| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Beat_em_up; loc=JPN] |
|References added: 127, 188|
"Tokusatsu Henshin Hero: sort of a construction kit of sentai action."
A sentai hero construction set, essentially, in which your Power Rangers-esque character fights a round of goons, then their boss, then equips new powers, poses and costumes earned, then goes on to the next round and does it again.
This would be great if the fighting action were of the quality of Gaoranger (see entry 127) or Hurricaneger (entry 188), but it isn't. You have two attacks, punch and kick, though these can be swapped out for different functions if you have certain powers equipped. Powers are on the L1/R1 buttons. The square button transforms you from your civilian guise into super-hero mode, and thereafter just causes you to strike a big dumb pose while everyone beats on you. L2/R2 reset the camera. I haven't seen the Triangle button do anything. There's no jumping. All in all, it ain't the most fascinating control scheme.
And the action isn't very good. I think it's because the animations are bad: both uninspiring and technically unsound, particularly when it comes to determining movement and collision detection. What I mean is, you'll throw a goofy-looking punch, and see your character slide forward an arbitrary distance while doing the punch, which may or may not hit even though it misses/clips the enemy. I haven't got the animations to chain together in any significant way either, so mostly I just kick kick kick kick... All goofy kicks, mind you.
You can customize your taunt and combat animations, actually, sorta like setting up a wrestler in Fire Pro (see entry 331) for instance), but these unlock as you go so you start with pretty lame ones. Maybe they'll get better at higher level? Dunno.
The basic jumpsuit goons go down easy, of course, just like they do in any decent sentai show. Although when they get hit down to zero health they sound like puppies getting hit, which is kind of disturbing, and then you can just keep kicking them over and over ad infinitum if you want to. Hmm.
The bosses, on the other hand, are a real pain--they just have way too many hit points, and you can never tell when they're going to hit you with an uninterruptible chain attack of some kind. They also like shooting stun-gas at you, which is really lame. In fact mostly they just stand there shouting the same two things over and over and shooting their projectile periodically. My strategy, based on wanting to avoid getting caught in an unpredictable chain attack, is to run around on the far side of the area, shooting them periodically when my super revolver charges up, and then going in for a single hit, then running away to the far side of the room again. After about 50 cycles of that they usually go down, but it is bo-ring.
Oh, and the boss fights constrict you to fighting in this invisible cube inside a much larger area, so you can't really get as far away from the boss as you'd like (they probably did this because the boss AI would look pretty dumb if you got far away, since it has no real pursuit capability), and you're constantly bonking into the invisible cube walls.
However, the fun part of the game comes once you've beaten the boss: decking yourself out with new weapons, costumes and powers! Yay! They're all pretty silly, of course, but that's the point. There seem to be a lot of costumes, maybe not so many powers--or maybe the powers are just harder to unlock, I don't know. I wish I could get something good, so far I've been through three stages and all I've got to show for it is a very slowly-recharging revolver. When I played the first time (before I noticed the Save option in the between-stages menu) I got some kind of flying jump-kick attack right away--I miss that.
So it pretty much feels like the budget title that it is--amusing costumes but thoroughly mediocre action, and downright crappy boss fights (although the bosses themselves are amusing, like the banana-slug guy--of course, this being sentai-style, they all look like normal people in rubber suits). Oh, and the levels are quite small and ugly, and have nothing in them with which to interact: they're just big square areas, and then the boss fights happen in a smaller invisible square in the middle of them.