Review: When Rangers go Wild, especially with that pink pussy?what? The Pink Ranger's outfit is a cat!
What the hell, the Power Rangers still exist? Apparently so, since Natsume has developed another portable game for THQ based off of the latest Rangers television series. Of course, these aren't the same Mighty Morphing Power Rangers that initially battled evil throughout Angel Grove. In fact the new Rangers aren't even in Angel Grove. Since there have been so many changes within the show over the past couple of years, it can be very difficult to keep track of what's going on. Nevertheless, we know Wild Force is the most recent transformation for the series and as a result, has received a game that should generate just as much buzz as the show now does.
After reviewing the only Power Rangers title on Nintendo 64, I wasn't expecting much from the series on Game Boy Advance. For the most part, I was right. Much of the game is set in a similar fashion in offering the same basic isometric perspective, only this time is seems more reasonable to see on the Game Boy Advance. After picking the lead Power Ranger to be used, players will be able to choose three additional allied Rangers to help out during teamwork attacks. Performing a special attack like this will call upon assistance of one of the other rangers, with each offering a different type of move.
Unfortunately, the power bar that limits the amount of specials performed can be easily replenished by the many items scattered throughout the game's levels. This leaves little strategy to be held in a game that already is so simple and basic with the use of one button for the generic attacks. After playing for a mere five minutes, Wild Force already feels thin and repetitive and won't hold anyone's attention for much more.
Following the completion of each level and defeating its boss on the ground, players then face a giant sized version of the enemy. To combat this enemy, the Rangers will join together by summoning their zords through animal crystals and take part in a supersized battle. The game doesn't look unlike the Power Rangers fighting game that released on Genesis some years back. However, it doesn't retain the same amount of enjoyment and isn't backed up by the popularity of its television show. Nonetheless, it's a brighter spot within the slightly troubled game.
Although the MegaZord battles supply players with a little hint of variety, it's a lot more of that repetitive feel in attacking. Actually the only big difference here is you get to block. Well, once enough moves are cast on the boss, it's possible to perform a transcribed combo by following the buttons that appear on the lower half of the screen. This is done greatly akin to Dance Dance Revolution or Britney's Dance Beat for the portable and adds a pinch of mixture to a lean game.
Repetitive gameplay may not be so easy to spot from the get-go as Wild Force uses an assortment of backgrounds to disguise each level as being different. Nevertheless, it should be fairly obvious after walking around and performing the same punch technique for a few minutes with the ranger of a single sprite. The animations displayed recur often and don't put forward much excitement unless combined with another ranger as a special move.
The one hopeful feature that Natsume included in Wild Force was the multiplayer segment. In it, four players will attempt to earn more kills than any of the other rangers. The one who succeeds will be able to battle the boss in the MegaZord while everyone else has just as much fun twiddling their thumbs. The downside to this is that everyone needs a copy of the game and even its extended replay value in forcing gamers back through the levels twice to beat it entirely won't cause my friends to want to make the purchase. Actually I don't know if I want to tell them I've even touched such a game; I still have my dignity you know.