Cover art of Ranger X
|Genre(s)||Run and gun|
Ranger X, released in Japan as Ex-Ranza (エクスランザー?), is a side scrolling run and gun shoot 'em up video game for the Sega Mega Drive. Developed by GAU Entertainment and published by Sega, the game was released in 1993.
The player assumes the role of Ranger X, piloting a powered exoskeleton who leads the fight back for his home planet against the invading Rahuna forces. Ranger X is equipped with a jet pack and an assortment of weapons. The jet pack allows for short periods of flight, the duration of which is limited by the jet pack's temperature. Upon overheating, the player must land and wait for cool down. Alongside Ranger X's standard pulse rifle, the player has access to various special weapons including a flamethrower and homing attacks. Unlike the pulse rifle, the special weapons drain a power bar, which can only be recharged when Ranger X is in a bright light source. This special arsenal can be increased by collecting power ups scattered across the levels. On certain levels, the player may also control a supporting vehicle - an Ex-Up, such as Indra - a futuristic motorcycle, a premise described as "RoboCop on a Harley". Indra can move and fire independently of Ranger X, although Ranger X can enter it to take advantage of its separate shielding. The Ex-up can also be controlled by a second player; allowing for two players to play the game cooperatively.
The game is split across several levels, each of which is introduced via a wire frame 3D cutscene detailing a specific target objective. The player must battle through enemy forces and destroy all target objectives, followed by the stage boss, in order to progress.
Critical reception was generally positive. Mega praised the tactical opportunities offered by the different weaponry, and the need to manage the supporting vehicle. Similar sentiments were echoed in Sega Force Mega and GamePro, who felt that "the unique dual action of flying and riding a motorcycle gives this game a step up against over other shooters".
The graphics impressed, with some reviews claiming that Ranger X had broken through the Mega Drive hardware's colour limitations. Almost every aspect of the graphics were praised, from the detail of the backgrounds, to the clarity of the sprites, and even the presentation of the cutscenes. EGM felt that Ranger X featured "some of the best graphics ever seen on the [Mega Drive]". MegaTech however, noticed that the game exhibited "a bit of sprite flicker when things get busy".
Not all criticism was positive, while some felt the difficulty was just right, and welcome in an age of "too-easy games", others felt that it could be too difficult for novices. Some reviewers at EGM also found the controls lacking, making effective movement difficult and frustrating. Still, the game received recommendations from the majority of critics, with Mega concluding that "it's so chocka full of imagination, that you'll be left wondering why other shoot 'em ups are so repetitive".
- "1993 Mega Drive software list". Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- Gau Entertainment (1993). "Ranger X instruction manual".
- Lawrence of Arcadia (September 1993). "Genesis ProReview: Ranger X". GamePro (50): 40.
- Ed Semrad, Danyon Carpenter, Martin Alessi, Sushi-X (October 1993). "Ranger-X Review". EGM 6 (10): 40.
- Andy Dyer (July 1993). "Ranger X Review". Mega (10): 53.
- "Ranger X Review". MegaTech (EMAP) (19).
- Adrian Pitt, Paul Wooding (October 1993). "Ranger X Review". Sega Force Mega 2 (3): 52–54.