Mega Man 5
Review by discoinferno84
"Lock your doors air-tight..."
There are certain as aspects of have a sibling that single children will never experience. They'll never feel the responsibility of looking out for a younger brother or sister, nor will they get to feel the love of an older sibling watching over them. No rides to school in the morning, sneaking around mom's back and playing pranks, exchanging joke gifts at Christmas, none of that really cool stuff that only siblings can do. Of course, an only child will never have to deal with bitter fighting, feelings of jealousy and inferiority, or the need to be better than your rival brother or sister. Indeed, that sibling rivalry can grow to tremendous and even deadly proportions, inciting everything from the minor squabble at the dinner table to major political uprisings. That need to be better, to be loved can send someone past the brink of sanity itself.
Unfortunately for Mega Man, this grisly aspect of brotherhood has hit home and sunk deep. After saving the day for a fourth time in a row, the Blue Bomber returned to Dr. Light's laboratory for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. However, his break from heroism was short-lived. A new army of super robots has arrived on the scene, and they're annihilating the city and anything else that gets in their way. Not only that, but the dangerous new enemies have kidnapped Dr. Light! This brand of evil is truly potent, the likes of which the Blue Bomber has never encountered. Though Dr. Wily is Mega Man's arch nemesis, he'd never stoop this low. The culprit of these heinous crimes is none other than Proto Man, Mega Man's long lost brother. Knowing that he has to save both his creator and all of humanity, our hero ventures forth into yet another epic crusade against the new evil.
Mega Man's fifth adventure will take him to eight new areas of the world, each fraught with enemies and danger. He'll have to balance on top of a speeding train and an airship, wander through dense jungles, explore massive caverns, blast his way across a bay filled with enemies, and do plenty of other strange and interesting tasks. There will be a whole new batch foes awaiting him, like mechanized tigers, giant missiles, gun-toting villains on jet skis, laser-spouting walking machines, giant chickens of doom, and plenty of other nasty surprises. These enemies are a cut above the original, forcing Mega Man to make full use of his newly upgraded Mega Buster. This lovely piece of mass destruction can be charged up and unleashed, utterly annihilating out most minor enemies and leaving nothing in its wake. In between all the fighting, our hero will have to do a little platforming, carefully maneuvering above, below, and around the all the spikes, bottomless pits, and tons of other level hazards that get in his way. While the platforming aspects aren't quite as difficult or heavily emphasized as Mega Man games of old, you'll still have to stay on your toes if you hope to progress far.
As usual, Mega Man's quest will pit him against eight Robot Masters, each waiting at the end of the level and specializing in their own attacks. Proto Man has some interesting cronies on his little crew of bad guys, only some of whom are truly difficult to defeat. You'll have to dodge the whirling blades of Gyro Man, penetrate Star Man's defenses, weather Napalm Man's explosives, and reckon with Gravity Man's control and defiance of the laws of physics. Thankfully, it seems that a little more effort was put into these characters. These foes seem fresh and original, a nice improvement over the lacking foes of the previous game. What I like about these bosses is that they make great use of their surroundings, something that most previous Mega Man bosses can't boast. Gyro Man uses the clouds in his area to give him cover, keeping you guessing his exact location. Star Man uses the zero gravity in level to gain a height advantage, casting his attack over a wider area as he jumps out of reach. Though your hard-earned weapons lack originality and work like almost perfect clones of their predecessors, it's good to see the significant improvement in the battles.
The Blue Bomber's fifth quest is an emotionally driven romp through some strange and exotic lands. You'll get to explore places like the crystallized caverns in Crystal Man's level, walk through the lush jungles and caves in Napalm Man's area, and traverse Gyro Man's massive flying battleship. All of these areas are depicted with remarkable colors and detail. The crystal caverns glow with bright blue and purple lights, showing off the pixilated formations that make up the level. You can practically see the light shimmering off the coast in Wave Man's level, and admire the countless stars that lay in the background of Star Man's space station. Despite this above average presentation, Mega Man looks the same as always his, signature blue armor standing out amongst the confusion and despair. At least the enemies look decent, from the slimy tentacles of the giant squid to smooth and shiny armor of all the robots that you'll be blowing to smithereens. And while the theme music may not be the greatest in the series, they are still more than enough to get your pulse up and keep you blasting away at everything in sight.
With the advent of Mega Man 5, you've got to wonder how much life this series has left on the NES. This game is a definite improvement over the less-than-stellar Mega Man 4, but it still doesn't quite reach the greatness of the older three. However, that doesn't mean that it's a bad game. The fifth installment of the series brings us a new and fresh storyline, even reintroducing us to a few characters in the process. Though the weapons may not be the most original concepts, the improved bosses and subsequent battles are something to think about. The game makes great use of the graphical and audio abilities of the consoles, treating gamers to yet another tasty gaming morsel. But is the last great game for the Mega Man NES series? How far can the minds behind this powerhouse go before they finally run out of ideas? Hopefully, it won't be anytime soon.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/16/05, Updated 01/06/08
Game Release: Mega Man 5 (US, December 1992)
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