Also Available For: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Game Gear, and Mega CD
If you were a kid back in the early nineties, right after you finished up being obsessed with what we in the UK know as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (1987 to 1996), and before Pokémon (1997 to present) took my generation by storm, you were all about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993 to 1996). Cobbled together from stock footage from the Japanese tokusatsu series Gosei Sentai Dairanger (1993 to 1994) and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (1994 to 1995), Power Rangers focused on five teens “with attitude” (despite the fact they were a bunch of geeky do-gooders who couldn’t break a rule if they were held at gunpoint) imbued with superhuman powers and abilities. Harnessing the power of the dinosaurs, they could transform into martial arts superheroes and conjure giant mechs to battle against the forces of evil. To say Power Rangers was a cultural phenomenon would be an understatement; parents were outraged at the glorification of violence but we headed out in our droves to buy every bit of Power Rangers merchandise we could, from t-shirts to action figures. Given its dominion over the playground and the airwaves, you know that this also meant the franchise received its own multi-platform videogame that I’m sure hapless kids everywhere begged their parents to buy for them.
The evil Rita Repulsa conjures a series of horrific minions to terrorise Angel Grove and only the Power Rangers can stop her. I mean, what else did you expect? It’s basically the plot of every single Power Rangers episode, and features recognisable monsters from the show’s first series.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a simple 2D fighting game; you can choose to battle head-to-head with a friend or take on the game’s Scenario Mode, where you’ll battle one of Rita’s minions in a format that will be more than familiar to anyone who has played a Street Fighter (Capcom, 1987 to present) videogame.
However, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (ibid, 1991) this is not; first of all, you’re (unsurprisingly) limited to only six playable characters (the titular Power Rangers). Each plays largely the same and the variations come only in their special attacks and weapons; the Red Ranger wields a sword but the Black Ranger has an axe, for example.
After you face, and defeat, the evil Green Ranger (in my opinion, the greatest Power Ranger of all time), he becomes a playable character as well. There’s one main difference between playing as the Green Ranger compared to the other Rangers, though, and that’s in the game’s other battle mode.
Once you defeat Rita’s monster, she’ll make it grow (as she is wont to do…) and the Rangers summon the Megazord to battle it. The Green Ranger, however, summons the Dragonzord but it basically amounts to the same thing: smash the buttons until you whittle away the enemy’s health bar and win. If you’re looking for depth…well, there isn’t any. Power Rangers the game has about as much depth and variety as Power Rangers the television show; I literally sat there, mashing buttons and hardly even trying, and never lost a single round. When I fought the Green Ranger as the Black Ranger, I did one whirlwind attack with Zack’s blade and won without Tommy landing a single hit!
The game is also pathetically short; you always battle the monster on the same stage for the first fight but, once you’ve battled all five of Rita’s minions, the game is over and you’ve pretty much done everything Power Rangers has to offer in less than an hour. Unless you suck at videogames, but I’d wager even if that is the case you could beat Power Rangers without a great deal of difficulty.
Graphics and Sound:
Graphically, there’s not much to write home about; the sprites themselves are colourful and large and surprisingly detailed but not very animated. The backgrounds are even worse, being largely barren and devoid of life or character, and severely lacking in variety.
It’s pretty much the same story for the game’s sound, too; there’s a noticeably bad rendition of the iconic Power Rangers theme and some shitty voice samples but the in-game sounds are muted and dull. Characters grunt and yelp a bit and Zords thud about but it all sounds so half-assed and a far cry from the loud, impactful sounds the Mega Drive is capable of producing.
There are some nice cutscenes between battles that tell the story and evoke the same spirit as the television show but they don’t really contain much in the way of animation, meaning the game is outclassed by even some Master System titles in that regard.
Enemies and Bosses:
As I mentioned above, the game has only five enemies to battle against. Sure, you face each one in two different types of battle but, if you’ve ever seen Power Rangers, you’ll know that doesn’t really mean much as the monster’s second form is literally just a bigger version of its first form.
Goldar makes an appearance (he was the only monster I actually recognised…) but there’s no Putty Patrol to wade through and no Lord Zedd as the game is only pulling its inspiration from the first series of the show.
Power-Ups and Bonuses:
This one’s pretty simple: there aren’t any beyond the different weapons and abilities of the Power Rangers. The only thing to unlock here is the Green Ranger, which is the second battle and, once you have him, you’ll never pick another character because Tommy is the best character.
As I mentioned, you can battle against a friend but, honestly, I can’t see why you’d even bother.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers may have been a cultural phenomenon but this videogame outing is a dreadful experience; the controls are sluggish, the battles are ridiculously easy, and the game is just boring from start to finish. I wouldn’t even recommend this to die-hard Power Rangers fans as there are far better Power Rangers videogames available; the game’s counterpart on the SNES, for example, or the one based on the movie. Either way, just don’t even give this the light of day and stick to playing Street Fighter II because the only thing “mighty” about this game is how bad it is.
Did you watch Power Rangers when it first aired? Who was your favourite Ranger and why was it the Green/White Ranger? Do you think I was too harsh on the Mega Drive videogame, or have a favourite Power Rangers videogame? Let me know in the comments.