The Library of the Saturn has just about reached its end with the release of Burning Rangers. And while it's not the virtual fire-fighting experience we had all hoped for, it is a really good Saturn game. Probably the last really good Saturn game, in fact.
The story of Burning Rangers follows a futuristic fire rescue team, appropriately named the Burning Rangers. You can choose to play as one of two members of the team. Your mission is to rescue people trapped in the burning levels of the game. You accomplish this by collecting enough crystals throughout the levels to warp the people out of the building. The crystals are like the rings in Sonic. As long as you have at least one crystal, you won't die, but if you get burned without any in your possession, you will perish.
The game only has four levels. The first is a burning building that contains dangerous tanks that explode if you let the fire burn around them too long. The second takes place in an underwater base located on the bottom of the ocean. This level contains sections that you must swim through, which is a chore, but if you take the time to help out a dolphin in trouble, you'll get some help swimming. The third and fourth stages take place on a space station. Some areas in these levels have zero gravity so you must float your character through burning hallways very carefully. Each one of the stages has enemy robots throughout the levels that you must contend with, as well as an end boss. The bosses range from fire-breathing flowers to giant robotic fish.
The polygonal graphics of Burning Rangers are some of the best I've ever seen on the Saturn. The game uses a modified version of the Nights engine and has a similar look. But since the gameplay for the most part takes place in confined areas, the game has a completely different feel. This different feel can also be attributed to the fact that in Burning Rangers you can roam completely free in the 3D environment. Most of the time you primarily see the back of your character as he runs through the 3D world, although in some areas the camera angle switches to a fixed position for dramatic effect.
Most of your time is spent shooting the fire with your futuristic water gun and picking up crystals. Just when you think that you're about to get really tired of the gameplay, the game gets really good and then ends.
Overall, Burning Rangers is probably one of the better Saturn games out there and undoubtedly one of the last. Anyone out there who still has his Saturn hooked up should probably pick this one up. It's short, but sweet, and closes the book on the Saturn rather nicely.