Mega Man Soccer (SNES) review
"When one used to think of a gaming franchise, such as Nintendoís Super Mario Bros, chances are that the first things that will come into their mind is Marioís adventures against Bowser. But now with all of the Mario games released not related to the original series, such as Super Mario Kart and Mario Golf, one might not necessarily think of those adventures, but of some other event that he participated in. "
When one used to think of a gaming franchise, such as Nintendoís Super Mario Bros, chances are that the first things that will come into their mind is Marioís adventures against Bowser. But now with all of the Mario games released not related to the original series, such as Super Mario Kart and Mario Golf, one might not necessarily think of those adventures, but of some other event that he participated in.
This canít be applied to Capcomís Mega Man franchise. Pretty much every game in the series to this day (with the exception of Mega Man Legends and its sequel) has the same basic formula. So the first impressions of Mega Man should almost be universal. But little do most people know that Mega Man has starred in a sports game thatís not like any of his other adventures. This is Mega Man Soccer, which was released on the SNES and stars Mega Man along with several other robots that appeared in his previous NES adventures.
The coolest part about Mega Man Soccer is how it lets you use all of your favorite Mega Man characters from the classic NES games at once. Each character also has different stats, which gives you a perfect reason to favor certain characters over others, even if youíve never played a Mega Man game before prior to this. For example, Mega Man and Skull Man are good all-around characters that perform well in any position. Ice Man and Gemini Man are the ideal forwards thanks to their great speed, but donít offer much else in terms of defense and tackling power. On the other hand, Wood Man and Pharaoh Man are slow as hell but more than make up for that with their awesome defense and tackling capabilities. There are also many fields available based on many of the several characters available. For example, Pharaoh Manís field is right in the middle of the desert, and Firemanís field looks like a volcano recently erupted on it!
Besides the numerous characters and fields available Mega Man Soccer is a pretty basic game. The gameplay is pretty simple and only features three offensive moves (well four if you count a special move) and two defensive moves. On offense the robots have the ability to shoot the ball, pass the ball, and clear the ball. Shooting and passing are pretty self-explanatory, and clear is basically a much further kick that doesnít work as well as it was supposed to. Whenever the ball is cleared, an opponent is always behind the intended receiver, which makes it almost impossible to have the ball for more than a second without immediately being tackled. On defense you have the ability to slide tackle opponents or steal the ball. Although stealing is potentially more effective, it is much harder to pull off, which makes slide tackling the preferred method 98% of the time. With the basic offensive and defensive controls, the game seems dated, and feels like an old NES game. The only difference would be the ability to shoot the devastating robotís special shot, but since each team only receives two per game the majority of the game is about passing and shooting.
The AI isnít so hot either. The computer, although decent at first, is known for doing retarded things such as scoring in their own goal and taking ridiculous shots that would never stand a chance at going in. It is also nearly impossible to score in your opponentís goal without resorting to cheap tactics, such as bringing the goalie out of the goal to score or shooting on an angle in which they canít get to the ball. You might also occasionally be able to get the rebound and knock the ball in, but that doesnít happen often. The outcome of the game is usually determined by whether or not you know where the ďhot spotsĒ are. The problem is once you find them youíve probably also learned all of the AIís tactics and can easily score 20 goals in a game. Now the game is too damn simple.
The main gameplay mode is Capcom Championship, and could also be called the gameís story mode. Basically Dr. Willy, the infamous villain from the past Mega Man games has come up with a scheme to take over the robot soccer league. Now to earn it back Mega Man must stop him by defeating all of the robots in soccer games! Well it doesnít make much sense to resort to violence this time around. You start off with a team of all Mega Mans, and play against teams with different characters, such as Skull Man, Elec Man, Dust Man, and Enker. The cool gimmick in this mode is whenever you defeat a team you get to keep one character from their team. So if you beat Skull Man, you get one Skull Man to use on your team. This mode is pretty fun, although the dated gameplay and poor AI hurt the experience a bit. The most disappointing aspect, however, would have to be the lack of an ending. Once you defeat the final robot team you are immediately brought back to the menu screen to play again, kick the shit out of the SNES, or do whatever. You can also save your progress by passwords throughout the game, but that that is also a problem. The passwords are on an 8x8 square, and quickly become a pain to write down.
There are three other gameplay modes, but none of them are anything great. Exhibition allows you to customize your own team and choose a field to play on, but the problem is that you are only allowed to play against a team of all Mega Mans, and they arenít the most challenging opponents. Tournament allows you to pick a pre-made team and compete against others in a bracket-style tourney. Ultimately this isnít very rewarding, since the only reward you get is the word ďCongardulationsĒ [sic] to appear at the top of the screen after every victory. League is a similar mode, except now you compete in a league to try to be the best team. Once again there are no rewards for all of your hard work.
Even with the numerous flaws Mega Man Soccer is still a playable game. It also has great music thatís up to par with the rest of the Mega Man games and a multiplayer mode thatís ultimately more fun than playing with the computer. But despite its bright points, the only reason someone would want to play Mega Man Soccer is to be able to use all of their favorite characters at the same time, not to play an enjoyable soccer game since you donít have to be a rocket scientist to find a better one.
Community review by Halon (December 03, 2008)
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