Ranger X is a Sega Genesis shoot-em-up, and could be considered a precursor to Tribes and Tribes 2. Consider the game's storyline, direct from the instruction book:

An attack has been made on the Free Galactic System Council (GSC) based here on Homeworld. The Homeworld Tribes were unprepared for this sneak attack and all have suffered heavy casualties. Forunately, Tribe Tech's capital on the far side of Homeworld wasn't targeted in the first assault wave and they managed to raise the city's Proton defense wall in time to repel the second wave.

Our attackers are the Rahuna, an Edgezone coalition of planets. This group of warrior beings have been envious of GSC's control of the planetary systems, and we believe that their goal is to topple the government and bring the galactic systems under their rule.

Their well-documented savagery and refusal to enter into the Pan-GS Nonaggression Treaty (YH 411/Galactic Date 97,340) should have been enough of a warning to make us keep our guard up, but we underestimated their ambition. Now there's nothing we can do but fight.

They have caught us off guard. That is our mistake. But they will find that their attack on us is the greater error - we will fight for Homeworld and the safety of GSC to the last standing warrior. This is the Tribes' way.

OK, OK, so there is no story. Disregarding that, our hero Ranger X is outfitted with:

  • A personal suit jet, complete with an energy meter
  • A courier, which strangely resembles a Combat Grav Cycle from Tribes 2. Ranger X can either stand on top of this grav cycle, or 'link into it' and take advantage of the grav cycle's auto-aiming functions. By itself the grav cycle will follow Ranger X around and blow shit up
  • A personal air carrier. There's really no better way to describe this vehicle. It provides air support for Ranger X as he blows shit up on the ground. Both Couriers are necessary for Ranger X to change his weapons.
  • Ranger X recognizes the dangers of global warming; thus his weapons draw from a solar power source that will recharge as long as he's in sunlight.

Of course, what would a clone of Mobile Suit Gundam be without huge ass weapons?

  • A Seeker Mine. This weapon will leave a trail of destruction, hugging the ground hurting anything in its path.
  • A flamethrower that sputters out rather unimpressive looking flames, for moderate damage
  • A proton cannon. The manual describes this weapon as originally being used to aid in tunnel digging - too bad the walls are indestructable. Actually, this weapon is a HUGE green laser covering the entire screen, complete with a charging period, and throws Ranger X forward after it's finished. Guaranteed to eviscerate any boss.
  • Seeker Falcon - Weirdest weapon in the game; this is a boomerang type weapon that will home in on any enemy on the screen and attack it relentlessly.
  • A plasma wave that's the most powerful practical weapon.

So, with your arsenal, you begin your quest to blow random shit up. Make no mistake; this game is hard - your life is replenished by draining from your weapons' power systems - the converters to do these are well hidden. The 'heavy' difficulty setting even modifies the level itself so less light is available to replenish your weapons' power systems!

The reason why this game is worth noding is that it takes an entirely different approach to a shoot-em-up. Levels are introduced by a fly-by wireframe animation; the objective of each level is to destroy whatever is featured in the wireframe. Especially impressive is the multiple sources of parallax scrolling and light sourcing via palette swapping. Keep in mind that the Genesis could only display 61 colors at any one time on the screen.