Review by ice beam

"This game is too hard to be fun"

If you are into video games, you will without a doubt have heard of Mega Man. Also known as the character who has the biggest case of rehash syndrome in the history of gaming. Mega Man started his life on the NES, eventually making his way to the SNES, Genesis, Playstation, N64, PS2, and so on. Each copy of Mega Man has sold very well. Many people consider this games sequel to be one of the greatest games of all time. Yet many people seem to forget about this game. It is probably best that they just skip this game and go to Mega Man 2. You should only play this game for nostalgia or if you really want to see how it all began. Why? The original is one of the hardest and most unfair games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. No matter how much I play it, I cannot get better at any of it. And people say that the original Castlevania is too hard.

While the game itself will not show a story, there is a story in the booklet that is actually pretty decent for an NES game. A man named Doctor Light built a bunch of robots to help him with stuff. Then the evil Doctor Wily came and took over the robots. Mega Man resisted Doctor Wily and set out to hunt down Wily and the Robots. Okay, it isn't Square Soft when it comes to story, but when have people played an action game for story?

The action has a neat twist to it. The creator of Mega Man said in his interview that one thing is strong against something and weak against something else. For example, paper beats the rock, but it loses to the scissors. Scissors beats the paper but loses to the rock. In Mega Man, when you defeat a robot master, you obtain an ability from them. The ability you gained from that boss is strong against another boss and so on. This rock paper scissors concept makes the fighting a lot more interesting.

As for the graphics, they have an upside and a downside. The downside is the backgrounds. There aren't any backgrounds. Most of the time, you'll just be staring and a big piece of blue in the background. The upside is that everything is clear and solid. Mega Man himself is animated very well and doesn't suffer from the NES protagonist syndrome (where the player is just a blurry mass of pixels). It is also worthy to mention that this game has some of the worst box art in history. It looks like someone just slapped a piece of paper in his face and told him to draw something. Mega Man himself looks like an old guy in a jumpsuit. I know it doesn't have anything to do with the game itself, but still.

This game was originally going to be called Rock Man. This is because the creator had music in mind (similar to rock and roll, Mega Man's sister is also named Roll by the way. It didn't make sense here because they changed his name). Mega Man is actually pretty good when it comes to music. You can see that a lot more effort was put into the soundtrack then in other NES games before that. The tunes stuck out and there were a few good ones, such as Cut Man's and Ice Man's theme. However, none of these measure up to tracks in the sequels like Wily's Castle (Mega Man 2), the Title Screen (Mega Man 3), or Charge Man's theme (Mega Man 5). Fortunately, they still kept music in mind when it came to the sequels.

So far, Mega Man has sound like a pretty good game right? It is, but Capcom decided to make the game so difficult that is wasn't funny. Mega Man is an extremely hard game, and you should be proud of yourself if you ever manage to beat it. In fact, this game came in second place in IGN's top 10 hardest games of all time. Their are many reasons why this game got that ranking.

Reason 1: This game had no save. Okay, so no NES games had a save. The game doesn't even have a password system. That means every time you cut the game off, you will have to start all the way back at the beginning. There aren't even any secret cheats to help you get to later levels.

Reason 2: The platforming itself is so difficult it makes Castlevania seem like a cakewalk. There are many instances where the platforming can seem to be way to difficult. This is most apparent in Guts Man's and Ice Man's stage. In Gut's Man stage, there are a line platforms that will just suddenly drop. This goes on for quite a while, making this stage very difficult. In Ice Man's stage, There are moving platforms that you have to jump to. Normally, this wouldn't sound so bad. But these platforms shoot at you. If you just get hit once, you will fall off to your doom. It is so unbelievably frustrating. This segment appears once again in the first stage of Wily's Castle. There are also many instances where small fast moving enemies will constantly hit you and knock you off the stage. This is most apparent in Elec Man's stage and Wily's second level (However, in Elec Man's stage, you will just get knocked down several screens.

Another annoying thing is that there is an extra item that is required to beat the game. If you do not get it, then you are stuck when you get to a certain point in the first level of Wily's Castle.

Reason 3: This is probably the most annoying of them all. In most platformers, when you get hit, you become invincible for a couple of seconds. Doing that, you can walk through most things without getting hit. Not true in Mega Man. When you land on spikes, even when you are invincible, you will die. It is so annoying, especially in the first level of Wily's Castle (again).

Reason 4: Many things that made the sequels easier are not found in this game (and I use the term easier very loosely). First of all, you cannot slide. Sure Mega Man 2 didn't have it, but at least it didn't have anything attacking you that would make sliding help very much. You cannot charge your Mega Buster. That isn't too much of a problem, since it didn't appear till the fourth installment. But this game has many enemies that can take an insane amount of damage and a charged weapon would have been nice to have. The worst offender is that there are no energy tanks in this game. In Wily's Castle, you must fight many enemies (not to mention clones of the the Robot masters and yourself), and not being able to heal makes those segments extremely difficult.

Reason 5: The bosses themselves are extremely difficult to fight. Before you fight one of the robot masters, you must go through a hallway filled with enemies and traps. This was there by mistake. Capcom originally were going to make those loading rooms, where Mega Man could go and the action wouldn't stop. However, when done as a cartridge those rooms just ended up being there. Thankfully, they took these out of the sequels. After you have made it through those rooms, you will have to fight an insanely strong robot master. Some of these guys can kill you in three hits alone. The bosses in Wily's Castle are no better either. If you don't know how to fight them, the Yellow Devil, Clone, Bubble Machine, and Wily will take you down in a heart beat. There is a glitch you can use to beat them thankfully.

This really isn't a reason why it is difficult, but it is interesting to note that this Mega Man was the only one to have kept a point system. The system
was never used for anything. It didn't affect the game in any way and you couldn't save your score.

Mega Man had the potential to be a great game. Actually it is a great game, just masked underneath a huge amount of difficulty. I would say without a doubt that the second through sixth installments are worth your money, but this one is debatable. I recommend you only play this game for nostalgia or if you want to see how the series started. As for the rest, I would just say to go ahead and skip to Mega Man 2. It will be a lot less frustrating that way.

Final score = 6.2/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 07/23/07

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