GO GO POWER RANGERS!
I bet for those of you that grew up watching/pretending to be Power Rangers, seeing that logo brings back some pretty great memories of the popular weekend show. I also bet it starts up the amazingly electric opening theme song in your head.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was actually an adaptation (and a dub) of Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, that began airing the summer of 1993. It didn't take long for it to become a force to be reckoned with, as it quickly became popular with kids all across the country and the merchandise began flying off the shelves.
Enter Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for the Sega Genesis in May of 1994, only a year after the show began airing on Fox Kids. The first of many video game adaptations of the famous series (that is surprisingly still on the air today), and one of the more prominent games from my childhood.
*Note – Many of you may have also played a game called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from 1994 for the SNES. The two games are DRASTICALLY different, and are not direct ports of one another (the SNES version being developed by Natsume). There are also games titled the same for the GameBoy, Game Gear, and Sega CD, once again all developed by different companies.
Banpresto did an amazing job setting up the fight match up rules with all of the Power Rangers, the monsters, and of course, the Zords.
You're able to pick all 6 of the original Power Rangers: Jason/Red Ranger, Billy/Blue Ranger, Zack/Black Ranger, Trini/Yellow Ranger, Kimberly/Pink Ranger, and Tommy/Green Ranger. Each of them has a similar basic moveset of punches and kicks, but the specials are what divides them. Each of the Power Rangers unique attacks make use of their individual weapons. Red Ranger has his sword, Pink with her bow, Green and the dagger, etc.
The interesting portion about the character selection is that not every character can face each other, with the roster being broken up into two categories. Human-size, and Zord-size. Obviously you can't have any of the Power Rangers fight a Zord (for many reasons), but the monsters are capable of fighting in both human-size and Zord-size. It's a great way to allow for an expanded roster that can include the Megazord and Dragonzord and keep everything "realistic". Well, as realistic as giant combinable robots fighting 20-storey tall griffin monsters wearing gold armor can be…
In Story Mode, you pick the Power Ranger you want to fight as. The first round has you fighting as the Ranger, while the second round has you fighting in their Zord (following the formula established by the TV show).
In Battle Mode, you can pick whoever you want, with a choice of all the Rangers, the Megazord and Dragonzord, and 4 monsters (Minotaur, Madam Woe, Goldar, and Cyclopsis).
Face it, you're playing a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers because you want to see and become the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!
The sprites look fantastic. The Sega Genesis 16-bit processor was able to capture the look and feel of the Power Rangers, their respective Zords, and the monsters themselves. Even the cutscenes during the Story Mode boast recognizable faces and images. One fear of mine when playing licensed video games is that the limitation of the console will result in horribly mangled representations of my beloved characters.
I want to be able to see the Pink Ranger's
sexy curves costume details.
I mentioned Story Mode before, but I'll go into a bit more detail here.
I really don't know where I stand here, and I can't decide if I think the Story Mode is great (for its cutscenes, following the TV battle format, or for throwing in the Evil Green Ranger storyline), or if it's extremely lacking due to the shortness of the experience.
There are 5 fights (each with 2 rounds) that take place in the Story Mode. Your first fight is against the boring and forgettable Minotaur, and is used as a tutorial. You fight as one of the 5 original Power Rangers, and once he's defeated, Rita will cast her spell to make the monster enormous, making you hop in the Zord and take care of him.
The next fight takes a page right out of the TV series and pits you against a mind-controlled Green Ranger, resulting in the two Zords clashing. After that, you fight the ever-terrifying Madam Woe, the loyal servant Goldar, and finish of the story off by fighting the Evil Zord Cyclopsis.
Although Mighty Morphin Power Rangers boasts a larger roster than Street Fighter II at the time, because you're not fighting every possible fighter Arcade-style (the Rangers never fight each other, with the Green Ranger being the exception) it leaves the single-player Story Mode feeling cut short.
While I loved the character selection, and the matchup options in place, that doesn't carry over to the level options.
There are 6 stages total, and if you are fighting with anyone human-sized you're actually only limited to one, the "Rangers Stage", which is just fighting on a bridge (looks like Golden Gate).
Now if you managed to choose a Zord or monster capable of fighting on the other 5 stages, they actually vary quite nicely. There's a stage in front of some waterfalls, a stage in Egypt, one in front of an active volcano, even one on the moon!
I will admit that stages are bright, colourful, and work well as a backdrop to the Megazord bringing down the Power Sword on an evil-doer's face. They have an excellent parallax effect to give the illusion of depth. I did notice that some of the content is a little odd in a few levels. In the image above, you can see that the Dragonzord is fighting in the city, there's some people watching from behind a fence in the foreground, and one of them seems to be firing a gun.
Yeah… I don't know where that came from. Maybe he just wants to help? I certainly don't remember a gun-toting civilian firing rounds into the Zords in the TV show.
Another odd one is the Madam Woe Stage in Egypt.
This is just me nitpicking at this point, though.
The controls are easy… Too easy.
Imagine the standard Sega Genesis controller in your head. Just the 3-button configuration. Remember playing Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat? Apparently Banpresto didn't realize there was a 3rd button and just had a "regular" attack mapped to A, and "fierce" attack mapped to B. C goes completely unused.
Why? Did they just get lazy and decide "meh, these Power Rangers have enough attacks"? Every other fighting game out at the time (and way before it, SF2 coming out in 1991) utilized all of the buttons. Some even used the 6-button gamepads! This could have been played on an NES controller.
This game is only for those that love the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show. There's tons of nostalgia, and the gameplay is pretty fun. I don't, however, think it would hold up for someone looking for a decent fighter. The character selection is nice, but the limited controls, weak stage selection, and generally short Story Mode will just leave more hardcore fighting-genre fans wanting more.
If you ARE a Power Rangers fan, then get out there and try and find a copy. It's really fun, the sprites still look great, and if you've got a friend that loves MMPR just as much as you, then you're ready for an excellent night in gaming.
IT'S MORPHIN TIME!
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SupremeEvan is a fellow video game connoisseur (specializing in the Nintendo variety). He occasionally writes other reviews that you can find here, and more recently he's taken to using Twitter, at @EvanChambers.