Review: Mega Man 10

 

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Finally we have the most recent installment in the original Mega Man series, Mega Man 10. After the success of MM9, it was decided to follow up the game with a sequel. Like it’s predecessor, MM10 is a downloadable game designed with the look and feel of a legacy 8bit title.

This time around, Capcom implemented a setting allowing the player to change the difficulty level – a much welcome feature for many. Also, the game is playable as either Mega Man or Proto Man. Downloadable content is also available that unlocks Bass as a playable character.

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This time around, the storyline is a little different. All over the world robots are falling ill due to a strange computer virus known as Roboenza. Luckily, Dr. Wily claims to have developed a cure – only to have it stolen by an infected robot. Mega Man sets out to retrieve it. Of course, it is eventually revealed that Dr. Wily is the one behind the infection. His goal was use his cure as bait to motivate infected robots to join in his evil plans.

This title is very similar to Mega Man 9 in many regards. There is a variety of optional levels and challenges available thru DLC, so there’s plenty to keep Mega Man fans busy. Personally, I found this game to be a tad bit easier than MM9, but it’s still challenging enough to earn it’s place next to all of the other titles.

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Difficulty: Very Difficult  – Much like all other games in the franchise, Mega Man 10 is tough. Thankfully, we do have an optional easy mode for more casual players. However, if playing on the PS3 or 360 – no achievements are available on easy mode. You’ve been warned!

Story: Dr. Wily is at it again! I like the concept of a robo-virus that was introduced in the game. There’s just enough storyline in the game, to keep your hooked through all the brutal gameplay.

Originality: While MM9 had the “original” idea of making an old school title, MM10 does the same and therefore doesn’t really introduce anything that original to the series.

Soundtrack: I found the original music in this entry of the series to be a bit of an improvement over the previous retro title. Catchy, hummable tunes throughout.

Fun: For some reason that I cannot put my finger on, I enjoyed this title a bit more than Mega Man 9. The bosses are a bit more interesting and the I think the overall levels are more fun to play. Good stuff here.

Graphics: Another good example of creating an old school 8-bit game for modern hardware. You’d never know you were playing on a current-day console.

Playcontrol: Having played this title on two of the three systems, I have to say I’m impressed. No issues on either controller and everything feels natural.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – Another great example of a retro throwback title. Obviously, Capcom saw a profit with the digital release of Mega Man 9 and decided to cash in. I cannot blame them for that. The game itself is of good quality and defiantly worth a purchase for fans of the series. It’s actually free right now for Playstation plus subscribers.

Currently available on: WiiWare, Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade

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Review: Mega Man 9

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As my week of vacation comes to a close, I bring you the next installment in the original Mega Man series. Mega Man 9. This game was released nearly a decade after the original Japanese version of Mega Man & Bass. So, keep in mind that it had actually been quite some time since players were treated to an original Mega Man title.

As one would expect, it’s been a long time since Mega Man was called to action. Things have quiet. When suddenly, Robots all over the world start going crazy. Dr. Wily appears on TV claiming that he has nothing to do with it. He asks for donations so he can build a robot army to defend the public against what he believes is an attack by Dr. Light. As you might expect, as you progress thru the game, the truth about the situation is uncovered and the outcome should come as no surprise.

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This game was initially released as a downloadable title on the Wii, and then later on both the Xbox 360 and PS3. I own it on both the Wii and 360. There’s no noticeable difference at all between the three ports. Regardless of your platform, there’s also downloadable content available for the game. Special stages, increased difficulty and even the option to play the game as Proto Man.

One of the first things you’ll probably notice about the game is it’s retro look. Mega Man 9 was created as an homage to the earliest games in the series. This means that despite the modern systems it was released on, it looks, sounds, and feels like an 8-bit title straight out of the late 80s.

Keeping with tradition, this Mega Man game is extremely difficult. So, I’ll be honest and admit that I had no desire whatsoever to play the “superhero mode” (increased difficulty).

I actually bought and played this when it came out in 2008, and then again this week. All in all, I have to say, Capcom did a wonderful job of capturing the old school feel of the original Mega Man games. Right down to fake and cheesy virtual game-box art.

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Difficulty: Very Difficult  – This game is throwback both in look and feel and in difficulty. I can picture a sadistic Capcom employee giggling with glee at the brutal and punishing design of their new retro title. This is also very apparent in the achievements/trophies available for the 360 and PSN version. You have been warned.

Story: Same old same old, but this time – it’s got a lot of old school charm to it. Keep in mind, this game was made to be a homage to the original titles of yesteryear. So keeping with the running joke is more than appropriate.

Originality: As odd as this may sound, the originality here is by not changing anything. Capcom could have released a new fancy HD Mega Man title, but instead they chose to go back to their roots and produce an emulated 8-bit game. That took some guts, and it paid off well in the end.

Soundtrack: I don’t think anything will ever touch the MM2 and 3 soundtracks. But this one is certainly not bad. The music is certainly fitting and groovy at time, but there’s nothing here that’s very memorable.

Fun: Honestly, if you played the old games, you’ve seen it all before. I found the fun here to reside in the trip down memory lane the game brings. The old graphics and sound are spot on. In a way, even the maddening difficulty makes for a nice nostalgic experience.

Graphics: You can’t really make a judgment here. Despite the modern technology, this game was designed to look old. Something that is actually probably not too easy these days. Considering the goal, the designers did a wonderful job.

Playcontrol: Having played this title on two of the three systems, I have to say I’m impressed. No issues on either controller and everything feels natural.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – This is great example of a retro throwback title. I would love to see game companies do stuff like this more. It is my understanding that MM9 was quite a success for Capcom. At the time of this writing the game is very inexpensive on both Wii and 360. It’s actually free right now for Playstation plus subscribers.

Currently available on: WiiWare, Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade

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Review: Mega Man & Bass

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Next up in the series, we have Mega Man & Bass. This is a title that was originally released in Japan on the SNES, but didn’t see the light of day in the USA for many years later when it was released as a GBA title.

Even though the game’s was released on the SNES originally, it occurs after the PS title Mega Man 8. Many of the animations and sprite-art actually seems to come straight out of Mega Man 7.

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In this game, the new freak of the week is a new robot named King. King steals a bunch of plans from the Robot Museum with the intention transforming the world into a robot utopia free of human control. Naturally, Mega Man steps up to ward off this threat. Optionally, the player can also choose to play as Bass. In this scenario, Bass decides to defeat King as a way to prove he is more powerful than Mega Man.

Eventually, it is revealed that King is actually a creation of Dr. Wily. Once both King and Dr. Wily are defeated, Bass asks his creator why he deceived into thinking King was robot of unknown origin. Wily explains that King was only designed to test Bass’s abilities. Furious, Bass declares that he will defeat Mega Man one day to prove he is the most power robot of all time.

This game is an interesting blend of both older and later Mega Man titles. To me, it feels a lot like the Mega Man X games in the sense of level design and graphics. There are collectibles scattered throughout the levels. However,  this time it is impossible to collect them in a single playthrough. So the player is encouraged to play through the game more than once. Plus, with the ability to experience the game as Bass, this seems even more encouraged. This was the last true Mega Man game released by Capcom for many years.

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Difficulty: Very Difficult  – Once again, the difficulty level has been taken up ANOTHER notch. In fact, I’ve read somewhere that it was the goal of the developers to make this title as “hardcore as possible”. At this point, I guess we really cannot complain, and should look at this as a staple of the series. This title contains every dirty trick you can image.

Story: Here we have a good story that helps to flesh out the Bass character a bit. The introduction of King is also a nice tough.

Originality: This game is a nice mix of both old and new. The ability to play as someone other than Mega Man is a really nice touch. Both characters have their pros and cons and this makes the experience quite different.

Soundtrack: Decent tracks here, but somehow they seem to lack cohesion. Some of them seem a little out of place, but overall it’s a decent soundtrack.

Fun: Fun- if you’re a sadomasochist. This truly is one of the harder action platformers out there. Patience is a must. 

Graphics: Very sharp and crisp on the GBA screen. The game definitely show it’s 16-bit roots, but I find no reason to complain.

Playcontrol: No real complaints here. The controls are precise and responsive. It’s important to note that both Mega Man and Bass have a different feel about them.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – This a pretty good title and a welcome addition to the handheld Mega Man universe. As I said, the difficulty level is pretty intense so be warned going in.

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Review: Mega Man 8

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Finally, we come to the last game on the Mega Man Anniversary Collection; Mega Man 8. Originally released for the Sony Playstation and later, the Sega Saturn. Mega Man 8 represents the first 32-bit title for the series.

This is another one that I initially missed the first time around. So, this experience was all new to me.
This game actually features an animated cutscene. However, I was extremely let down by the quality of it. It seriously looks like a 3rd generation VHS dub of a crappy cartoon. What in the world?!

The game begins with two strange robots fighting in outerspace. They crash to earth, where one o them is found by Dr. Wily. Harnessing the new “dark energy” he finds inside the robot, he upgrades his robots, making them more deadly than ever before.

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After being sent to investigate the crash site, Mega Man recovers one of the crashed robots and takes it to Dr. Light’s for repairs and sets off to do battle with Dr. Wily’s new mechanical menaces.

Is it at this point that, Duo (the rescued robot), explains how Dr. Wily must have used the dark energy to make his robots masters more powerful, and he offers his assistance in defeating Wily’s remaining bosses.

Of course, Mega Man fights his way through more dangers and eventually does battle with Bass and manages to save the day with the help of Duo.

As expected, the graphics and sound are much improved, and the game is even harder than Mega Man 7.  ARRRRRGH!!

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Difficulty: Very Difficult  – This game seemed even harder to me than Mega Man 7, if that is possible. The worst are what I call the “surfboard” levels. Areas where Mega Man has to coast on a platform and is only able to jump, duck or shoot. INSANE!

Story: Again, we have a good story and this time with cinematics. This is probably the highlight of the game, in my opinion.

Originality: Aside from the storyline, again, there’s nothing new brought to the table. Which, considering the hardware of the PS1, is really sad. I feel there was a lot of potential squandered.

Soundtrack: Here we have good, CD-quality sound, but what I feel is sub-par music. Another shame

Fun: Once more, the difficulty of this title really ruined a lot of it for me. I enjoyed the visuals and the level design was interesting, so I did enjoy these aspects.

Graphics: Very well done. Excellect graphics in this title. This is another area that CapCom really got right. It looks like a full-blown anime. Oddly enough, the graphics here are better than the opening cutscene.

Playcontrol: No real complaints, if you don’t count the surfboard areas. But, then again, the difficulty there is by design. Everything played well and was responsive. No real issues.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – Overall, and by itself, MM8 is a good game. Personally, I was turned off by it’s difficulty. Who knows, maybe I’m getting old, but it was too darn extreme for me. I suspect that most casual players would agree.

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Review: Mega Man 7

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I was originally going to put my marathon of Mega Man games on hold for a while, and continue to hang with 8-bit games for a while. But, considering that it’s Mega Man’s 25 anniversary, I figured no would be a good a time as any to play through the rest of the series. This brings us to the first 16-bit Mega Man, Mega Man 7.

Hail to the most gut-wrenching, fist pounding, hate your life, hard-as-nails Mega Man game of all time.

The game looks great! The SNES brought Mega Man a much needed upgrade in the line of visuals. The sound is much improved too. There’s actually even a -gasp- improved storyline, complete with printed dialogue, etc. Finally a Mega Man game that does not seem so recycled.

The game starts with a flash back of all of Mega Man’s accomplishments. It shows in anime cell style Mega Man turning Dr. Wiley in to authorities. As the story goes on, we learned the Dr. Wily had a back up plan…. He had several robots programed to come searching for him if they remained un-contacted after a certain period of time. Now that he is locked up, and not sending the messages needed to keep them at bay, they have come searching. As expected, the robots break him out of jail and start tearing up the city! Dr. Light and company catch word of this and send Mega Man into action.

As Mega Man begins his journey to stop the robots he has an unusual encounter! The meets up with a black robot, named Bass. Who has a canine robot companion, much like Rush named: Treble!

The mysterious Bass tell Mega Man to go home, he’s going to handle this job, then he blips away.

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The game is divided into two sections The first four robots Mega Man will face are: Junk Man, Cloud Man, Burst Man, and Freeze Man (I did them in that order).

After defeating the first set of robots, Mega Man gets word that Dr. Wily has been seen raiding the robot museum! Mega heads over to the place an encounters a few old friends…

This game is a little different than the previous installments. in this game, scattered through the levels are various nuts and bolts that Mega Man can trade to his friend Auto in exchange for new parts and power ups. There’s also the letters spelling out RUSH that can be collected to allow Mega Man to upgrade his companion.

Afterwards, Protoman shows up. He says that only the strongest robot should continue and he challenges Mega Man to a friendly duel to see which of them is truly stronger. Mega Man wins and Protoman lends him his Proto Shield.

So far, the game has been challenging, but nothing too bad. I was really enjoying it so far.

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The next phase introduced four new robot masters: Slash Man, Shade Man, Turbo Man and Spring Man. These guys and their respective levels are HARD. So hard, that I nearly gave up. I did Spring Man first, followed by Turbo Man, Slash Man and finally….. the most aggravating boss I’ve faced so far in the series: Shade Man…. You’ll see why if you ever play it. Shade Man’s level is also home to Beat, Mega Man’s bird friend! On the way to final fight with Shade Man, we meet up again with Bass. He is in bad shape… Mega Man sends him to Dr. Light’s lab for repairs and prepares for the battle ahead…

I never played this game as a kid. I doubt I would have lasted long, even now as an adult, I kept getting frustrated and disgusted with the difficulty level. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I just ran through it. But I feel compelled to unlock every item and weapon and find all the secrets.

After the defeat of Shade Man, Mega Man gets word that Bass has ransacked Dr. Light’s lab. It turns out that Bass was designed by Wily to be an evil version of Mega Man… So time to chase him to Wiley’s lab.

Wiley’s Castle did not seem as bad as the rest of the game so far. There is an interesting encounter with Bass, but Mega Man defeats him easily enough. The exception to this is the fight with Wiley himself. As usual, the fight has two phases. The fist was easy, a few thunder blasts to the face and the Skull Walker broke down. The second form however… DAMN.

Once defeated, there is an interesting scene. Dr. Wiley cowers before Mega Man and promises to go quietly. Mega Man begins to charge his cannon and says he’s finally going to do what should have been done long ago. Wily makes the comment: “Impossible! Normal robots are forbidden from harming people, it’s against your programming”. Mega Man states: “I am more than just a robot…” at this point Bass appears and snatches up Dr. Wily and the two of them escape.

Interesting… It’s about time Capcom gave us some storyline in this series.

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Difficulty: Very Difficult  – I mean it when I say that this was one of the hardest platformers I have ever experienced. It’s really quite ridiculous. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but the difficulty level seemed a little too extreme.

Story: About time!! We finally have a really good story in this game. I think this game was released in a time where Mega Man manga comics had become very popular. As a result, a lot of the lore and developments from the books were introduced into the game. It’s a very welcome change, with a cliffhanger ending! 

Originality: While the premise is basically the same, the addition of an active storyline really adds a little originality to this title. This is a step in the right direction for the series.

Soundtrack: Finally we have a good Mega Mega soundtrack again. It’s been a while, but the Blue Bomber’s first foray into 16-bit territory takes good advantage of the SNES sound system. Big improvement over the last few games in the series.

Fun: While I had a blast progressing thru the storyline, I found the challenge to be a big buzzkill. I spent more time pissed with the last half of the game than I did enjoying it.

Graphics: CapCom REALLY took advantage of the new power behind the Super Nintendo. The graphics in this title are amazing. The series keeps it’s cartoon look, but with the addition of more colors, the game really pops and comes to life. Great stuff all around.

Playcontrol: I have a big gripe here. This handling of the controls felt very out of sorts for me. It does not handle like the previous games at all. I got used to it over time, but it feel slightly delayed and unnatural. Then again, I’m playing a PS2 port as part of the anniv collection. So perhaps that is the issue.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – This is really nice addition to the series and a good upgrade. However, due to the difficulty level, I cannot recommend it for everyone. Which is a shame.

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Review: Mega Man 5

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So here we are, Mega Man 5. At this point, the series has jumped the shark. Five games, the exact same format. However, there are some little editions that keep things in this game from becoming a complete snooze. Along with the regular challenges, each level now has a special token to collect. The token has a letter or a number written on it. If you collect them all, they spell out MEGAMAN5. Doing this will unlock a special companion for Mega Man. His bird friend: Beat!

The storyline of this game starts out a little different. Instead of Dr. Wiley, it appears that Protoman has gathered an army of robots and sent them on a rampage!!

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This game is a littler tougher that some of the more recent entries. This one, it was not so much the levels that were tough, but I found the robot fights to be a bit tricky. Although, it is important to note, I did not defeat them with any sort of strategy. I was at the whim of my son which robots to combat, in what order.

Once we finished all the bad guys, we were off to Protoman’s fortress. After battling thru a few levels, we make it to Protoman himself. The fight is short, as another (the real) Protoman shows up to help us out! It turns out the Dr. Wiley was behind it after all (imagine that)! So then it was off to Dr. Wiley’s castle.

Undoubtedly the hardest part of the game, the Wiley levels are still not as bad as some of what we’ve endured so far in the series. Beat really came in handy during the last Wiley fight. Defeating him does not garner much success tho, as he gets away in his flying saucer. Despite the open ending, it was satisfying to beat the game.

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Difficulty: Very Difficult  – As I mentioned earlier, this game seemed to be a bit tougher to me than Mega Man 4. It’s exceptionally more challenging if you try to collect all the tokens. The boss fights are pretty brutal and cheap at times.

Story: Yawn. More of the same. By this point, it’s pretty much a running joke in the series I think. For many, it’s actually part of the charm. These games are about challenge and cute robots, not about plot.

Originality: There is nothing new in this game. Throwing in new companion pet doesn’t really break any ground.

Soundtrack: Again, not bad. but not good. A 6/10 at best.

Fun: Personally, I did not find this game very enjoyable. In fact, I’m starting to get bored with the series. I’m aware that it could simply be the fact that I’m burning through them at such rapid pace, but somehow I doubt it.

Graphics: About the same as MM4. Good 8bit art. The backgrounds are well done. Good use of colors.

Playcontrol: Same as all the other games in the series. No glaring problems, but still a touchy platformer. Plays best on the original NES controller, IMO. But no real issues with modern hardware.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 2 – Unless you’re a hardcore fan of the blue bomber, I can’t recommend this title. I didn’t play this game back when it came out. I first experienced it when I purchased the Anniversary Collection. The collection as a whole is certainly worth the money, but I don’t know how much I’d be willing to shell out for this game alone.

Currently available on: Wii Virtual Console, eShop, PSN

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Review: Mega Man 4

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Mega Man 4 (or IV – depending on weather you believe the box or the in-game start screen) marks a turning point for the series. By many, this game is considered to be the last GOOD Mega Man game. The graphics in the game seem slightly improved, but many critics cite the robots as being uninspired and boring.

The storyline is one big fake out. It seems like things are slightly different this time around. The antagonist is a new mad scientist named Dr. Cossack. He declares himself to be the best robot-inventor and threatens to unleash his army of killer robots on the world unless Dr. Light sends Mega Man out to challenge his creations. Of course, in the end it turns out that Dr. Wily was behind the whole charade.

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The biggest addition to this game is Mega Man’s ability the charge his arm cannon before firing, allowing his blast to have a greater effect. This addition is controversial because in the eyes of many players, it seems slightly overpowered. Personally, I have no opinion.

For many gamers, this marks the last of the original Mega Man titles that is actually worthy of attention. It came out at a time where the industry was focused on the upcoming Super Nintendo system. That, combined with the fact that the series was really starting to get stale and repetitive, the mass gaming population was starting to lose interest in Mega Man.

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Difficulty: Difficult  – More of the same here. Perhaps a bit harder that Mega Man III. But still easier than the original title in my opinion.

Story: It seems that Capcom tried to freshen things up a bit with the Cossack subplot. But in reality, the basic premise is just more of the same.

Originality: There is none. The formula for success is really starting to wear thin with this title.

Soundtrack: Another disappointment. While not particularly bad, the music in the this game does not stand out, and seems a bit uninspired.

Fun: On it’s own, not a bad game at all. The design has been perfected by this point, and the game certainly has it’s moments. A marathon gamer would be getting very tired by now, but for the casual player, this can be an enjoyable title.

Graphics: Interestingly enough, this title seems to be an improvement. MM4 really displays when the old NES was capable of in the hands of the right artistic developers. This is probably the game’s best attribute.

Playcontrol: Same as the first game. No glaring problems, but still a touchy platformer. Plays best on the original NES controller, IMO. But no real issues with modern hardware.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – In comparison with the previous entries, MM4 falls short. But on it’s own, it’s actually pretty good game. For this reason, I have to give the game a decent score. There’s still a lot of magic moments to be found in this title.

Currently available on: Wii Virtual Console, eShop, PSN

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Review: Mega Man 3

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Onward to the next installment of the Mega Man series, and what might be the most popular. At first glance, Mega Man III might seem like just more of the same. Which is partially true, the base storyline and game design is identical to it’s previous counterparts. However, in this game were slowly introduced to a little more the lore behind the Mega Man universe.

At several points during the game, Mega Man encounters a strange robot, “Break Man”, who oddly enough is equipped with an arm cannon much like Mega Man. In the game’s conclusion, this same character appears and rescues Mega Man from certain doom. It is revealed in the end credits that “Break Man” may actually be Proto Man. The prototype version of Mega Man.

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We are also introduced to Mega Man’s robot canine companion, Rush. As Mega Man progresses through the game, Rush can be upgraded with parts that Mega Man finds. This allows Rush to transform into various objects that can be used by Mega Man. This is also the title where Mega Man learns his signature ground-slide move.

Aside from these additions, the game plays very much like the first two installments in the series.

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Difficulty: Difficult  – The difficulty here is about on par with Mega Man II. Again, Not easy, but not impossible. Might be a little frustrating for young kids.

Story: For most of the background story, you will have to turn to the original manual. There are some details scattered through the game and at the end, concerning Proto Man. But for the most part, it’s a recycle of the previous two entries

Originality: At this point, a pattern is starting to develop in the series. Three games with virtually identical gameplay. While one might argue “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, sooner or later the formula is bound to get stale.

Soundtrack: Catchy in places, but not as good as Mega Man II. Overall, a good soundtrack though. Many of the tunes are iconic pieces in the annals of 8bit music.

Fun: At face value, Mega Man III is an enjoyable title. If you like Mega Man, you’ll love the game. If you’re looking for something new, you may not find this title all that enjoyable. However, for those new the series, this is a nice starting point.

Graphics: The graphics here are on par with Mega Man II. No noticeable improvements. Standard 8bit flair here.

Playcontrol: Same as the previous games. No glaring problems, but still a touchy platformer. Plays best on the original NES controller, IMO. But no real issues with modern hardware.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – Overall, a solid game. MM3 is another fan favorite. It is iconic for introducing both Rush and Proto Man into the mix. But it lacks some of the magic that Mega Man II had in my opinion.

Currently available on: Wii Virtual Console,  Playstation Network, eShop

Other Reviews In This Series:

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MMX – MMX2 – MMX3 – MMX4 – MMX5 – MMX6 – MMX7 – MMX8 – MMXtreme – MMXtreme2 – Comman Mission

Zero – Zero2 – Zero3 – Zero 4 – ZX

BN – BN2 – BN3- BN4- BN5 – BN6

Review: Mega Man 2

megaman2nintendoentertus-5B1-5DWhile I had the disc in, I figured now is as good a time as any to play through the remaining 8bit Mega Man titles. Next stop on the list is the aptly named: Mega Man II. This is the game that introduced most people to the franchise.

The storyline and formula are still the same, so there’s not much to write about there. Dr. Wily has returned with some new robot bosses for Mega Man to tackle. As before, upon defeating them, Megan Man obtains their power. In addition, there’s a couple of extra power up abilities Mega Man can learn to help his progress. The same strategy applies in this game as in the original. Some bosses are weaker to some weapons than others. So it’s good to experiment with various abilities.

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Overall, in my opinion, this game is a big improvement over the original. The difficulty has been adjusted to make it much more enjoyable overall. (Although, some of the final stages in Dr. Wily’s fortress are still pretty rough.) The level design and art is very much improved and the music in this game is phenomenal.

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Mega Man II is one of the stand-outs of the original series, and a classic NES title. My buddy and I used to play it quite often, taking turns and sharing the control during sleepovers. Good memories here.

Difficulty: Difficult  – As I mentioned earlier, it’s nowhere near as tough as the first. Which is welcome, but still hard enough that some children will find it frustrating.

Story: Pretty much a recycle of the first game, which eventually becomes a trend and almost a joke in the franchise. So nothing new here.

Originality: Mega Man II is very much a recycle of the first game, but with much more polish. Over time, this actually tends to become almost laughable in the series, but at this point in the release cycle, it’s lack of originality went largely unnoticed.

Soundtrack: A big improvement over the first, and probably one of the more loved NES soundtracks from my youth. It’s total 8bit rock n roll. One of the game best points.

Fun: MM2 is much more enjoyable to me than the original. The characters are more interesting, even if a little repetitive, the level design is better. Simply a great game.

Graphics: A slight improvement over the first. I find MM2 to be a bit more colorful and slightly more attention to detail.

Playcontrol: Same as the first game. No glaring problems, but still a touchy platformer. Plays best on the original NES controller, IMO. But no real issues with modern hardware.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 4 – Classic retro gaming. This is a must have for anyone that is in to retro gaming. One of the top NES titles, in my opinion.

Currently available on: Wii Virtual Console, eShop, PSN

Other Reviews In This Series:

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MMX – MMX2 – MMX3 – MMX4 – MMX5 – MMX6 – MMX7 – MMX8 – MMXtreme – MMXtreme2 – Comman Mission

Zero – Zero2 – Zero3 – Zero 4 – ZX

BN – BN2 – BN3- BN4- BN5 – BN6

Review: Mega Man

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Today, I felt oddly sadistic. While browsing thru my 8bit library, looking for today’s retro classic, I came upon the original Mega Man. As soon as I saw it, I realized it had been a while since I dished out such a brutal dose of punishment upon myself, that today was the day. Yes, this game is hard. It will make you cuss. But it is also a classic. For the purposes of this playthrough, I am not playing a downloadable copy, instead I’m playing on my PS2 copy of Mega Man Anniversary Collection.

I first encountered the game as a rental from the local video store. I was probably 9 or 10 the first time I played it and it pissed me off so much, I promptly put it up and asked my dad to return it. Fastforward a couple years and I find myself living in Japan watching my Japanese friends play “Rockman 3” and I knew I had to try the series again. In Japan, Mega Man is known as “Rock Man”. (Think Rock as in “Rock n Roll”). For the American audience Capcom decided to westernize the name a bit, and thus Mega Man was born.

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The premise for Mega Man is simple. In the future, people have come to reply on robots for almost all manual labor jobs. There are robots for landscaping, construction, housekeeping, etc. All is well and good, until one day an evil scientist, Dr. Wily reprograms them all to take over the world. Out of a sense of duty, the robot’s inventor, Dr. Light, modifies his own personal assistant, Rock, into a combat robot known as Mega Man and sends him out to defeat Wiley’s robot terrorists. Mega Man has the ability to change his programming to mimic the abilities of whatever other robots he has defeated, thus gaining their powers for his own use.

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If you can get past the first obstacle, which is the TERRIBLE boxart, you will a rather pleasant looking anime style sidescroller. This game is famous for being the first NES title that allows the player to select which level to play. After the title screen, the first thing you see is the stage select menu. Once you have cleared a stage, and gained that robot power, you can use it on any other stage you tackle. When introducing the game to my son, he had a blast dictating which robot to challenge.

One of the most important strategies is figuring out which order to challenge the robot masters. As some robots have a weakness to the weapons of others. It’s actually quite a clever concept. Sadly, the game was largely overlook at the time of it’s release due to it’s high level of difficulty. I mean it is HARD. This is where the phrase “Nintendo Hard” originated.

Difficulty: Very Difficult  – As I mentioned earlier, this game is insanely hard. There are timed/vanishing platforms, falling obstacles, min-bosses, and crazy fast moving stage bosses. It’s a handful. But there is a very nice sense of accomplishment once you have completed it.

Story: The story behind Mega Man is a pretty interesting concept. It seems a bit shallow at first, and it’s not really eluded to much within the game itself. But when you think about it, it has a nice “Terminator” feel to it.

Originality: There was a lot of new concepts brought to the table here. It may not seem like much today, but the level selection idea was revolutionary at the time. So was the concept to collecting powers and abilities from defeated enemies. There was a lot of groundbreaking about this game.

Soundtrack: There are some really catchy tunes here, but nothing that really stands out to me. The later games in the series really tend to shine when it comes to music, however.

Fun: Breathe deep and don’t get stressed and you might enjoy yourself. These days, I play MM for the nostalgia and the cute anime style graphics. But it’s easy to get turned off by the high degree of difficulty.

Graphics: The bright colorful anime art really shines on the NES. This was one of the first games that really got this concept right. It’s very cartoonish and it works well.

Playcontrol: The control of the game is not a really an issue. It is your standard platform experience. It’s just very unforgiving.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – The only thing that stops this game from getting a perfect score is the difficulty level. Everything else about the game was really jaw dropping at the time. It’s a semi-rough start into what turned out to be one of the more iconic game series of the 80s.

Currently available on: Wii Virtual Console, Nintendo eShop or Playstation Network

Other Reviews In This Series:

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MMX – MMX2 – MMX3 – MMX4 – MMX5 – MMX6 – MMX7 – MMX8 – MMXtreme – MMXtreme2 – Comman Mission

Zero – Zero2 – Zero3 – Zero 4 – ZX

BN – BN2 – BN3- BN4- BN5 – BN6