You’ve played the rest; time to play the best. This is it, folks: Burning. Rangers. (GO!)
Here’s a lovely Sega Saturn gem. You get to run around as a firefighter with a jet pack–and instead of taking out the fires with a hose, you get a sort of water-based missile launcher that makes the fires EXPLODE. The future of fire fighting, it turns out, is awesome. Terrorists and robots are setting buildings on fire (why?), and who is it up to to save all the 8-polygon’d civilians?
These are the heroes we need. In Burning Rangers, you get to play as either Shou (dorky headband guy) or Tillis (the girl). They play exactly the same. You run through corridors, shoot down fires with your water cannon, and jump onto platforms with your jet pack (which launches you upward in short spurts). The controls for this game are… okay. When you’re running around, your turns are really wide. Taking down fires and dealing with robot enemies can be a pain too, thanks to the 32-bit era camera. However, I did find the jet pack quite fun! It really gives the game a pretty unique feel, as you can do some big jumps and pull off rolls and such without much difficulty.
The game is pretty short (only five levels), but this is one of those Sega transitory arcade-style games with a bit of a story attached to it (Nights is another great example of this). You gotta go fast! By taking out fires, you collect gems that look like the icon from The Sims, and these are the offerings you must make in order to activate the teleporter that saves the civilians. If you get hurt by a fire or enemy, you will lose your gems Sonic-style. If talking simply about playing through the game, it’s not that difficult at all. But that said, it’s still pretty fun, and subsequent playthroughs include a randomizer that places civilians and switches in new places. And hey, you actually feel like you’re making a difference in this game, as the civilians you save are nice enough to send you thank-you emails after your missions. DAAAAWWWWW!!!
The graphics for this game are… not the best. Really, not much of anything in this game has aged well, which makes it difficult to recommend to anyone who doesn’t have a retro heart of gold. But come on, you get to blow up fires and twirl about with a jet pack, it’s awesome.
I will continue saying good things about this game, even if it’s not actually that great. One thing that’s pretty nifty, is how they managed to incorporate audio cues from the Burning Rangers’ control room. As you search through the fairly large and immersive (albeit blocky) levels, you will be told to go left, right, straight, etc in order to help you find the civilians and switches (e.g. for gates, power systems, etc). The game does a great job with sound and music in general. The levels themselves don’t have much in the way of music, but this just adds to the tension of navigating through an exploding building that is 32-bit chaos incarnate. Fire, fire everywhere. And at any moment, a wall can explode into you, so you’ve got to be on your toes and listen for that whistling that warns you of an impending detonation.
And I’ll repeat it again… that theme song. That theme song. Video games will simply never be able to beat that theme song.
Who, who are they?
Where are they coming from?
Risking their own lives.
Only one thing we know:
They are always with us fighting for danger!
They are Burning Rangers, go! (Whoo!)
They will never let you down!
Hyper, Burning Rangers, wow! (Whoo!)
Don’t you lose your hopes now!
They will wipe out raging fire without fear
And they’ll light up our future
They will be with you (ooh!)