Review by discoinferno84
"Cause tin can hitman's comin' for you tonight..."
There's an old saying that goes: All good things must come to an end. It's a saying that can be applied to just about any aspect of life. Vacations have to end, forcing you to go back whatever reality you left behind. A well-cooked meal will eventually spoil, no matter how good it tastes. Snow will eventually stop falling, allowing for other natural processes to take over. The sun will rise and set, marking the beginning and end of day as well as gained or lost opportunities. People will inevitably pass on while others begin life anew. Indeed, all good things, no matter how significant or meaningless, will eventually end. The same holds true for the Mega Man series on the NES. In the sixth and final installment, we say farewell to the original Blue Bomber that captivated gamers around the world.
In his long career as a hero, Mega Man has done it all. He's slain countless robotic fiends, saved humanity from peril, ventured forth into strange and exotic lands, and taken down his nemesis Dr. Wily more times than you should probably shake a stick at. Few heroes can claim they accomplished all of that. Now, after five epic adventures, the Blue Bomber gets to sit down and relax or so he thinks. A fighting tournament is being held, featuring eight of the world's mightiest robotic fighters. But before the champion could be decided, a mysterious figure named Mr. X appeared. This newcomer hijacked all eight of these mighty warriors, vowing to use their powers to take over the world. Knowing a bad and strangely familiar situation when he sees it, Mega Man takes his dog Rush and begins his final quest to track down Mr. X and stop him. The fate of the free world is once again left in his mechanical hands.
He'll have to venture forth into strange and exotic locales, storming futuristic castles, taking nature walks through a massive forest, exploring hazardous oil refineries, and a few other dangerous areas. We'll come face to face with a slew of baddies, ranging from mounted missile cannons, giant grasshoppers, mechanical seals, helicopter pelicans, and a few other nasty surprises waiting to take him down. Luckily for Mega Man, this new legion of foes is a pathetic bunch of pushovers. Unlike older versions of hapless foot soldiers, the majority of these enemies require almost no effort to defeat, merely requiring a few well placed shots to reduce them to a pile of flaming steel. However, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The platforming aspect, one of the most fundamental parts of the Mega Man gaming formula, has been dumbed down considerably. In older games, the difficulty required technical and handling perfection, forcing you to hone your skills or be stuck in a level. In this game, the learning cure is almost non-existent, allowing you to waltz through the level with ease. This utter lack of difficulty not only makes it pathetically easy to progress, but makes the game boring as hell.
Unfortunately, the boss battles have received the same fate. You'll get to face down the likes of Knight Man, Flame Man, Blizzard Man, and a few other interesting incarnations. You'll have to break through Plant Man's thorny defenses, dodge Tomahawk Man's lethal projectiles, and get up close and personal with Yamato Man. But while these bosses may look and act like original creations, the lack of difficulty utterly destroys any fun that could have been had. These eight foes are supposed to be the strongest robotic fighters on Earth. But if they were to go up against some of Mega Man's earlier foes, they'd get their metal rears blasted to bits and sent out for recycling. Taking on most of these guys requires little skill or technique, leaving you to yawn as you stare at your television screen. They require simple, basic strategies to take down, and their weaknesses to each other's weapons make the not-so epic confrontations even more of a cakewalk. It's a shame to see that Mega Man's last set of Robot Master to be such pathetic fighters.
To their credit, the minds behind the design of this game gave a decent effort. Mega Man 6 makes great use of the graphical and audio abilities of the NES, treating gamers to a moderately good presentation of a bland adventure. Though the theme music isn't quite as top notch as previous efforts, the upbeat tunes serve to alleviate the boredom. You'll get to explore through the dank hallways of Knight Man's fortress, seeing the pixilated candles glow in the background. Centaur Man's level looks like a futuristic rendition of Atlantis, complete with massive domed areas on top of giant cylinders. You'll have to trek through the sticky muck of Flame Man's oil refinery and try not to get lost in Plant Man's forest. All of these levels have a fair amount of detail, like the makeshift Mt. Fuji in Yamato Man's level or the layers of snow that make up Blizzard Man's icy wasteland. All of the enemies have some decent designs as well. You'll get to fight little mechanized panda bears and face the wrath of fish-spewing birds. The bosses have some interesting looks as well, from Knight Man's durable shield to Wind Man's massive turbines. Yet the only thing unchanged is Mega Man himself, his classic blue armor still shining brightly as he makes one last crusade on the system that has served him so well.
Considering that Mega Man X was already in development when this game came out, it's little wonder why Mega Man 6 lacks so much; it just never got the attention it needed to be great. It was tossed out into the gaming world as one last hurrah on the NES system, devoid of the quality that governed most of its predecessors. It has a pathetic attempt at a storyline, backed up by even more pathetic gameplay. The enemies are pushovers, the levels require little skill, and the bosses should be turned into scrap metal for their lacking combat prowess. Is this how it really ends? Is this how Mega Man, one of the finest series ever released on the NES spends its last time on the old system? Apparently so. Thus the Mega Man series leaves the NES, in not a bang, but a whimper.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 09/16/05, Updated 01/06/08
Game Release: Mega Man 6 (US, 03/31/94)
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