If you have read our site for a while, you’ll probably have figured out that Seán O’Sullivan (a.k.a. Sully) seems to hate almost every game that he plays. This is due in part to the high bar that he measures everything against – but it’s mostly due to his uncanny mutant ability to volunteer to cover the worst of the lot. Apparently, he dodged a bullet during one of our latest assignments – because I was left to review Namco Bandai’s Power Rangers Megaforce; and for a brief moment, I was reminded of what Sully goes through with almost every game that he gets his mitts on, and I wanted to take that high bar that he set as a benchmark, and use it to beat the memory of this game out of my head.
The premise of the game is very similar to the Power Rangers television show: save the planet from evil. To do so, you will have to make your way through every single level, fighting like mad. To call this a beat-em-up is kind of like calling Hannibal Lecter a “people person” – that is, it’s a gross understatement. Megaforce makes no bones about the fact that the primary game mechanic is punching the hell out of everything. There are times, though, where perhaps you didn’t attack fast enough and have taken a few on the chin, leading to low health. Luckily, you are able to swap between the five different Power Rangers, allowing you to bench ones that you have over-extended.
Five main stages await you; within each of these “episodes” or “worlds” are a number of levels that you can power your way through with little difficulty. You begin each level by picking from the roster of Power Rangers. Each Power Ranger has their own distinct attacks (and look, obviously), and, to be fair, they each play slightly different from one another. That being said, the differences between them are not all that great, so you can pretty much choose any of them.
I held my 3DSXL up to my face, hoping that this lighting would end my experience.
After this, you make your way through the game, beating up enemies and laughing at the fact that most of them are just professional loiterers. Once in a while, usually after you have finished pounding your 1000th enemy, the game will throw a random and pointless objective at you. While this breaks up the tedium of the main game gimmick, it also serves to slow you down, thus extending the time by which you are engaged in each level. I’m not really sure if this is a good thing or not. Boss fights are all right, but end up being fairly easy to win – a shame, as they are probably the coolest looking part of the game.
For variability, you can collect in-game cards that essentially give you a special attack. These crazy attacks spawn an inconvenient cut-scene that takes up much more time than I would like. I’m not sure if even a die-hard fan would like to use special attacks too often, as the repetitiveness of the “awesomeness” kind of grates after the first few times. I eventually gave up on specials and just kept using regular attacks – which seemed far more effective. Each game comes with a trading card that you are supposedly able to scan in – but I couldn’t get it to work for me (so I have absolutely no clue what it does).
The graphics were tolerably decent. Character modelling was fairly good for the heroes – slightly less so for the villains. Backgrounds almost looked like they were made for another game. Overall, the visual impact of this title was very similar to the television show that I remember from long ago. Audio was horrible. The music and sound effects were oddly bland (which is odd considering how many fake trumpets blast throughout the game); a weird thing to say considered that they seemed engineered to be “over the top” – but something about them rang hollow. Perhaps they felt so dull because of the constant nagging of my fellow rangers, who would constantly shout out the same helpful hints over and over again at the top of their lungs. I am pretty sure that even the target demographic for this game would not need such repetitive reinforcement.
One of the rare moments where the AI seems to do something intelligent.
I’m going to be frank – I never did make it to the end of this game. I slogged through a fair number of levels with no real variability in sight. I tried again a few days later, making it a little further than I had the previous time. After playing for a long while (a third time), I closed my 3DSXL to take a break. Upon my return, I found that the game had crashed. This was quite annoying, especially considering that the game is definitely far from being bug free. It is closer to being broken, as the silly AI is the least of your worries. Picking up this game means risking running into invisible walls, looking for targets that don’t seem to exist, and a few other choice expletive-inspiring things.
There are good games and there are bad games. Sadly, this game is not even qualified to be on a list (in my opinion). This is one of those rare instances where I don’t even know what to suggest to make this game better. Unless you are a really, really, really die-hard fan of the Power Rangers, I would give this one a pass, unless you are a professor of game design and you need to show your class an example of how not to design a game. My apologies to those who worked on this – but if you’re going to make something that doesn’t seem to respect the user, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the user might not respect your game.