Gaming Factory :: Burning Rangers
Mike Mason :: January 29th, 2008
Welcome one and all to the Gaming Factory, a place where all your dreams come true! Well, perhaps not all your dreams - but have you ever wished for a sequel to a game from the past that was perhaps overlooked and never got the expansion that it deserved? A game that could really benefit from modern technology and improve upon it without sacrificing the original concept? Here’s the place where it all happens, so sit back as we put one such game through our ‘legendary’ Upgrade Machine (patent pending).
It’s been a while since the Gaming Factory has been in activation, so allow us to clear the ol’ cogs of cobwebs and dust with a new remake for it to whiz its gears around. With Sega pillaging its back catalogue of late and filling Wii’s line up with plenty of its old games, we thought that one of Sonic Team’s titles would be a fairly simple one for our machines to reboot on. What better one to choose, then, than one that was well-received when originally release, that has in fact been rumoured for a Wii remake, and has many interested in it. Step forward like angels with burning hearts, Burning Rangers.
For those not in the know - and we imagine there are a few of you, as the game was pretty rare even when it was released - Burning Rangers originated on the Sega Saturn. A 3D futuristic fire-fighting action game, it was a title that pushed Saturn’s technical limits with its audio quality and transparency effects; sadly too late, though, as it was one of the final few games to be released on the system before it died a slow and painful death. This meant that it was criminally ignored, which wasn’t helped by the pitiful amount of copies that Sega had pressed. A frantic space-based action title that saw you putting out fires, battling bosses and rescuing survivors of the elemental horrors, and one that we personally think is one of Sonic Team’s best efforts and one of the shining games on the Saturn. That’s why we want to give it another chance.
Really, in some ways all that needs to be done is for Burning Rangers to be given a graphical overhaul and re-released, so that some people actually get to play it. A nice cel-shaded look to emulate its animated opening sequence, perhaps. Of course we’re not going to wimp out and just do that, though. Why should this go to Wii above other systems? How about use of the Wii remote as your almighty water gun for combating those fierce flames? A simple enough modification, but pointer controls would prove more accurate than other aiming methods and would allow players to more easily move about and quench fires simultaneously. We’re not going to muck about with moving jumping/rocket jumping off a button because that would just be silly, but perhaps when the warning hiss of a fire about to burst out was heard players could flick the nunchuk backwards to backflip away to spice things up a bit, rather than use the analogue stick or a button. Make it an option - we don’t want to make it too gimmicky with no option to have it otherwise.
Motion controls aren’t the only thing that can be used to freshen the title up on Wii, though. Burning Rangers could definitely benefit from a co-operative mode of some sort, and while the WiFi Connection certainly isn’t as robust as the other consoles’ online services, it has proved itself to be capable of handling this sort of thing with the likes of Endless Ocean. Having a squad (or a pair) of Burning Rangers trooping about rather than going solo would be spectacular, but voice chat would be a must before it could come to fruition, so that it could fit in with the game’s reliance on audio cues. Speaking of which…in the original, you would be in constant radio contact with your commander, who stayed out of the way on the Rangers’ control ship and guided you around and gave out helpful hints. The speaker in the Wii remote could become your transmitter, or at least be used to emit sounds when a survivor or incoming hazard is nearby.
Part of the replay appeal of Burning Rangers was in rescuing as many people trapped as possible, given that when you did save them they would send you letters of thanks that you could read and feel all fuzzy inside about. Perhaps some of these messages could be beamed directly to your Wii message board to give you incentive to keep you coming back? Not all of them, mind - it would get too crowded, as there were originally dozens of people to recover. Possibly just the messages from special or important characters, then.
Our final idea is not one that we are as sure about as the rest, but maybe the current date logged in the Wii system could be used in some way. If we assume that the space stations being incinerated are in orbit around a planet then the date on the Wii could be used to dictate where the station is positioned in its orbit and thus its positional relation to the Sun. Being in direct line with the sun would mean more heat heading directly into the station you are on and increasing the risk of explosions, etc., while things would be a little safer (though not much, of course) if your station was being blocked direct access to sunlight by the planet it is orbiting.
So that’s the Gaming Factory’s attempt to poke at the barely-lit embers of Burning Rangers with its ideas stick. Some of these ideas you may agree with, others you will surely hate. The Gaming Factory is not here to please everybody, merely to get some ideas swirling around. What do you think? Is Burning Rangers worthy of getting another chance to dive to a brand new sky? If so, what could be done with it? Or would you rather it just fizzled out altogether? Let us know. Just as long as it doesn’t involve getting rid of a variation of the anime intro movie complete with cheesy theme song from the original Burning Rangers - the Gaming Factory might get a little bit miffed if you try to remove that particular piece of gaming gold…