A Poor Man’s Final Fight
Nowadays, if a kid admits that he enjoys Power Rangers, he will probably get beat up in the schoolyard. What’s worse is if he admits that he plays with their action figures or their video games. Therefore, this newest Power Ranger game is made with the target audience of young children in mind.
The Power Rangers have gone through many phases and styles with Ninjas being the new fad. The Ninja Power Rangers must stop a new evil with their new ninja powers. Although the Rangers have recently been given the title of Ninja, they do not deserve it in any way. Ninjas are built upon the idea of using extreme stealth while killing quietly and swiftly. Nowhere in this game can these Power Rangers be mistaken for ninjas. They should be given the name of Boring Rangers: The Pressing “B” Masters. Why the “Pressing B Masters”? Because this is the only button you will press throughout the entire game. Clearly the difficulty and simplicity of this game is designed for the young fans that watch the show. The backbone of this game is a 2D sidescrolling fighter. It is pretty similar to the popular Final Fight series with the exception that the player can only move linearly. The player cannot move up or down.
Although the player is given the option to jump, this game is still considered a beat’em up instead of a platformer. The player will only find the need to jump on rare occasions. Attacking takes up the main portion of the game’s action. A Ranger will be faced against armies of bad guys that take one or two hits to be defeated. This might sound like it is action packed, but it is not. Enemies are easily and quickly defeated.
At the beginning of the game, the player must choose which Power Ranger to play as. All the playable characters are pretty much the same with the exception of their weapon of choice. Rarely, an enemy will drop a new weapon to be used by the Ranger. For example, the Red Ranger starts off with a sword, but he can switch his weapon to a cross that shoots bullets. Besides your basic attack button, if the “R” trigger is held down, a laser gun can be charged up and shot. A meter in the lower left of the screen tells how much laser gun power is left. This meter will slowly regenerate over time. If for some reason the player thinks that the action is getting too hard, “L” is used to block incoming attacks. Blocking is an unnecessary part of the game because the player will be constantly attacking. There is very little reason to block.
At the end of each sidescrolling level is a boss. Boss battles are easy. No wait, let me rephrase that; boss battles are VERY easy. I beat every boss by standing still with only tapping on the “B” button. After these bland boss battles, the enemy grows taller than a building. The Ranger then hops in his patented over-sized puppet to battle the evil monster. It would be pretty safe to assume that these Godzilla type battles would be action packed and exciting. Once again, this is not the case. Instead of real time fighting, the combat is menu based. These battles are similar to the simple game of tug-o-war. There is meter at the bottom. If the player scores a hit, then his side of the meter grows. If he receives the hit, then his side depletes. Once the player owns the meter the battle is over. In order to hit the enemy, an icon displaying either the “A” or “B” button will scroll across a specific area of the screen. For example, if an “A” icon appears at the top of the screen, then the player must quickly tap “Up” and “A” before the enemy does. This part of the game is based more on quick reflexes.
During these boss battles, the camera will pan and show action shots similar to the show. Fans of the television series will enjoy this special touch because it provides a stronger connection to the show. Even though these still frame graphic images are of poor quality, the player will feel that they are taking part in the show.
Besides from grainy pictures, the animations are horrible. They consist of two frames. The best animation is when the Ranger is idle because there are about four frames of animation. I laughed when I walked while ducking. The Ranger walks as if he is performing some kind of odd, Russian dance. This is just a very strange animation. Another corny visual effect occurs when the player defeats the boss in his “big form.” Instead of dying a horrible death from a long, painful, and action packed battle, the enemy collapses into a simple dust cloud. Usually if a massive robot or monster dies, sparks will fly and people will scream in terror. What happens if a Power Ranger destroys an evil eighty-foot monster? A puff of smoke. Besides from the sub par graphics, the music needs a tune up as well. The music is so plain that I didn’t even really notice there was music on. Ninja Storm could also use some more sound effects. They are practically nonexistent.
The only kind of replay value this game offers this is through battling as the different Rangers. There are three sets of Rangers to choose from, but as stated earlier, the only main difference is the type of weapon used. This game is for one player only. This is a shame because brawlers are best played with a partner. There is no linking option of any kind.
The game makes use of a password system. Battery backup would have been nice, but the password is only three characters long. Having a three-character password isn’t a bad idea because the player can probably remember it without the hassle of writing it down.
Only young children still obsessed with the Power Rangers will play this game. Parents will probably purchase this game simply because of the name. However, if young children (and adults) are looking for something a little more in the beat’em up style of game play, then they should look into the remake of Final Fight One or wait for the soon to be released Double Dragon and River City Ransom. Power Rangers: Ninja Storm is not worthy of a recommendation because of the boring game play, the lacking graphics, and misleading title. Just don’t get caught with it on the schoolyard.