This review covers the demo of the game.
Blazing Rangers is an upcoming arcade, homebrew game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, developed by Kuro_gamo and published by First Press Games. Assuming control of two firefighters, you barge into houses set on fire with your water hose and water gun. However, the fire keeps regenerating and even spawns supernatural monsters!
Released: April 2021
Price: TBA (Digital), starts at €54.99 (Physical)
Playing as either Popo or Mimi, you get access to a fire hose that doesn’t run out of water but needs to be carried and moved to where you need it, and a water gun that you can shoot at any time with limited ammo – thankfully, you can refill it on the spot, but you can’t move while refilling and it takes a while. Using these tools, you extinguish the fires as well as any monsters that spawn and clear a path to save the children scattered throughout the Blazing Rangers’ over 30 rounds (four in the demo).
Lingering around is a bad idea, as fires spread quickly out of control, but you must also be very economical with your movements. Holding the hose slows you down, and you also need to protect it from fires, or the line will be broken (and if you’re careless enough, you may be even left with no hose at all). The more children you hold without bringing them to the exit, the slower you move. If you can make it in time, you can grab powerups such as extra lives, or even a drizzle. The secret to getting past all the levels is being quick on your feet and equally resourceful.
This brings me to the next point. The first three levels are all balanced, starting easy and progressively getting harder, but the fourth level is evil. The fire quickly covers the screen thus making usage of the hose recommended, but you’ll find it difficult to keep things under control thanks to a bat that shoots fireballs going in a wave pattern vertically through the screen. This forces you to drop the water hose and somehow look for some way to get far from it while being surrounded by walls and deadly fire, not to mention other wandering beasts. While Round 4 fits the Nintendo Hard mantra of classic NES games, I wonder if this difficulty spike will be moved to a later round and whether you need to truly master Blazing Rangers to get anywhere.
Visuals and Audio
Blazing Rangers utilizes simple, straight-to-the-point visuals for its gameplay, with little to no flair. While the black backgrounds may look monotonous, they help you focus on all the action going on around you without distraction. The music is also surprisingly catchy, beaming with the same energy you’d find in old NES games.
Flowing with the spirit of difficult arcade games, Blazing Rangers successfully emulates the NES arcade experience with its challenging gameplay. Although the full physical release is scheduled for April 2021 at various price ranges (€54,99 up to €169,99), you can play the demo on an emulator such as FCEUX or through a real NES console using a flash cart.
You can also join a high-score competition on Twitter, running up until 31 March! Try to get the best score you can, and then send a tweet with the hashtag #RangermanDemo. Good luck!