Review by Bkstunt_31
"Happy Birthday, Mega Man! Hopefully you'll get more presents soon buddy!"
It's hard to believe Mega Man is nearly as old as I am. The two of us go way back and while I may not have loved everything that has had the Mega Man name on it I've always been a fan. So when Mega Man turned 25 in 2012, fans from all over the world were expecting Capcom to do SOMETHING to celebrate.
Enter in Singaporean fan Seow Zong Hui, who had been privately developing this game until he showed it to a Capcom staff member, which in turn led to Capcom's official support. The game was then released as a PC download on December 17th, for FREE nonetheless! After playing through it multiple times, let me tell you exactly what you can expect out of this game.
First of all, the game is designed to mimic the early 8-Bit NES Mega Man games. Specifically Mega Man 4 since you have a charge shot and can slide. None of the early Mega Man games had anything anyone would consider a "story", and this game mimics that as well. Basically, Mega Man stands over the city (like in Mega Man 2) while the game reflects on the fact that it is his 25th anniversary and due to there being no new Robot Masters to defeat the public was in an outcry. However due to continued support from fans Mega Man will now face a set of "new challengers". After that he is promptly knocked off the building by one of Ryu's Hadoukens. Ha!
So, no real story as the game makes it quite clear this title is only hear for fan service. Mega Man goes on to face eight new challengers out of the Street Fighter universe: Ryu, Chun Li, Blanka, Dhalsim, Urien, Rose, C. Viper and Rolento. As you can see, this group is a nice mixture of Street Fighters from Street Fighter 2 through 4. You can of course choose to take on these challengers in any order, but once you beat them all you'll have to face the game's ending stages where you will face the ending bosses (no spoilers here!).
The game play is exactly what you'd expect out of an old-school Mega Man game. You have limited mobility with your rather short jump but you can slide if you need to (an excellent defensive move at times). And since this game is patterned off of Mega Man 4 you do have the ability to charge your buster to unleash charged shots, which is always preferable to Mega Man's lemon shot. And as always as you beat your Street Fighter opponents you will gain one of their powers. Certain Street Fighters are also weak against other Street Fighter powers.
Before facing off against the Street Fighter challengers, you will have to go through their stage to reach them. The stages in the game are all cleverly designed but they are all very short as well. Mega Man stages, especially in the NES era, were never very long but here you'll play through the shortest stages you have ever seen. They are also relatively easy to play through. I had trouble on maybe 2-3 stages if that. To make up for the short easy stages you have some of the best boss fights in any NES style Mega Man game. Each and every one of the bosses you'll face will be challenging. All of the Street Fighters are exceptionally fast and have access to many of their special moves, often chaining their attacks together one after another. Not only do the fighters maintain their catalog of special moves, but as you fight them they will also build up a super meter. Once that fills up they will unleash one of their super attack! These fights are honestly the highlight of the game play and definitely keep you on your toes throughout the entire fight.
The graphics in the game are of course decidedly simplistic since they are mimicking the 8-Bit NES games. Regardless, the graphics are one of the best things about the game. For starters, the level designs while short are still very clever and often include multiple paths or challenge through terrain and enemy placement. Many of the enemies (not all, but many) are brand-new to the Mega Man series and are designed well. The bosses are the real treat though. While many of them made some concessions in the 8-Bit transition, their animations floored me. There's just so many special attacks and unique animations that all look so good that its hard not to appreciate the graphics in the game.
The audio in the game was composed by chiptune artist A_Rival, and is another one of the game's highlights. You can tell that he drew heavily on older Mega Man and Street Fighter tunes while composing the music, as you can hear several character themes shine through while playing through certain character's stages (Dhalsim, Chun Li, etc). Still, these tracks are highly enjoyable. There's very little not to like here, but some of my favorites include Urien's Stage and Ryu's stage. It's also neat to hear the Street Fighter characters try and announce their moves like they do in their games! Awesome. Definitely turn up the speakers as you'll play as the music is worth listening to!
Like I mentioned earlier, the game IS extremely short. The stages are all very short and while the boss fights are highly entertaining they are short as well. Heck, even the final boss levels really only contain one true stage and a bunch of boss fights. Truly a short game.
It SHOULD be noted here though that the game has NO save function. Nothing. Meaning you have to beat the game in one sitting. I was highly surprised that they couldn't put in a password system or anything. Heck, even the old NES Mega Man games had a password system! I've also read about the game being prone to freezing and other technical issues. I personally had trouble with the game screen turning black in the middle of a game for no reason, which of course when combined with no saves resulted in me restarting the game over from scratch... several times in a row.
Overall a good showing and an enjoyable game. PROS are definitely the boss fights, the graphics and the audio while CONS have to include the shortness of the game as a whole and various technical issues (such as no save system). Still, the game IS free so you have little to complain about in the long run.
I'd also like to take a moment right here to reflect on Mega Man's 25th anniversary (since that is what this game is all about). While I haven't been following every little bit of Mega Man news that has occurred in the past couple of years, I do follow the gaming industry as a whole. Mega Man is definitely one of those series that has tried to stay with the younger generation instead of, say, "growing up" with its initial audience. Nevertheless, there is still a huge community of fans out there supporting the blue bomber. That is why it is sad to see games like "Mega Man Universe" and "Mega Man Legends 3" get announced by Capcom and subsequently canceled for such BS reasons as "little fan support". And while "Street Fighter X Mega Man" is indeed a new Mega Man game I would like to remind you all that it is STILL in essence a FAN-MADE GAME. For all the support that fans show Capcom it would indeed be a sad day if this is the highlight of Mega Man's 25th Anniversary. I think you fans deserve better, and I hope Capcom wakes up soon and thinks the same (and shows it with product instead of words).
Just something to think about. I hope this review has explained Street Fighter X Mega Man to you and additionally given you something to think about. Have fun and keep playing!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/04/13
Game Release: Street Fighter X Mega Man (US, 12/17/12)
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