To even ponder the saga that this game started would boggle the minds of
many men, but I shall attempt anyway. Six NES games, five SNES titles (a
real sequel, a soccer game, and three spinoff games), five Game Boy
title, one Game Gear, two on the Playstation/Saturn, and one Genesis game (on the Sega Channel.)
Yep, from this little game. Anyone raised on the later titles, however,
will find some things to dislike about this title.
Dr. Light and Dr. Wily were originally the best of colleagues. In fact,
they built a bunch of robots together with their knowledge. Dr. Wily,
realizing the malicious potential at his hands, reprogrammed six of
the robots to do his evil bidding. The seventh, named Rock, was a simple
household robot and deemed useless by Dr. Wily. That is, until Dr. Light
realizied his potentional. After fitting Rock with several enhancements,
out came a super warrior...Mega Man!
There are six robots for you to face and fight: Bomb Man, Cut Man, Guts Man,
Elec Man, Ice Man, and Fire Man. Once you beat a boss robot, you get his
special weapon. You can play the levels in any order,
but certain weapons work better against certain robots. For instance,
Elec Man's electric shock weapon will zap out Ice Man in three hits. Each has their own zones that you must
fight through before you can get the boss at the end. Obviously, the
stage fits with the theme of the robot (except Cut Man...I don't see how
his green, rather plain level has anything to do with scissors.) Although
Mega Man doesn't jump particularly high, he trots around at a good speed,
even though he climbs ladders a bit slow. He starts off with a simple
gun that fires quickly, but isn't particularly strong.
People familiar with later Mega Man games will find plenty of differences.
Obviously, there are only six robots instead of eight (and they don't
have portraits on the level selection screen, just sprites.) This
is the only Mega Man game that keeps score, and several enemies drop little
pellets that give points at the end of a stage. You don't get any bonuses
from a high score, so it's basically useless. There are no passwords,
or energy tanks. Shots don't reflect off invincible objects, they are
simply absorbed. Finally, once you reach the enemy robot's final chamber,
there is a small corridor that you must fight through.
There are still some other things that are rather annoying. Many bosses
are protected by a gigantic one-eyed robot that not only dishes out major
damage, but are hard to dodge or kill. And many of the enemies, although
well conceived, just fight too unfair. Ice Man fires three blasts at
different heights, right after another, that are almost impossible to dodge.
And each of these blasts take away a third of your total life. The
only feasible way to beat bosses like this are by using the weapon the
boss is weak too. This strategy goes down the tubes later in the game,
where you must face a clone of yourself, who attacks much too relentlessly
to actually fight back. There, you are reduced to cheating. If a projectile
hits an enemy, rapidly hit Select to pause and unpause the game to do tons
of hits. This is the only Mega Man game that allows you to pause without
activating the menu, and also allows the extra damage method above.
Graphically, the game doesn't stand up very well. Many of the graphics
look rather dull, and actual backgrounds graphics are scarce (most
are simply one color.) The boss robots usually only have a few frames
of animation too. Soundwise, the music is okay. Some of the tunes are very
catchy but there a one or two that gets on my nerves (Fire Man.) The sound effects are kinda annoying,
especially the zaps in Elec Man's stage.
To be honest, this is my least favorite Mega Man game (that doesn't mean
it's not good though.) And it's not
just things like lack of energy tanks...it's the overly aggressive robots and
boring graphics. Even so, it has many
of the same charms that have become staple in the Mega Man series, like the
wacky boss robots, their cool weapons, and the themed stages. And the action is still fun, no matter what. Even with
a handful of flaws, Mega Man still stands out as a great game, and you
must have this game if you're a Mega Man collector.