Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mystery GBA Game

Okay, first on my list is a game that was probably more fun to purchase than it was to play. I'm talking, of course, about the GBA mystery game. At the local used game store (the good one), there is a bin of various Gameboy/Color/Advance games, each for a colossal $2. The contents of this bin were mostly what you'd expect. Crap, mostly licensed crap from licenses that hardly mattered when they were released. The one that really stuck out was this cartridge that had no label. It could have been anything, and the mystery was the reason I bought it.

Sure, I could have just asked the store worker what it was, saved myself from buying a shitty game, but what would be the fun of that? Besides, it was only two dollars. I bought it in preparation for a Poverty Game Night party, so it sat on my shelf unplayed for over a week, taunting me to come discover its secret identity. So, what was this amazing game?

Sadly, it was Power Rangers SPD, which I assumed meant spinning pile driver. Also sadly, this was not true, and there was no Zangief to be seen. So, during the Poverty Game Night I played it for a little bit, and big surprise it wasn't very good. Some quick internet research reveals that this game was developed by Natsume, a company that has made only one other game I've ever played, and none that I've liked. This other game happens to be the old Mighty Morphin Power Rangers beat 'em up game for SNES, but that's a topic for another day.

I guess I should talk about the actual game. It's a one-plane side-scrolling beat 'em up where you play a different Power Ranger in each level. The music is your average bland GBA synth, which could be based on music from the show, but how the hell should I know? The story parts are displayed by throwing some quality looking jpegs of the characters from the show at you and filling text boxes filled with some shit I couldn't be bothered to read.

The sprite are pretty bland, but decently animated. Your abilities are all pretty simple. Every character can jump and do basic attacks (a simple 3 hit string). The L button in conjunction with the d-pad pans the camera around, which is completely useless. All the rangers are differentiated not only by different colors, but by different abilities and different looking basic attacks. For example, the Blue Ranger can double jump, but the Red Ranger can wall jump. The R button is a special attack that takes up special meter to do and is different for each character. For example, the Blue Ranger throws up a shield that blocks projectiles. There isn't much reason to not use these a lot if they are useful, because your special meter refills on its own.

One string of regular attacks will kill a regular enemy, but a jumping attack will just knock enemies down, so there isn't really any reason to use it. On the subject of things not to bother with, there is not reason to kill any enemies until you are at a point where it stops your movement forward. This is because the game has no hit detection on enemies who are not attacking, and their attack speed is extremely slow, so you can pretty much just walk past most of the enemies in the game.

Basically, the game is really repetitive and the only attempt to keep you interested is by making you use your ranger-specific power each stage, but even that isn't very entertaining. Oh, there are also little mini-games between stages. Basic missile defense knockoffs and whatnot. The best part of the game is probably the moment when you beat a boss and you get a little cutscene where you explode them. Quite frankly, the game seems like an anomaly in time. It's a Power Rangers game that came out in 2005, and weirder yet, it doesn't have save function, but uses passwords. What the fuck?

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