Mega Man 6 (NES) review
"At which point does innovation become necessary? When a long running series continues to rehash the same format, at which point should casual fans revolt over repetitiveness? This is a question that has plagued the Mega Man series. It is obviously the most flagrant offender; it dwarves even Tomb Raider in terms of games featuring remarkably similar gameplay with little innovation. When we are talking about the NES, it is clear that Mega Man 6 follows the Capcom formula –..."
At which point does innovation become necessary? When a long running series continues to rehash the same format, at which point should casual fans revolt over repetitiveness? This is a question that has plagued the Mega Man series. It is obviously the most flagrant offender; it dwarves even Tomb Raider in terms of games featuring remarkably similar gameplay with little innovation. When we are talking about the NES, it is clear that Mega Man 6 follows the Capcom formula – the same old gameplay, still fun, but getting a bit stale.
You want story? Look elsewhere. The one presented here is paper thin. There’s some sort of robot tournament, where the biggest and baddest robots face off against each other. Eight of them, to be specific. Then for REASONS UNBEKNOWST TO ANYONE, Dr. Blah Blah Blah manages to steal the eight robots, again, like he always does. And he makes them EVIL! Mwhahahaha… This plot line would be great, if it wasn’t exactly the same as the previous FIVE installments. Of course, there’s a twist later on in the game, but when is there not a twist? Honestly…
Mega Man is still Mega Man, or Rock Man, whatever you prefer to call him. He’s blue as can be over his assignment to destroy a bunch of robots by shooting pellets and super charged bursts at everything in site. He’s become bored, as he realizes he is once again in a ho-hum side scrolling platformer where he must leap and slide his way to victory. “Rah rah rah, you’ll pay for this Wiley, um yeah, can I go home now?” He’s like a tired housewife who is “thrilled” to learn that her husband got his Viagra prescription refilled.
The lack of character design really shows off how tired the series has become. Mega Man 6 really scrapes the bottom of the barrel for bosses. Do Centaur Man and Tomahawk Man strike fear into any of your hearts? How about the third generation generic heat and cold bosses in the series? An uninspired cast of bosses like this is no way to support the reinvention of the wheel for the sixth time.
As with past games, you receive an enemy’s weapon to use as your own after you vanquish them. While in theory this sounds really sweet, once again, the designing leaves something to be desired. Most of the weaponry is cloned off of past games; the plant shield is the most flagrant offender, as it’s exactly like the leaf shield from Mega Man 2, just far less effective. It’s hard to think of innovative weapons when you’re on you’re 47th and 48th bosses.
The *only* innovative features from past games are a few new gadgets for Rush. Mega Man can now use a jet attachment for flying and a power adapter to break heavy blocks. Ladee freakin da. The jet is a little cool, the heavy block thing is done much better in the very first installment of the series; remember Guts Man? Maybe Capcom was banking on the fact that you wouldn’t...
So, what does Mega Man 6 do right? Well, if you liked previous installments, and absolutely must have more of the same, then it won’t disappoint you. The design is even more stale, and although my memory might be foggy, I don’t recall ever having to make so many precision jumps. It seems like every other screen features death defying leaps over bottomless pits, instant death spiked ceilings, or flaming pits of destruction. It’s very much like a clichéd Dragonlance novel, or one of those steamy books with a guy in knight’s armor, but shirtless. (Don’t try to figure that one out, you could hurt yourself.) Taken as a whole, the difficulty of the game itself has been spiked up, although the enemies are just as easy to defeat.
The most disappointing aspects of Mega Man 6 occur at the end of the game. The final stages are extremely repetitive; once you choose to enter the final battles, you can not return to the main menu to replenish extra lives or energy tanks. This kind of cheap difficulty continues, as you’re thrown into boss fight after boss fight. I don’t normally elaborate on endings, but after suffering through multiple fights, your “reward” is seeing Dr. Wiley captured, and seeing the number of each robot you beat. Wow, that justifies all the time I spent... The previous ending gains made by earlier installments are all but erased by a hastily thrown together sequence which involves none of the former story elements.
If you don’t know what a Mega Man game looks like or sounds like, I’m not going to waste my time on you.
Overall, Mega Man 6 is like a comfy sweater. You know exactly what you’re getting. No surprises or secrets lurking here. If that’s what you want, then by all means play it. Otherwise, you can do better with other games; this offers nothing more then what you’ve already seen many times before, just as a sub par level.
Community review by sgreenwell (February 27, 2003)
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