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SNES Quick Look: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie

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As you may be aware, I’m a bit of a Power Rangers fan. With the new movie gearing up for release next year, is there a better time to re-visit the tie-in game for the first Power Rangers movie?

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It seems like the title screens for Power Rangers games on the SNES got progressively lessdetailed as time went on…

The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie was, uh… Well, it’s definitely a movie. It’s more or less a movie that couldn’t have been made in any other decade other than the mid-1990s. Teenagers with attitude fighting against alien invaders? A giant CGI robots fighting equally-large CGI aliens that look like they were made by a couple of college kids with a Commodore Amiga trying to make a fan-episode of Shadow Raiders? Oh, yes.

(There are many reasons I’m not a film critic. The above paragraph is one of them.)

Anyway, the tie-in games for the movie were all completely different from console to console. The best one is definitely the Super Nintendo version. The game was published by Bandai and developed by Natsume, of Ninja Warriors fame. Ninja Warriors is a really nice game, and the MMPR games on the Super Nintendo can be considered spiritual successors, of sorts. I actually did a Quick Look of the first game on my own blog, but nobody reads that. Ever. At all.

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…Were they posing in a police lineup for those sweet digitized photos?

You have a choice of playing as one of six characters, each corresponding to a particular color, as it was on the show and in the movie. Every character appears to wear similarly-colored clothing in their normal, non-Ranger outfits, for some reason. Maybe the show runners thought that people wouldn’t know who was who when they weren’t in costume? Eh.

The original MMPR game only had the main five Rangers available to play, because it was based on the first season of the television show, before the Green Ranger appeared. Since this game is based on the movie, we have a slightly different cast of characters than the first game. Jason, Zack, and Trini are gone, because by this point in the show those particular Rangers were chosen to represent the Power Rangers in some sort of international peace conference or whatever it was that the writers came up with to make up for the fact that the actors asked for more money and left due to the pay disputes…

The point that I’m trying to make is that you get to play as Tommy Oliver, AKA the White Ranger, which is pretty awesome.

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Right away, you can see and hear that this game is going to be a blast. The music for this game is amazing – some of the best on the Super Nintendo. Natsume did some fantastic work on the soundtracks to each Power Rangers game they had a hand in, and this one is no exception. Every track is super catchy, to the point where you will hum the songs relentlessly long after you’re through playing.

The game is pretty straightforward – You are a teenager with attitude. There is an infinite number of minor foot soldiers coming to beat you up, but you’re not going to let them do that, are you?

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The game controls very well. A lot of beat-’em-ups get one or two things slightly off, but that isn’t the case here. My only real complaint is that your character should probably be able to do a few more acrobatic moves when fighting (no jump kick? Boo!), but that’s just the fan in me talking. You can’t move in multiple directions like in a lot of other beat-’em-ups, just left and right. You do, however, have moments where you need to press the L or R buttons to change to the upper or lower plane in case of stage hazards such as oncoming cars. The first game didn’t do this, so people who played the first game may be a little thrown off at first.

The actual gameplay sounds are great, too. Hits land with satisfyingly-loud sound effects taken straight from the first MMPR game, which isn’t a bad thing. I somewhat prefer the enemy sounds from the first game, but these enemies aren’t the same ones, so I can forgive Natsume for coming up with something a little different.

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See that little power meter down at the bottom? That can be filled up by killing enemies. Every enemy drops a lightning bolt. Picking it up fills a bit of the meter, and occasionally you’ll find larger power-ups in a level to fill the meter faster. Once it’s filled…

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…The fun really begins. Nobody wants to play as some dude in a white t-shirt dressed like Mike Haggar on his way to work…

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They want to play as a friggin’ Power Ranger. I chose the White Ranger as my character for a reason – he’s awesome. Fun fact: The White Ranger looked so different from the other Rangers because originally, he was from a different series. For those that may not be aware, Saban made Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers by taking footage from a Japanese show called Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Basically, anything that showed the Rangers in costume with their helmets on was actually Japanese footage that they modified for their use. Eventually, they ran out of Zyuranger footage to make into MMPR episodes, so they had to get creative. One way to do this was to take footage of one of the characters from the sequel series Gosei Sentai Dairanger and make him into a new outfit for one of the cast members. Thus, the White Ranger was created.

All of the characters control the same. Honestly, if you don’t know the characters, don’t worry about it. Pick a color, and have fun.

Speaking of “fun”, do you know what makes a good game better? Multiplayer! The original MMPR game didn’t have multiplayer, for some reason. It always struck me as an odd choice, because the Rangers didn’t do that often on the show. This game makes up for that.

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MMPR: The Movie has drop-in co-op play, and it’s a good time. Well, sort of. It can definitely get chaotic. And for those that are colorblind, be sure to pick characters with contrasting colors – things could get confusing otherwise. Thankfully you can see which Ranger you’re picking before you start.

This game isn’t Turtles In Time, but it’s still one of the most fun beat-’em-ups on the Super Nintendo. It’s a short experience, and it may be a little too easy for some, but it’s friggin’ Power Rangers! You can’t have a bad time playing this. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.

This particular game came out in Summer 1995, in time for the movie’s release. It’s definitely more fun than the movie itself, which is a rarity among games that tie-in with a film. Unfortunately, this game is fairly difficult to find, due to being a late-release Super Nintendo game, and a high-quality one at that. Expect to pay a moderate amount of cash for it if you see it online or at your local retro game store. Honestly, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie is such a fun title that it may be worth spending a little extra cash to have it in your collection.

Currently a production specialist for a television news station. Retro gamer since, uh, ever. Forever. Real human being. And a real hero.