Ranger X (Ex-Ranza in Japan) is a side-scrolling Shoot 'em Up
/ Action Game
for the Sega Genesis
, released in 1993. It was the only game ever developed by Gau Entertainment; staff from Ranger X would later be involved in making Crusader of Centy
and Resident Evil: Code: Veronica
In this masterpiece, you are the pilot of a suit of a Mini-Mecha
, and more or less singlehandedly
battle against an invading Evil Empire
's forces; tanks, mecha, aircraft, a colossal flying battleship, and a giant disembodied brain
. Fortunately, you can acquire a wide variety of weapons, and have two different "Ex-Up" support vehicles (which the game also calls
"Couriers") - Eos, a handy gunship which provides covering fire, and Indra, a motorcycle which doubles your firing rate and automatically tracks enemies - while also absorbing up to a full lifebar of damage. If you happened to have a six-button joypad you could even control Indra directly when you weren't inside it, though you could do the same by just ducking and pressing left and right.
The game is notable for several reasons - for one thing, it is beautiful
to see and hear, with unique and exceptionally detailed levels, great character animation, and an excellent soundtrack and sound effects. It's also considered to be extremely difficult
, with many reviewers complaining that the game is very hard to complete even on normal difficulty. In any case, it's definitely one of the highest quality games ever made for the Genesis console, and definitely worth checking out.
This game includes examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo - The core boss' weapon appears to be a colossal jelly bean. You have to shoot the core and not the jelly bean; get it wrong and you get unceremoniously smashed in the face with it.
- Advancing Wall of Doom - The boss in the torus-like tunnel is one of these.
- All There in the Manual - The games backstory, such as it is, is never actually given in-game, only offered in the manual. Though like many anime-esque games (see also Alien Soldier), the main plot twist is never explained at all.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield / Final Boss, New Dimension - the location of the final battle.
- Attack Drone - the "Seeker Falcon" weapon, which will attack all onscreen non-boss enemies until you recall it or your weapon energy runs out. Not quite fast enough to be a Game Breaker, but still one of the most useful powerups in the game.
- Attack Its Weak Point - One boss can only be damaged by destroying its core, a revolving red eye.
- Background Boss - the boss of the final stage (but not the final boss) takes shots at you from the background, which do hefty damage if you aren't behind cover. The enemy flagship from the first level also later turns up as a boss, with the player destroying its core.
- Battleship Raid - One of the later boss levels has you finally catch up with the massive enemy battleship that dropped off the first boss. Things don't go well for it.
- Chain Reaction Destruction: A lot of these.
- Cool Bike - Indra's a raven-shaped monobike which you can ride around on top of; it can also combine with your suit (which is the only way to make it turn around), has homing guns and can even jump!
- Critical Annoyance - The low-health warning tone sounds like an angry metal wasp being rubbed against a fire hydrant. Don't tell me you haven't done that.
- Critical Existence Failure - Indra is invincible when you're not in it, but remembers how many hitpoints it has. This can result in you getting into it with full suit health and instantly dying as you belatedly remember it had one hit left.
- Death from Above / It's Raining Men - the Mook Maker targets of the forest stage are dropped into the area from an orbital satellite - a smart player can destroy them before they touch down and start to spawn enemies.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? Exactly What It Says on the Tin The Final Boss is a Biomechanial Version of Cthulhu
- Easter Egg / Secret Level - in the Japanese version of the game, entering a code before starting the game lets you play a special bonus stage. It appears to be missing from the American release. It's... very different from the regular stages.
- Evil Empire - They're apparently a coalition of "Edgezone planets" called the Rahuna and attacked your planet more or less because that's what they do.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin - Your homeworld is called "Homeworld."
- Tribe Tech are a tribe who have tech.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere - Not once, but twice - first in the form of the Floating Cyclops Brain, and again in the final boss, which in a game full of robots and tanks and so forth is.. a demon? A demon with cables and pipes in it, but still.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy - Played straight with the patrol mecha in the city infiltration level that will attack you if they see you, but won't pursue or raise the alarm. Averted if you get caught in a searchlight - then several Attack Drones will zero in on you from all directions, as well as numerous missile-firing gunships, both of which will follow you until they are destroyed - though no more will arrive once the alarm stops ringing. They also totally ignore the massive gunship following you and blasting them with lasers even when it's right in their searchlight beam.
- Health Food - In the forest stage, the only way to heal yourself is to shoot the tiny fruit that hangs on some of the trees and quickly collect it before it hits the ground. Kinda weird, as your character is a Humongous Mecha / Mini-Mecha.
- Heal Thyself - There are two different healing items that can be found, both of which exchange rechargeable weapon energy for shield energy - a small one-use item, and a larger, multiple use charging station which only appears in the early levels.
- Homing Boulders - literally. On Hard and Heavy, boulders filled with the mine level's Goddamn Bats will roll towards you, even on flat ground from a dead stop. They also damage other enemies, allowing you to destroy groups of tanks by flying over them a few times, with the boulder pursuing on the ground.
- Hover Tank - In level two.
- HUD - If there's one valid criticism of the game, it's that the UI is rather oversized and cluttered◊.
- Kill It with Fire - the first secondary weapon you may use is a flame thrower. It has a limited range that depletes as your special weapon bar is depleted, but is extremely powerful.
- Mini-Mecha - The titular mecha.
- Macross Missile Massacre - certain enemies, like the boss of the first level, will launch multiple homing missiles at you.
- Made of Plasticine - Your suit can withstand massive impacts and cannon fire, sure, but what will it do when a river monster lightly squirts water at it?!
- Monowheel Mayhem - Indra again.
- Monumental Battle - Everything involving the forest boss is prefaced with "for some reason," and fighting it in front of Mount Fuji is no exception.
- Mook Maker - the targets on the forest stage respawn fighters endlessly.
- Mundane Utility - Inverted. The awesome Wave Motion Gun you find was originally used as a mining tool. All you do is weaponize it.
- Nintendo Hard - The later stages can be downright cruel. Special mention goes to the field of indestructable floating, moving mines, which you must navigate without touching the electrified ceiling or floor, while numerous enemies are shooting from all directions. The tower climbing sequence on the hardest difficulty removes most of the platforms needed to scale the tower, and requires boosting so tricky many write it off as impossible.
- The Nineties - You're Ranger X! Get in your X-Armour, start your Ex-Up and fight those Edgezone robots! The brief is only missing the word "duuuuuude."
- One-Winged Angel - The last boss is an enemy commander who you've pursued throughout the game, defeating his various mecha and minions - when you finally corner him and destroy his small flying pod thing, he uses some unexplained power from an unexplained crystal to transform into a giant cyborg demon.
- Plot Hole - The bad guy has some sort of two-pronged crystal thing that's apparently so important it's shown as a wireframe as one ending; the kidnapped random female is suspended in the air in front of it, and it's what turns him into a monster. We are never given the slightest clue as to what it actually is or why he has it.
- Punched Across the Room - Colliding with any ground-based enemy that doesn't damage you on contact will result in the suit kicking it, usually sending it flying.
- Reflecting Laser - One stage of the final boss uses these on you. Thing is, they reflect off a platform hovering in front of his face, and this is what you have to do to damage him.
- Rewarding Vandalism - Want that Wave Motion Gun? Well, I hope you like breaking windows!
- Save the Princess - Well, it's not that clear who she actually is, but the bad guys kidnap someone right before the first boss appears, and you end up saving her.
- Solar Power - The suit itself is apparently powered by solar cells. Fine and good in the daylight first level, but the rest of the game finds ways to limit this; by the city stage, the only light sources are the searchlights that set off the alarms, and you have to be right next to their trigger area to benefit from them.
- Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness - averted. The Wave Motion Gun is found a little past halfway through the game, and the basic flame thrower is just as excellent in the last level as it is in the first. In fact, the last weapon found is a slow cluster of projectiles which might have been more useful in the beginning, but by the end, is of rather limited use.
- Spider Tank - The level one boss. There's also a centipede tank later on.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix - An early example; the briefing screens use unfilled wireframe representations of your targets.
- Stealth-Based Mission - One of the levels is this. There are spotlights that trigger an alarm and summon a pair of annoying floating drones to harass you, as well as alerting the otherwise-idle missile crafts to attack you. The robot guards that shoot on sight have a lot of health. As for the Giant Mooks you need to destroy to beat the mission, if they see you, they rapid-fire out a ton of heavily damaging shots that can kill the player very easily. This is the best mission to use the homing eagle weapon.
- Stepping Stones in the Sky - The skyscraper has a number of floating platforms allowing an easy ascent on easy and normal difficulties. You have to work without them on the harder difficulties.
- Sunlight Spotlight - in the cave level, these allow you to recharge your special weapons meter, and kill the annoying bat-things that come from the rocks.
- Tennis Boss- Once his health bar has been depleted enough, the Final Boss will summon a reflector that reflects all your attacks and adjusts to your position. He then fires out slow red homing balls of energy. In order to damage him, you have to position yourself so that the red balls bounce off the reflector and hit the boss' head.
- Video Game Flight - you can fly or hover for a limited amount of time before your boosters overheat, as shown by a gauge. If you duck before launching, you can actually climb astonishingly high before needing to land in the vertical-only skyscraper level.
- Wall Crawl - One of the weapons fires a grenade-like projectile which creates a series of blue explosions that crawl along walls and floors.
- Wave Motion Gun - hidden in the skyrise level is a weapon which allows you to fire a beam which takes up about eighty percent of the screen, and more or less instantly kills any enemies which happen to be in the way, at the cost of your entire special weapon energy bar.