The Sega Saturn was home to many a forgotten classic, and Sonic Team certainly had its fair share of them. The most famous was July’s Game of the Month ‘Nights Into Dreams’ however their other Saturn game ‘Burning Rangers’, released in 1998, is definitely worth a play. I mean, haven’t you always wanted to play a fire fighting game!
The game features four large levels in which you have to rescue survivors and put out the fires before they reach dangerous levels. You also have to collect red crystals which protect your character from harm, as well as enabling you to teleport survivors to safety. At the end of each level there is also a boss battle. There may be only four levels, but once you complete the game, the random level generation system kicks in meaning that the locations of the survivors change giving you new challenges every time you play!
The game features some of the best graphics seen on the Saturn, with Sonic Team really getting the most out of the console. Presented in full 3D using a modified version of the Nights engine, graphical effects include realtime coloured lighting, great underwater features and textures, as well transparency effects in the fire (this was one of the few games on the Saturn to use the console’s native transparency support). During standard gameplay, there is no music played in the game. Instead, you hear the ambient noise of the fires, giving you a great sense of atmosphere in the game’s audio.
The game was released towards the end of the Saturn’s life, so never earned the critical praise it deserved. However if you’re looking for a title with the quality you’d expect from a Sonic Team game, while being quite different to the norm, give Burning Rangers a try. You never know – you might find out what all the fuss is about!
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