Review by Sour
"A Milestone in the series!"
The original Mega Man trilogy was extremely successful, and Capcom certainly wasn't going to stop the franchise there. Mega Man 4 was the dawn of a new era in the series in some ways. Mega Man 4 gets a lot of criticism, both positive and negative, for several reasons. It most certainly isn't a bad game though. It is in some ways, a milestone in the series because of a certain plot element and a new gameplay feature that would be seen in many more future Mega Man titles.
Story: 10/10: It's been one year since Mega Man last defeated Dr. Albert Wily, who is now on the run. Dr. Light, creator of Mega Man, receives a message from a scientist by the name of Dr. Cossack, who tells light that he is a superior scientist and makes better robots. He threatens to unleash his powerful army of robots on the world for Dr. Light, to see who's bots are superior. Mega Man must cease his search for Dr. Wily and go after Dr. Cossack and his robot masters. Dr. Light provides Mega Man with an upgrade to his arm cannon, called the Mega Buster. It can now be charged up to shoot more powerful beams of energy.
Gameplay: 10/10: Here's where some of the change comes in. The levels still proceed as normal, the game being a side-scrolling shoot 'em up, and you pick whichever level you want to go to at the stage selection screen. However, by holding down the button to fire, Mega Man can now charge his arm cannon to shoot more powerful beams of energy, which rips right through some enemies. This would become a series staple until pretty recently with the addition of Mega Man 9, which got rid of this ability all together. Upon getting to the end of the stage, you'll have to fight a boss, known as a robot master. Each robot master has their own unique power. Upon beating a robot master, you'll obtain that power, and you'll be able to use it as you see fit, weapon energy permitting of course. Each robot master is weak to another robot master's attack. You'll have to start off with just the Mega Buster, but you'll be able to use the weapons you obtain and figure out who's weakness is who's. Rush also return in this game, allowing you to jump to new heights with his Rush Coil ability, or soar over chasms with the Rush Jet ability. Upon beating all of the robot masters, you'll have to go through Dr. Cossack's fortress, which is a series of levels right in a row with no passwords in between to pick up your progress. Putting in any of the passwords given in this string of stages puts you right back at square one, at the start of the first Cossack stage.
Sound:9/10: The music in this game is simply fantastic. Yasunaki Fajita returned to compose the music for this game, and was the first to give the final boss it's own theme, which turned out to be really awesome. The rockin' final boss tune aside, most of the game's music is more atmospheric than it is catchy, which is a slight departure from the trend of previous games. It ended up working out great though, as the soundtrack feels really unique. The gripe with sound effects here is the charge noise. When you're charging the Mega Buster, you lose a lot of the music, and have to listen to the charging noise playing over it. You get used to it, but it can be really annoying when you first fire up the game.
Graphics: 10/10: Mega Man 4 features the same graphics as it's first three predecessors, which is great. The enemies are well designed, and it's really crisp and smooth, everything just pops, a little more so than the previous games. The Mega Man franchise has always tried to keep up with what the best possible graphics currently are, rivaling the graphics of first-party titles. The graphics are simple, yet effective, and it's not a strain on the eyes. Mega Man has always been more about the gameplay than the graphics, but they clearly tried here, and would continue to do so in future installments in the series.
Overall: 9/10: The soundtrack really suffers from some issues here because of the constant charging of the Mega Buster. You don't have to charge, obviously, but the game's enemies have better armor than the previous games, so it takes many more small shots to kill them, bosses only taking one speck of damage from a small hit. Still, it's a great installment in the franchise and a milestone because of the charging ability, which would be seen in every future Mega Man game until Mega Man 9. Mega Man 4 finally became available on the Wii virtual console recently, so go ahead and toss $5 into it and enjoy Mega Man 4!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/08/10
Game Release: Mega Man 4 (US, 01/31/92)
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