Power Rangers Super Megaforce Review
Video games do not often feature live action, rubber suited baddies clashing into boxy, multi-jointed robots. The medium uses polygons, maybe sprites. The effect is different.
Still, Super Megaforce is at least celebratory of those bouncy, foreign, and extravagant television shows in its own way. Power Rangers have been with us for twenty years now, so cue the anniversary march. Suitably, twenty plus Rangers from various editions of the luckily successful series (including the Mighty Morphin' variety) bring themselves together to slice through the renegade forces of Armada. In reality, their animations shift and voices change. That's it.
No No Power Rangers
Each member spouts banal positivity in text boxes - “We can do it as a team,” or, “With togetherness, we're unstoppable” - a marked message for kids if delivered so lumbering with laissez faire attitude as to render this episode-esque story comatose. Armada attacks, a boss is fought, it grows, Zords play slice and dice.
Power Rangers have been with us for twenty years now, so cue the anniversary march.
Most of it is filler. Only half of the puny levels offer any conversation as a reminder of the Ranger's do gooder-ness. Designs are so flat and stumpy as feel chopped into separate sections if only to wait for loading screens to pass, extending Super Megaforce's apparent value. Using a plodding leveling system with each Ranger requiring separate attention only further slows any progress.
Through those mistakes, it's the enthusiasm that's missing. Forced and weak AI partners nonchalantly fire laser beams or take a swipe at Armada thugs, a perfect slate of actions to represent how apathetic Super Megaforce is with its existence. Sword strikes barely constitute a world saving desperation, and while the ponderous speed of Zord versus monster disputes manages to build scale, a rock/paper/scissors methodology all but squelches thrills in the decisive outcome.
Japan's Super Sentai television has a heart of flamboyancy. Suited actors flop in earnest, miniature buildings are tackled, and punctual martial arts fill space until mammoth robots with equally mammoth swords can burst into flames to scorch the latest opposition. Only the inherent goofiness can supersede the energy invested into the whiz-bang visual splendor.
In interactive form, these Rangers merely exist as color coded, side scrolling placeholders sans personality.
That is arguably why Power Rangers video games, despite a number of clean 16-bit brawls, never found their cut of the Ninja Turtle beat-em-up character market. Super Megaforce is only the latest to falter for the same reason. It's a complicated problem actually, whether the hokey Americanization of Japanese TV elicits such a feeling or otherwise. The builds, the cameras, the editing; it's all dynamically specific in tonalities and proud of its international weirdness.
In interactive form, these Rangers merely exist as color coded, side scrolling placeholders sans personality. Those cartoon characters which lived in Konami's X-Men, Simpsons, and Ninja Turtles had the benefit of their animated fore bearers who could fabricate expressions, strain themselves, and comically react. Stretching and exaggerating live action (doubly so with faces buried in a helmet) loses the appeal.
So red, blue, green, yellow, pink; those are the character choices. They don't have names, they don't have style, they don't have spunk. Whatever lure Saturday morning Super Megaforce episodes carry (with its pirate theme) is utterly wiped from this portable run. That's why the Mighty Morphin' Rangers can co-exist with the litany of Overdrive and Jungle Force throwbacks: They're all one in the same which isn't very Super Sentai at all.