Review by dtm666
Lacks polish, but new additions breathes life into this final NES outing.
An interesting sidenote before we begin: the North American version of Mega Man 6 was released not by Capcom, but by Nintendo. The reasoning is that Capcom was already focused on developing Mega Man X for Super NES and probably felt that releasing No. 6 in the States wasn't worth the effort. Fortunately, Nintendo was more than willing to bring the game over to us silly North Americans who were still clutching our aging NES consoles. Strangely enough, this game also never saw the light of day in Europe. Which is a shame, really...
So, yeah. Mega Man 6... the final NES game in the series is a game that I recall having many fond memories of and for a time was one of my favorite entries in the series. Even today, I still consider it to be a top-notch favorite in terms of the grand scale of the series, but as I play more from a reviewing standpoint than from a longtime player standpoint, I do have to admit that the lower quality nature of the whole package does tend to hurt the game in the long run. How so? Well, let's see for ourselves, shall we?
STORY: The story provides an interesting mix to the proceedings, as a tournament of robots was taking place. Just as the final eight participants are announced and prepped to compete, some mysterious guy named Mr. X comes in and reprograms them to take over the world. Once again, it's up to the Blue Bomber to save the day and bring that wily man down. It's probably one of the weakest plots I've seen in a Mega Man game, but it's not terrible. 7/10
GRAPHICS: Graphically... just guess how this game looks graphically. Just guess... because if you answered "It looks like the other games in the series", then give yourself a cookie. Although it really seems like all of these game look the same and are virtually indistinguishable, there are a couple minor graphical effects that are noteworthy. Primarily in the Tomahawk Man stage, where there's actual semblance on parallax scrolling in the beginning of the game as well as the sun setting. They're not ground-breaking visuals, but they are a nice touch. Other than that, the game looks the same as all the others and there's mostly nothing that hasn't been done before. No complaints. 9/10
SOUND: If there was any sign that Capcom has pretty much phoned this one in, it would be in the sound department. The background music itself is standard fare and decent for the most part, but there's nothing really noteworthy... it's just an overall average composition of Mega Man tunes that aren't all that memorable, but otherwise not terrible. However, the sound effects are rather lacking. Almost ALL of your weapons emit the same sound effect; the only exception being the Centaur Flash (which actually has its own sound effect) and the Plant Barrier (which has no sound period). Even when firing a charged Buster shot, it sounds like you're firing a regular one. What's there is fairly good, but that's about it. It's a weak offering in regards to the sound and the game suffers because of it. 6/10
GAMEPLAY: Mega Man 6, unsurprisingly, plays like the previous Mega Man games. You pick a stage, fight throught the stage, beat the boss, gain his weapon... lather, rinse, and repeat. Mega Man 6 sort of slims down the package of a bit. No Rush accessories, no Mystery Tanks, no extra utilities... the only thing you really start off with is the depowered Mega Buster from the previous game (the one where you lose your charge whenever you're hit). While all of your old tools are gone, you still have a couple new tricks up your sleeve.
Rush's function has changed in this game; instead of transforming into accessories like Rush Coil or Rush Jet, he can merge with Mega Man to become two different forms; Power Mega Man (a heavy-armored Mega Man that can destroy certain blocks and unveil items/paths) and Jet Mega Man (a jet-pack wearing Mega Man who can hover in the air for short periods of time). Some people liked this, others hated it; I personally thought that this was a neat way to change things up a bit and is a definite step up over what was laughingly called a Rush Coil in Mega Man 5.
Beat makes its return as an attack drone (accessible by collecting B-E-A-T circuit plates through alternate means) and trusted ally, although no longer as effective as he was in five. Also hidden in the game is a new item called an Energy Balancer, which is a helpful tool that refills your low-ammo weapons whenever you pick up a Weapon Capsule. A nice little tool that they implemented into Mega Man X as a standard feature.
Not really much else to comment on; the controls are classic Mega Man and as tight as you're going to get on a Mega Man game. And there's enough new additions to make this a more unique Mega Man in the grand scheme of things. 10/10
CHALLENGE: Certain level have alternate paths and even alternate boss chambers for you to uncover, which is a somewhat welcomed wrench thrown to the linear stylings of the formula. Outside of that, Mega Man 6 is just difficult as the previous efforts. Not too hard that you'll want to give up, but enough that you'll have to actually work at it before winning the game. Some would argue that it's nowhere as difficult as 3 or 4, but I'll agree that it's nowhere near as frustrating as the first one. For the most part, you'll have to learn to use your Rush Adapters effectively if you're going to uncover the alternate routes or even make it through the latter half of the game. Standard Mega Man fare nonetheless. 8/10
REPLAY VALUE: Replay value is the same for all titles and is no exception here. It's rather pointless for me to even be mentioning this by now. However, the alternate paths do add some replayability. 8/10
OVERALL: By the time Mega Man 6 rolled around, it was clear that the series was running out of steam and Capcom was moving forward with the next phase with the Mega Man X series. As a result, this final NES entry, while a good shake-up of the formula, suffered and ends up being an unpolished released. It sometimes feels like Capcom released a game that's only 90% complete, forgoing the remaining 10% which could improved the overall package. However, looking past the subpar presentation and sound output, Mega Man 6 offers tried-and-true Mega gameplay along with a couple new toys to play with and is still a great addition to the series. There's no doubt that had more time been spent giving the game that final polish, it would have been the greatest of the 8-bit titles and the wonderful end of an era. Even as it is, Mega Man 6 is still a very good game in the series and if you have yet to play it, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot; either in its original NES format or on the Mega Man Anniversary Collection disc. Recommended. 8/10
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Mega Man 6 (US, 03/31/94)
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