"The fighting robot..... Mega Man!"

If the Nintendo Entertainment System was good for something, it was good for jumpstarting several influential series into fame. Mario, Zelda, Metal Gear, Final Fantasy and Metroid are just some examples. Mega Man is another example. Mega Man for the NES is the beginning of a legacy that spans well over 50 titles and does not appear to be stopping any time soon. There are 6 Mega Man games just for the NES! Legend of Zelda has only two, Final Fantasy had three and Mario Bros. has 3. The NES Mega Man games aren't too much different than one another which would probably explain why the later games aren't received as well. The games were rehashed for the most part and their wasn't a whole lot of spark of creativity. There is no need to worry about that in this game though as this was the original.

Mega Man is a platformer but it does have unique aspects that only the Mega Man series can call as its own. The story begins as the brilliant scientist Dr. Light made humanoid robots to perform specific everyday duties. Mega Man was the first of these. Dr. Light and his assistant Dr. Wily proceeded to develop six additional humanoid robots all with different purposes. Cutman was supposed to be a lumberjack, Gutsman was supposed to be a bulldozing robot, Iceman was supposed to be impervious to really cold temperatures, Bombman was supposed to clear land, Fireman was supposed to melt and mold metal and Elecman was supposed to conduct electrical operations. Unfortunately, Dr. Wily was actually evil and re-programmed these robots to help him with world domination. It is up to Mega Man to save the day. Yeah, the story is nothing special but it's original and classic.

At the beginning of this game you will have the option of six levels to choose from, one for each of the aforementioned robot masters. Your goal is to navigate through each level and have a final showdown with the robot master at the end. This isn't as easy as it sounds though because several of the robot masters can really only be easily defeated with their weakness. For example, to defeat Fireman, you'd use ice powers. You get ice powers from Iceman. To defeat Iceman, you will want to use Elecman's powers. I personally approve of this way, I think it requires you to have more strategy than just waltzing through each level. Having these different powers at your disposal is really nice and adds a lot to the game play because let us be honest here, it would get boring just using your little blaster over and over again. Unfortunately, in this original game, you can't slide of charge but that will come later. This game was merely the building blocks of the Mega Man series, the prototype if you will.

You don't have infinite of these special power-ups though. They do run out and some of them more quickly than others. These special powers are mostly used for bosses, to be honest but there are several times when you'll use them outside of boss battles.

Mega Man is a very challenging game. Difficulty wise, it is much more intense than a Mario game. Simply jumping over a pit can be a challenge because you have to time your jump just right. One thing that is irritating about this game is that you have to be precise. I looked at the “Game Over” screen a countless number of times. You'll have to battle some tough regular enemies and you have to make sure you shoot well, or an enemy might run into you which would knock you off a block you were standing on. There are some block puzzles where the blocks will appear and disappear and you'll have to study their patterns and act accordingly. Of course, by accordingly I mean quickly. It can get irritating but once you have conquered it, it's quite satisfying and rewarding.

The graphics of this game are not good, at least compared to the visual aspects of the other NES Mega Man games. But you have to remember that early games seldom have outstanding graphics because the developers haven't yet learned to utilize the system to its full potential. Mega Man is a perfect example of this. The backgrounds were still very nicely done for an NES game. The enemies were creative and original and the attacks were noticeable. The scenery was at times pretty vibrant and it's overall pretty impressive for a NES game.

When judging a game, I do feel music is a very important feature. Without a good soundtrack, the quality of a game is often severed. A game with no soundtrack is the equivalent to Donald Trump without his hair. It just doesn't work. Fortunately, the Mega Man series is widely known for its good music and Mega Man, for the most part, is no exception. The themes of the levels fit the environments and the boss battle music, while sometimes creepy, is also good for the most part. The music didn't make me jump up and start dancing like the next two games did but I was still impressed with this game's soundtrack. The sound of this game is actually quite good. Despite the blasters sounding pretty much the same for the most part, there is a noticeable difference between them which is good. The have a few different types of attacks sound-wise and I think it's funny that no matter how you die, it always sounds the same. The sound was good.

I will admit I was often frustrated with this game. This is a very difficult game and it was more difficult than some of the later games. But I endeavored and it was rewarding to complete this game. When I beat an easy game, I usually don't feel that proud of myself as it is like passing a test with the answers in front of me. Yeah, it is nice but you honestly don't feel very rewarded when you beat it. When I beat this game, I was happy, it was an accomplishment. I was mad at this game on numerous occasions but I overcame it and so can anyone. This game is quite… glitchy though and when moving platforms that are SUPPOSED to come down don't, it can get annoying.

Rating Breakdown:

Story: 9/10
Game Play: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Music: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Difficulty: 6/10

Average Score: 8.0 = 80% = B

Pros:

Unique Abilities
Adequate Soundtrack
Pretty good graphics for the time
The beginning of a legendary series
A true classic
Okay sound
Interesting game play
Original Story

Cons:

Quite difficult, to the point of frustrating
Lack of certain aspects that are implemented only in future games.
Glitches

To conclude, I must say that everyone needs to play this game. Mega Man and his series are practically iconic and they have acquired a dedicated fan base. The unfortunate thing is that when it comes to the Mega Man series, Capcom has become somewhat of a joke. There are far too many Mega Man games and honestly, they have lost their luster long ago. The amount of games they have produced is insane! The spin-offs and rehashes have almost killed the series. Almost. The dedicated fan base will keep buying Mega Man making him live longer. He's almost at 20 years now. That's more then can be said about the vast majority of video game characters out there. Mega Man is a solid game though and I think everyone should play for its classical experience. It's not even close to my personal favorite but it is original and it was the foundation of greatness to come. Mega Man was a success in the old days and there is always hope that he will one day come back and Capcom will show us the greatness of Mega Man we loved in the 80s once more.



Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/21/05


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