“Centuries ago in Japan, Nighlok monsters invaded our world, but samurai warriors defeated them with power symbols, passed down from parent to child. Today the evil Nighlok have risen once again and plan to flood the earth. Luckily, a new generation of heroes stand in their way. They are the Power Rangers Samurai.”
A new generation of Power Rangers must master the mystical and ancient “Samurai Symbols of Power,” which give them control over the elements of: Fire, Water, Sky, Forest, Earth and Light. Under the guidance of their all-knowing mentor and the aid of their devoted animal Zords, they battle the dark forces of the Netherworld and a mysterious warrior who is bent on destruction.
Love or hate Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai, is really up to you. Cheap looking and repetitive, with cheesy live-action scenes and static, text-based stories, the game is a typical example of a TV-series-licensed game designed only to appeal to its rabid fans; one that makes little attempt to go beyond cookie-cutter gameplay.
And yet, I really don’t hate this kind of games. Instead, I find them vaguely likable, like that sort of boring guy at work who you won’t go out of your way to talk to but who never really annoys you.
The game is derived from a children’s live-action TV series about teenagers with special powers who fight evil. It’s one of those nutty Japanese series that you have to be pretty young to tolerate.
The game has an episodic series told in a weird and cheap manner. Generally you will see a photograph or drawing of a scene and read text relaying a dull, fairly pointless story. If you want to skip these scenes, which I highly recommend, press the plus button.
The plus button also came in handy during endlessly repeated scenes of the Power Rangers transforming into their costumes and pulling out swords and such while shouting things like “MEGA BLADE ACTIVE!”
The Gameplay: Generic Combat
Missions virtually all have the same structure.
You choose a Power Ranger from those available and are then asked to perform some slashes with the Wii remote to create the Japanese character representing that Power Ranger (one of only two places in the game that use gesture controls).
You then run along paths where bad guys lie in wait. You can attack them with a light A button attack or a heavy B button attack, the latter of which will let you vanquish foes quickly but which requires some power which occasionally runs out.
Power is also used for a couple of more elaborate attacks that will do things like incinerate enemies.
Some of these powers are useful, some generally misfire. From time to time a fallen enemy will drop a disk; when you’ve collected a few of these you’ll be able to perform a super attack.
The paths you travel along are sometimes blocked, and you might need to use an explosive barrel or a whirling machine to break through. Some paths have spikes that rise up when you step on them, others have speed pads that let you run so fast that enemies die when you run into them. Some areas can only be opened through the power of a specific Power Ranger. At times you get a choice of paths, offering some value in replaying a level (although I never bothered to do so).
Eventually you reach an end point where you are thrust into a boss battle. These are where those disks you collected come in handy, as they can cut your boss’s life bar in half. Bosses are sometimes somewhat challenging but lack variety.
After that you will often be engaged in a monster battle. My best guess, as someone who doesn’t know the series, is that all the Power Rangers combine into a monster, or maybe one Ranger uses the power of all the Rangers to turn themselves into a monster, or maybe the Rangers have pet monsters. I don’t know and honestly I don’t care.
These monster battles have completely different gameplay. You see two Godzilla-ish monsters and a bar between them in which pictures of a Wii remote float in from the left and pictures of a nunchuk float in from the right. The goal is to shake the appropriate device just as it reaches the midpoint, with the remote attacking and the nunchuk defending. If you shake at somewhere near the midpoint you will succeed, although you’ll get a stronger attack or a defense with a counter-attack for shaking at the exact middle. The pictures float in unpredictably at different speeds, and while it’s not difficult, I did find these short battles rather entertaining.
The Defense: I’ve Seen Worse
That’s pretty much it. Action is repetitive, scenery is constantly recycled and the live-action clips from the TV show are replayed endlessly.
The Samurai Power Rangers–Red Ranger Jayden, the stoic leader; Blue Ranger Kevin, the devoted second-in-command; Pink Ranger Mia, the big sister; Green Ranger Mike, the creative rebel; Yellow Ranger Emily, the youngest and most innocent; and Gold Ranger Antonio, the expressive fisherman/tech wiz– fight the evil Master Xandred and his army of Nighloks, who want to flood the planet with the waters of the Sanzu River to bring about the end of civilization.