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Hyakujyu Sentai Gaoranger
  opened by paleface at 03:49:22 08/23/03  
  last modified by paleface at 12:25:50 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Beat_em_up; reg=JPN]
For someone who watched the super-cheesy Power Rangers show almost religiously for a few years in college (until they ditched the Japanese clips of Rita Repulsa for the stupid Lord Zed and brought in the dumb White Ranger and just generally ruined the whole spirit of the thing), this game is amazing, and one of the most incredibly designed 3d action games that I've seen on the PS1. I just-- ah, there's a big urge just to gush about it but I'll try to stick to the facts.
No two-player, alas, just a single-player story mode (survivor mode unlocks once you beat story mode, apparently). If you saw an episode of the old Power Rangers show (or any of the various Japanese shows of which the US version was a bastardized imitation, I suppose), you'll know how the game unfolds: an enemy appears, this white goddess person tells you to go kick their butt (okay, she wasn't in Power Rangers, but I like her), you rush out there on foot, beat off a ton of generic lackeys, beat up the boss, then the evil woman appears, waves her staff, throws down some beans, and grows the boss to an incredible size. Your ranger squad retailiates by summoning your gigantic animal/vehicle mecha who transform together into an equally large robotic titan, you whomp on the boss and finish him off in style with a big group power attack. Cue next episode.
It's funny because I think there are two levels of difficulty in story mode but in neither one do the on-foot segments pose any kind of threat: you can stand there doing nothing and the lackeys might try hitting you once every five seconds or so. But that's not the point, and never was in the shows anyway: the point is to beat up the lackeys in the most stylish way possible. Here the game succeeds brilliantly as the simple Punch/Kick/Super controls allow you to pull off a suprising number of gorgeous maneuvers and combos, all of which kick ass.
Actually, these segments become something of a race as you're frequently fighting alongside one of the other rangers (you're playing the red ranger, of course) who will finish off all the badguys on their own if you don't shake a leg and join in. When a teammate joins you the Super button, which otherwise has you leap up into the air and fire a laser burst at the cost of a tiny bit of energy, instead executes a very cool team-up attack complete with custom camera angles. After a team-up the other ranger will leave for a while. These on-foot sequences flash by at an amazing rate with baddies spawning in around you constantly, you dashing off to the next encounter as soon as the last of the current group has been eliminated, and everyone yelling and jumping and punching and hopping about in an incredibly peppy manner. The spirit of the show has been distilled, super-charged and launched right onto the screen. It's just great.
The giant boss fights up the difficulty a bit and consist of two parts: first, you're facing off the boss across a row of low buildings, batting back his projectiles with well-timed sword swings, or just dodging. Once you've knocked him off-balance you can zoom in for hand-to-hand action where he dodges back and forth in a kind of first-person view as you try to stun him with a jab, then slash him with your mighty sword.
Amusing live action clips from the show intersperse these boss fights (and indeed, appear frequently throughout the game whenever something especially cool happens). The sound, music, action, endearingly goofy costumes and fighting moves of the show have been captured perfectly in graphics that I would almost not have believed possible on the PS1. A few of the effects I've seen in just the first couple levels surpass almost anything I've seen the machine pull off before. The framerate during the on-foot fights isn't 60 fps but it's steady enough and the characters and their surroundings look stunningly life-like in a low-resolution way.
Best 3D beat'em'up I've ever played, by far. Pure joy.
· three_screens.jpg
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