Upon reading that title in your head for the first time, your brain begins to explode with endless possibilities! “A gigantic collaboration of all of your favorite Rangers in a video game!!? This can’t be forrealz, yo!!” Like the crossover concept that was introduced in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Super Legends unites iconic Rangers from multiple eras to team up and fight evil. Super Legends is a great idea in theory, but I think it comes up a bit short of being as great as the concept presents itself.
The story is that Lord Zedd (or an alternate universe Lord Zedd, since the emperor was purified by Zordon’s good energy at the end of Power Rangers in Space) has found a crystal that can manipulate time and space, and he intends to travel throughout different demonsions and alter timelines, potentially erasing the existence of the Power Rangers.
The Future Omega Ranger, whom apparently oversees…uh…okay, I’m not 100% clear what he oversees, because this implies that the origin of the Rangers Powers were handed down from some sort of deity and it’s his sovereign duty to ensure that the powers of the Rangers do not fall into the hands of evil. Well, if that were true, then where was this guy when A-Squad in Space Patrol Delta turned rouge? Also, if he created, or had part in creating the power morphers and constructing the morphing grid, then how does that explain the Rangers in Light Speed Rescue and R.P.M, where scientists and technicians manufactured the tech themselves? How do the Ninja powers tie in? Perhaps I am overthinking this and losing focus. What’s important is that he seeks to unite the Rangers from the universes that Zedd is attempting to invade in order to thwart him. Only two Rangers from each featured universe can join the fight (something about disrupting the space/time continuum), but others can be unlocked after achieving goals throughout the game.
VISUALS & ANIMATION 7.7/10: Utilizing cel shaded character models, this game looks pretty slick. It’s also a pretty busy game, as backgrounds have a lot going on behind you. Like in the first stage, featuring Operation Overdrive, there are constantly dueling tornadoes whirling behind you at all times, and looks really cool. You might even get the feel that they could come toward you at some point. The nice touches like that can add just enough life to your stage to keep it visually appealing. Later in the Mighty Morphin stage, you have to fend off Putties while oncoming traffic is speeding towards you, meaning you have to fend for your life while fighting off a seemingly endless swarm of the clay-baked henchmen. While the colors are bright and well detailed, the frame rate does shift from smooth as silk to inconsistently choppy and slowdown can be a bit of a problem. It’s a bit annoying that the cutscenes aren’t full motion, but rather it’s filmed in this photo-animation, like some of those visual comic things that never caught on. I’ve always found that style to be distracting unless there is a reason behind it, just doing it for the sake of it is pointless. The Ranger models, while a bit blocky, all look very much like their live-action counterparts, none lacking any specific trait or detail, and they are all used in real time, which I always applaud games for. Cel shading became more utilized near the end of the PS2’s run, and it seemed to be easier to pull off more visual tricks with it on the aging hardware.
SOUND 4.7/10: While it may be a little disappointing that none of the talent from any of the series involved returned to voice any of their respective roles, the voice actors in their stead do a pretty decent job (Steve Blum does a good Lord Zedd), even if the performances aren’t particularly memorable. Some are just down right insufferable and annoying, like Trakeena from Lost Galaxy’s constant cackling!! She never shuts up and it’s painful on the soul!! Goldar sounds like a pirate, and Omega Ranger himself talks like Will Friedle on sleeping pills.
Probably even more annoying is just how utterly bland the music is in this game, and this is my biggest problem with Super Legends. If there is ONE THING about Power Rangers, regardless of what era or time period that you watched it, is the memorable tunes!!! Well, guess what; NONE OF THAT IS PRESENT!! Nothing!! Not even any unlockable audio files! How did this happen!!? Rocking themes is to Power Ranger as oxygen is to breathing!! It’s hard to explain how fast this took the wind out of my sails. What you get in place of the iconic rock anthems is a generic as hell, off-brand version of Go, Go, Power Rangers at the main menu and the rest of the music throughout the game sounds like some leftover BGM from the 4Kids localization of Sonic X. I’d rather listen to the horrible Mystic Force theme on an endless loop than this poor effort that I dare call “themes”.
GAMEPLAY 7.7/10: Super Legends combines a side-scrolling beat’em-up with an adventure platformer. The controls are easily accessible and responsive. You have a standard melee attack and you can use your power blaster for a more ranged offensive approach, but you blaster can overheat and shoot really slow if used too much at once. It can be charged for a power shot that will instantly kill weaker foes and stun bigger ones. You also have a Super Meter that, when charged appropriately, can unleash a devastating attack that damages all foes on screen, as well as providing a nice over-the-top fireworks display, something that’s synonymous with the show during the Bruce Kalish days (Okay, I’m being a total mark right now. I apologize). One thing I never liked about beat’em-ups was that attack that does damage to yourself. What kind of handicap is that? Give me a super meter and let me build it up instead of hurting myself! You unlock extra moves to juggle up some variety and it can get reall fun to see how long you can keep a mid-air chain going. I maxed out at roughly 137 hits before I let my enemy hit the ground. Tekken sure can pay off sometimes.
So, the brawler portion of the game is entertaining enough, especially with a buddy, but Super Legends drops the ball with the Zord battles. The First MMPR for SNES seems to be the only game that got this right! At the very least, Power Rangers Samurai relied on timing with swinging the Wii Remote and came off like a pale Rock-em-Sock-em Robots, but Super Legends will win the award for worst Zord battles in a Power Rangers game. It’s been reduced to nothing more than a mindless Quick Time Event mini game that violently rips you out of the element! You either have to rapidly press a button to gain the upper hand in a clash, like the one pictured above, whirl the analog stick in a clockwise motion (it doesn’t specify which one, so I have no idea if wheeling them both makes it go faster), or press a number of buttons in an undefinable sequence for your attack or defense. It’s hard to determine if there is supposed to be a pattern, so you never know what button is supposed to come next. Even worse, you have roughly 4 seconds to input these commands (I think it’s like six successful button presses for a fully charged attack/defense bar) and the brain has to register the shape and send that info to your fingers and muscles to press the correct one, and if you mess up twice, you’re boned!! Doing it with two players is nearly impossible unless you’re training to pilot an Evangelion plug suit, because that’s how in synch you and your partner would have to be in order to succeed at this!!