After my blog being on an almost year hiatus, I thought I'd bring it back in a big way. With a retrospective of the whole Mega Man original series. It's a new year and I'm not making any promises, but I will hopefully put more of these babies out as 2009 prospers. So put your nostalgia hats on, and enjoy!
Mega Man (1987)
Sporting some of the worst box art in video game history, Mega Man was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in America in December of 1987. It wowed gamers with its top of the line visuals and precise game play. The graphics were excellent for their time and the box described them as, “High Resolution” and “State-of-the-art.”
Mega Man's stage selection screen
Mega Man is an impressive game, even by today’s standards. It has a strong difficulty curve and its tunes are quite memorable. My favorite tracks are Elecman’s stage and the ending song. The ending song is used in the beginning of the second game’s famous intro. It’s great to see that Capcom did this because it’s something you don’t see in many games today, if any. All the sound effects sound great too, and most of them are reused in later Mega Man titles.
To say that games have become easier over the years is a hard concept to accept, but after playing through Mega Man, I have to whole heartedly agree. This game slaps you around and makes it your bitch. It’s especially tough if you don’t know the order to kill the robot masters in. The neat thing about Mega Man is that he learns an enemy’s power after defeating them. So once you beat one boss and get his weapon, another boss will be weak against that weapon. An example would be Fireman being weak against Iceman. A guide is typically helpful if you don’t want to waste time trying out each stage to see which boss is the easiest to kill with the Mega Buster. In Mega Man the hardest parts aren’t the boss fights, those are actually quite easy compared to some of the platforming obstacles you’ll have to overcome before them. Some notable difficult moments would include the disappearing blocks on Iceman’s stage and the moving platforms that dump you to your death in the beginning of Gutsman’s stage. While these parts are difficult, they aren’t impossible. With a little memorization and good timing you can easily triumph these hindrances.
Iceman’s disappearing platforms. With a convenient enemy to great you every time you fall off.
As far as the story goes, there isn’t much of one. All that you get is a little story segment at the end of the game with Mega Man walking home to Dr. Light and Roll. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a story in the manual. Mega Man (known as Rock Man in the Japanese version) was created by Dr. Light as was his house keeping robot, Roll (get it? Rock and roll! Puns are clever.). When they were created both looked like normal human children, so Mega Man didn’t wear his cool blue suit yet. Dr. Light was also assisted by Dr. Wily and they made the six robot masters Cutman, Gutsman, Fireman, Bombman, Elecman, and Iceman. Dr. Wily then reprogrammed all the robots (except for Mega Man and Roll) and ran away with them. Dr. Wily then tried to take over the world using these powerful robots, but Mega Man sought to stop Dr. Wily. Dr. Light turned Mega Man into a powerful robot capable of fighting off the 6 robot masters and Dr. Wily.
After defeating all the robot masters you go to Wily’s fortress and battle a few more bosses along with Dr. Wily himself. This is where the difficulty really picked up for me. In the fortress there are tough enemies and even tougher bosses. The boss I had the toughest time with in Wily’s fortress was the Yellow Devil. The only way I could beat him was using the pause trick. I know it’s embarrassing, but it was necessary to continue. So you’re wondering what the pause trick is? In Mega Man if you pause and unpause the game using the select button you can deal extra damage because you pause it while your weapon is hitting the enemy. When you unpause the game, your weapon hits the enemy again. You keep repeatedly pausing and unpausing while your attack hits and you can drain a lot of the bosses’ health. Some call it cheating, I call it a necessity.
The toughest boss in the game, the Yellow Devil.
After beating the Yellow Devil you have to go through another stage and then fight a Robotic Clone of yourself. Think of the doppelganger battle from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This battle is also another extremely challenging battle. He copies your every move, and even changes weapons when you do. Once you surpass your clone you go on to play yet another level and this time you battle these weird bubble enemies as the boss. They are actually quite easy. Now we move onto the most difficult part of Wily’s Castle, and that is the final stage of the game. You quickly blaze through a few easy enemies and then you refight all of the previously defeated Robot Masters. Yep. All of them. Once you defeat them all once again you finally come to a large flying machine that shoots at you. Once you defeat it, the ship regains its health bar and reveals that Wily is the pilot. Once you crush the final boss you are treated to a calming scene of Mega Man running home after defeating the evil Wily. The sun sets and Mega Man becomes dark for a second, when he is visible again you see Mega Man wearing a pink shirt and appearing boy like. He then arrives at the house with Dr. Light and Roll waiting in front.
Mega Man was met with great reception and is considered a classic today. Mega Man was re-released in 1994 on the Sega Megadrive and was also recently remade for the PSP in 2006.
Keep checking back to see the next part of the Retrospective, the fan favorite Mega Man 2!