RockMan & Forte
Review by alex cross
"One of the less known games in the series"
For a long time I thought this game was just a port of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System game by the same name. It was only recently that I was able to play a copy and find out just how wrong I was.First, it's important to note that this game was made by Bandai and not Capcom. As a result this game has a great many small differences in it from the average Rockman game. This game also has a different story from it's Super Nintendo counter part, with Rockman and Forte trying to but a stop to a mysterious Robot that resembles Rockman himself.
In this game you pick either Rockman (who has the regular moves you've come to know including a charged arm cannon shot and the ability to slid) or Forte (who has a rapid fire arm cannon that can be aimed seven different ways, can do a dash, and has a double jump). Whoever you pick is who you play the whole game through as, and there are parts in each level where each character's unique abilities come in handy.
The game play itself greatly mirrors the classic Rockman theme. A 2-D side scroller where you have your choice of picking what order you play some of the levels in (though you must first play through a mandatory intro stage). You can choose from four different levels with the boss of each level (Danganman, Konroman, Airconman, and Komusoman) giving you their weapon once defeated. Beat those four and you open up another level whose Boss (Clockmen) will give you a weapon also. The last two stages also open up like this though you wont get weapons from the bosses (Compassman, R-Shadow).
However, where previous Rockman games have a certain boss weak against a certain weapon, in this game a weapon will do the same amount of damage to each boss. Bandai seems to have tried to make for this by making the attack patterns of the bosses easier to get around with certain weapons, but it's not quite the same to me.
For the most part the game still features the nice tight control people have come to expect from Capcom's Rockman series. Rockman and Forte both jump and preform their slide/dash moves without hesitation or problems. The slide/dash moves have been shortened from their Super Nintendo game counterparts, however this was one of the things I believe Bandai did correctly as there isn't a need to do very long slides/dashes in the small areas that are in the game.
One of the things that is different then the average Rockman game that I still dislike is how this game handles the use of ladders. In this game when your characters feet touches the last rung of a ladder you automatically drop off. This lead me to be damaged and even killed very often.
This game (like it's Super Nintendo namesake) also has a shop where you can buy items. Some items are for one of the two characters while others work for both. However, another area where I think Bandai goofed is that some items you buy only last once in this game, where in the average game it would be with you permanently once you attained it. This is can be highly aggravating when it comes to some items, most notably the Rush Coil.
See, in your average Rockman games there are areas that are too high for Rockman to reach by a normal jump. Thus you can use the Rush Coil to have a bigger jump. Not only does this game only let you use the Rush Coil only one time per purchase, you can only have one Rush Coil at any given time. So even if you had one with you, you'd have to already know where to use it in a level for maximum effect if you wanted to make it count.
Not something I think would have happened had Capcom made the game.....
Other noticeable differences that take some getting used to include longer stun time when hit and the fact that when an enemy is destroyed all the shots fired by that enemy vanish also. The first isn't really that bothersome, the second changes your strategy from regular Rockman games.
The music on the other hand is great. It has the same type of Rockman music that I've come to expect from the series: upbeat, catchy, but not distracting (and I noticed one or two that were directly from previous Rockman Games). The sound effects were mostly decent, with the exception of the sound effect when you are climbing up and down a ladder. It always reminded me of Pac-Man eating dots.
The graphics have great detail for a non-color portable, especially with the Robot Masters. The fact that there was no noticeable slow down or transparencies when there were a lot of moving objects on the screen was a pleasant surprise. Not all of the level enemies were given the attention they should have though, as the Mets (long standing level enemies in the series) look waaay too wide. Also, the heads of the two main characters look just a tad too big for my tastes.
While I don't think this is a great Rockman game, I do think it's a good side scroller. It's a bit on the rare side, so if you see it at a decent price I recommend that you buy it while you have the chance.
Note: I have only played this game on a WonderSwan Color. I don't know if playing it on a regular WonderSwan would have any noticeable difference on how the game plays.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/03/02, Updated 02/03/02
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