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LONG BLOG

Saturn REVIEWS: Burning Rangers

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Burning Rangers is the kind of game that is difficult to dislike, even if it gives you every reason to do so. With date 3D polygonal graphics, stiff 3D controls that demand an analog stick, and some cheesy writing; here is a game that I should normally severely criticize as an outdated relic that may have been good in the past. However, the game's solid core and innovative design combine to make sure that despite all of its age-related flaws, Burning Rangers remains a fun game to play.

22: Burning Rangers:
Year: 1998.
Genre: Action, Third-Person Shooter.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.

First things first, I am changing my rating system to a simpler 10 point system. Games that get above a 7 I fully recommend, and those that get below that are mostly a waste of time. That leaves the score of 7 to depend on your taste.

"Sense a split second. Treasure the life. Have a Goddes on your wing"

This is very much a 90's game. You can figure out that much from seeing the opening anime scenes, which invoke much of the "cool" imagery that was common in the day from big-handed armor suits to wise-cracking long-haired protagonists. The unique twist in Burning Rangers is that this ragtag group of anime archetypes are firefighters.

Seeing much of the videogame space being dominated by games about shooting people, Sega decided to do something different with this 3rd person shooter game of theirs; opting to design a game about saving people instead of killing them. Ironically, this doesn't change the core shooting gameplay much as the targets are now balls of fire rather than ghouls and goblins.

Meet your futuristic fire fighting team

I guess that the firefighting gimmick combined with the futuristic Anime style does provide a unique story that is was never told in videogames before. However, that doesn't make it a necessarily good story.

Although, if you are fan cheesy 90's anime, then the cheesy dialogue and voice acting has its charm.

"You must evacuate. It is too far from your location. We don't have enough time"

As I mentioned above, this is a 3rd person shooter with fireballs as targets. Yet, that simple description doesn't do the game justice since the focus is not actually on it being a shooter.

The focus is, like in many Yuji Naka games, is on movement. In this case, movement in 3D space. Burning Ranger's main gameplay hook is in the speed you can get from one place to another in the map to save people and extinguish fires. This speed is the result of the booster shoes the character wear, which allows them to dash forward and fly around in unprecedented fashion.

You should try and master your jet packs as soon as you can

In fact, I am not sure any game at the time had the freedom of movement that was present in this title. With the ability to cross massive distances, both horizontally and vertically, you can virtually keep flying most of the level and rarely touch the ground.

All that movement is in the service of getting to fires and victims quickly in a maze-like map as the game challenges you for faster times and better performances as a firefighter. It is exhilarating most of the time, that is until the game's age-related issues start becoming more obvious.

"But if I don't give it a shot we can't save them all. I must save the others. It's my turn to help others. I will never give up"

There is no hiding the obvious age of Burning Ranger's graphics, which affect the visual variety of stages as well as put an obvious strain on the framerate. However, that's not the biggest flaw in the gameplay.

As usual in early 3D games, the camera controls are wanting and the lack of analog controls is an obvious issue. Due to the excellent movement mechanics of the game, both issues are not as big of a problem as they could otherwise have been, but they are issues nonetheless.

Not a lot of "Burning" issues though (get the joke?)

Honestly, the game's shortcomings are excusable mainly due to its short length. With only four short missions, the game can be completed in one sitting. True, this allows for repeated playthroughs to get better scores and master the system. However, I didn't find multiple playthroughs to be as rewarding as the first, and even then, the gameplay wears thin by the fifth hour.

"Say hello to Big Landman, he is our most skillful ranger"

Depending on your tolerance for early polygonal graphics, you will either be charmed bu this game's more than competent visuals or get a slight headache from all the flickering lights and the poor graphical detection.

It is not ugly nor is it unplayable. Still, it requires getting used to, especially when the background starts appearing in the foreground suddenly.

Sometimes the game is a garish assault on the senses

Musically, the game has some good tunes. However, due to the need to listen to the voice guidance system, the tracks are more muted than usual, which unfortunately doesn't give you enough chance to appreciate the game's soundtrack.

As for that voice guidance system, it is nothing if not innovative. With your commanding officer trying to guide you through the burning buildings, it helps that her voice acting is not bad even if it is weirdly inexpressive (unlike most of the cast who alternate between cliched to hammy voice acting).

In Conclusion:

Burning Rangers is an innovative game that hedged its bets on its unique setting and gameplay system carrying it beyond being a short game to be traded in at the first opportunity. I think that its reputation today proves Sega won that specific bet.

For the modern gamer, the short length is a blessing because it allows them to experience the best of the game without its shortcomings becoming too obvious.

Final: 7/10

*******************************

Pros:

  • Unique movement system
  • Unique setting and style

Cons:

  • Poor cameral controls and lack of analog movement.
  • Aged 3D graphics.

That's so 90's

**********************************************************************

Tips:

1- Look around for victims off the main path.
2- You can dodge by hitting the jump button with a direction at the same time.
3- One hit loses all of your hard-earned crystals.

Series:

For those reading one of my Saturn review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

I already reviewed both major Generation 4 consoles, and am now to review Generation 5 consoles; starting with the Sega Saturn. In these reviews, I take a top 100 games list and review the games that interest me in that list.

This time, my review series is based on this top 100 games list from Retro Sanctuary.

Also, note the following:

-If you have any suggestions for a game that is not in the Retro Sanctuary list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

This is Big Landman if you were wondering

Next Game

I guess I enjoyed Burning Rangers despite initially being apprehensive regarding its graphics. This proves that a good game can shine even if it doesn't look its best.

Next, I will be writing a report about the games from #29 to #20 in the Retro Sanctuary list before I play Dragon Force at #16 on the same list.

Stay Tuned

For Previous Saturn game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

See Here

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Thanks to the excellent work of community member Dango, now I have a cool infographic of my top 20 games. This list is not my final one, but what I thought off at the moment. If you notice, they are presented in chronological order:





Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
My Blogs