Saturday, June 27, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Ranger-X

Ranger-X!!! Yeah, I know, so sad I couldn't find a wikipedia listing for it. The weird thing is that there used to be one, I am sure of it! Those guys have some problems, is all I have to say about that. Anyway, when this released, the Sega Genesis carts started to look like Bubblicious wrappers - which was horrible - so I am inclined to post the slightly better looking Japanese boxcover as well..

Yeah, it's got a little bit of a carny thing going on as well at the top there, but what are ya gonna do. This pic still looks great and it is very remniscient of the early '90s. What else is there to go on about, then.

Enough babbling about the frontends - well I lied, a little more. When you started this game up, it would treat you to some proper scaling FX at the title screen, and then the stage into would give you a TRON-style 3D blueprint of the area you were to infiltrate, "Boxy but good," you usually didn't see such effects in games that weren't emblazoned with a "super FX chip powered" moniker on the front as well as an extra ten bucks on the price tag. No one knew who Gau Entertainment was, but one thing was for sure, they knew their tech..

Yeah and they were not kidding around either. From the get-go, when this was released in 1993, you could tell this was not your ordinary Sega Genesis title. It has the funky title FX, it had a noticeably larger color palette - this was quite the selling point in the days when the SNES, 32,000 palette, or whatever, was smashing the crap out of the Genesis' 512 palette (mind you, neither system could display that many colors on-screen at once, but still - the difference was hardly negligible). Gau had some pro's who knew what they were doing. Moreover, this game took advantage of a special 6-button D-Pad (as they called them "back in the day!"), I actually bought one just to play this game.. otherwise, you'd buy one for SF2, and nothing else supported it really..

And the game itself? Well, the game had some ups and downs. The graphics were there, a few rockin' X68000 tunes powered you through, and there was some craziness parallax to keep you company. But the game itself, it was sort of forgettable. What Gau had in tech, they lacked in interesting level design. I don't mean to say it was boring, certainly not bad - just very run-of-the-mill. Easy to conquer, and once you plowed through, you were done with it.

This game came out around the same time as Gunstar Heroes, if memory serves, and the two were touted as the new breed of Genesis titles - powered-up to rank with the elite SNES games on offer at the time. Well, they both looked good, and Gunstar certainly delivered across the board. This title was sort of a wel-meaning backup, and looking at the screens you can tell it was ambitious and the atmosphere was certainly exciting. I would love to see them resurrect a game like this today and try to bring the world into the current gen, maybe they could do something with the "controlling two objects simultaneously" dynamic - but nah, this was too little, too late. It will forever reside tucked away in the pages of Die Hard Game Fan Magazine, a title which looked, sounded, and felt great - almost in a Sci-Fi Actraiser-ish kinda way - but they let it go a little too early. Or a little too late..

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