Review by Sour
An instant classic, and still a great game
A fledgling company by the name of Capcom in 1987 decided to unveil their newest game, that ended up being a hit and is still fun to play 23 years later. Featuring unique level design, the ability to choose what order you play the levels in. Mega Man was a hit and Capcom still produces new games in the old, 8-bit style to this very day. It eventually even spawned a fan-made film that Capcom green-lighted. The original Mega Man lives on in fans' hearts as the groundwork to the series we all know and love, and many praise it for it's level of difficulty.
Story 10/10: The plot here is simple but effective. It's the year 20XX and two scientists have begun building robots to help mankind in various activities, such as timber-felling and work in extreme temperatures. Before those, they had recently built two robots for lab assistants who consider each other brother and sister. One of the scientists, Dr. Albert Wily, has decided that he wants to take over the world, and thus re-programs the various robots except for the assistants, to help him achieve his goal. In retaliation, the good Dr. Light has modified and re-programmed one of the robots for battle to take down the evil bots and eventually Dr. Wily himself. He was given the name Mega Man, and thus began his long, tiring quest to destroy Wily's bots and apprehend Wily himself, as Dr. Light's robots are programmed not to harm humans. Little did Mega Man know how long this feud would last...
Gameplay: 10/10: Upon starting up the game, you'll have the option to choose one of the six stages. Each stage has one of the aforementioned re-programmed robots at the end, dubbed "Robot Masters". You'll have to make it through the stage and defeat the bots one by one. Mega Man is a side-scrolling shoot 'em up, and the only game in the franchise with an actual points system, but really it makes no difference compared to the other great games in the franchise. Upon defeating a Robot Master, you'll receive their power. For instance, defeating Fire Man will give you the ability to shoot from Mega Man's arm cannon, called the "Mega Buster". Each boss has a specific weakness to another robots' power as well. This knowledge comes in handy big time, as some of the Robot Masters can be quite tough. You'll have to use trial and error to figure out which boss is weak to what power. At least before the days of the internet, so I suppose you could look it up nowadays. Upon beating all of the selectable stages, you'll have to go through Wily's fortress to go after the big man himself. You'll have to face the Robot Masters again, as well as very unique bosses. Even these bosses have their weaknesses, so be sure to try everything! Each level has plenty of nasty death traps as well. Beware of touching any spikes as they will kill Mega Man instantaneously. In later games, you can abuse invincibility frames by getting hit by an enemy and jumping on the spikes with no recourse so long as you're speedy. However, that is not the case in this game unfortunately. The game doesn't care if you're flickering or not, one hit on spikes and you're toast! Some levels also have their own gimmicks as well. In the ice level, for instance, most of the ground is extremely slippery and a wrong move could land you in a bottomless pit. Fire Man's stage has pools of lava that will kill you just as the spikes do. The game also features some pretty unique enemies, the bosses of Wily's fortress included. The difficulty is often rated as pretty high, so be on your guard!
Sound: 10/10: The music in this game is simply fantastic. Not many words can describe how great the soundtrack in this game is. One or two of the songs are often rumored to be sampled by various famous artists such as R.E.M. and Journey. So you may be able to pick out some familiar tunes here! The game has two fantastic songs for fighting bosses. One you'll hear as you fight the Robot Masters and the others occur as you fight the bosses at the end of each Wily stage. The music varies from stage to stage as well, giving you fresh tracks to listen to. The entire franchise is pretty well-known for its outstanding soundtracks and this game is not an exception. Every song from this game has been covered and remixed so many times that it's not even funny. And it isn't, but it sure is awesome!
Graphics: 10/10: For the time, the graphics were really solid and touted as "high-res". And it was pretty good at the time, rivaling the graphics of even first-party console games. Most people prefer these 8-bit graphics in the series, because with later installments, they tried 16 and 32-bit. The result was that the environments meshed together and the physics were a little goofy, not to mention over-sized sprites. Why they didn't go the same route as they did with the Mega Man X franchise, I'll never know. Perhaps they wanted them to be noticeably different. So the newer installments have gone back to the retro-look and it looks like it may be that way for quite some time. The graphics here are just plain solid, you shouldn't have any difficulty seeing what's what. And thankfully, this game doesn't suffer from crazy lag like the next in the series does.
Overall: 10/10: An instant classic, Mega Man will remain in the hearts of fans forever. For those of you that have gotten started late in the series with installments such as 9 or 10, or even 7 and 8, I urge you to pick up this game on the virtual console and fire it up. You won't be disappointed!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Mega Man (US, 12/31/87)
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