On paper Mega Battle should be the perfect Power Rangers game. The old school of beat em ups like Golden Axe and Streets Of Rage, updated with vibrant colours and arcade music but with the familiarity of the Power Rangers themselves. From the opening cinematic its obvious that Mega Battle is all about the nostalgia. The cackling screams of Rita Repulsa and the heavy guitar riffs of the main theme bring back great memories of the original show and a few of the story lines and characters that appear in the game are wonderful nods to the original show. Unfortunately, when this nostalgia wears off, Mega Battle rears its ugly head and what’s left is a game rife with issues that are hard to ignore.
The game begins with a story mode with other options available to extend the play time once that mode has been completed. Once you’ve chosen a Power Ranger to play as, a short introduction to the plot reveals Rita is about to take over the world. After a short in-game cinematic, your playable character is dropped into a tiny training area to test your skills before literally rolling to the start of the level. With 6 levels in total, each level is broken up into 3 easily digestible 2D stages that build toward a climactic finish to each one; a button mashing, frantic Zord fight reminiscent of the end of each TV episode. Each level follows a familiar pattern, travelling from left to right through different pixelated terrains battling creatures familiar to the TV show and other original enemies. The story line feels a little disjointed at times though, with sprinkles of a disjointed plot that feel forced and contrived rather than introducing a natural progression to the different areas. Of course, with Power Rangers playing as an arcade beat ’em up, the lack of a cohesive story can be forgiven somewhat but the gameplay is chock full of its own problems.
The bright, vibrant worlds do feel a little repetitive to fight through
Power Rangers Mega Battle feels like it should be played as a multiplayer game. With up to 4 players able to play locally and a number of difficult enemies with massive amounts of health, the game lends itself to be played with a group of friends. Unfortunately, with no online multiplayer option, the only choice is to have up to 4 players simultaneously playing together and if this isn’t an option, its a long grind to finish by yourself. Although you are able to finish the game with one player, its made considerably more difficult the further into the stages you get.
Zord fights make for a satisfying end to each chapter
Some enemies require specific timing or a certain button combination to hit them and the window for this is small, made all the more difficult by a lack of health packs in the levels and a handful of other enemies to fight at the same time. Its not just a matter of difficulty either, with many enemies given small hit boxes that make it difficult to nail the moves needed to punch or kick them and far too frequently cheap shots knock you down from a kick you think has hit but was outside the necessary area to do damage. The animation for getting back to your feet seems to drag on too, giving enemies the opportunity to constantly knock you down without the chance to recover. With the base game fundamentally flawed, its difficult to forgive the issues inherent here, even with a slight nostalgic charm attached to it.
Mega Battle is extremely unforgiving too. The lack of checkpoints in the 15 minute+ levels is a real problem, with some stages ending with a mini boss that all too frequently ends in a game over screen and a reluctant trudge through the same wave of enemies and repetitive level design to reach that area again. Its frustrating too because there’s certainly potential here but the game feels unpolished and rushed through vast periods of its play time. It would have been nice to see a little more voice acting from the main stars too, with lines ripped straight from the TV show but the text exchanges between the rangers lacks any cohesion or familiar quips that make it all the more disappointing.#
Everything in Mega Battle is geared toward local multiplayer
Overall Power Rangers: Mega Battle is a poor effort at a 2D beat ’em up. It is fun to an extent, with nostalgic bursts of familiarity helping to make the game fun but the emphasis on local multiplayer, difficult, repetitive enemies that have far too much health and an awkward hit box for each enemy, make it hard to ignore the issues inherent with this game. With more polish and refined gameplay Mega Battle could be a nostalgic blast given the vibrant colours and retro feel but in its current state the issues inherent with Mega Battle overshadow any of the positives it manages to conjure up.