Remember the Power Rangers? They were awesome when I was a kid. Who cares if they pranced around in tights? It didn’t bother me that the black ranger was a black guy and that the yellow ranger was an Asian chick. Nope, I was too young to worry about such things. It was a half hour where I could shut my brain off and simply have fun watching the good guys take it to the bad guys. This is the exact same mindset that I had going into THQ’s Power Rangers Ninja Storm
for the GBA. I wasn’t expecting something deep and engrossing, but rather something that I could pick up and play in short spurts, and that’s exactly what I got.
If you’ve played the hundreds of Game Boy or NES beat’em ups then you’ve played Ninja Storm
. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing but it’s not necessarily a great thing either. Repetition is the order of the day here, be prepared to fall in love with that B button because it’ll be demanding an awful lot of attention. The majority of the levels are comprised of kill zones. Head into one of them, take on an onslaught of enemies and prepare to move to the next. Occasionally there are some zones which will require a bit of thought, such as ones where you’ll have to throw an enemy into an obstacle, but those are a rare occurrence.
At the end of the level is a stereotypical boss complete with easy to dissect attack pattern. After you slay the monster the beast within awakens and you’ll take to your Zord for some old-school baddie bashing. Instead of turning the game into a 2D fighter the designers opted to turn it into a sort of reflex-based mini-game. Little icons will protrude from one side of the screen, it’s up to you to press the appropriate direction and the corresponding button. Beating the computer to the punch rewards you with a short cutscene that exhibits your monster crushing techniques and then it’s back to work again. Eventually you’ll finish them off and then move on to the next level so that you can do it all over again.
To spruce things up a bit you’ll be able to choose from three different characters, well six if you count the palette swap rangers. You’ll get the Thunder Rangers the Ninja Rangers and the mysterious Green Ranger. All of them are virtually identical although they each have unique special abilities. There are very few differences between the various sides, mainly resulting in a different level or two. However, they all have similar attacks and will fight the same bosses so picking your on-screen avatar is basically as simple as choosing your favorite color.
Since the game was probably intended to score a few easy bucks the guys at THQ opted to go for the less expensive password system instead of including a battery backup. This isn’t really a huge problem here though. Instead of using an insane 20 character sequence of upper and lowercase letters Ninja Storm employs a simple three character system that’s really easy for gamers on the go.
If you have a child who is a fan of the television show or you’re looking for a fun game to play on the bus or train to work then you should consider picking up Power Rangers Ninja Storm. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it provides just what you would expect out of a GBA beat’em up, brainless fun in a small and convenient package.
A pretty decent 2D platformer that will satisfy gamers who are looking for a quick fix. Not much depth or variety but then again, people who need to kill 15 minutes really aren't looking for something incredibly deep or engaging.
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