Game Review

Power Rangers Samurai Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Christopher Ingram

Go go Power Rangers

Centuries ago, dark forces threatened to destroy civilisation in Japan. The danger was thought to have been destroyed by a clan of fearless warriors wielding power symbols that had been passed down for generations. Now these dark forces have returned to finish the destruction they started so long ago, and the survival of Earth rests on the shoulders of six ordinary teenagers – the Power Rangers Samurai.

The Power Rangers have been a staple series in children’s programing for over 18 years now and this past February saw the start of the 19th season with Power Rangers Samurai. While the cast has changed multiple times throughout the years, the show’s humour and over-the-top action remains intact today. In Samurai, the evil Master Xandred has returned after centuries of hiding with his minions of Nighloks in the attempt to flood Earth with the waters of the Sanzu River. While the Rangers take hold of their inherited destiny and set off to put an end to Xandred’s threat of destruction once and for all.

Fans of the series should be excited to know that this DS entry lets you relive ten of the show's episodes as a 2D side-scrolling action game. Each mission starts off with a lengthy storyboard that features segments taken straight from the episode the mission is based upon. All of the cheesy character script is completely voiced-over by their respective actors and the show's rock soundtrack makes the portable transition as well, nailing the game’s setting perfectly.

Taking control of your Ranger you're already equipped with the signature spin sword, with X and Y used for light/heavy attacks, which can be chained together with rapid button variations. Shoulder buttons are used for blocking enemy attacks and can also be used in combination with the attack buttons for powerful special attacks that drain your symbol power gauge, which is filled by collecting kanji symbols scattered throughout each mission. The Power Disc is found during play on the touch screen and a few quick spins will set the Ranger ablaze on-screen for a short period of time — decreasing the amount of symbol power drained when using special attacks.

Master Xandred’s mooger minions are abundant attackers throughout each mission. At first easily defeated with a single blow, as the missions progress they become increasingly difficult: becoming airborne, firing multiple projectiles, furiously blocking attacks and even found hiding in trees. By learning to block incoming attacks and mastering air attacks, you’ll quickly gain the necessary skills to eventually face Master Xandred. It’s no easy feat though, as the game has no issue trapping you in sections of each mission where forward progression is blocked and waves of enemies must be defeated before you can resume. In later missions, these sections find multiple enemies in both the air and on the ground, as well as floor spikes and other obstacles to avoid, making for challenging battle sequences that offer a significant challenge. While the challenge is definitely fun for the older fans, we’re afraid that the littlest of Rangers might find the game to be a bit too difficult.

The boss battles also offer up a welcome challenge too: what good is a boss battle if it's not challenging? While these fights are indeed tough, the symbol power can be used to quickly reduce their health; only by trying to defeat them without the use of the symbol power will these battles truly become difficult. Upon defeating a boss, the battle isn’t quite won just yet though, as they’ll morph into giant beast as a last-ditch attempt at victory. Quickly, the Rangers combine all their powers together and morph into Mega Mode, allowing you to take control of a megazord to send the giant beast to the grave.

Taking control of these megazords might not be what you'd expect: taking cues from Elite Beat Agents, you’ll spin a disc on the bottom screen rapidly to fill an attack meter on the top screen before your enemy. If you're successful an attack circle appears on the touch screen, initiating a rhythmic attack; if your enemy fills its meter first, you have to defend using another stylus minigame. These tug-of-war megazord battles aren’t exactly the highlight of the game — it’d be much cooler to actually control a megazord — but this approach does allow the action to play out just as it does in the television show on the top screen: hysterical stand-off fights where each opponent takes turns attacking the other.

While the little DS cartridge is already jam-packed with loads of the Rangers’ dialogue and tunes, the game also manages to still find room for a few other extras as well. For those who think they’re up for the challenge, finding all of the hidden power discs scattered throughout the missions grants access to multiple gameplay bonuses. Also, defying evil and destroying Master Xandred grants a host of other extras too, but we’ll not go off and spoil any surprises.

Conclusion

The action-packed 2D Power Ranger gameplay found here is surprisingly fun and does a great job of bringing the series style into a portable gameplay format. The graphics aren’t the best we’ve seen on the handheld and the common enemy in the game are reused far too much in each mission. A few platforming elements and variations are peppered through the missions to add some variety, but things still tend to get a bit repetitive after a few hours though. Even with its faults, this is far from the usual cash-in licensed title we’ve come to expect and Power Rangers Samurai is well worth a look from fans of the series.

Today’s Power Ranger fans may have parents who were fans themselves at one point long ago and whether you’re a fan new or old, Power Rangers Samurai has something to offer. While the littlest wannabes might find the challenge a bit too stiff, if those a bit older find the game nestled away in their stocking this Christmas, they might be chanting “Go Go Santa Claus” instead come Christmas morn.

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User Comments (27)

sykotek

#3

sykotek said:

I really dug Power Rangers: Super Legends on the DS. It was an incredibly under rated game that most professional reviewers just didn't bother actually spending time with in order to unlock or learn some of the cooler combo making moves available.

I haven't watched a single episode of Power Rangers: Samurai ...or Power Rangers since...the beginning of Turbo.

Edit: Picked it up, B1G1 half off sale at Toys R Us...it comes in a larger box and includes a complimentary Red Samurai Ranger figure.
Untitled

The Wii version doesn't look so fun in the videos of gameplay I've watched, what a shame.

Shadow_Chad6982

#6

Shadow_Chad6982 said:

I see the subtitle then i think about watching mighty morphing power rangers and playing the super nintendo game as a kid. Good times :)

Slapshot

#9

Slapshot said:

@sykotek I actually queued up and watched a couple of the Power Ranger Samurai episodes on my TiVo and I felt like I had just hit the rewind button on life backwards about 18-years. Back then I really enjoyed the Might Morphin Power Rangers game on Sega's Game Gear so that's all the experience I've got with the games, but I did thoroughly enjoy this DS entry.

We we're very surprised how this game turned out as well! It's nice to see Namco Bandai stepping up and releasing a good game for the fans of this series. :)

KaiserGX

#11

KaiserGX said:

Power Rangers Samurai is better then the ones before it.

But those old school power rangers green ranger white ranger suck... it's all about the OLDER SCHOOL Super Sentai Rangers from the 70's!

Hokori

#14

Hokori said:

now do a review of Exclamation Warriors! SHOUT! for DS ^.^ that game looks like it would be bad, but at the same time good

Slapshot

#16

Slapshot said:

For those that might be interested in the purchasing the Wii version of Power Rangers Samuri - as @sykotek mentioned - the Wii version of the game sadly doesn't have anywhere near the quality or fun factor of the DS version and we don't recommend it to even fans of the series - we won't be reviewing it.

@sykotek Nice! I got the Blue Ranger with the Swordfish Zord with mine. Haha ;)

MasterGraveheart

#19

MasterGraveheart said:

That's not too shabby. As someone who grew up on Power Rangers during the Zordon era, I've gotta say I'm glad something I enjoyed has stuck around for so long, for better or worse.

And for the record, Trini is, was, and always will be my favorite Ranger, may Thuy Trang rest in peace.

stromboli

#25

stromboli said:

I remember when I was a teen, PR came out, and I thought it was the worst thing ever. It was basically a Transformers for dummies. But this looks nice. I would choose the Wii version. Pretty cool that it's a Nintendo console exclusive. There are lots these under the radar.

pariah164

#26

pariah164 said:

Oh man.
As a fan of Shinkenger, not sure how to feel. May snag this if I see it on sale.

Highwinter

#27

Highwinter said:

@stromboli I hope you now realise that the show Power Rangers is based on (Super Sentai) predates the Transformers by over a decade and has been running continually for 36 years.

(so no you guys, the green and white rangers from MMPR were NOT the originals, they're considered little more than a footnote in the grand scheme of things..) :D

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