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Power Rangers Time Force

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Vicarious Visions
Publisher:  THQ
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Platform
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  12-13-01

I never got the appeal of the Power Rangers license. By the time the license became popular, I was already a little too old to enjoy the extremely cheesy action, lame storyline, and underwhelming fight sequences. Nevertheless, I can understand why the kids enjoy itÖprimarily for the very same reasons why I always hated it. Given the fact that the GBA is a platform with a lot of pre-teen owners, a Power Rangers game based on the latest rendition of the series was destined to happen.

As youíd expect, Power Rangers Time Force is as straightforward as they come. Naturally youíre in control of the Power Rangers, each of which look identical except for their color. They do have different attributes however (some can jump higher than others do for instance). When one dies, youíll select another to control and continue the game with him/her. When you run out of Rangers, you get to either continue with a new set (if youíve got a continue) or the gameís over. There are a total of seven levels in all to fight through, each set in a different time period and location.

Fighting is as basic as can be. Just walk up to an opponent, pound the "A" button, and continue to do so until the opponent dies. Along the way, collect a few different types of items that award continues, special powers, etc. This type of gameplay is OK in most games (although not inventive or challenging in the least bit), but this is the Power Rangers weíre talking about. Why canít I flip, somersault, and do all the other cool moves they can do on the show? Punch punch slash punch drop-kick gets old quick.

Surprisingly, the graphics are actually pretty good. Each level has a distinctive feel that perfectly matches the time period it takes place in. The are multiple layers of scrolling in the background, as well as some in front of your character to create a decent 3D effect. Additionally, everything is animated well enough, with smooth transitions between actions and even some extra bits of animation (like tossing a sword from one hand to another) thrown in for good measure. The sound effects are merely average, but the music itself is top-notch in quality. As annoying as the tune itself is, the Time Force theme song sounds excellent.

All of this equals a pretty average experience, but what brings this title down into mediocrity is the fact that itís simply too short. I literally beat it in about an hour, and that was when I was trying to kill every enemy on each level. A number of enemies can be avoided altogether, making the game even shorter. I can't imagine it being more difficult for the kiddies either, since it's a very basic game.  Once youíve beaten it, thereís little reason to go back and do it all over again.

Not only that, but it also lacks a lot of little things like story transitions between each level. You finish one area and suddenly youíre plopped down into the next with no explanation at all. Itís obvious that youíre following whatever time-hopping villain youíre chasing at the time, but there are no cutscenes at all to explain how you got there. Youíre in Ancient Rome because they said so, and youíll just have to deal with it. And after you beat each boss, youíre treated to one still screen (which is exactly the same for every boss) and thatís it. Itís clear that they didnít put a lot of development time into this one.

Highs:

  • Excellent background graphics and decent animation, as one would expect from Vicarious Visions.
  • The soundtrack sounds good.

Lows:

  • With only seven levels and such simple gameplay, it can be beaten while you wait for a new pair of bifocals at Lenscrafters.
  • Button-mashing gameplay grows old quickly, resulting in a sore thumb and a yawn.

Final Verdict:

The game itself is decent. For the people who enjoy this sort of thing, itís a fun button-mashing platform game that makes decent use of its license. If there were more to it, itíd be a worthy purchase for fans of the show. However, with only seven short levels and no real replay value, I canít recommend this to anyone of any age. If youíre still interested in Power Rangers Time Force despite what I say, then just rent it. I guarantee youíll be able to beat it before you have to return it.

Overall Score: 4.1

Additional Images:

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