'Power Rangers: Wild Force' from THQ is based on
the newly revamped Power Rangers TV show which premiered
last year on Fox Kids. This time around, the five Power
Rangers with their amazing super powers and a virtual zoo of Zords,
must battle Master Org and his evil minions and their
insidious plan to destroy the world by upsetting the
balance of nature.
Before you even begin to beat up the various henchmen
in Wild Force, you'll need to create your team by selecting
three other Power Rangers to aid you in your quest.
This should allow you to execute a range of special
attacks when you're in a bit of a tight spot by calling
up one of your team mates although the effectiveness
is a little hit and miss.
The game itself comprises wandering around and battling
with a handful of henchman and then moving onto another
similar area. You can pull up a rather useful color-coded
map, which indicates where you've been and the remainder
of the level where you'll encounter one of the many
bosses but then it's simply a case of discovering their
weak spots and repeatedly punching them until they're
defeated. It all sounds simple and on the whole, it
is. You do wonder how game developers can repeatedly
churn out such uninspired game design.
More entertaining is the 'The MegaZord Battles' where
the action changes completely from an isometric to a
side-on perspective. Essentially, this is a one-to-one
bout where you fight a similarly huge mechanical beast.
Success will send you back to the isometric portion
of the game to do the same thing all over again.
The multi-player option is undoubtedly a game highlight
as it allows each player to choose and control his or
her very own Power Ranger. It's then a case of seeing
just how many enemy defeats they can clock up in the
allotted time. There's also the opportunity to sample
The MegaZord Battles. It's all saved using the dreaded
pass code, which we'd usually be very critical of but
as it comprises a mere five digits, we'll let it go
Very basic indeed and outside of directing your Power
Ranger around your immediate area, you simply press
the 'A' button repeatedly in order to punch and kick
the various henchmen you encounter. The end of level
bosses are somewhat tougher but amazingly, dealt with
in exactly the same way. The MegaZord Battles are a
little different, as you must punch a huge robot until
you've filled up your special moves meter. It's then
a case of following the buttons in sequence (a little
like all those dance related titles around at the moment)
and then a flurry of rockets, lasers, or whatever your
robots strength happens to be is unleashed.
As soon as the game powers up it's apparent that
it has something of an Anime influence, which is probably
a result of it being developed by none other than Natsume
of Japan who previously produced the GBC version. This
is most evident in the cut screens which utilize lots
of clever visual techniques in order to produce a kind
of FMV effect. The actual in-game visuals aren't bad
either featuring some nicely designed isometric environments
but as soon as you get to the animated sprites, the
whole thing starts to fall apart. This is because even
in a fantasy setting, nothing appears to move correctly
and some of the special and fighting moves are more
humorous than threatening. I'm sure I'm being far too
critical here, as no doubt the age range this title
is aimed at don't really care just so long as they look
like the Power Rangers.
Sound & Music
Power Rangers features some of the most average audio
I've encountered for some time. Although it appears
to suit the on screen action pretty well, it's by no
means innovative and feels more like a GBC score than
anything fit to appear on the Advance. The various sound
effects are of similar quality with everything practical
as opposed to exceptional. With the GBA now some two
years old, you'd expect better sound than this without
the developers even trying but the good news is you
can always turn it down.
Undoubtedly, this is one game for the younger GBA
owner or fans who are obsessed with the series. That
said though, we weren't entirely sure that there was
even enough variety here to keep players plodding on
through the ten levels of repetitive stages regardless
of their age or gaming experience.
The MegaZord Battles do distract from the main sections
slightly and from our point of view, were actually more
enjoyable than the main game. There's also some fun
to be had with the well designed multi-player option
but as each gamer requires a copy of the game, it's
unlikely that many people will sample this. As for replay
value, there may be some enthusiastic individuals who'll
revisit Wild Force in order to collect and unlock everything
but for most, one play will be enough.
As such, 'Power Rangers: Wild Force' is a definitely
another 'try before you buy' title.