"The strongest of the later NES Mega Mans."

You would think that after four Mega Man games on the NES, Capcom would be thinking of bringing the series to an end on the then old and out dated 8-bit hardware and onto the shiny new Super NES machine. The hardware jump seemed like an even better idea after the descent but uninspired Mega Man 4. But nope, Capcom stuck with the tried and true and delivered another Mega Man installment on the gray box. Seems pretty dumb by today's thinking but I can't argue with the results. Mega Man 5 though lacking the impact that 2 and 3 had is a big step up from 4 and well worth adding to your NES collection.

Game Play
It's the classic Mega Man side scrolling action that we all know and love. You control Mega Man through eight stages defeating minor enemies and dodging traps until you reach the end of the area and a show off with one of the robot guardians. Once you've defeated all eight you can proceed to the enemy base for some more intense challenges and the eventual face off with the final boss. Mega Man retains all of his trade mark abilities from previous games including the ability to use the secret weapons of bosses you've defeated, the Rush power upgrades (minus the Rush marine), the ability to charge the Mega Buster, and of course sliding to get between narrow passages.

One thing that really sets this game apart are the use of a number of creative game play elements that add some variety to the standard Mega Man fare. For example in Gravity Man's level the gravity periodically turns on and off forcing you to alternate between playing the standard way and upside down on the ceiling. Wave Man's stage lets you ride on a hover bike for the second half, something that would become a popular addition in later titles. Star Man's stage also plays with the gravity mechanic by having the level take place in outer space where gravity is reduced. This lets you jump super high and the level's obstacles are based largely around how well you can time this ability. In general the game just feels a lot fresher, more engaging, and better designed than most in the series. Mega Man 5 proves that developers hadn't completely lost touch with the creative spirit that made the series so popular in the first place.

Graphics
The graphics have improved a fair bit over earlier games in the series and rightfully so considering this came out in 1992. For example many of the bosses are now bigger and more detailed than in previous titles where they were typically the same size as Mega Man. The Blue Bomber still has the same animation that he's had since the first game which is kind of a disappointment. But everything else from the enemies to the back grounds looks very good, with lots of colour and variety.

Sound
The sound isn't too bad but nothing really memorable. Mega Man 2 and 3 are still the undisputed champions in this area. The sound effects are pretty good though, with a nice sound for your Mega Buster firing and charging as well as enemies being defeated.

Story
Mega Man's brother Proto Man has taken control of a group of crazed robots and is planning to take over the city. After Dr. Light is kidnapped by Proto Man its up to Mega Man to rescue his creator and save the day. It was nice of Capcom to try and give us a slightly different take on the story but it ends up being pretty much the same in the end.

Replay Ability
It's Mega Man and Mega Man equals fun. That alone is enough reason to replay the game. In terms of secrets to find there aren't really many to speak of except for the Mega Man V letters located in certain stages. By obtaining all of the letters you will be rewarded with a nice little surprise, although I'm not going to give anything away. You'll have to play the game through for yourself to find out what it is.

Buy?
Mega Man 5 although neither original or ground breaking does provide an excellent gaming experience for NES owners. And by incorporating all of the best elements of past Mega Man games, Mega Man 5 stands as one of the best versions of Mega Man on the NES and probably one of the better action titles for the system in general. It's a bit hard to come buy given its fairly low production run so you can expect to pay a bit more for it than your typical NES game. Capcom also re-released it as part of the Mega Man Collection which is a compilation of all eight original Mega Man games.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/02/01, Updated 11/19/07

Game Release: Mega Man 5 (US, 12/31/92)


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