Last week I reviewed the Game Gear version of this game. Now I go from a handheld device full of color to a handheld device that's not. Oh yeah, baby! It's week two of the Power Ranger Movie game series. I'm reviewing the Game Boy port. Sweet! (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)
Thankfully, unlike the Game Gear release, this Game Boy version sticks to the story a little more closely. However, it is still a very loose re-telling of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Movie. How loose? Well, it's a story that you'll have to piece together with your very own imagination due to lack of storytelling.
The core part of the story is still there and it's understandable to the human mind. Ivan Ooze has been released from his egg-hand prison. Now Ivan is out to conquer the World and so the Power Rangers must stop him.
As basic as it is, there's no mistaking that it is a story based on the Power Rangers Movie and not an adaptation of season two of the show. Granted, feels more like an alternate version of what the movie could've been, but I'll get to why that is when I talk about the gameplay.
This game is a 2D action platformer where the goal is to go though enemy and trap ridden levels and defeat the boss at the end. Each boss is a bad guy from the movie. This game lets you fight most of the bosses in any order that you want because this game has a level select feature similar to that found in Mega Man. (I'm just going to assume that we all know how Mega Man is played. If you don't know, then play Mega Man!)
Funny enough, one of the levels is based on a rat creature that was originally going to be used in the movie. Sadly (or thankfully), this rat creature ended up appearing in the episodes, "Return of the Green Ranger Part 2 and 3" instead. (Blame the Power Rangers Fandom Wiki if I got the episode title wrong.) Once you have beaten all of the main stages, Ivan Ooze's stage will unlock.
Controls are simple and effective. D-pad is to move, A is to jump, and B is to attack. Controls are smooth and responsive most of the time. The platforming can also look daunting at times due to how the jumps look like that they are just out of your reach. Don't worry, the Power Rangers have a big enough hit box to make those twisted jumps with ease.
Beating up bad guys will sometimes spawn a lighting bolt that will slowly fill up a power meter. Once this meter is full, press select and you will morph into the Power Ranger suit. Filling it up again will give you the ability to launch a super powerful screen clearing blast. One neat touch about morphing is that it completely heals up any damage that was caused during the unmorphed state.
The levels are pretty crazy. There's sewers, construction sites, mountains, futuristic labs, and more stuff that wasn't found in the movie. (Well, minus the construction sites.) Feels like a re-skinned Ninja Turtles game and that isn't a bad thing at all. Most of the baddies you'll be fighting are Putties, and these Putties are packing some serious heat. They have guns and they are not afraid to use them.
The boss fights are also interesting because you get to see characters in combat that did nothing in the movie. Take Mordant for instance. Completely useless character in the movie, but he is a threat in this game. The bosses do have easy to identify patterns, but don't let your guard down as if they kill you in battle, you'll have to fight them while in an unmorphed state. Meaning that the bad guys will be tougher to beat.
I don't have many gripes with the levels, they are well balanced in design. No matter how hopeless a battle or boss fight is, you'll get sent back to a reasonable checkpoint that gives you plenty of room to recover. However, there are some parts where the game becomes real cheap in difficulty. The main part to look out for is when you'll have to run away from a giant drill. Sure, sounds easy, but you'll also have to punch your way though walls. This is tough because you have to keep on switching between standing and crouching attacks. The move you need to destroy the block may not activate right away due to the attack being a second or third move in that combo combination. It took some swiftness and patience to beat, but I made it. (Even if it was by the skin of my Mighty Morphin Power Ass.)
There's quite a bit of detail in the graphics. With its backgrounds, platforms, and big sexy sprites, there's a lot going on in the levels. Sadly, this is more of a curse rather than a blessing due to there being so much detail that it gets a bit much for the small screen. I know it's odd complaining about having too much detail, but the graphics merge together and I found myself loosing track of my character in certain situations. It's like they were focusing on making a console game and forgot that Game Boy games get way too crowded looking when there's too much detail on the screen.
Playing this on a Super Game Boy gives this game a surprising amount of color. The color scheme all depends on which character you pick. Red will add red colors to the game, pink will add pink, etc, and etc, and etc. However, picking black or white just makes it look like a regular old Game Boy game. The colors look pretty nice in the game and it could've passed off as being a Game Boy Color game.
Playing this with colors does clean up some of the confusion about being lost in the graphics (excluding the white and black rangers). However, some of the colors add in more confusing situations. Playing as the red ranger during the rat stage made some of the safe zones look dangerous. It made everything, including the water on that stage turn red. This was especially scary playing this stage for the first time as I thought the water was lava and I tried to avoid it at all cost. Once I fell in, I realized that it was safe poop-ridden sewer water all along, instead of unsafe poop-ridden lava.
The animations are really clunky, but it doesn't ruin the gameplay at all. As I said before, the gameplay is mostly very smooth and responsive.
Music is fairly decent and has some rockin' eight-bit renditions of music from the show mixed in with some original tunes. Oddly enough, some of the tunes have a jazz vibe to them and it works. Makes me want a jazz cover album of the Power Rangers soundtrack. The sound effects are meh though. Just dull lifeless thuds that sound tacky.
Overall, this is a surprisingly decent platforming action game. I even dare to call this a game that uses that overly done (but classic) label, a hidden gem. However, the graphics do harm this game by getting in the way and for that I give this game a 6.5 out of 10.