Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

"It's morphin' time!  Rita Repulsa and her henchmen are back and planet Earth is in peril!  Only you and the Power Rangers can save us as you fight the dark deamons in this action-packed live-video game produced directly from 9 episodes of the hit TV series."
Game Information
Developer Sega Enterprises
Publisher Sega Enterprises
Copyright Date 1994
Players 1
Age Rating(s) ELSPA 3+
Save Type None
Cart Version No (same name, different game)

Part Numbers
Game 4442-50
Front Cover 670-6423-50
Back Cover 670-6425-50
Manual 672-2371-50
Spine Card 675-6424-50
CD 1 670-6422-50


The spine card image for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was kindly supplied by Richard Spiers
I'll admit it, I wasn't expecting great things when I grabbed this one from the shelf and fired it up - but I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers plays much like Supreme Warrior or Dragon's Lair - FMV sequences roll on and A, B or C button or direction icons appear on screen, requiring you to hit them within a time limit.  However, unlike those two titles, what happens on screen doesn't always match up to your actions.  It's clear that Sega received the footage from 9 TV episodes to make the levels of the game and did the best they could, but were obviously limited as to how they could edit it.  If you miss an attacking button press the enemy might still get kicked around the screen but it's your health bar that drops.  Likewise, time a block button perfectly and your Rangers might take a blow but your energy remains intact.  This doesn't leave you feeling as disengaged from the action as you might think, but drops this title firmly in the "rolling video with some buttons to press so we can call it a game" camp.

The video footage is surprisingly impressive.  The game opens with a very passable rendition of the TV show intro right down to the actor's names.  The FMV covers about four fifths of the screen and is surprisingly high quality, especially when you consider the hardware's limited palette and those brightly coloured lycra Power Ranger outfits.  Footage moves smoothly with no hitches, but then it is being streamed in one long piece from the CD rather than being switched back and forth as in most other FMV titles. This also means that whilst opening and closing sequences are skippable, those in the middle of a level are not, and this game comes without that ever so useful pause function.  Sound is, as ever, CD quality and also direct from the TV series with the music and voices crisp and clear, though the spot effect for getting button presses right or wrong are dull monotone bleeps that would be more at home on the Atari VCS.

There are 9 episodes in all, some split into more than level, and there's no repetition of footage beyond that which was recycled endlessly in the TV show (morphing sequences and the Megazord assembly come to mind).  The plot line mainly covers the creation of the Power Rangers and the whole Green Ranger series of events.  With this game mechanic there's not a lot of variety that can be added, though Sega had a good try with manic button bashing to fill the graph moments and hidden presses that can be performed during certain sequences to regain health.  Beginner difficulty requires fewer commands and has a reasonable time limit to enter them in, and you'll probably make it all the way through fairly quickly.  Intermediate has more presses and is reasonably well balanced, whereas Expert mode needs lightening reactions and deals much harsher damage, and is probably going to be too hard for the target audience.  There's no extra episodes at the higher levels, so there's little point in dealing with the frustration when you can cruise through on Beginner.

If, like me, you're at the right sort of age to remember when the Power Rangers were new and interesting, rather than being re-hashed for the fourteenth time for breakfast television in the school holidays, then you should give this a whirl.  Even though I was always more of a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles kid (you weren't allowed to have "Ninja" turtles in the UK in the 1990s!) as soon as the music kicked in and the intro began to run it made me smile.  You'll play through this once or twice then add it to the dusty shelf alongside its other FMV based friends, but for me the time spent playing was cloaked in a wave of nostalgia.  Pick this one up and have a go - you'll be surprised how much you remember!

The spine card image above is a composite of the three sides taken through a sealed copy.  Can anyone supply an image from an opened copy?