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Mega Man Classic Series

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Page 1:
Intro
Characters

Page 2:
Mega Man
Mega Man 2

Page 3:
Mega Man 3
Mega Man 4

Page 4:
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 6

Page 5:
Mega Man 7
Mega Man 8
Mega Man & Bass

Page 6:
Mega Man 9
Mega Man 10

Page 7:
Mega Man (Game Boy)
Mega Man II
Mega Man III

Page 8:
Mega Man IV
Mega Man V

Page 9:
The Power Battle
The Power Fighters

Page 10:
The Wily Wars
Mega Man (Game Gear)
Complete Works

Page 11:
Battle & Fighters
Anniversary Collection
Powered Up

Page 12:
Wily & Right no RockBoard
Mega Man Soccer

Page 13:
Battle & Chase
Super Adventure Rockman

Page 14:
Tiger LCDs
IBM PC Games
Rockman & Forte Wonderswan

Page 15:
Rockman's IQ Challenge
Rockman Gold Empire
Rockman Strategy

Page 16:
Mobile Games
Panic Shot! Rockman
Street Fighter x Mega Man

Page 17:
Unreleased Games
The Krion Conquest

Page 18:
Cameos
Other Media
Legacy

Back to the Index


Mega Man 7 / Rockman 7: Shukumei no Taiketsu! (ロックマン7: 宿命の対決) - SNES, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox (1995)

Japanese Cover

European Cover

It's hard to believe how long it took Capcom to move the classic series to another, more-powerful platform. Arriving after nearly a year-and-a-half after the spin-off Mega Man X hit Japanese storeshelves, the seventh classic installment was released with little notice.

The game takes place 6 months after the end of Mega Man 6, and Wily is still imprisoned for his crimes. However, the bad doctor left a contingency plan to be executed should he be out of commission: a secret lab housing four Robot Masters, set to boot up and search for him should a routine signal cease to be submitted. Sure enough, the start of the game has calamity all over the city as mad bots rampage in the streets, leading to an explosive jailbreak in the distance. For the first time since Mega Man 2, Dr. Wily is revealed as the villian from the get-go, with no double-crossing or red herring in the way. This time, the fairly obvious villian reveal is reserved for Bass and Treble, who mysteriously arrive to spar with Mega Man and later break in to steal the latest upgrade Dr. Light was finishing up.

The first 16-bit classic Mega Man drew in design aspects from the X series and the Game Boy releases, starting things off with an introductionary stage with a huge, imposing, but easily disposed of starter boss, before offering only 4 stages to select from the outset. The added cartridge memory allows for much more text and acted-out cutscenes to fill out the story moments and to provide tips in key places. As another take from the portable games, Mega Man 7 marks the console debut of a shop, available from the stage select screen to purchase power ups and refill tanks with bolts collected from scrapped enemies.

The beefier tech of the Super Nintendo led to bigger sprites for all characters and enemy robots, allowing for more expressive animation, down to mouths flapping during text speech. When enemies are blown to pieces, gears and parts fly all over the screen. There are little added touches, like comically charred snakes blinking with rising smoke after a Scorch Wheel attack, or Truck Joe turning his head and leaning his arm on the back of his seat when he backs up his spiked dozer. Many of these humorous bits with the enemies are not seen again in the more technically capable 32-bit sequel a year later. Unfortunately the bigger sprites (Mega Man included) use up more screen space, leading to a cramped feel compared to the previous NES titles. This is made worse by the slight dip in vertical resolution. The aesthetics lean toward a kiddy style as well, especially in contrast to the darker Mega Man X games. While the classic series is targeted to all ages as a whole, the youth-friendly tone was far more muted in limited 8-bit form, especially music-wise due to the PSG limitations. As such the more obvious childish undertones are made more obvious, which must have seemed like a step back to teenagers who've already had a taste of the more intense 16-bit Mega flavor.

Robot Masters

DWN-049 Freeze Man

He spends a lot of his free time coming up with cool poses, as his introduction clearly shows him nailing one. Using the air around him, he's able to split the temperature to power himself with the hot air and fuel his Freeze Cracker with the cold air. He's not a foe to be taken lightly - it is hard to jump over him as he runs around and drops icicles down from the ceiling after freezing the floor. [Weakness: Junk Shield]

DWN-050 Junk Man

Cobbled from scattered metal scraps which are held together by an internal electromagnetic force, he chucks chunks of his namesake at Mega Man with his huge claw hand, and protects himself in a swirling Junk Shield. If he looks like a robotic Frankenstein's Monster, it's because of the original submitted sketches referring to him as Franken Man. [Weakness: Thunder Bolt]

DWN-051 Burst Man

An oddly designed chemical plant security guard that's filled with liquid soap and explosives. He's simply aggravating rather than a serious threat, since he loves dropping a ton of bombs on the floor after receiving a major hit, and traps Mega Man in his Danger Wrap blown from the bubble wand on his head. [Weakness: Scorch Wheel; Freeze Cracker]

DWN-052 Cloud Man

A weather control bot stolen by Wily to be weaponized. Based on the mythical Japanese thunder god Raijin, he sends down Thunder Bolts to zap Mega Man - when he's not being comically beaten senseless by his Achilles' heel. Wily never could fix that stunlock problem with many of his robots... [Weakness: Danger Wrap]

DWN-053 Spring Man

This got past Dr. Wily's drawing board? Where's Coily the Spring Sprite to wish this bot away? But seriously, his only attacks are bouncing high to launch his sproingy fists or sending bouncing spiked Wild Coils. The only way he can be a threat is when he is hit by a Thunder Bolt, which temporarily magnetizes him and makes Mega Man gravitate towards him for collision damage. [Weakness: Slash Claw]

DWN-054 Slash Man

Based off the Stardroid Pluto from the Game Boy Mega Man V (in the game's storyline, that is), this feral Wolverine/Sabertooth knockoff slices through forests with his Slash Claws to make room for more secret bases for his mad doctor master. He also has an army of robot dinosaurs under his wing. He's one of the cheapest boss fights since he's fast, stays on the walls and hidden in the ceiling, from where he drops sticky red goo. His original submitted contest name was "Claw Man". [Weakness: Freeze Cracker]

DWN-055 Shade Man

A vampire robot that used to work in an amusement park's haunted house as part of the attraction. Those bat wings aren't just for show, though. He loves to hide up in the dim ceiling to swoop down and suck the oil from Mega Man to regain health. His sonic Noise Crush gets stronger if the caster catches the reverberation that bounces off walls. The music in his stage can be changed to the Ghosts 'N Goblins theme by holding a button combination before selecting it. [Weakness: Wild Coil]

DWN-056 Turbo Man

An evil Transformer-like Robot Master that turns into a dragrace racecar. He has a high-end sound system installed and can peel out a spinning Scorch Wheel to blaze through his competition. Battle & Chase lists him as the previous champion of the circuit race. [Weakness: Noise Crush]

Mega Man 7 is one of the more puzzle-heavy games of the classic series. Many of the special boss weapons have interactive properties and abilities within the stages. Molten steel and weather bots can be frozen, generators zapped to life, candles lit, and so on. The new Rush Search allows Mega Man's pal to dig and scrounge for items or hidden powerups, but he usually finds junk (or a Game Boy). Rush will bark if he stumbles onto something big, or point toward hidden passageways, which makes the ability quite helpful, even though limited via weapon energy. The major add-ons to Mega Man's powers are very hard to find though, but at least they can be alternatively purchased at Auto's store - for a hefty charge. Search and interact carefully and you can find a special bolt for Auto that slices shop costs in half. Diligent players can find Proto Man in various areas, who will give some hint or tip like how to find Beat captured in a cage. After enough encounters, Proto Man will spar with Mega Man to see if he's strong enough. His battle here is no slouch, unlike the fights in Mega Man 3, but winning earns Proto Man's respect and his shield, which is very useful for blocking standard projectiles. Along with the newly merged and tweaked Rush Adaptor suit to collect, there's tons to see and do in this game. There's even a secret fighting mode available via a special password, though it only has Mega Man and Bass selectable.

The difficulty of the game has been ramped up compared to the last two cakewalk outings. This isn't so much due to balancing but rather in large part to the beefier sprites making every enemy and roadblock a big obstacle to the huge target that is Mega Man. At least his attacks and thankfully useful special weapons hit back just as hard, and can stun away some of the most annoying attack patterns of the Robot Masters. Make no mistake though, as everything being upscaled means little room to mess up, especially from instant death spikes or crushing obstacles. The battle with Wily's UFO is marked as the toughest in the entire series, with even the devs and playtesters confessing to be unable to defeat him without using at least one E-Tank. The doctor appears in the air, launching hard-hitting, homing elemental balls of death and is naturally weak to the most convoluted and difficult to fire weapon in the arsenal, the Wild Coil (tip: hold up to make them spring higher). At least Meg Man can stock up at Auto's between rounds, though that means fighting the Robot Masters again, as well. Double points go to his battle theme being super-rockin' too! Listen to those metal guitar riffs!

The International versions of the game removed a little bit of content. Each Robot Master stage intro in the Japanese version had a little descriptive subtitle like "Jurassic Jungle" for Slash Man or a warning like "Don't Slip!" for Freeze Man, which were cut out. A bigger loss was the humorous special weapon dialogue that randomly appeared after beating each level. In Japan, rather than the normal tips and functionality of the earned Robot Master weapon between Mega Man and Dr. Light, Mega Man might chat with with Roll finding a use for the weapon around the lab for cooking and cleaning, or have Auto mistake the weapon for something pun related, even name-dropping Strider Hiryuu when mentioning the Slash Claw. The biggest, most controversial change when the game came overseas is in the ending, when Mega Man points his buster at the mad doctor, who is bowing for forgiveness. When Wily cites Asimov's law of robotics about harming humans, Mega Man obediantly freezes in Japan, speaking only in ellipses. In the West, the Blue Bomber instead declares that he is more than a mere robot and wishes death upon Wily, going against his usual moral justice and desire for peace. This odd, rapid tonal shift clashes with the game's otherwise light-hearted, kid-friendly approach and was possibly to make Mega Man a little more edgier for US teens. In either case, it's a one-time affair and no attempt of making the hero a vigilante killer ever came up again.

A prototype cart for Mega Man 7 emerged and was dumped online. This early build of the game sports many backgrounds and other elements that were improved or changed before the product was finished. The intro stage, Shade Man, and Spring Man sport varying different designs for the stages, though it's questionable whether the bright pink look for Spring Man was a better choice. Beat's ability to pluck Mega Man from pits also ran on standard energy rather than the purchased charges in the final game.

The game, unlike the previous 6 and even the later games, didn't get many re-releases, not even a digital port on Virtual Console or similar service as of yet. The only way to play the game legitimately outside of the original SNES cart is on the Anniversary Collection, which has emulation issues that cause slowdown and sound errors. It also removes the Mode 7-heavy ending scene. This is a rather large problem for any fan wishing to legally play the game as it was meant to be, since Capcom had scaled back the manufacturing of SNES carts due to projected sales numbers, making Mega Man 7 (like Mega Man X3 from the same year) a rare cart with inflated prices on the secondhand market. It's too bad, as this title seemed like a chance to relive some of the elements of the classic series once more.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Designer:

  • Yoshihisa Tsuda

Genre:

Themes:


Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)

Mega Man 7 (SNES)


Comparison Screenshots


Additional Screenshots


Mega Man 8 / Rockman 8: Metal Heroes (ロックマン8: メタル ヒーローズ) - PlayStation, Saturn, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox (1996)

Japanese PlayStation Cover

American PlayStation Cover

European PlayStation Cover

It wasn't long after the jump to 16 bits that the classic Mega Man series leapt again to the new major console powerhouses of the time. Being the first originally produced 32-bit Mega Man game (Mega Man X3 receiving ports to PlayStation and Saturn earlier the same year, but was first released on the SNES), Capcom was able to show off more color, sprites, and animation. The added resolution and rescaling of Mega Man and his foes helped broaden the screen field back to original form from the previous game's more cramped view. The CD-ROM offered plenty of space for voice clips from Mega Man, the bosses and more, along with nearly 14 minutes worth of animated FMV cutscenes produced by Xebec Inc. There's a much bigger push to invoke a grander story this time around.

Far out in the vast reaches of space, possibly eons past, two robots clash together in battle, only to injure each other to the point they can no longer fight. They drift through space until they crash land on Earth. One of the robots is Duo, a warrior for good in the universe. The other robot goes unnamed, but harbors an evil purplish energy source (even making a sinister skull shape) that Wily snatches up and and uses to power his latest batch of Robot Masters and protect his underground fortress with a barrier.

Robot Masters

DWN-057 Tengu Man

A brash cocky flying Robot Master based on the mythical Japanese demon tricksters, except this Tengu wields a tri-blade for a hand rather than a magical feathered hauchiwa fan. All of his attacks are wind based, like sending out a cutting Kamaitachi whirlwind ball and his signature Tornado Hold that sends Mega Man floating up for a few easy strikes. Tengu Man and Astro Man were not part of the fan design contest, but created by Keiji Inafune. They both reappear as bosses in Mega Man & Bass. [Weakness: Ice Wave (Spread Drill in Mega Man & Bass)]

DWN-058 Astro Man

Shy, cowardly, and easily startled and embarrassed: all the traits of a perfect killing machine. This planetarium bot with 2 orbiting satellite orbs can project holographic imagery and send meteors crashing down with Astro Crush, or duplicates of himself with Copy Vision. He tends to have a defeatist attitude and generally doesn't try to attack Mega Man directly. [Weakness: Homing Sniper (Magic Card in Mega Man & Bass)]

DWN-059 Sword Man

After Dr. Wily stole an ancient blade from a museum, he decided to attach it to one of his new Robot Masters. However, due to the weight and size of the sword, the upper torso had to float independently with a anti-gravity orb to support it. His main attack is using his Flame Sword to slice and burn everything. That, and drop giant priceless statue heads. At least he's noble about it, as he seems to merely spar with Mega Man out of obligation to Wily's orders. [Weakness: Water Balloon]

DWN-060 Clown Man

An out-of-work amusement park bot stolen by Wily and tinkered with using extra props from the old sci-fi show's storage warehouse. His link arms are longer than his body, giving him acrobatic swinging and tumbling prowess and the ability to grab Mega Man from under the floor with his Thunder Claws. His boss room sports a strong trapeze pole, hinting at the secondary ability of his weapon. His high-pitched voice is grating in both English and Japanese. [Weakness: Tornado Hold]

DWN-061 Search Man

A decommisioned security robot that was given two heads by the mad scientist, though they don't seem to work quite in tandem. They confusingly bicker for supremecy rather than work as a team. The heads tend to double each other's lines, like twins that end each others' sentences. As master of guerrilla warfare, the "duo" hides in the bushes amongst cheap decoys and fires off Homing Sniper missles from their cover. [Weakness: Flame Sword]

DWN-62 Frost Man

Big, dumb, and ice-cold. It's said that he was built from leftover Clown Man parts. Wily must've had a ton, since Frost Man is the biggest Robot Master in the classic series. He has a wide boss room to play around in, knocking ice blocks from the ceiling conveyor belt or sending out his flowing Ice Wave weapon. Ol' Frosty's quite good at making Mega Man sculptures, but it's just so he can practice crushing him, or as he sometimes says, "make a popsicle out of" him. [Weakness: Flash Bomb]

DWN-063 Grenade Man

A fast, crazy, ballistic, sadomasochist robot that can't seem to tell friend from foe. His Flash Bombs explode brightly and hit multiple times. As the battle draws closer to the end, he'll blow up the floor for a more unlevel playing field below. Getting hit with his weakness seems to tickle him. He really seems to like being blasted, even saying it felt good as he finally explodes in defeat. [Weakness: Thunder Claw]

DWN-064 Aqua Man

Not the DC comic's fish-talking deepsea superhero. No, this self-proclaimed handsome guy is much more useless and annoying. Assembled from extra Clown Man parts (seriously, how much demand was there for clown robots?) and a failed prototype for Frost Man, he resembles a portly water cooler tank. His main weapon is shooting a slow stream of sucked-up H2O. And Water Balloons. Woo! [Weakness: Astro Crush]

The most well-known aspect of Mega Man 8 is also its most notorious: the English dubbed voice acting. Capcom hired English speakers from around Japan's metro area. Such vocal "talents" range from badly delivered muffled lines for Tengu Man, Sword Man and Bass to annoying, high-pitched squeaks from Clown Man and Aqua Man. Duo's voice has no power behind it whatsoever, sounding whispy and drowned out by the BGM. The most laughable of all is Dr. Light, who seems to be inflicted with the same speech impediment as Elmer Fudd and even stumbles over his readings a few times in the cutscenes. The only decent roles are from a fittingly maniacal Dr. Wily and a solid performance for Roll. Interestingly, the English dubbed woofs for Rush are better acted than the Japanese modulated barks.

Capcom made the most out of the 32-bit tech in terms of graphics. The backgrounds are lush and detailed and the animation of the sprites are fluid. Even as mechanical robots, many of the characters employ plenty of squash-and-stretch animations in their motions. It is an excellent example for the level of expertise in Capcom's 2D art during the latter half of the 90s. This was the kind of Mega Man game that only the newer consoles could achieve, and Mega Man 8 revels in it. The only major caveat is the shift to a 3/4 perspective for the levels, which leaves the edge of platforms a bit more ambiguous to those reared on the tried-and-true visual cues of the earlier titles (standing firm with one foot dangling in the air). The limitations of the CD-ROM meant not only load times, but also the need to section off segments of each level, causing a definitive split between both halfs of each stage, many wildly shifting in tone.

A fun addition to the gameplay are horizontal shoot-em-up segments where Mega Man takes to the skies on a Rush Jet. Prize capsules contain powerups that call upon robotic pals to add their firepower: Auto with his fireworks cannon, Eddie dropping bombs like Gradius spread bombs, Beat homing in on enemies, and even a 3-way shot from his mouth for Rush. Special weapons can also be used along the ride. Unfortunately this diversion from the platforming is only used twice in the game, and is overshadowed by the more infamous three sled rides where warnings to "JUMP! JUMP!" and "SLIDE! SLIDE!" proceed pitfalls and spikes, along with bustable barriers and swift enemies. Here, a collission forces Mega Man to restart the whole trip down from scratch. Also underused but an odd gameplay change is Mega Man's ability to swim in water (obviously earning the Butterfly Stroke from Swim Man before the events of the game), which only gets some sparse usage in a skippable segment of the intro stage and half of Aqua Man's level. Again, many boss weapons have interactions with the stages, and the first four are put to the test in Sword Man's level, required to reach the second act. Likewise, many stages are based around annoying tricks like Clown Man's box suprises to stand on and Astro Man's shifting mirage platforms, both levels ending with mazes to traverse. It's almost like Capcom was trying all they could to make each stage unique, no matter whether it works or not.

The weapons shine once again in this installment. The Ice Wave does the ground attack great justice with its fast speed and freezing prowess. Flash Bombs cause big blows with multi-hit capabilites. The Thunder Claw allows Mega Man to swing on nails in stages. The Tornado Hold allows for a boost into the air wherever it's placed. There are many barriers to destroy with the right tool, making it worth the while to revisit stages and find goodies like the Screws. The added Mega Ball weapon handed in the intro stage is mostly useful as a high-jumping springboard, as it is difficult to line its shots properly, especially for a Wily Fortress boss you can only hit by kicking the ball at the right enemy above. Unfortunately, Rush's new forms are pretty much a dud this time, and his Rush Item is a weak subsitute for the lack of E-Tanks. Roll mans the shop at Light's Lab this time, but with so little Screws to obtain and so much to buy, you'll have to choose wisely, and not all items in the shop are created equal. Why pay to climb ladders faster when you can make your charge shots travel faster for the same price?

With the classic series entering its 10th year at the time of this title's release, it appeared that the ol' Blue Bomber was stuck in a form of video game mascot mid-life crisis. With the push for newer add-ons, gimmicks, and a spin-off series that was already reaching its third iteration, it was fast becoming difficult to decipher what made Mega Man what it was. Plus the pressure to shift all franchises to the third dimension left this classic Capcom icon without a safe avenue to call home, finding itself stuck in spinoff and cameo limbo. It seemed as though there was no place for classic Mega Man anymore.

The Boss design contest for Mega Man 8 ran differently than for the previous games. Aside from limiting the amount of winners due to pre-building 2 of the Robot Masters, three of the designs to submit were to be based on 3 given skeletal frameworks: Swordarm + separated torso bot (became Sword Man), Longarm bot (Clown Man), and two-headed bot (Search Man). Thanks to the data volume on the CD-ROM, the final sprites are shown side-by-side with the scans of the winners' submitted art, along with the art of the runner-up submissions. This would be the last contest for the classic series, with the rest of the Robot Masters created in-house or from commission artists. However, a few fan designs were used in later Mega Man titles, though only for the depised Xover and the cancelled Legends 3.

The Japanese version, aside from having much better acted Japanese voiceovers, contains opening and ending themes performed by Ganasia. Their licensed music was replaced with in-house instrumental tracks, which were also available on the Japanese soundtrack. The Japanese PlayStation release also had bonus preview videos for the upcoming Battle & Chase and Super Adventure Rockman. Despite being developed with the Saturn in mind, Mega Man 8 didn't arrive on Sega's 32bit console until a month after the PlayStation release. Though both look almost exactly the same, the Saturn version is the definitive experience, thanks to its extras. An additional menu option contains official and fan artwork that showcases many robot master designs that didn't make the cut, each shown without a name but with a little blurb from a super-deformed Dr. Wily. Along with Music and Voice sound tests, a code given at the end of the game allows to watch all the FMVs at leisure. The Saturn version also adds more enemies on screen at many parts of the game, along with a few added visual effects like klaxon sirens and more flying birds and debris. There are also hidden bonus battles against Cut Man and Wood Man, complete with remixed musical themes and voice acting, though they only guard bolts and don't give up their special weapons. Tengu Man's stage music is entirely different, though preference to either composition is up to the listener to decide. Aqua Man's and other underwater segments lack the translucency that the PSX version has, but adds rippling wave effect instead. On the downside, the video quality plays on a slightly more compressed codec, making it a tad blockier in areas. The US release of the Saturn version is quite rare. Worse yet, the European market never recieved the Saturn edition at all. The PlayStation version garnered a Greatest Hits re-release. Sadly, the 10th anniversary mini art booklet included with the initial print run was removed. All ports and re-releases use the PlayStation as the basis, without the added content. The Anniversary Collection's port suffers from audio issues ranging from distortedly loud sound effects to warped high-pitched voice samples during boss battles, making many of the grating performances even more annoying.

In 2011, two prototype builds were leaked on the internet. One is just shy of being alpha stage for its contents, or lack thereof. The bigger differences are the early names for the special weapons, some beta music that was removed, a different voice for Mega Man, and a vastly different backgroud for Frost Man's stage. Screenshots of the earlier build made their way into a few preview articles in gaming magazines, along with trade show alpha shots showing a robot dinosaur covered in moss in a version of the intro stage.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Designer:

  • Hayato Kaji

Genre:

Themes:


Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)

Mega Man 8 (PlayStation)


Comparison Screenshots


Saturn Screenshots


Additional Screenshots


Mega Man & Bass / Rockman & Forte (ロックマン&フォルテ) - Super Famicom, Game Boy Advance (1998)

Super Famicom Cover

American Game Boy Advance Cover

Keiji Inafune stated that this side game was developed for the Super Famicom specifically for younger kids that were unable to buy the new 32-bit consoles, or given their older sibling's Super Famicom as a hand-me-down, much like Kirby's Adventure was for the NES. While that sentiment is all well and thoughtful (more expensive cart game prices notwithstanding), Mega Man & Bass is definitely not an easy jaunt for the kiddy crowd.

Known as sort of a "Mega Man 8.5", the story takes place chronologically in between Mega Man 8 and 9, where Wily hasn't been heard of in a while, but one crazed self-proclaimed King robot is amassing an army for his new robo order with humans subjugated. He even breaks into the Robot Museum to collect data for his dreams to be realized. Proto Man rushes to stop him, but gets sliced in half by King's axe, leaving him out of the picture due to his much needed repairs. Mega Man and Bass must make a truce in order to bring down the rebellion.

King rounds up six new Robot Masters, along with Tengu Man and Astro Man from Mega Man 8 to prevent any do-gooders from reaching him. There was no fan design contest this time around as, Capcom decided to have three manga illustrators come up with the new foes.

Robot Masters

KGN-001 Dynamo Man

This power plant tour guide turned rogue is a pain. Aside from being resilient to his weapon weakness, he hops into an enforced electrode to recharge his health once it gets low, making it difficult to break both barriers before he regains a sizable portion of his energy back. Not only that, he tends to make electric shielding projectiles to fling at Mega Man in addition to his main ability of summoning Lightning Bolts. His design was created by Hitoshi Ariga. [Weakness: Copy Vision]

KGN-002 Cold Man

A walking freezer built to keep dinosaur DNA strands in cryostasis. Designed by Kouji Izuki, his core hovers only a few degrees above absolute zero, making him rather slow in movement. Of course, being nimble isn't necessary when he can call upon slowing mist baddies and crush Mega Man with sliding Ice Walls, which are perfect for riding on over spikes. [Weakness: Lightning Bolt]

KGN-003 Ground Man

Looking like a robot straight out of Gurren Lagann, this tank bot is nothing but drills. When not drilling underground to drill Mega Man with his massive drills, his Spread Drill weapon is a rocket-propelled Russian nesting doll of drills within drills. This not-Drill Man was designed by manga artist Iwamoto Yoshihiro, who also worked on the Mega Man X manga. P.S. Drills. [Weakness: Remote Mine]

KGN-004 Pirate Man

Arrrh! Here be the second Robot Master designed by Kouji Izuki. Don't think ye be plunderin' his sunken treasure so easily! His giant bubble protects him from shots and his aimable explosive Remote Mine will have ye walkin' the plank. Seriously, it took this long to make a pirate robot after having both a ninja and vampire robot? [Weakness: Wave Burner]

KGN-005 Burner Man

The second Hitoshi Ariga Robot Master, originally using the beta name Blast Man. He was tricked by King to burn down forests, lest the non-existant bomb inside him goes off. The look on his face seems to convey he didn't need much of a excuse to commit arson. His gas tanks emit green Wave Burner flames that he sprays about to scorch everything in his swift wake. The spikes lining the edges of his room are his main weakness, but only if Mega Man can push him onto them. [Weakness: Ice Wall]

KGN-006 Magic Man

Iwamoto's second design is far more flashy. With a sleight of hand, his Magic Cards can snatch away health and items faster than a mark's eyes can follow. His pompous need to be in the spotlight is his downfall, leaving him liable for his entire deck to be cut in a stunlock loop. He also reads tarot cards to those he wishes to impress. [Weakness: Tengu Blade]

King

A noble bot wishing to rule a robo kingdom free of pesky humans. His real purpose is a cover for his creator to go about his world domination schemes. Turns out his programming protocol works a little too well, as King is quick to abandon his fleshy master and side with Mega Man and his friends, once they prove their superiority over him. [Weakness: Lightning Bolt]

Much of the game's look is lifted directly from Mega Man 8. The palettes and animation are downgraded, but still look fantastic. The new sprites try to mimic the aesthetic as close as the 16-bit system can handle, though a few assets, much like many of the sound effects, feel closer to Mega Man 7. The music, however, is very lacking. For such a late arrival on the console, the sampling sounds closer to earlier generation titles from the early '90s, not to speak of the forgettable compositions themselves. Mega Man 7 and the first three Mega Man X games showed the world what the SNES could do with their catchy tracks, so this tepid score feels like a slap to the face.

Breaking the usual open stage flow the series is known for, Mega Man & Bass instead uses a more progressive chain of unlocked levels from the initial intro stage and four selectable Robot Masters. Unfortunately, the string of boss weaknesses does not reflect the more restricted progression, so either you're railroaded to stick to one chain for the game and skipping over many of the first available stages, or go buster-only against some of the toughest Robot Master battles the series has seen. Mega Man & Bass easily ranks as one of the hardest in the classic franchise. E-Tanks are once again gone and the bosses hit hard, so many fights become a matter of dishing out up to 28 shots while Mega Man can only withstand 4 or 5.

The level layouts are a pain. Each setpiece seems to aggressively have it in for the player. Enemies fire from alcoves out of shooting range, solid ground is a luxury, disappearing blocks are laid out far enough apart to require precise jumps, and health pickups have been swept away. Runing across an enemy that coughs up a large energy pellet is a rare event. Much of the stage design favors Bass's abilities, leaving Mega Man players with a harder slog. It's too bad that Bass is left with a weak buster to take down the already challenging Robot Masters.

The stages contain 100 CDs to collect, which offer little details about all the Robot Masters and bosses, including characters from the Game Boy and Genesis titles. Each CD has a unique sprite and lists the robot's likes and dislikes. Nabbing all 100 means having to play each Robot Master stage multiple times with both Mega Man and Bass. Many require Rush Search and a purchased powerup to make hidden CDs sparkle, adding extra gameplay hours to completionists. There's no in-game reason or reward for collecting them all, though Dr. Light seems pushy on the CD Data screen, pleading for Mega Man to pick up more and more.

Auto runs the in-game shop again to accept your screws for helpful, if not wholly necessary, items. Many of the better wares don't arrive in the store until enough stages are cleared, and screws don't drop nearly often enough to afford anything near the beginning, when any and all assistance is sorely needed. On the flip side, the interlude hub stage where Mega Man must use the earned weapons to unlock the fortress gives massive screws to line his metal pockets with ample currency to purchase everything needed right before tackling the final levels. Certain upgrades are available only to one of the player robots. Many balance out their individual flaws, like a boost to Bass' weak fire power or faster charging for Mega Man. But even the powerups only give a slightly easier time with the final 3-level gauntlet of King's Fortress.

There's no reason to discuss the horror of having to re-battle the tough Robot Masters again in a row in the King Fortress. Those feel heavenly after experiencing Fortress Stage 2. No less that 4 bosses appear here: a massive tank, a hard-to-hit hovering plane, King himself with two attack forms, and a monstrosity of King merged with the plane and the tank, known as Jet King Robo. The plane fight is hair-pullingly rough as Mega Man has to hop from tiny platform to tiny platform, dodging rocket fists that'll plummet him to instant doom, all while trying to land a shot at the plane's weak point. Topped with a brutal level design, this is possibly the hardest stage ever produced in the series. And this was developed for kids in Japan that couldn't afford a new console?

Since its release was well into the twilight years of the 16-bit generation, Mega Man & Bass never saw an international release until its remake on the Game Boy Advance nearly half a decade later. The portable port is far from an ideal experience. Besides the lowered quality of the music and washed-out visuals, the cropped screen makes the difficulty yet worse when many enemies or bullets can't be seen. The English translation is dodgy at best, particularly with the CD data, opting for terrible pop culture references among the Robot Master quotes, like Ground Man parroting Anakin's infamous line from the then-recently released Episode II: Attack of the Clones, "I hate sand". During the years in between, many websites touted the game as Mega Man 9 before the real deal came along much later.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Designer:

  • Hayato Tsuru

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Themes:


Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)

Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom)


Additional Screenshots


Comparison Screenshots


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