Game Over Online ~ Power Rangers: Wild Force

GameOver Game Reviews - Power Rangers: Wild Force (c) THQ, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Power Rangers: Wild Force (c) THQ
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 52%
Date Published Thursday, September 12th, 2002 at 04:49 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Power Rangers first showed up when I was a little kid, not too little but at least old enough to recognize it will be another passing fad, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or something similar. My history is a little rusty on how far it went but I thought the number of clones (people who dress, fight and act similar but don't call themselves the same name) that cropped up from during the zenith of the Power Rangers fame would have by now killed this franchise completely. Obviously, the release of Power Rangers: Wild Force means I'm dead wrong. The television show must be faring a bit better against Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon (or Digimon?) because if it were as bad as Wild Force itself, it should have been shuttered a long time ago.

It's not that Wild Force is not faithful to the television material. Wild Force actually follows the television scripts pretty closely. It's not based on specific episodes per se but it follows the requisite order. A problem comes up and foot soldiers will come to storm the area. Power Rangers are sent to deal with them and you'll get to have the pick of the litter, although quite honestly, they all perform roughly the same. After that, you land in said problem area and mill around until the foot soldiers start jumping you. Wild Force runs in an isometric mode which gives you a better look at your Power Ranger and at the same time, allows them to swarm you with multiple foot soldiers from different sides. With console titles these days (Blade II and Bruce Lee for the Xbox comes to mind), trying to invent ingenious and imaginative ways to handle multiple enemy combat, Wild Force's developers don't have to worry about that trend since the foot soldiers are so incompetent, they'll need to throw a screen-full at you to make you yield. It's not helped by the simple fighting mechanics. One action button is all you'll need to overwhelm your opponents. In addition, you have a special move which saps energy from a power meter. It takes care of the bad guys quicker but like Max Payne's slow-motion power-ups, there's so many from fighting around, it's not a worry to ensure that you have enough of that Power Ranger juice.

After you get to the root of the problem on each level, Wild Force will shift to its other game which is to pit you in a mano-a-mano duel between two robots; you know, the ones that you see on television with robots built model-style like old Japanese films. This is where Wild Force goes to the classic 2D, Street Fighter type brawl and the fighting here is just as simplistic. You have a block button and also an attack mode. Make sure you block when the enemy attacks and attack when the enemy suddenly finds itself paralyzed because the programmer told it to do so, so your ten year old nieces and nephews can win the game. I usually have a lot of trouble with boss battles. I'm the one who jumps off a cliff five times and requires four credits to get past a platform jumping sequence and even I found the boss battles to be on the easy side. Therefore, 99.9% of the rest of the population should have no problems with it, unless you're like Tommy Lee Jones' character in Men in Black II and you've never heard of a Game Boy before.

Wild Force finishes quickly but it forces you to run through the levels again so you can unlock more friendly robots (animals of sorts) to employ in battle. Unfortunately, there's little to do after that. Multiplayer mode is multiplayer circa the 1980s coin-op arcades. You and your friends get together (up to four players) to go through the levels (once more) and compete for the highest score. The top player then faces off against the boss and no, it's not like the television show (as I recall it) where someone gets to control the arm, the leg, etc.

If the television show is still stuck in the conundrum that Wild Force finds itself in, I'm surprised it's still going on. This was stuff that was going on when I was not even in high school and it hasn't improved itself or its formula. In fact, it's anything but wild and after playing the game, I found I was about as happy as I was watching a Power Rangers episode back then; sarcasm in full effect. At the time, it was an apropos idea because nothing Japanese had yet invaded what was formerly G.I. Joe and Barbie land. Nowadays, there are a lot of other things to look forward to and that goes for isometric beat ‘em up robot games too.


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