Here’s my worst kept secret: I love Power Rangers. Always have, always will.
It’s a guilty pleasure of mine for sure. I’m a sucker for heroes in suits and helmets beating the crap out of a foam-suited monster made up of whatever junk the villain found lying around. I love watching giant robots beat the piss out of giant monsters, and then watching those giant robots combine with other giant robots, creating an even more ridiculous, even more giant, giant robot. Giant swords, giant guns, giant fun. I don’t give a shit, I know what I like. So when a few years ago, Boom Studios started their comic adaptation of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, I was hooked from issue one.
Boom took the base story for the first few seasons of Power Rangers, and turned it into a nuanced, slightly more mature, slightly more realistic, often dramatic, but always awesome updated version for 2017. The one dimensional characters of the show suddenly had depth, they had real relatable problems at home, with parents, with friends. They finally had to deal with the consequences of destroying downtown every weekday afternoon, and the toll it would take mentally on a teenager. It was a refreshing breath of fresh air for the franchise, for sure. So when developer nWay decided to make a game based on not only the comic’s biggest storyline, but also based on celebrating the series history as a whole, I was beyond intrigued.
Loosely following the comic storyline “Shattered Grid”, Battle for the Grid is a fighting game in which you beat the hell out of whatever Power Rangers universe character is on the right side of your screen. As a standard fighting game, you punch, kick, flip and shoot your way to the end of your opponent’s health bar, fighting fight after fight to progress along the story.
Let’s get into it:
As stated above, Battle for the Grid loosely follows the Shattered Grid storyline from Boom Studios MMPR comic series. The cut scenes are motion comics that look pulled straight from the source material. These scenes are fully voiced, featuring some returning actors from the show.
Fan favorites and staples of the series Zordon and Goldar feature the voices of their respective actors, as well as Erik from Time Force and Austin St. John as Jason the original red ranger. As a fun little easter egg, Kyle Higgins, the writer for the Boom comics even makes an appearance. Most prominently, the Green Ranger himself, Jason David Frank, is back to voice Tommy, as well as Lord Drakkon, the game’s main villain. It’s a nice touch and instantly propels my brain into 5-year-old-kid-mode. Tommy arguably was the hero of my generation, and he still commands respect to this day. If Lord Drakkon was a thing back in the 90s for all of us kids to witness, we would’ve been pooping our pants in excitement, I’m sure.
Battle for the Grid delivers exactly what its title promises, a battle for the grid. You fight your way through the story mode, sometimes as a good guy, sometimes as a bad guy, to see what will happen next. Hopping between timelines and universes, it really feels like anyone from any show can pop up at any time.
There are some other modes outside of the campaign, your standard versus match, training and online. My favorite gameplay feature however is the ability to fill up a special gauge in some fights that when filled, lets you summon a Mega Zord (or Goldar!!) to lay some hurt on your opponent. It’s hysterical to hit the button and have a gigantic sword smash down and finish the fight for you. Similarly, every character has a super move which is always fun to activate and watch your enemies health drain away.
The roster is impressive not for its quantity, but for the characters they’ve chosen. The majority of heroic characters are the traditional seasonal “sixth rangers”, you know, the ones that show up halfway through a season to add some conflict, usually joining the rangers quickly after. My two favorite rangers of all time, besides Billy, are here (RJ from Jungle Fury and Jason as the Zeo Gold Ranger), so I was a happy camper.
All things considered, Battle for the Grid is a fun walk through Power Rangers history and I would totally recommend it for fans of the show. Seasoned fighting game veterans might be a little turned off by its simplicity, but there is a ton of fun to be had if you’re like me and just want to enjoy some hectic super hero and giant robot action.
I also would be wasting the opportunity if I didn’t wholeheartedly recommend the Boom Studios Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series (and its associated side titles) because it’s great and honestly one of the best series that I’ve kept up with since it started.
May the power protect you.