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Mega Man 6 (NES) artwork

Mega Man 6 (NES) review

"If you’ve never played a Mega Man game before and decide to start with this particular cartridge, you’ll probably feel compelled to scornfully look at the mediocre rating I’ve handed out and condemn me as a fool. Your blood may start boiling — you may even feel compelled to tell me your dog has more sense than I when it comes to video gaming. "

If you’ve never played a Mega Man game before and decide to start with this particular cartridge, you’ll probably feel compelled to scornfully look at the mediocre rating I’ve handed out and condemn me as a fool. Your blood may start boiling — you may even feel compelled to tell me your dog has more sense than I when it comes to video gaming.

And you know what? If you’ve never played any of the assorted thousand of so Mega Man titles out there on seemingly every system ever created, you are absolutely justified in feeling that way. Mega Man 6 is just like the other five NES games featuring the Blue Bomber. It’s easy on the eyes (and ears) for an eight-bit game. It features excellent play control throughout eight robot master stages and two huge, multi-stage fortresses. It allows you to steal weapons from fallen adversaries and use those weapons to great effect against other bosses. Taken on its own merits, Mega Man 6 is a pretty damn good game.

But, if you’re like me and have played all (or even many) of the previous five Mega Man games, this particular outing is a supreme letdown. Let’s face it, Capcom has gotten more mileage out of the Mega Man license than anyone ever believed possible. While Nintendo has made sure to only release a scant few games starring guys like Mario and Link on each of its systems, Capcom has always seemed to take an approach along the lines of “the more, the merrier” when it comes to Mega Man. While each game from the second through the fifth possessed some sort of nifty improvement over its predecessors, it really seems like the sixth installment was nothing more than an attempt by Capcom to bilk a little more money out of NES owners before moving on to the 16-bit generation of systems.

Just look at virtually every single aspect of Mega Man 6 and judge for yourself exactly how much time and effort went into it. Let’s start with the premise. Okay, I’ll admit that none of the NES Mega Man games had much of a story — with it all coming down to you facing off against Dr. Wily after beating everything standing between you and he. However, in the past couple of games, Capcom at least tried to offer the legitimate threat of another villain. In Mega Man 6, we get (drum roll, please) “Mr. X”. To add to the stupidity, you soon find out that Mr. X planned to hold a tournament to determine the strongest robot and then took control of the eight entrants (with evil intent, of course) to the great surprise of Mega Man and pals.

Now, let me get this straight.....Dr. Wily is still free, a mysterious stranger with an unoriginal fake name (who looks just like Wily would if he grew a beard) pops on the scene wanting to hold a tournament to determine the strongest robot out there and no one decides to look into things BEFORE things go wrong? Wonderful....just wonderful. This game would be better served if its plot was simply, ”A bunch of robots are crazy and bad stuff’s happening! Get to work, Mega Man!” and that was that.

But all that would be easily forgiven if the same lackadaisical attitude hadn’t also been used in crafting other more important elements of the gameplay. Looking at the bosses, you’ll likely feel a strong sense of deja vu. Thanks to Mr. X, you get to fight another fire-based robot, another ice-based adversary, another possessing a shield get the picture. While there were a few cool ideas, such as the spear-chucking Yamato Man or the innovatively-designed Centaur Man (whose cool appearance is sadly marred by his Flash Man-like control of time), there were just too many robots that I could have sworn I’d fought before.

And there were too many levels I also could have sworn I’d seen before. There really were few new elements put into this game. In Flame Man’s abode (the first I went through), there were some nifty oil pool traps, where fiery projectiles shot by foes could turn a fairly calm screen into a deadly inferno in a hurry. Other than that, nothing stood a positive way. On the negative side of things, we do have the four stages with “real” and “trick” robot masters. If you played the fifth Mega Man, you remember that to get Beat, the bird ally, you had to collect one of the letters “M-E-G-A-M-A-N-V” in each level. In Mega Man 6, things are simplified to where you merely need to get the letters “B-E-A-T”. Well, maybe simplified is the wrong word, as the manner in which you obtain these letters is as nonsensical as the game’s plot.

In four of the eight robot levels, you’ll notice a branch in your path. Go one way and you’ll get to the boss, fight it and move to the next level. Go the other way and after beating the boss (in a different room), you’ll get a letter. So, apparently, extra copies of four robot bosses were made and placed in the same general area as their twins for the sole purpose of guarding the combination to a special power I’ve never really used in either this game or Mega Man 5. Maybe I’m in the wrong for thinking a bit too much about the logic in certain elements of a NES game, but that just seems like horrible reasoning.

One of the few new things in this game I didn’t feel was either a bad idea or horrible execution of a decent idea was a neat little item called the Energy Balancer. Hidden in one of the robot master stages, picking up this gizmo will make things a lot easier on you. Previously, to take advantage of the game’s plentiful weapon recharging items, you had to switch to the one you wanted to recharge before grabbing the item. With the balancer, you simply grab the item and the weapon with the lowest amount of energy automatically gets charged. It’s a really handy item to take the time to find and the programmers deserve credit for creating it.

But I simply can’t give them much credit for anything else. Like I said before, Mega Man 6 isn’t a bad game. It features all the staples of what makes this series so special — from the ability to choose the order you do the preliminary stages to doggie companion Rush (although the pooch is altered somewhat in this game) to reliable old Dr. Wily behind all the mayhem. You still get to keep the weapons of your foes and they still are very handy against other robots. In fact, you get to do virtually everything you got to do in the previous five Mega Man games.

It’s just that to me, that is the main flaw of Mega Man 6 — you’ve done it all before and in many cases, it was put together better in those earlier instances. With unoriginal bosses, an annoying side-quest to get Beat and a story that looks like it was slapped on at the last second, it just looks like Capcom simply wanted to spew one more NES Mega Man game on the market as quickly as possible before getting down to the business of designing a “new” Mega Man for the Super Nintendo.

overdrive's avatar
Featured community review by overdrive (December 01, 2004)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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