"SNES quality graphics and even better gameplay"

This game, called Ex-Ranza (Ranger X in the US) is one of the best shooting games I ever played with. It really brakes the technical bounds of the Genesis without any additional hardware inside the cart. And not just the graphics, but the gameplay is incredible too.

Graphics
Breathtaking. Incredible. I never seen graphics like that in the Genesis. I highly doubt that there is only 64 colors on the screen. It just HAS to be more. I don't know how they made this game, with this quality of graphics, and almost no slowdowns. You can shoot out the windows of a skyscraper, the projectiles will change they course if they hit their pieces. It's amazing how many graphical effects are in this game, with no slowdowns. The only slowdown I experienced was when about 40 enemy ships/robots where shooting and exploding at the same time.
Oh yeah, the explosions. Even a single exploding robot leaves BIG fireworks after himself. If you destroy something bigger, then almost the whole screen will be full with the explosion marks.
The animation. Again, great. When you turn around with your mecha, you really turn around. Not just one frame and you are facing left. The enemies have above-average animations too. But the bosses... You have to see it for yourself. They are one screen big, and perfectly animated, while the whole screen is full with laser beams, and various projectiles, plus the 3d background, and giant explosions... and no slowdowns.
The wireframe animations between the levels and in the ending are impressive too.
Just one thing : The last boss doesn't have animation, it's just a huge sprite moving around. Oh well. I guess it doesn't fit in the 8-Mbit (!!!) cartridge.

11 out of 10

Sound and music

The music is catchy, it's a different style in every level. The sounds are good too, the explosions rock the house. All Sound effects are in Stereo. They perfectly fit the game. Nothing breathtaking here, it's just very good.

9 out of 10

Gameplay
and lastability
The gameplay is unique. With your big mecha (that'll appear little on the screen) you will have to search for ''targets''. There is a radar on the top of the screen showing the targets location and the number of them. If you destroy all of them, you'll advance to the next level.
Controls:
With A you'll turn to the left and shoot in that direction. With C you'll turn & shoot to the right. you can crouch and walk with the D-pad. you can also kick heavy boulders onto enemies. If you press up, you can use your Jetpack. You'll have to use this very often. Tip: crouch, and then start flying. Be careful, the Jetpack can overheat easily, the indicator is on the lower right corner.
With B you'll fire with you're special weapon in the direction you are facing. Don't use this very often, it will drain you're power! Since your mecha is solar powered (notice the two small flashing modules behind his back) you'll have to recharge your power on the sunlight.
This is the tricky part. On some of the levels there no sunlight at all! Levels like the cave, the skyscraper in the night, and a few more. But you can still find light: in the cave you'll have to shoot the ceiling to drill your way to the sunlight. In the skyscraper, search for light in the building. In the deep forest, just fly up out of the dark. But the night mission (Stage 5) is very tricky, since you can only receive power if you stand in the light. But if you stand in the light, then you'll sound the alarm and the security will start shooting you! Good idea. This is one of the hardest stages because of this, but also the best too. Also, you can ''convert'' your power to life with various powerups.
Weapons:
Your standard weapon shoots blue projectiles. They are not very effective, so you will use your special weapon often. You'll start with only two, but you can find more hidden on the stages. Weapons like a heat-seeking (kinda) double Laser beam, a HUGE Proton Cannon, and more.
You can change your Special Weapon in your Ex-Up. There are two kind of these: one is a motorcycle, the other is a big jet. You can control the motorcycle with X and Z, or press left or right while crouching. To change you're weapon, you must get inside your Ex-Up, and press B. Just stand on the vehicle and press down. The Motor cycle has a life bar of it's own, and his normal projectiles are auto-aiming. The Jet has no life bar, it's slow, but has a huge Laser cannon shooting the enemies automatically.
In overall, the gameplay is various on every level, the challenge is great and has lots of tricks. The game is not really hard, but it will take some time to play through the game. And every difficulty setting has a different ending (The endings are different in the Japanese and the US versions). If you like shooting games, then you will play with this game lots and lots of times even after you beat it on every difficulty setting.

Gameplay: 9.5 out of 10

Lastability: 9 out of 10

Overall:

This is an awesome game. The gameplay has lots of tricks, the graphics are just too amazing, and the music is good too. If you find this game somewhere, I recommend to buy it. You wont regret it.

Overall score : 10 out of 10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/03/02, Updated 10/13/02


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