Review by Psycho Penguin
"Witness the debut of Un-Mega Man"
Mega Man 4 is one of the worst games I've ever had the displeasure to write about. Not because it's the worst game ever, of course, because it's not. It's actually not even close. But, I expected it to be so much more. Mega Man 3 was the best of the first 3 Mega Mans, so I expected Mega Man 4 to improve and give me a truly great game.
Too bad I had to wait for Mega Man 5.
The problems with Mega Man 4 are numerous. This is simply the worst Mega Man game on NES, and it's amazing how much the other games in the series are better than this (well, Mega Man 8 is a nightmarish game, but that's another story for another day.) It's like Capcom completely had a brain lapse and forgot what made the Mega Man series so fun, and instead made a half-assed Mega Man game instead.
The Mega Man series is unique for the simple fact that no many how many games are added to the series, the storyline just kind of floats from one game to the next, basically adding one or two plot elements. But the basic plot has always been the same: Dr. Light made this guy called Mega Man, who has to defeat Dr. Wily and his 8 Robot Masters from taking over the world. Nintendo logic doesn't assume Dr. Wily would have sent all 8 bosses after Mega Man, or just made MORE robots, after the 7th loss, but that's just the way video games are sometimes. The storyline is definitely the strong point of this mediocre game.
The graphics are decent, but way too colorful. They don't reach Mega Man 8-levels, but they are still annoyingly cute and cheerful. The boss select screen is decent, but everything after that is annoying. Pharoah Man's stage looks alright, but Ring Man's stage looks terrible. The background designs are definitely hit and miss, and the enemy designs are the same in the first 3. Nothing really new here, just more annoying colors and background designs. Terrific job, Capcom.
Oh, and usually the strong point in Mega Man games is the terrific music, but Mega Man 4 is a definite weak link in the series. Two of about 15 songs are any good. The previous games, and later games, all had incredible music, but not this. Ring Man's music is so annoying, I get a headache every time I think about it. Dust Man also has a somewhat annoying song, but it's not as bad as the other crap. I especially dislike Dive Man's song. The music just took a complete hit in this game, and it's really a shame, because I've come to expect better out of Capcom and this series.
The controls are the usual quality, so nothing really to complain about. The major innovation to Mega Man 4 was the addition of the Mega Buster. Now, in addition to sliding and doing all the normal crap Mega Man can do, he can now fire up his gun by holding down the shoot button to fire a more powerful shot. However, enemies have free will to hit you while you are charging up your weapon, and it takes a few seconds to charge up the weapon completely, so using it sparingly is key to success.
The basic format is just like any other Mega Man game: you start off with 8 bosses, and you get to choose which order you want to complete them in. The advantage to completing them in a certain order is that when you defeat a boss, you get a weapon, which can then be used to defeat another boss with a weakness to that weapon more easily. So, really, the game isn't as non linear as you may think, but getting to select the path you wanted to complete the stages was a unique feature the Mega Man series owned for a while.
Most people rant about how stupid the boss names in the Mega Man games they hate are, but the truth is, most Mega Man games have several stupid boss names. Not Mega Man 4. 6 of the 8 bosses are horribly named. I liked Pharoah Man a lot. Skull Man was cool, too, and he was a precursor to Tomahawk Man in Mega Man 6. However, Ring Man is a horrible name. So is Dust Man. Dive Man and Toad Man are ripoffs of Hard Man and Bubble Man. It's ridculous how crazy most of the boss names in this game are. I liked Centaur Man a lot more than Bright Man, you know. This game just needed Crab Man to get a 2/10, so Capcom sort of saved themselves there.
Plus, the level designs took a steep decline in this game. Those that complain that Mega Man 5 and 6 are boring rehash and think this game is good need mental help, seriously. The next 2 games in the series had tricky puzzles and fun additions to gameplay. This game is like a Mega Man 2 ripoff, with a few stupid obstacles to complete. Oh, wow, you can get killed by things that can squash you in Dust Man's stage, or you can just shoot the things underneath it and run under them when they move upwards. How challenging.
The game just doesn't seem that fun to me. The level designs are lazy, and therefore I had a boring time playing through it. The enemies are just as stupid as ever, so this game needed great level designs, and Capcom failed to deliver. Throw in the terrible music, and there's a reason I hate Mega Man 4 and think it's the black sheep of the Mega Man series. It's just not that fun. I don't see why anyone would want to waste their time with this game.
So, replay value is definitely in the negative area. There is nothing here that made me want to keep playing it. Wow, I can now charge up my weapon. It's a nice innovation, and I like how they at least included some secrets this time (Use the Rush jump at the end of the first screen in Pharoah Man's stage, for instance), but it's not enough to save a mediocre game from itself. There's simply not enough good here to say ''Hey, I don't have to play any of the 10,000 other Mega Man games today, let me play Mega Man 4 instead!''
There's nothing remotely challenging, either. Most Mega Man games are easy, but have some sort of artificial challenge, be it hard bosses, or crazy obstacles. This game has none of that. Most of your deaths will be from the last few stages, which have tricky enemies to kill, but you get more power ups in this game than in any other Mega Man, so it's not impossible to beat this game at all. I rank this one second easiest in the NES series, only to Mega Man 2, which will forever be the easiest NES game ever.
There you have it. There's no reason to play Mega Man 4. You have been warned. The music is completely horrible, and let's face it, the Mega Man series needs good music to succeed. Most of them have good music. This doesn't. Most of them have creative level designs. This doesn't. The boss names are retarded, the game is too easy, and the level designs are lazy and boring. Skip from 3 to 5, please. It's not worth playing this game at all.
Damn you, Capcom.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 02/03/00, Updated 06/29/03
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