In honor of Mega Man 9 being released recently, I thought I’d share my opinions and experiences with past games in the original series, followed by my brief review of Mega Man 9. We’ll stick with the ORIGINAL Mega Man series, because if I went through the spin-offs (and spin-offs of spin-offs), this blog’ll be neverending. Oh, and you may want to sit down while reading what I have to say about MM9 (skip to the bottom). I’m going to make the whole Internet hate me.
Mega Man 1
Most people say they played MM2 first, but I actually really did start out with this one. But the first time I rented it, I didn’t play it very much. You see, I was visiting my cousins and we rented two NES games: Mega Man and Legacy of the Wizard. Since we were all really big Zelda fans, we were more drawn to Legacy of the Wizard instead of Mega Man. But later, after I rented and beat MM2, I re-rented Mega Man back home and played it through and beat it in a weekend. I’m surprised I was able to do that as a kid because the original Mega Man is one of the hardest in the series! Mega Man games are known for their catchy music and flashy stages, but nothing really stuck out in my mind in the first game, though I do like Bomb Man’s and Elec Man’s themes.
Mega Man 2
This is where the series really took off, and many consider this their favorite game in the series. It’s not my number one favorite, but it is one of my favorites! The amount of improvement from the first to the second game is astounding, in every aspect from content, graphics, gameplay, and sound! I like just about every theme song here, except for maybe Heat Man’s stage music. Favorite songs include Wood Man, Crash Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, and the Dr. Wily stage 1 theme is probably my favorite piece of video game music ever.
Mega Man 3
MM3 is my personal favorite of the original series. I like to think of the first three Mega Man games like the three Smash Bros. games. Both games’ sequels improved on the original game tenfold, and while the third game didn’t do anything really new, it refined those improvements from the second game. Every boss character and stage music in 3 I like a lot, and some of the 8-bit graphics effects were pretty impressive back then. I especially like the flashy color changing crystals in Gemini Man’s stage, and the pastel sunrise sky in Magnet Man’s stage. Only problem is Dr. Wily’s music isn’t as good as in MM2.
Mega Man 3 had a few ‘firsts’ as well. This was the first game to introduce Mega Man’s slide move, which let you slip in small places and dodge attacks. Also the first appearance of Mega Man’s brother Proto Man and Mega Man’s pal Rush the robot dog. In the game, Rush would turn into a jet or a submarine to help Mega Man bypass obstacles. I know I’ve told this story before, but I think it’s worth telling again. At the time MM3 first came out, I had a Siberian Husky named Chief. He was a very good dog and smart, too. In MM3, when Rush turns into a jet, he hunkers down low to the ground and Mega Man stands on him while he flies. I taught Chief a trick where he would lay low and put his head down every time I said, “Rush Jet!”
Unfortunately, sometime later some BLANKETY BLANKETY BLANK BLANK A-HOLE MORON threw some poisoned meat over the fence while we were away and it killed Chief. Police told us someone had been doing that lately in our neighborhood, and we found some yellow powder around Chief’s mouth. It’s a good thing Chief was a very protective and aggressive dog, because he wouldn’t share the meat with the other dogs we had, so he inadvertently saved their lives. Anyway, Rush reminds me of Chief and that’s why he’s my favorite Mega Man character.
Mega Man 4
About the time MM4 was released, I already had a Super Nintendo. And as a kid with a limited income, my gaming money and time was focused on the new SNES, so my experiences with the next few NES games in the series was minimal back then. But I did rent them at least once and I did play them extensively later when I got the Mega Man Anniversary Collection. I was pretty disappointed with Mega Man 4, as it didn’t really improve upon or do anything new. It felt kind of stale. Only new big staple added was Mega Man’s charge shot. I did like Skull Man, Toad Man, and Dive Man’s stage themes.
Mega Man 5
Probably one of my least favorites. It’s even MORE bland than 4. I do like Charge Man, Gravity Man, and Proto Man’s castle themes.
Mega Man 6
Capcom almost didn’t release MM6 in the US! Good thing Nintendo picked it up themselves! I actually think MM6 is better than 4 and 5, and offered noticeable improvements. Stages had multiple paths and fun secret items to find. Graphics had some neat effects like parallax scrolling, and the songs were better, too. Plus the bosses were more interesting, even if some did cater to typical stereotypes (though I think people need to lighten up on that sort of thing anyway). I really liked Tomahawk Man’s cowboy stage. I heard Capcom had a design a robot contest for this game, and two Americans won with Knight Man and Wind Man.
Mega Man 7
Finally the original series made it to 16-bit. I didn’t play it much as the time because I was more into Square’s SNES RPGs like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. Plus, Mega Man’s slower paced gameplay paled in comparison to the new-at-the-time Mega Man X series. When I played it later on the Anniversary Collection, I realized that it was actually pretty fun. Special weapons unlock secrets hidden in the environment. I liked Slash Man’s dinosaur stage and Shade Man’s Ghosts N Goblin’s parody stage (right down to the secret music). And Turbo Man turned into a race car! MM7 introduced a new character, Bass, who was Mega Man’s rival created by Dr. Wily. Bass is little brother Jeff’s favorite character.
Mega Man 8
A lot of people hate on MM8, but I really liked it! It felt like a well-polished game, and I enjoyed the squash & stretch cartoon 2-D graphics on the PSOne. Fun stages and bosses included Clown Man, Tengu Man, and Frost Man. Of course, MM8 is notorious for its bad voice acting. Mega Man sounds like a girl, and mispronounces Bass’ name and “Flame Sword.” Dr. Light sounds like Elmer Fudd and flubs lines and nearly mistakenly calls Mega Man “Rock Man (his name in Japan).” And everyone, say it with me: “I’M GRENADE MAN!!!” But the bad voices made me laugh anyway. The only part of Mega Man 8 I didn’t like was “Jump Jump! Slide Slide!” And if you’ve played the game, you KNOW what I’m talking about.
Mega Man & Bass
This was a weird one. It was released on the Japanese Super Famicom LONG after its run on the market. Luckily later it was ported to the GBA (though not a perfect port). It re-used sprites (even bosses) from Mega Man 8, so it had a lazy feel to it. You could also choose to play as Mega Man or Bass, with different playing styles for each. I especially liked Cold Man, Ground Man, and King’s castle themes. Mega Man & Bass is also one of the hardest Mega Man games, in my opinion. But it’s a good kind of challenge, unlike MM9.
Mega Man 1 through 5 on the Game Boy
Capcom did make some GB Mega Man games, though I’ve never played any. I can’t imagine them being playable on the small screen, but I hear 5 was actually pretty good. A while back, Capcom was going to release a collection of them on the GBA, but I guess it never happened.
Mega Man: The Wily Wars
The Sega Genesis got the first three Mega Man games in a collection with updated 16-bit graphics and sound. I hear it was only available on their satellite download service, but I’m not sure. I played an emulation of it in college and it seemed pretty cool.
Mega Man Soccer
I wanted to like this game SO much. Classic Mega Man characters on the SNES playing arcade sports sounds like a good idea, but the poor play control ruined it. At least the music was good.
Mega Man Battle & Chase
Mega Man meets Mario Kart. This almost made it to the States, Capcom even had ads in magazines. But I think Sony stepped in and advised them not to release it, as it was crap. I’m glad it was a secret game on the Mega Man X Collection though. Even though it’s a bad game, Battle & Chase had some good ideas. Like you would get power ups not from running over blocks, but by shooting enough enemies on the road. And when you defeated a racer, you could take one of his parts and customize your car with different effects. It was fun to tinker around with that.
This was a Japan Famicom only video board game with Mega Man characters. I hear it plays like Monopoly. I’m not disappointed that it never came over here. I played it once and it didn’t seem very fun.
Super Adventure Rockman
Another Japan only game for the 32-bit PSOne and Saturn. I hear it’s a cartoon adventure like Dragon’s Lair, which means it’s probably more fun to watch than to play. I’m not disappointed we never got this one either.
Mega Man PC
When I was a kid, I wanted the PC Mega Man games so bad, but then I learned they were unplayable piles of crap not even made by Capcom. So I’m glad I never got these. There were two of them!
Mega Man: The Power Battle/Power Fighters
These were two arcade games. They were all boss fights against the robots. You can play them on the Anniversary Collection. I have an arcade cabinet of this in my garage. Really, I do!
Mega Man: Powered Up
Now THIS is how you remake a Mega Man game! A lot of people probably passed up on this game since they remade Mega Man characters to look even CUTER than before. Seriously, it looks like Jim Henson Presents Mega Man Babies. But I don’t mind, I like cute. They added a lot of neat extra features. Since the cute look appealed to younger gamers, they added difficulty modes that actually felt different. Easy was very much so, almost Kirby easy, but a little kid could enjoy it then. But Normal and Hard were really brutal. And if it wasn’t hard enough for you, you could also try extra obstacle course challenges for each of the playable characters. In Mega Man 9, there’s an achievement if you beat all the bosses with your original weapon. Well in Powered Up, if you do that, it’s more rewarding because you can then play as the bosses, too!
Mega Man Powered Up used the PSP’s capabilities to the fullest. You could design your own levels and upload and download other people’s levels to play. You could also download extra stuff from Capcom, like level design packs and you could even download the ability to play as Mega Man’s sister Roll (and later Proto Man). Every month for a year, Capcom would let you download a new outfit for Roll, too! Oh yeah, and you could also play the original NES version if you wanted. Best of all is that these downloads were FREE. They didn’t try to nickel and dime you like they do with Mega Man 9 (sorry, I’m not paying to play as Proto Man or to try even harder versions).
Anyway, in my opinion, aside from Loco Roco, Mega Man Powered Up is one of the best games on the PSP, and if you have a PSP and don’t own this game, go get it right now! It’s been out for a bit, so while it may take a little time to hunt down, it’ll probably be cheap to buy now. It’s too bad Capcom never made sequels of this. I would’ve loved a Powered Up version of Mega Man 2. Or better yet, Powered Up Mega Man 3. That would be great, since MM3 first introduced Rush, he would look so cute in chibi-puppy-wuppy Powered Up form! Oh I have an idea for a no-prize fan art contest! Draw me a Powered Up version of Rush, or what you think Rush would look like as a puppy.
There’s no way I can list all the games Mega Man has made a cameo appearance in, but I’ll list my favorites. He was one of my favorites to play as in Marvel vs. Capcom. He was also a playable character in Cannon Spike, so then I could play a game with two of my favorite Capcom characters, him and Cammy! Lots of Mega Man cards in the Neo Geo Pocket game Card Fighters Clash (which I liked better than Pokemon). And Namco X Capcom had fun Mega Man Legends characters. I’m not even going to talk about the awful Mega Man cartoon.
Well I said I wouldn’t do the Mega Man spin-offs, but I’ll at least mention them briefly. Mega Man games are so popular, even the spin-offs have spin-offs! It’s ridiculous!
Mega Man X
Probably the most popular of the spin-offs, Mega Man X is set in the far future with a darker and grittier storyline and characters. They took out a lot of the lighthearted charm, but it’s still the same Mega Man gameplay. Even though I prefer the original, I will say the first X game was just what the series needed to stay fresh. My favorites are X1 and X4. X5, 3, and 2 are playable, but anything after is crap.
Mega Man Zero
Any charm the Mega Man X series had left was taken away entirely in the spin-off GBA games starring the sword wielding Zero. Plus they were brutally hard. I never liked the Zero series.
Mega Man ZX
I actually liked the first one on the DS somewhat (haven’t played the sequel yet). Even if the story is kind of dumb (kids get biometal that turns them into likenesses of past X heroes). Some of the charm and familiar gameplay was brought back, along with a neat (yet confusing) Metroid style map system.
Mega Man Battle Network
They Poke-fied Mega Man in this GBA RPG series, but the first few games were still pretty good, with charming characters and clever action packed battles. Even if it was a cleverly disguised card game. After the third one, though, it got pretty old. I never even played the DS Star Force games! The Battle Network 2-D platformer was a good, yet flawed, effort. The anime cartoon was really boring.
Mega Man Legends
Probably my favorite of the spin-offs. The games themselves really aren’t that great. Reminds me of a clunky mix of Doom and Tomb Raider. But the characters really made the games! Heck, the female pirate villain was so popular, she even got her own game, and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne is actually my favorite in the Legends series. And those Servebots are so adorable and even show up in today’s games like Dead Rising and that new Street Fighter vs. That Anime Company I Can’t Remember. I wish they’d make a sequel. We’ll never know if Mega Man made it off the moon. Actually I’d rather just have a Tron Bonne sequel.
Mega Man 9
I imagine I’m going to get flamed for my opinions of Mega Man 9, since everywhere I go people think MM9 hung the moon. But that’s okay, it’s not the first time I had an opinion that went against the grain. But at long last, here are my impressions of the newest Mega Man game in the series.
First I’ll talk about the things I do like about MM9. I think the IDEA of making a new, 8-bit Mega Man game you only download is a GREAT idea. While it may seem lazy at first, for many, Mega Man is the epitome of 8-bit gaming. And the mock box art idea is genius! Have you seen it? Plus, I think reusing MM8 sprites for Mega Man & Bass was even lazier. Ten years ago, a new 8-bit Mega Man game would’ve been scoffed upon, but now it is welcome with open arms. Even I wouldn’t have accepted it in the past. It reminds me of when they made the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for the SNES, and I said it was lame that they didn’t update the 8-bit graphics and sound. But we can accept a new 8-bit Mega Man game today! Goes to show you that graphics aren’t everything.
Another thing they did right with MM9 is that the weapons are actually very useful in the stages this time. Acquired boss weapons like the Laser Trident, Concrete Shot, Black Hole Bomb, and Plug Balls were a godsend and made the levels much more manageable. And they were on the mark with the catchy, 8-bit music, too. Even the Dr. Wily stages. Only bland stage themes were Magma Man’s and Plug Man’s music. My favorites include Tornado Man, Concrete Man, Jewel Man, and Splash Woman. Yes, after all this time, Mega Man actually gets to fight a female robot boss. Before it’s always been Whatever Man.
But all that good stuff makes no difference if the gameplay is not up to snuff, and that’s where MM9 fails. Mega Man games are known for being challenging, but it’s a good kind of challenge where if you die, you know what to do next time to progress. In MM9, it’s WAY TOO HARD! Stages are frequent with instant death spikes and pits, or enemies that can kill you in three hits. It all feels very cheap and not the good kind of challenging. Every stage feels like a Dr. Wily level, and it’s more like taking a frustrating beating instead of being fun. (Actually, Galaxy Man’s, Magma Man’s, and Hornet Man’s stages were somewhat manageable and easier)
Unfortunately, because of this, I can’t recommend Mega Man 9 for kids. And it pains me to say that because kids love Mega Man! Why do you think Capcom Poke-fied it with the Battle Network games? If you want to share the fun of Mega Man with your kids, stay away from 9 and get Mega Man Powered Up if you have a PSP, or the Anniversary Collection if you have a GameCube, PS2, or Xbox. I know that MM9 was made for the hardcore gamer, but don’t you think it’s better to make a game for hardcore AND casual, less experienced gamers? It’s possible to do that. MM9 could’ve had an Easy mode and all they’d have to do is add some blocks for the tricky jumps and maybe a few more item pickups in the levels. I just hate it when hardcore gamers think a game is only for them. Kids need good games, too!
I have other minor quibbles with MM9 as well. I know they wanted to make it more like MM2 by taking out the charge shot (which I don’t miss), but why take out the slide move? I saw so many opportunities in the game where a slide would’ve been a fun and skillful way to avoid damage. Oh wait, you have to PAY to slide (via Proto Man)? Oh please. I know that graphics don’t matter much here, but I think even MM2 looked better than 9. And why couldn’t they have added other minor conveniences like being able to cycle weapons with the L and R buttons instead of having to go to the cumbersome select screen every time?
So anyway, that’s why I think Mega Man 9 sucks and is one of the worst in the series. So while I’ve made a statement that’ll probably make everyone hate me and not trust my opinion ever again, here’s some of my other off the wall opinions: Kirby is better than Mario, Okami is better than Twilight Princess, Ristar is better than Sonic, and Final Fantasy 4, 6, and 9 are ten times better than FF7.
And while Nintendo made some big announcements last week and everyone is probably excited about the new DS, Punch Out, and Sin and Punishment 2, I’m more excited about Klonoa Wii, the new Taiko drum game on the Wii, and the We Ski sequel. Wish I knew if they would make it to the US.
Well I made it through all the bosses in 9 and some of the Dr. Wily stages, too. But I think I’m going to permanently shelve MM9 for now. Besides, I have more fun games to play like Kirby Super Star Ultra, Tales of Vesperia, and I’ve got all those secret treasure maps to find in Wario Land: Shake It.
In the comments section, why don’t you share your favorite Mega Man games and music, and why you think I’m off my rocker for not liking MM9.