(Morphin' Time sequence from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
The Nerd: Angry Nintendo Nerd! Atari Nerd! Sega Nerd! PlayStation Nerd! Tiger Electronic Wristwatch Game Nerd! Form Angry Video Game Nerd!
(Sung to the tune of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Go go Angry Game Nerd!
Go go Angry Game Nerd!
Go go Angry Game Nerd!
You very Angry Video Game Nerd!
Go go Angry Game Nerd!
Go go Angry Game Nerd!
Go go Angry Game Nerd!
You very Angry Video Game Nerd!
The Nerd: What do you get when you take Godzilla, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Voltron, Saved By the Bell, and put 'em all together? You get Power Rangers. It was like an extended toy commercial, with action figures being staged in epic shots. It was martial arts. It was comedy. It was giant Japanese rubber suit monsters. It was mechanical dinosaurs. It was robots coming together to make bigger robots. A turtle with a traffic light on its head! Monsters that would make wisecracks and rap. And right around all these Japanese action scenes was an American teenage sitcom.
The Nerd: Power Rangers uses stock footage from the long-running Japanese show Super Sentai, a tradition which still continues to this very day, with two separate franchises both going on at the same time. Adapting a show that's crazy to begin with, and then making an American-Japanese hodgepodge, taking the insanity of both cultures and putting them together may seem like overkill, but no. It went over big. In fact, in its prime, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was so popular it was like the successor to Ninja Turtles, and of course that meant video games. Video games up the ass. It's so far up the ass it would be impossible for me to play every one of them, so here's just a sampling of some of the Power Rangers games, and I'm counting on at least one of them to get my blood boiling.
The Nerd: Let's start at the beginning. I have a couple of Super Sentai games on the Famicom, keeping in mind this is the show that spawned Power Rangers. The first game, released in 1991, is Super Sentai: Jetman.
(Places Super Sentai: Jetman into the Famicom.)
The Nerd: This is based on the 15th season of Super Sentai, basically before Power Rangers came into existence. You pick your character, and then have to beat 5 stages in any order you like. It's a simple mediocre sidescroller. The controls are smooth enough, and there's nothing too dumb here, except the pause button is Select instead of Start, which I'm used to. Start is the special move. Every time I try to pause the game I end up wasting the special move.
The Nerd: Two of the characters use a sword, two of them use a gun, and the other does something different. It's like they tried giving all the characters unique attacks but got only halfway before they ran out of time. And why wouldn't you pick the character with the long-range attack anyway? When one of them dies, you lose that character, sorta like Ninja Turtles on NES, but the levels are so short and easy. You're more likely to die on the boss, and in that case you start the stage over anyway.
The Nerd: The boss battles are the most awkward, frustrating parts to the game. It's like two toasters boxing. You just mash buttons, then block, then mash more buttons, hoping to land some hits. It does look cool, I'll give it that, but what's up with the jump-punch? I am not a fan of jump-punching. How do you expect to hit something like that? And why does one of the legs shrink, like matching a frog's leg with an elephant's leg? Huh. Every now and then you can charge up for a special move and that's where it's at. (Shoots the boss.) Yeah. (Imitates explosion twice.)
(Places Super Sentai: Zyuranger into the Famicom.)
The Nerd: The next game, released in '92, was based on Zyuranger, which was Super Sentai's 16th season, and the one which became the basis for the first season of Power Rangers. And listen here. It has the Zyuranger theme song. (Zyuranger theme song plays.)
The Nerd (singing): Jūrenjā! Jūrenjā! Densetsu no senshi-tachi yo! Jūrenjā!
The Nerd: This game is more linear. You go through the stages in a set order. Each stage, you're a different Ranger. Once again, it's pretty self-explanatory. You just run to the right and fight off enemies with a gun. Halfway through you get a new weapon, but what kind of attack is that? You're just blindly swinging a knife around, like Michael Myers at the end of Halloween 2. The 1981 version of Halloween 2. What the hell? I have to say, I barely got through the first stage, with this platform jumping, spikes, and lousy short-range weapon, I almost gave up. Now, I'm at the boss, and I almost got it.
(Defeats the boss and the scene with the Rangers' weapons combined appears.)
The Nerd: All right! Yeah, sometimes it takes a while to succeed, but if you keep trying...
(Scene changes to Megazord and Dragonzord playing ping-pong. Megazord loses and Game Over appears. The Nerd is stunned.)
The Nerd: What just happened? No. No, no, that wasn't real. So I beat the first stage, again, and sure enough, it drastically switches, as if you're playing a different game, a game called "Megazord and Dragonzord Play Ping-Pong"! It's Megazord and Dragonzord playing ping-pong! Oh my god!
The Nerd: Imagine if the new Godzilla vs. King Kong movie comes out, if it's just them playing ping-pong. (Scene changes to them doing just that.) Yeah! King Kong plays ping pong, and then fucking Forrest Gump shows up! (Forrest Gump play by Tom Hanks appears.) Would you be disappointed, or would it be the most historically amazing thing you witnessed?
The Nerd: As you progress through the game you take control of different Ranger characters and surprisingly, it gets much easier, probably because the other weapons are so much better. I can't think of any other game where all the difficulty is in the first stage and then it goes downhill.
(Scene with the Blue Ranger)
The Nerd: Is that the Blue Ranger or Mega Man?
The Nerd: In between each stage there's these weird minigames like ping-pong as I mentioned. Also there's a bomb toss game which is basically Hot Potato except its Hot Bomb blows up in your face.
The Nerd: Then there's a trivia game. Unfortunately, I can't read Japanese, so I'll just pretend I got it right. But anyway the password system is perhaps one of the strangest I've ever seen. It's three images of a ranger, each with three selectable poses. So it's not really a password, it's more like a pass-pose. And if you try different combinations, you have a good chance of guessing.
The Nerd: Unlike the show, there was no American adaptation of this game for the NES. There was an unofficial cartridge that changed the title to Power Rangers, but the only difference is the label and the title screen, which glitches like crazy. (Title screen glitches.) But could you imagine, if there was a Power Rangers NES game that took stages from a Japanese game and added American stages just like they did with the show? To simulate this experience, just play something else like Family Feud, and then switch it to Super Sentai: Zyuranger. Yeah, it's pretty amazing how much mileage you can get from stock footage. You know what? To get through this video, I might as well use stock clips from past Nerd episodes.
The Nerd (from stock clips): (Yells) ASS! FUCK! DIE!
The Nerd: The Famicom games are mediocre but not terrible.
The Nerd: So let's step into 16-bit territory. (Places Mighty Morphin Power Rangers into the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.) Next up, Power Rangers on Super Nintendo. (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme song plays) Well hot damn, it has the theme song and it sounds pretty good. It even has vocals!
Voice on game (singing): Go go Power Rangers!
The Nerd: You can select anybody from the initial Ranger lineup. Each one of them has their own fighting style, their own special moves, which actually makes it fun to try out all the different characters. It's just an average beat-em-up game. All you do is run around and punch people, and it can get monotonous. But for the time period, it's good! Like Robin Hood. You start out in your regular clothes, then you power up in your Ranger suit.
The Nerd: The only thing they slacked on was the Rangers all have the same exact body type, which is surreal to see Trini for example, turn from thin to muscular. Each Ranger has their unique weapon and a grand sweeping power move that wipes out everybody on screen. (Blue and Yellow Ranger power moves.) Yeah! But the game fights you back on it eventually with a giant laser that comes out of nowhere.
(Laser sound effect knocks out the Red Ranger and some Putties.)
The Nerd: (Exclaims) It's just like a giant middle finger saying "Fuck yooouuu!" I hate this thing. (Laser knocks out Putties.) Oh, wait. It kills enemies too? Now I like it.
The Nerd: And you power up your health with chicken legs. Save some for Simon Belmont.
The Nerd: It ends with a Megazord battle which is clunky and only a slight improvement over the battles in the Famicom games. But it looks great. For the time, this was very satisfactory. It was just like playing an episode of the show. Nothing much to get angry about here.
(Places Power Rangers: The Movie into the SNES.)
The Nerd: There's another one on Super Nintendo, Power Rangers: The Movie the game, "Featuring Ivan Ooze". Remember that, because otherwise it has nothing to do with the movie. It's another beat-em-up, but there's this weird jumping thing you do to alternate between the background and foreground plane, like you have two separate two-dimensional planes that you walk on. Could they just take a hint from all the other beat-em-up games? But the big problem with this? It's way too hard. I had no problem finishing the other game, so why here can't I get through the first stage?
The Nerd: Let's check out Power Rangers on Sega Genesis. (Places Power Ranges into the Genesis.) Okay, so it's a Street Fighter style game, a shitty one that only uses two of the buttons. Yoga Fire! The problem here, once again, is the difficulty. The game just punishes you over and over again. It forces you into using cheap moves. Yeah, I'll just keep spinning around. How do you like that?
The Nerd: There's not much to say here. Back in the day, if you had nothing better to do, this wouldn't be so bad. Now, it's just like finding an old dried turd on a playground. Just forget about it. It no longer smells, it's not hurting anybody, it doesn't need to be tended to. Just walk away.
The Nerd: Then there's the Sega CD game. (Places Power Rangers into the Sega CD add-on.) Well, if you felt like watching the show in shit quality with a bunch of button commands on-screen, then this is the game for you. It's trying to be like the Dragon's Lair arcade or one of those types of games, but in Dragon's Lair, if you fail to press the button at the right time, you see a different outcome. A different video is loaded to show the character dying or whatever. Here, no matter what you do, the episode continues to play normally.
The Nerd: You think if you missed a button, the Power Rangers would get hit or something. They actually do get hit sometimes, but that happens either way. Whether or not it syncs up with what you're doing, is pure coincidence. All they did was take the show, and put a little button game on top of it. This is the cheapest way possible to turn a show into a game. That would be like watching an episode of Green Acres with button commands. (Scene from Green Acres with "A" and "right arrow" buttons and a power bar) What sense does that make? Wanna play Power Rangers on Sega CD? Just watch the show while playing Simon Says. At least it's not Simon's Quest.
The Nerd: All right, let's crank up that diarrhea dial. (Places Power Rangers: Light Speed Rescue into the Nintendo 64.) Here's Power Rangers: Light Speed Rescue on Nintendo 64.
Female voice: 3...2...1...Go!
(Character lifts up a leg and shoots a projectile from between the legs.)
The Nerd (Stifled laughter): Okay. First of all, I'm not trying to be vulgar, but what does that look like? You shoot laser projectiles out your vagina! Yeah, I had to double-check that it was the Yellow Ranger because it looks more like the Mustard Shit-Stained Ranger.
The Nerd: The objective is to clean up green slime. Nice. That's appealing. I thought that Superman had it bad having to go around flying through rings all day. The Power Rangers have to clean up nasty mucus. At least there's enemies to fight, but even that is boring. All you do is run and shoot. Most of the buttons do nothing. There's no jump, no crouch, no side-step, nothing like that. This is a game that was designed to be played on an Atari controller. You can even run through enemies. Yeah! Mow 'em down!
Enemy in game: (Grunts)
The Nerd: Oh, look. They're coming out of the walls. It's like the Twilight Zone. And when you run behind the buildings, they vanish from reality, but not completely. They become a shadow of their former existence. Yeah. Ever had that happen? Happens to my house all the time.
The Nerd: It's a very spacious game. There's no hallways or boundaries to guide you around. If you run in any direction, it'll be minutes before something eventually blocks your path. How far do these boundaries go? I just keep running, and running, and running, and running...
(Dr. Seuss characters appear, surprising the Nerd)
The Nerd: And for whatever reason they didn't know how to loop the music, so instead it abruptly stops and starts up again. (Music ends, pauses, and starts up again.) It's a very jarring shift in tone. Not to mention, it's the same music the entire game. Oh, except the title screen, which is repeated for the cut scenes and all that. So only two music tracks total. After that, you get this awkward driving stage where you rescue people.
Voice in game: (Exclaims) Over here! All right!
The Nerd: Love hearin' those voices over and over again.
Voice in game: Over here! All right! Over here! All right!
The Nerd: Over here! All right! Over here! All right! Over here! All right! Over here! (Yells) ALL RIGHT!
The Nerd: Next there's an awkward Megazord fight where you battle against a semi-invisible monster. It's all in first-person view; except when you manage to get close, it switches to third-person. But it's hard to stay close, so it switches back and forth. (Game switches to first-person) (Groans) It's Morphine Time. I need some morphine.
The Nerd: Then you get these flying stages. Again the goal is to rescue people. Not much to say.
(Runs out of time and "MISSION FAILED" appears.)
Audience voice: (Exclaiming)
The Nerd: So overall there's only 4 types of stages, at least from what I've seen. And the problem with this game is that it's too simple. N64 was capable of a lot more.
The Nerd: (exhales) It's bad, but in a boring way. I've seen worse. See, my standards are much lower. It's not making obnoxious screeching sounds. You don't die in one hit and have to start the whole thing over. It doesn't glitch so bad you can't play it. You don't have to drive a bus for 8 hours. It's not bright red and you have to hold it up to your eyes. It's actually like a game, just a real boring one. So, I don't know, I'm not really feeling the anger too much with this one. I wasn't going to stoop this low, but let's try out the Game Boy versions. (Places Power Rangers into Super Game Boy)
The Nerd: So here's Power Ranges on Game Boy. Well, it's basically the same thing as the Super Nintendo version, so I'm not really going to pick it apart. What's the point? Of course it's going to be worse on Game Boy. And don't get me wrong. There's lots of great exclusive games on Game Boy like Link's Awakening for example. The keyword here is "exclusive". I need to find something that isn't trying to be like the Super Nintendo version.
(The screen changes to the Game Over screen)
The Nerd: Something different. (Ranger punches "No" button) Okay. That's weird. That's the most confusing continue screen I've ever seen. So, I punched the word "No" away so that means I picked "Yes" because "No" got punched away or does that mean the word I punched is the word I... (title screen appears) ...yeah, yeah. I picked "No". Fuck.
The Nerd: Okay, so let's try out Power Rangers: The Movie, the Game Boy game. (Places Power Rangers: The Movie into the Super Game Boy.) All right, this one is different. An exclusive game, but is it exclusively bad? Well, let me ask, if this follows the movie, the Yellow Ranger would be Aisha, not Trini, which means they got the skin color wrong. But it is Game Boy, and the reason I even notice the Yellow Ranger is because these games were optimized for the Super Game Boy with their own color design and border graphics. Otherwise, take a look at the Rangers. Which one's your favorite? The Dark Green, Dark Green, Dark Green, Dark Green, Dark Green, or Dark Green Ranger? Mine's the Dark Green Ranger.
The Nerd: The gameplay is pretty much the same as most of the other side-scrolling Ranger games. You choose a Ranger, choose a stage, take out enemies, move to the right, get in the Ranger suit, fight a boss, and so on. But the shit factor skyrockets when you get an assful of bad hit detection, unresponsive jumping, awkward jump-punching, cheap boss battles, and randomly changing rules.
The Nerd: Let me explain here. There's a stage where you get in a mine cart, or stand on top of it. Classic. Imagine this Ranger doing his grocery shopping.
(Cut to a scene inside a grocery store with the Blue Ranger standing on the shopping cart.)
The Nerd: Does he stand on the shopping cart? Let me know if you've seen anybody doing that. Anyway, when you're standing on the cart, the D-pad controls the cart's movement from left to right. But as soon as another cart shows up, it changes. Now the D-pad makes you walk off the cart, which results instantly in death. (Blue Ranger falls off the cart and dies.) I fell 2 feet from the ground. How do you die? Couldn't it just take a little bit of health away? Why does it have to kill you?
The Nerd: You're supposed to jump to the second cart, which requires precision timing and distance. Naturally you're going to push right while you're jumping, but pushing right will make you walk off the cart and die. Your sudden instincts make you want to control the cart to get to the correct distance. You're so used to controlling the cart, it comes unexpected when all of a sudden you walk off and die. If you're still touching the D-pad when that second cart shows up, you die. If you let the carts touch, you die. Jump too soon, you die. Jump too late, you die. You fucking die, and now you know the type of anger I'm talking about.
The Nerd: Hey. Name one game where the punch and kick alternates back and forth automatically. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie on Game Boy. When you hit the button, it's a punch. Hit it again, it's a kick. Then it's a punch, a kick, a punch, a kick. You try to attack, but you end up doing the wrong move. You'll never know if it's going to be a punch or a kick unless you keep track the whole time.
The Nerd: This problem escalates when you get to the sand. Oh God, the sand. Let me tell you about this. You have to punch and kick all this sand out of the way, and it's a race against time because there's a machine following close behind you. If it touches you, it's a one-hit death. You have to get rid of that sand as fast as humanly possible. You can't afford any wasted hits, which means you have to master the science behind this punch-kick phenomenon.
The Nerd: The top square can only be taken out with the punch. The middle with a kick or a ducking punch. The bottom, only with a ducking kick. So not only do you have to know when it's going to be a punch or a kick, but you also have to know when to be standing or ducking. The only successful pattern I found is duck-stand-stand, duck-duck-stand. I can't even do it without saying it out loud. Duck-stand-stand, duck-duck-stand. Duck-stand-stand, duck-duck-stand. Fuck-shit-shit, fuck-fuck-shit! Fuck-shit-shit, fuck-fuck-shit! (Loudly) FUCK-SHIT-SHIT, FUCK-FUCK-SHIT! (White Ranger dies) (Screams angrily) FUCK!
(Takes Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie out of the Super Game Boy.)
The Nerd: (Exclaims) Now I'm angry. Now that's what I'm talking about! You fucking game! Is that the way you like it? That's the way you're gonna get it.
The Nerd (Poses): Power Glove Power!
(Power Glove explodes out of a volcano)
The Nerd (Poses): Power Pad Power!
(Power Pad flies out of a snowy mountainside)
The Nerd (Poses): LaserScope Power!
(The Konami LaserScope rises out of a desert)
The Nerd (Poses): U-Force Power!
(U-Force explodes out of a volcano)
The Nerd (Poses): Roll 'n Rocker Power!
(The Roll 'n Rocker flies out of the treetops)
(The Power Glove, Power Pad, U-Force, and LaserScope fly toward the Nerd and attach. The Superscope flies toward the Nerd, who grabs it out of the air. The Roll 'n Rocker flies toward the Nerd, which he steps on and moves angrily to the game. The Nerd swings the SuperScope at the game, and the scene changes back to the room with a light smash breaking the game.)
The Nerd: Yeah. You fucking game. (Trips over the Roll 'n Rocker and falls over.)