Chojin Sentai Jetman
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Famicom
  • Developer:
    • Natsume
  • Publisher:
    • Angel
  • Released:
    • JP 12/21/1991
Score: 70%

This review was published on 11/19/2016.

Chojin Sentai Jetman is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Natsume and published by Angel for the Famicom. It was originally and exclusively released in Japan on December 21, 1991. Angel was once a subsidiary of Bandai that published licensed properties, but it no longer exists. This game is based on the Japanese television series of the same name, which was produced by Toei and Bandai and aired on February 15, 1991, to February 14, 1992, for a total of 51 episodes. The Chojin Sentai Jetman show is the fifteenth entry in the Super Sentai television series, which is best known outside of Japan as the source material for the Power Rangers. A now commonly known factoid is that the Power Rangers combines the action footage from the original Super Sentai show with new footage featuring American actors. Additionally, Natsume previously developed a game based on another similar Japanese TV show called Super Rescue Solbrain, but that game got released outside Japan as Shatterhand, having all references to the show removed. While it's nowhere near as good as Shatterhand, the Chojin Sentai Jetman game on the Famicom is still surprisingly decent.

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As you can probably guess from its title, this game follows the story of the Chojin Sentai Jetman television show. Planet Earth's peace depends on a defense agency known as Sky Force, which has its command center aboard a space vessel referred to as the Earth Ship. Sky Force's scientists have developed "Birdonic Waves," a new technology that grants superhuman abilities to its users. The director of the project, Aya Odagiri, handpicks five elite Sky Force members from Earth to utilize this powerful new technology. One of the Sky Force officers, Ryu Tendoh, is successfully exposed to the Birdonic Waves, transforming him into the Red Hawk, the first so-called Jetman. Suddenly, the Earth Ship is attacked by Vyram, an evil outer-dimensional organization seeking inter-dimensional conquest. The Earth Ship is destroyed, and in the chaos, the Birdonic Waves for the other four Sky Force officials get scattered across Earth, transforming four civilians into Jetmen. Tendoh and Odagiri escape the destruction and find the four remaining Jetmen, training them to use their newfound powers. Now the five Jetmen must defend their dimension from the forces of Vyram.

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You press A to jump and B to attack; holding up and pressing B will make you do a kick. Pressing start will do a powerful attack that'll hit all enemies on the screen, but this uses up an item that's sparingly obtainable. There are five playable characters to choose from, and you pick one prior to starting each stage. They're the five aforementioned Jetmen, all of whom resemble one of the many incarnations of the Power Rangers. All characters control mostly the same, but each one has a different amount of health and is armed with a different weapon. Two have swords, two have guns, and one fights with his fists. Each weapon type has advantages and disadvantages, such as sword users having the highest amount of health but short range, and gun users having the greatest range but also doing the least damage. There's no difference between characters that use the same type of weapon aside from their color, so all sword users play identically. Every time a character dies, you'll be forced to pick another one, and if they're all out, the game is over. However, there are infinite continues, plus fallen characters return once you complete a stage.

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Similar to the Mega Man games, there's a stage select screen that enables you to tackle the stages in a nonlinear order. However, also like the Mega Man games, the stages themselves are completely linear. Basically, you start at the left side of the screen and continue moving towards the right until you reach the end of the stage. Of course, countless eager enemies will assault you on the way there. Most of the environments are rather urban in nature, like city streets, shipyards, oil refineries, and so on. There's really not a whole lot to say about the stages themselves, as they're all rather straightforward. Thankfully, there are no bottomless pits. After beating the five main stages, you'll be permitted access to the last one, which is obviously the hardest. The game is pretty easy for an Famicom title, but there are multiple difficulty levels to choose from, the hardest of which require a secret button input at the title screen. There are also convenient four digit passwords to retain your progress, but considering how short the game is, that likely won't be necessary. It's still appreciated, though.

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Like the legitimate Super Sentai and Power Rangers shows, you can pilot massive robots in this game. The reason you pilot these giant robots is to take on the giant boss monsters at the end of every stage. During these battles, the action will play out like a one-on-one fighting game. The A and B buttons are still jump and attack, but you can now hold down on the d-pad to block the boss' attacks. Also, there's a power meter at the bottom of the screen that gradually fills up over time, both for you and the boss. This meter is divided into four parts, and depending on how full it is, you'll do a different super powered projectile attack when pressing the start button. Obviously, the bigger the power meter, the stronger the super attack will be. There's also a Battle Mode accessible from the title screen that allows you to do giant robot fights against any of the bosses whenever you want. This is easily the most fun part of the game, because giant robots rule.

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While everything about this game is a noticeable step down from Shatterhand, it's still a very solid title for the Famicom. For example, the graphics and music aren't as good, but they're still fairly decent for a Famicom game, and while the stages lack the thoughtful design of Shatterhand's, they're still entertaining enough to play through. The length of this game is also much less than Shatterhand, though it would run the risk of overstaying its welcome if it were any longer. One thing this game has that Shatterhand doesn't is the giant robot battles, and they're the main highlight. This game won't be blowing anyone away, but that's okay, because blowing people away is illegal in most parts of the world.

Word Count: 1,075

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