This title was reviewed on Xbox One, but is also available on PlayStation 4.
Whenever me and my mate debate about whether physical games (my collection) and digital games (his collection) are better, I always forget to bring up one thing: de-listed games. While plenty of games get de-listed, they are usually backed up by a physical release that can preserve its existence, such as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle on the PS3, which has been de-listed over here in the UK, but is still readily available on disc and therefore easily playable. However, there is a whole library of games out there that have simply ceased to exist, games that were released exclusively to digital audiences and later on removed for one reason or another. In the D-List, I’ll be having a look at some of these lost titles, giving them a short review while also looking at why they were removed and how (if possible) you can still play them.
I’m giving this new series a Mighty debut, as after getting pulled back into my childhood by the recently released Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid as well as the fantastic Boom Studios comics, I noticed a Power Rangers game was missing from the stores. That game was Power Rangers Mega Battle, and after scouring the internet, I finally got to play this recently removed gem. Why was it removed? Can you still play it? Most importantly though, is it actually worth playing? It’s Morphin’ Time!
Why was it de-listed?
Licenses are a weird thing. One minute a company owns the rights to a massive brand, and the next minute someone else buys said rights, and when that happens, a lot of things can get messed up. You see, despite only being 2 years old, Mega Battle got hit by these dodgy licenses. It got released at the back-end of what’s known as the ‘Neo-Saban’ era of Power Rangers, where Saban bought the rights back from Disney. Saban would have gave the rights to published games based on the series to Bandai Namco, who published Mega Battle. However, as of the newly released Beast Morphers series, Saban has been bought out by Hasbro, leading to a new Power Rangers era. It appears that Bandai Namco lost their access to the game rights after this buy out, and were forced to de-list the game.
How can I play it now?
Thankfully, despite it being de-listed, it was actually surprisingly easy to get it, especially when compared to other games like Duke Nukem 3D Megaton and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. The UK version of Amazon has Xbox One codes readily available (Sadly I couldn’t find any PS4 codes), and the US Amazon has a single Xbox One code available. So all you need to do to play this is buy the code off Amazon and redeem it on your Microsoft Account. You can’t access the launch pack DLC, and I can’t find any codes for this DLC, so if you’re wanting to play as the White Ranger, Rocky, Adam and Aisha from Season 2 you’re out of luck, but just be lucky you can actually play the game.
Is it worth playing though?
This all depends on whether or not you’re a Power Rangers fan or not, and if you’re especially nostalgic for the Mighty Morphin’ Era, which you should be. From a presentation standpoint, Mega Battle has a unique presentation when compared to other Power Rangers titles. It has a hand-drawn, animated style, and while the over sized bobble-head look of the Rangers and Putties won’t be for everyone, I for one really like it, and Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa look absolutely bad-ass. The visual variety of the stages is also solid too. The music is also fantastic, with a ton of guitar riffs and enough uses of the MMPR theme to be incredibly nostalgic and not be annoying.
The story is also pretty nostalgic, being a condensed and re-imagined version of the first 2 seasons of MMPR. It features the original five teens with attitude being recruited by Zordon to fight Rita Repulsa, who has erected massive towers across the world in a bid to take over it (these towers aren’t in the show), and she eventually recruits Tommy Oliver as her evil Green Ranger to fight them, but the Rangers eventually defeat him and turn him back into a force for good. Like in the show, Lord Zedd becomes frustrated by Rita’s failures and replaces her as the big bad for the rest of the game (although the game doesn’t have him and Rita get married). Even King Sphinx from Episode four of the first season appears as the game’s first boss, so there’s no shortage of nostalgic moments for Power Rangers fans.
Power Rangers Mega Battle‘s gameplay itself is nothing new if you’re familiar with Power Rangers games, as it’s a side-scrolling beat em up akin to Streets of Rage (and Power Rangers on the SNES, Power Rangers Super Legends on the PS2, any of the GBA Power Rangers games, you get the idea). And while that makes the game feel a little cheap and a bit unoriginal, it is the most refined form of this typical Power Rangers formula. Gameplay is overall solid, with combat having enough impact to be satisfying. The game even takes notes from the SNES Power Rangers game by having you start out un-morphed, and having you work towards reaching your ranger form. The game does get repetitive like any other beat-em-up, but the game does a valiant effort at trying to spice things up. Each of the game’s five episodes are different thematically, with their own set pieces such as fighting on a bouncy castle or a moving plane, and new enemies add variety to the combat, so you’re thankfully not just fighting putties the whole time.
Power Rangers Mega Battle is quite short, with five episodes each with three levels. But even then, the third level of each episode is a boss fight rather than a traditional level. These boss fights are pretty enjoyable though, starting with an on-foot phase where you kick the ass of of Rita/Zedd’s creation before they inevitably grow to massive size. After that, you must shoot them in the Megazord’s tank mode before finally switching to Battle Mode and fighting it in a side-scrolling perspective. While it is just a glorified QTE, it’s cinematic enough and plays the Power Rangers theme enough to have me grinning the whole time. The game also has a skill tree where you can level up each ranger and give them new abilities which encourages replayability, with me going back to the first few levels once I unlocked Tommy to level him up.
So yeah in short, if you’re a Power Rangers fan, Power Rangers Mega Battle is definitely worth it. It’s short, cheap-feeling and not very original, but its unique and solid presentation, sound gameplay and abundance of nostalgia will not only have you gunning through it, but have you going through it with a mighty grin on your face. If you’re not a MMPR fan this won’t change your mind though, this is for the fans only. It’s also easy enough to acquire despite its D-List status, so you have nothing to lose if you’re looking for a solid, modern Power Rangers title.