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Mega Man (NES) artwork

Mega Man (NES) review


"Mega Man has always been one of the stranger names in video gaming. Just about any Mega Man game that is released is bound to sell a lot of copies. Yet, you don't see a bunch of Mega Man fanboys out there, especially compared to Mario, and Square. Perhaps this is because Mega Man has never been particularly loyal to any system, or company. Mega Man currently has a game on the PS2, and the Gamecube. As well as tons on the GBA. Mega Man checked in for both the N64, and PS, and had games on the SNE..."



Mega Man has always been one of the stranger names in video gaming. Just about any Mega Man game that is released is bound to sell a lot of copies. Yet, you don't see a bunch of Mega Man fanboys out there, especially compared to Mario, and Square. Perhaps this is because Mega Man has never been particularly loyal to any system, or company. Mega Man currently has a game on the PS2, and the Gamecube. As well as tons on the GBA. Mega Man checked in for both the N64, and PS, and had games on the SNES, and one on the Genesis. It all started with the NES though, with the original Mega Man. It sold like hotcakes, prompting the five sequels. Not everything is fine and dandy with this game though. As even today games like Enter the Matrix show, just because a game sells well doesn't necessarily mean it is good.

What makes Mega Man flawed, and what also makes it unnecessarily difficult is its platform elements. Capcom went out of their way, not only to make Mega Man suck at jumping, but also to make it so if you screw up on jumps you die. The typical way a level works is, after blasting away a few guys, you come across areas where you must make difficult jumps. Messing up on a jump in these areas means death. For example, at one point in the game you must jump from moving platform, to moving platform in order to make it to the end of a little area. These platforms move around randomly though, so sometimes you must wait a long time before you have a chance for a jump. These platforms also shoot at you. If you get hit while on a platform, there is a good chance you will get knocked off.

You will die many times from the jumping parts of this game, and it's not uncommon to only have one life when you get to a boss, or to run out of lives before even making it to a boss.

But you can get a platform maker in Elecman's level!

That's right. One of the more interesting parts of Mega Man is that as you go along, you gain extra weapons from your bosses, and there is one hidden ability as well. You also get to pick what stage you go to in this game, so you can get the abilities in any order you want. The problem with picking your own stage is that for some levels you may need one of the special abilities to make the bosses not so impossible. Mega Man's buster shot does a measly one bar of damage, while some bosses can take you out in three hits. Now, each boss does have a weakness of some sorts, but if you do the stages in a bad order you wonít get the weapon you need for a boss, and you will be very frustrated as you struggle during the battle.

The hidden ability (making platforms) is also necessary to beat the game, because at some points you have to make platforms in order to keep going. If you don't get this hidden ability, you won't be able to beat the game. If it wasn't for the walkthroughs I would have never been able to beat the game, as I never would have found the platform maker.

Another annoying thing is the checkpoint system the game runs on. When you die, you are returned to a certain point in the level, depending on how far you've made it. There really arenít enough places where the game returns you though. I remember making it through two difficult areas before dying, expecting to be put back to after one of the difficult areas, but instead I had to start all over. It is because of things like this, that you barely have any lives left when it is boss time.

Another crappy thing is you can't save. When you start playing, you have to play the whole way through if you want to beat the game. There is about 3-4 hours of gameplay here too. It took me a while to beat the game, not only because of difficulty, but because I could never find 4 straight hours to play the game. Not to mention it gets boring after an hour or so. The only thing that motivated me to get through the game, was figuring I could write a review on it.

The game has some redeeming points though. The action elements are ultimately satisfying. It is pretty cool to be able to switch around between numerous weapons. All the shooting parts in the game offer adequate challenge, but not to the point of frustration.

With weak gameplay, I was hoping for at least a little eye candy. Instead I was just given ''bearable'' graphics. The biggest flaw in the graphics, is there is just about no backgrounds, a lot of the time you'll just be looking at a blue background, with nothing in it. There is also some slowdown. The character models look decent though, and there are quite a few of them too. None of the enemies in this game look too much like any other enemy, which was nice.

Another dissapointing point is the story. In the game there isn't any at all. If you read the instruction manual though, you'll find there actually is a decent story in there for a NES game. Dr. Wily and Dr. Light made a bunch of robots. One day Dr. Wily decided to reprogram the robots for DESTRUCTION! Mega Man resisted though, now it's up to him to stop the other robots. They didn't even bother to put some sort of pre-game text in there. Which really was a shame.

As before mentioned, there is about 3-4 hours of gameplay in here. There is almost no replay value. This is because, the gameplay gets kind of stale after one time through, and because you can't save at all, you tend to lack motivation to go through it all again.

Mega Man had all the tools to be a great game. A bunch of different weapons, some cool action elements, and a few other original ideas. They failed though. Why Capcom thought their enormously difficult jumping areas were fun is anybodyís guess. This easily could have been a great game, if they just concentrated on the shooting. They didnít though, making this one of the most overrated games of all time.

Rating: 5/10

icehawk's avatar
Community review by icehawk (January 15, 2004)

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