Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition (SNES)

Pub: Bandai | Dev: Natsume | September 1995 | 12 MEGS
Pub: Bandai | Dev: Natsume | September 1995 | 12 MEGS

I’ve definitely been on a Power Rangers kick as of late. The 2017 movie that came out three weeks ago was surprisingly better than I thought it would be. The last two games I reviewed were Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. Both games have their fair share of imperfections. But you know what they say about the third time… and I’m happy to say Natsume finally knocked it out of the park. This time they completely skipped the Power Rangers and instead focused on the Zords. Power Rangers meets Street Fighter? Sign me up! Unfortunately, this game received extremely limited exposure back in 1995. I barely remember it myself, and even to this day I feel it largely flies under the radar. Uninspiring title aside, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition delivers one mighty punch.

FUN BUT FLAWED…

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THIRD TIME IS A CHARM!

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Classic logo, lightning strikes and that Power Rangers theme. Never gets old.

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Choose from the Thunder Megazord or Mega Tigerzord in the Story Mode. I like the authentic Japanese feel and style of this game. They didn’t Americanize it like they sort of did with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.

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Terrific art style! Really gives it an anime-esque feel :)

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Where’s my OG Megazord?! Oh well, I guess you can’t have it all…

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Thunder Megazord is a good choice for beginning players. He plays a lot like the prototypical Ryu “clone.” This updated model appeared in Season Two and replaced the original Megazord. It’s more powerful but I’ll always prefer the first one.

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Bottom bar goes back and forth. Perform a special move when your power bar is full and your character will perform a powered up version of said special move.

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Thunder Saber Combo can connect for multiple hits.

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Depending on whether you press Y or X, the Thunder Megazord will perform either a Rising Uppercut or an Uppercut Barrage. I love it when fighting games give you two variations of a special move depending on the button you press. That always scores extra points in my book!

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Unleash the Thunder Crush when your power bar is flashing. Every character, sans Ivan Ooze, has a super special move. Use the double Hadoken motion to pull off these screen filling jaw dropping killer moves. Well, at least they were mighty impressive back in 1995. Hell, they still are to me!

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Mega Tigerzord appeared in Season Two after Tommy received his White Tigerzord. As a fighter I find him to be a weaker choice than Thunder Megazord. His moves aren’t nearly as fun or effective.

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Knock the competition out with his Wind-Up Punch. In the mood for something a little more flashy? Try his White Tiger Thunder Bolt.

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Phoenix Strike in all its glory — just like from the TV show. Nice.

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Ninja Megazord appeared in Season Three. As its name suggests, it’s the most nimble and athletic of all the Megazords.

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Slash ‘em up!

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Opponent feeling a little froggy? Employ the Spinning Rise! Try dropping a Fire Bomb while they’re laying on the ground.

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Blanka would be proud.

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Leave it to a Ninja Megazord to have a ninja clone super special, eh?

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Shogun Megazord also made its debut in Season Three. It’s the biggest Megazord in the game. This is because it combines five Zords who are already massive Shogun warriors to begin with. Therefore, you get this towering behemoth! He is extremely slow, but very powerful. He also cannot be thrown. It’ll take a skilled player to use him effectively.

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Sword Cyclone can rail off multiple hits. His Fire Wave covers damn near the entire screen, making it difficult to jump over.

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Check out his powered up version of the Fire Wave. Nasty! Best of all, it’s directly inspired from the TV show itself.

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Massively engulfing fiery column of death. How fitting.

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Silver Horns was a one time villain that appeared in Season Two. But this marks his second Super Nintendo outing. He was also a boss in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (the video game of the movie, not the actual movie). He’s an impressive sprite — nearly as tall as Shogun Megazord itself!

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Watch out for his snapping Ground Pincers.

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Pincers can also get you on the ground or in the air.

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Horny’s Lightning Strike comes straight from the TV show.

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Defeating any one of Lord Zedd’s cronies leads to this beautiful cut scene, just as seen in Season Two.

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Lipsyncher is an agile sucker. She can also double jump. And she has by far the best looking stage in the game. For a one time villain who appeared as a throwaway enemy in Season Two, that’s not shabby at all.

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Fighting games that give you two variants of the same move depending on which button you press will always earn extra points with me. Here you can send the musical notes straight out or up in the air to discourage would-be jumpers. Nice.

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Insert token quick athletic “chick kick.” Fighting game rule #52.

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Envelop your foe in a giant Energy Sphere before giving them the butt tackle of the century.

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Ah, Goldar. One of my favorite classic henchmen from childhood lore. As a kid he initially scared the crap out of me with his gravelly voice and nightmarish look. It wasn’t long though before I realized his overall incompetence, which shifted him from being scary to endearing. However, for all his bumbling ways, there is something very unsettling about him at his core. He may be incompetent but you would piss your pants if you ever met him in a dark alley. I despise the Goldar design from the 2017 film. They stripped him of all his personality and iconic look. But this game got it so freaking right. We’ll always have the memories! *shakes fist*

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Goldar shoots piercing laser beams from his eyes, even in mid-air.

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Flutter around for a bit if you wish. You can launch some surprisingly quick striking attacks from this position. Goldar has the best looking Dragon Punch in this game by a country mile. Try the powered up version…

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Macho Man Randy Savage would be proud. Throw in the sword for a little extra slice[I C WAT U DID DERE -Ed.]

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Maybe it’s just me but I love these simple screen-filling blasts, even if they might be a little generic.

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Lord Zedd… what can I say? He ranks right up there with the likes of Shredder and Skeletor as absolute iconic childhood villains. He had kind of a Freddy Krueger vibe to him, and due to parent complaints they actually had to tone him way down. He appeared in the summer of 1994, early on in Season Two, and took over for Rita Repulsa as lead dog.

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Reminiscent of M. Bison from Street Fighter Alpha lore. His fireball looks very similar and he can even teleport like Bison. This is completely cruel.

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LORD ZEDD WAS NEVER THIS COMPETENT IN THE TV SHOW!

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Watch out for his Magnetic Hand which, as you probably surmised, will reel you in. His Lightning Bolts can strike near or far. His powered up version actually moves a bit forward and can strike for multiple hits.

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Fingertip Spears — it’s right out of a nightmare! Lord Zedd throws up a big fat middle finger to generic giant energy blasts with this creepy little number. It looks like a mutated brain and octopus. Ugh!

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You thought it was over? HA! Ivan Ooze shows up, obliterates what’s left of Lord Zedd’s carcass and challenges you to the ultimate duel. He is God tier. But thankfully, the computer doesn’t know how to use him very well. Natsume had some mercy on our poor souls…

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Mister Ooze can make himself invulnerable for a little bit. His energy columns are done with a SINGLE press of a button. Unfair and brutal!

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Throw in an Energy Wheel and Homing Fireballs for good measure.

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Endings? No such thing here. You just get that screenshot for your efforts. A code is given at the end if you beat the Hard mode though, which allows you to play as Ivan Ooze in the 2 player mode.

ODDS AND ENDS

I personally prefer FACE OFF
I personally prefer FACE OFF

The options screen displays a curious option. FACE DISPLAY. What the heck, I first thought to myself. I love the little face displays in my fighting games! So why in the hell would they give me an option to turn that sucker off, eh?

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Ahhhh. Say no more, fam. I got you. Those are the biggest face displays I’ve ever seen in a fighting game! Sure, it looks cool and all, but I don’t like how they obscure the bottom part of the screen. Plus, with face display on you lose out on the cool combo meter. It’s always fun to see “15 HITS” pop up on your TV.

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Impressive to see such massive sprites moving around with no slowdown whatsoever! Some SNES fighting games feature sprites that are on, shall we say, the small side of things. You won’t find that here, appropriately so!

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Being that the sprites are so large, one might fear a lack of a proper combo system. Natsume erases those fears with a surprisingly combo friendly fighter (well, for the most part, largely depending on who you pick). For such giant warriors you might assume the worst but there are a lot of attacks that can easily be linked.

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Fighting games from that era often didn’t allow you to strike opponents while they’re on the ground. You actually can in this game. In fact, it’s encouraged — each fighter has a specific ground strike.

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Similar to many other fighting games from the mid ’90s, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition employs four buttons. However, this is where the similarities end. Y is weak attack and X strong attack. These are non-weapon based strikes, usually in the form of punches. B is weak weapon and A strong weapon attack. Damage is incurred when blocking weapon strikes, but not regular strikes. This was different and pretty cool — it emphasizes that the big weapons are strong enough to cause some damage even if you’re blocking. It makes perfect sense and highlights the power of these massive behemoths!

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Throws are always a point of discussion for fighting games. Back in the old days you usually had no counter for a throw. If your rival gets close enough, they can throw you. But here, when both players go for the throw, you’ll both enter a grapple to decide the winner. It’s a nice touch.

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Power bars became popular in the genre around 1995, but this game uses an interesting modification. Instead of powering up your bar each time you attack as in most other fighting games, the power bar here constantly fills itself and empties. If you were to throw, say, Thunder Megazord’s fireball when the bar is near full, his single fireball turns into three. And if you time it precisely when the power bar is full? You produce an even bigger more damaging version! Therefore you have special moves and then you have max versions of each special move. The effects vary and it’s fun to tinker with this system. Timing is critical!

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Here’s his Thunder Saber Combo on max. Doesn’t look different at first…

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Until you see the added third strike tacked on! Be sure to experiment as the max versions are obviously more powerful and effective. This completely changes the strategy and the player who uses their power bar most effectively often wins.

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Better than maxed special moves? Super specials! Your power bar begins at blue. If you do a special move when the bar is full, blue morphs into pink. Do another special move at max capacity and pink turns into green. Repeat. Then green turns into a thunder bar. This is where you’re at optimum power. During this time all special moves performed are automatically their powered up versions. However, the thunder bar lasts for only 8-10 seconds so make sure to pull off your super special in time. I recommend using 2-3 special moves first for optimal damage. Then use your super special. You can see why this modification of the power bar makes this game completely crazy. You could conceivably activate your super special 10 seconds into a match. There are obviously pros and cons to this, but it really makes this game feel different from most other fighting games.

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Nothing like giant robots duking it out in an all-out blast fest!

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Simple yet kind of neat. Lord Zedd is such a badass in this game :)

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Getting a vague sense of deja vu? Natsume used a similar engine to create Gundam Wing: Endless Duel about half a year later in March 1996.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

Zordon, no one's here...
Zordon, no one’s here…

Sadly, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition got pretty much zero fanfare in the pages of EGM and GameFan. Oddly, neither publication ever reviewed the game. Hell, they didn’t even preview it! For the quality of the game and the popularity of the show and genre (even though Power Rangers were waning by September of 1995), this really surprised me. Probably one of the big reasons why this game quickly faded into obscurity back in the day. For all the things Natsume got right, however, the game isn’t without its flaws. For starters, see that Zordon stage above? Better get used to it — the four Megazords all share that same stage. That just reeks of laziness. Even worse, although I appreciate the Zordon cameo, that stage is plain dull. They could at least have made it look a little more interesting.

Where's the first Megazord?
Where’s the first Megazord?

My biggest gripe with the game though is its paltry selection of eight fighters (OK, nine technically if you count Ivan Ooze with the cheat code). Hell, Super Street Fighter II and World Heroes 2 had 16 fighters each, and both those games came out a year prior. At the very least, just give me the original Megazord and the Dragonzord. I don’t need Rita (although she would have been nice). But the Dragonzord was my absolute favorite and it’s a shame it never once appeared in three Power Rangers SNES games. That’s a travesty if I ever saw one. Had they included those two and a few other memorable bad guys, this game would rank much higher in my book. Kind of a missed opportunity.

Where art thou? Oh well...
Where art thou? Oh well…

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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It’s a shame Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition was given the shaft back when it first came out. Only in the years to come following its original release did word of mouth pick up and people recognized it as a legitimately good fighting game. Natsume could easily have phoned it in. Instead, they crafted a beautiful game with a rocking soundtrack and some remarkably refined gameplay. Their previous two SNES Power Rangers games left something to be desired but you know what they say — third time’s the charm. With its gorgeous visuals, thumping tracks and plenty of spectacular special moves that impress even to this day, The Fighting Edition is arguably the second best Super Nintendo “home grown” fighter, trailing only in my opinion Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters.

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Sure it could have used a bigger fighting roster, and I didn’t like that four fighters shared the same background, but this game is not only surprisingly competent — it’s a blast. I love being able to play as some of my favorite Megazords and villains from the Power Rangers franchise. The screen often shakes with explosions followed by a dazzling array of yellows, oranges and reds as giant swords clang and massive columns of energy beams come raining down from the sky. The action suits the monster mayhem well, never failing to bring out the 10 year old Power Rangers loving kid in me. If you enjoy fighting games and you call yourself a Super Nintendo fan, you’d do well to check it out.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 7.5

AwardsOverall: 8.0
Silver Award

 

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Bonus points for a lot of the special moves being inspired from the actual TV show itself. This one being my favorite of the lot :)

Now THAT’S sick.

Recently featured on UpUpDownDown!
Recently featured on UpUpDownDown!
Shout out to Austin Creed AKA Xavier Woods! My man!
Shout out to Austin Creed AKA Xavier Woods. My man!

Amazing combo video, music choice aside.

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