out each of the breakfast cereals. After the seventh or eight patrol of Ivan Ooze's Oozemen, that's when I noticed what the game was going to do. Repeat the same enemies again and again, without anything interesting going on.

Variety is all the game needs. Even the controls are great. There's a mixture of combo moves, special moves, and held charged attacks. The Rangers even fight with their weaponry from the main show. Wait, that's weird. They didn't use their weapons in the movie. It's probably nothing... Or is it? Foreshadowing!

Goldar shows off his impressive new set of Ginsu knives... on a Megazord's face.

After battling through the entire first stage, the game presented me with a cutscene. It waffles on and on for ages, and recaps the entire movie. What I really don't understand is why large chunks of the movie, which would have made for some great play moments, are skipped in exchange for a quick summary. Wouldn't it have been fun to fight the Tengu on Planet Phaedos? What about using the Ninjetti powers to defeat the Stone Guardians? Well, we will never get to find out. Those plot points are presented as story sequences only.

So what were these awesome opportunities exchanged for? Well, I'm pleased to announce that if you love Oozemen, you're going to love the second level. Yes, unfortunately, the second level is more of the same. More Oozemen. Boredom started to sink in, and I almost put the game down there. Are we really going to do this? No variety? Nothing different? I've not seen so much wasted potential, not ever. No incentive to carry on? Maybe I should stop. Are Power Rangers video games cursed? Let's hold on before we make snap judgements.

After about twenty minutes, the game finally shows some variety, with a battle against Ivan Ooze's Ecto-Morphicons. It doesn't last long, but the battle is different, and that's a good thing. Besides, who doesn't want to play as the Falcon Megazord? Oh, but the Falcon Megazord is borderline grating to control. Stick with the Thunder Ninja Megazord. You can even do a silly dance if you use your dashing move repeatedly.

Because the game would be over far too soon; instead of then taking on Ivan Ooze, the story jumps backwards in time to the second season of the show. And now, my theory: this game wasn't going to be about the movie at all. The next four levels are full of variety. The game starts out slow and becomes so much better almost instantaneously.

First, the Rangers fight against the sentinels created by Lord Zedd. You get to fight three bosses, simultaneously, as a Megazord of your choice. Later, you save teenagers that have been kidnapped by Lord Zedd. You can even find a very well hidden boss battle against the dark lord himself. He's a pushover though. The following level has barrages of molten rocks and ends with the player destroying a statue. I don't even know what is going on, but at least it's different! After that, it's back to Angel Grove to take on Ivan Ooze. Wait, I spot a glaring mistake. The rangers never fought Ivan Ooze at daytime throughout the whole film. Actually, the levels based on the movie aren't even properly based on it!

Given the level of variety within the middle section of the game, I believe it is clear to assume that this game was originally going to be based on the television series exclusively. The ROM header for the game even directly calls it "Power Rangers 2"; there is no mention of the movie. The title screen looks rushed, and the ending cutscene feels weak, too. The parts of the game that stand up strongest are the parts based on the television series. It explains why they have their weapons from the show, too.

I think the middle of this game is where it shines for sure. The first two missions are a joke, and a bad representation of the rest of the game. Yeah, I think the key thing here is to remember that the game is about an hour long, and only fifteen or twenty minutes of it is brilliant. It is up to you whether you battle through it for that middle section of gleeful fun, or if you don't bother at all. There are worse Power Rangers games, and I do recommend this particular game not so much to beat-'em-up fans, but I think Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers fans are really going to enjoy themselves somewhere along the way. If you want to punish yourself, you haven't forgotten Super Legends, have you? Pick the lesser evil by jamming this Ecto-Morthicart into your SEGA Genesis and flicking that GO switch.

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