Don't Worry, It's not as bad as it looks. Space Rangers is one of those games that comes from nowhere, looks from the box like a bad joke wrapped in a bizarre piece of revenge fantasy sent to test your patience by a hated enemy, but somehow defies all the odds and keeps you playing thanks to the magic gameplay juice that developers like to pull out of their arses from time to time.
Anyone old enough to remember such yesteryear 'classics' as Masters Of Orion will have an inkling of what's going on here. For the most part it's the kind of top-down, 2D turn-based space exploration that went out of fashion around the same time as heterosexual boy bands. Throw in a spot of trading, piracy, law enforcement asteroid mining and alien baiting for good measure, then add some basic yet engaging planet-based stompy robot RTS action, the occasional multiple choice text adventure (go figure) and a strange Astero/c/s-like mini game and that's Space Rangers.
Sounds like a horrible mess, doesn't it? A car crash of loose ideas, backwards thinking and outdated gaming ideas tied together with a functional yet underwhelming visual style. It isn't though. I've installed, reviewed and promptly uninstalled many, many games in my time on planet Earth, but Space Rangers (actually a package incorporating two previously unreleased Space Rangers games) has somehow managed to remain a fixture on my already cluttered hard drive. Because it's playable. Very playable.
Something just grabs you and keeps you there. Maybe it's the sense of humour (a paragraph in the manual cheekily explains away any translation errors by basically saying, "It's the future, that's how they talk now"). Maybe it's the hidden layers of depth. Maybe it's the amount of freedom you have to play any way you want. Maybe it's just very, very good game design.
Whatever it is, Space Rangers isn't going to break any sales records and may not even stay on the shelves very long. But if you play it you will enjoy it, and you can't really ask for more than that.
Download Space Rangers
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP