Robots that do good have always found their way into our hearts. Just look at Astro Boy, The Terminator in T2, Shortcircuit and Robocop. There’s another classic and popular hero in that list and his name is Mega Man. Whenever I think of Mega Man I always think of a series that grew so quickly I thought it would never end. Sadly, there aren’t any new games coming out any time soon. But Nintendo, along with Capcom, are making the existing games accessible for the Wii U and 3DS. Just the other day Capcom announced six more Mega Man games will be made available on the Virtual Console. So, this begs the question, are they worth the purchase and should we even play games from 1994?
In this installment of the franchise, Mega Man is sent to a World Robot Fighting competition, where he is meant to oversee all the action and make sure nothing bad happens. But who are we kidding, bad things always happen to him. This time round, an evil genius by the name of Mr X, reprograms the eight contestants in order for them to help him take over the world. Naturally, Mega Man won’t stand for it, so he comes in and decides to end the problem with his Mega Buster.
While I would normally say, “Tries to beat everything guns blazing”, the Mega Man games have never really been about shooting constantly; at least not like you do in Contra. For those new to the series, most of the games follow a very specific formula. Each game starts with a simple Mega Man – no buffs, no unique guns and no body morphing of any kind. When you start, you get to select your levels from the get go – this freedom of choice wasn’t easy to come by way back when.
Once you’ve selected a stage, usually represented by a boss, you have to travel the hazardous level and fight the boss in order to proceed. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well it’s not. Let me put it to you this way, it’s like a NES, platforming version of Demon Souls. The game wants to kill you, and it will damn well make sure it does.
Controlling Mega Man is a breeze, the control’s learning curve is so tiny you won’t even notice it. You use the D-pad to move, A to jump and B to shoot. Holding B in will charge your basic M. Buster attack for additional damage. As you move through the game, you’ll unlock new weapons, which can be used to great effect, especially against the bosses. Every boss has a weakness and once you figure it out, they become a much easier target. You can also transform Mega Man into a flier or a heavy armored robot to get to certain hard-to-reach areas of the game.
The problem with the controls, at least with modern technology, is that you’ll be tempted to play with the analogue sticks. I found that I’m much better at making jumps when I walk with the D-pad. That might sound odd, but it’s actually one of the trickier bits of the game.
Before you get the chance to smack the boss, you have to navigate a long level that’s filled with life and death hazards. Jumping from ledge to ledge is very nerve-wracking as you’ll probably die if you fall into one of those popular NES bottomless pits. If that happens, you go all the way back to a previous checkpoint. It gets even tougher as there are enemies in the stage as well. You can get rid of them easy enough, but leave or move the screen away from where they spawned, and the enemy will instantly respawn when you return.
The level designs aren’t new, obviously, but despite its age, it’s not an ugly game. It has aged gracefully, but there are some minor issues with the visuals. When moving around, the edges of the screen tend to change colours, like it’s picking up a column of pixels that aren’t meant to be shown just yet. It’s distracting and it makes it look very ugly.
On the plus side, though, the music is very catchy. In a way it reminds me of old Nokia 3310 polyphonic ringtones. I wouldn’t necessarily listen to it the whole day, but it’s great within the context of the game.
I tried the game out on both the TV and on the gamepad and found that I preferred it on the gamepad. It’s not terrible on the TV, but it’s more suited for playing up close and personal. I also loved using the restore point system as it meant I could make my own checkpoints and not lose a life in the process.
Over all Mega Man VI is still an enjoyable game 20 years on. It’s definitely one of the easier games in the series, but challenging enough for me to feel like I accomplished something. If you’re a fan and would like to replay the games, then it’s a good time to do it. If you’re new and would like to dabble in Mega Man, give this one a try as it is one of the easier games. I don’t like that it has such a simple and uninspired story, but the game was good enough for me to play the other games again.