Review by MKillBill
"Enter the Scrap Heap"
When I heard that Capcom was going to create a sixth MegaMan title for the NES, I initially scoffed and laughed at it. I thought to myself, haven't they already beaten the series to death on the NES? Heck, I thought MM5 was rushed out...then I saw this. Bear in mind that in the year this game was released (1993), MegaMan X was released on the Super NES to jubilant fanfare. MMX received such attention and scrutiny that MM6 was left in the dust, regardless of how good or bad it really was. Well I'm here to say that if you, like myself, initially left MM6 in the dust, you didn't miss anything. A tired story, depreciating music, and total lack of originality have led to the creation of the worst MegaMan title in the series since MM1. Read on if you must know why.
8 robots have been gathered to compete in a strongest robot tournament. Mr. X, the sponsor of the tournament, steals the robots and programs them for world domination. He claims to have been the one manipulating Dr. Wily from the beginning. Does anyone think this X guy bears any physical resemblance to Dr. Wily at all? Yeah, me neither (/sarcasm). Honestly, this story is decent for a couple reasons, but flawed for others. First of all, Nintendo Power magazine actually held a contest in which the winners would be allowed to name and design robots in the game. I believe Wind Man was one of the characters created by a winner and there were others. This contest is actually a good precursor to the story of a robot tournament which people from around the world submit robots. The problem I have comes with Mr. X, but due to possible spoilage I will not delve on it here. Thank God Capcom gives us some closure to the series at the end of the game...or do they?
This is the saving grace of MM6. No matter how unoriginal or boring the brains at Capcom have become, they never fail to deliver on stunning 8-bit graphics. This game was released in 1993, the final year of full-time development for NES games. Some of the most visually pleasing games were released in this year and MM6 just happens to be one of them. Colorful environments, well drawn characters and bosses, and last but not least: very sharp level design and layout. Everything is finely detailed. You couldn't ask for much more in terms of graphics on the NES console. Again, no complaints.
If you thought MM5 was bad, you haven't heard anything yet. Well, anything good at least. I would say, overall, that MM6 has the worst soundtrack of all six NES MegaMan games. There are some bright spots here and there, some memorable tunes in the soundtrack, similar to MM5. The boss fight music is decent, and the final battle are also fairly good to listen to. But the mellow tone which began in MM3 and followed MegaMan to his 8-bit end in MM6 still exists. The music is more ambient than fitting for the game. I so miss the upbeat tracks of MM1 and MM2 (a little of 3 too). The sound effects continue to annoy me, "ACHOO!" "OINK OINK!" And even worse, the Mega Buster sounds exactly like a regular shot. What's the matter Capcom? In such a hurry to rush this game out to production that you couldn't even do that? My goodness. Still, in comparison to all the other NES games out there, it's better than most. I can't give this game any higher than a 5 in sound...and that's being EXTREMELY generous.
As with MM5, MM6 offers absolutely nothing new in terms of special skills for Mega Man. MM3 brought the slide, MM4 brought the Mega Buster, and that was it. The rest of the changes were merely cosmetic changes and item additions and subtractions. As dictated before, this isn't necessarily bad unless you are looking for change in the series. But after 5 previous games, all playing out the exact same way in form and concept, do you really expect anything different here? Especially from a game that was rushed out of production? Anyway...this game does feature some nifty gadgets for MegaMan to use. The one of most relevance is Rush. Yes, Rush has been around for some time now, but he is no longer the canine companion which acts as your trampoline or jetsled. Instead, he has been transformed into armor which can powerup MegaMan in a number of different ways. One suit of armor acts as a power vest which basically allows for power punches, and powered up punches which do a load of damage and can also bust through broken walls. Another type of armor in the game is the jetpack. It takes the place of the Rush-jet and puts the Coil and Jet to shame quite frankly. You can reach the top of the screen in less than a second with the jetpack. The downside to the Rush armor is with the loss of the sliding ability. A sacrifice you'll have to make, but a good one. Other additions include a little known item called the energy stabilizer. If you manage to find this hidden item, it will take weapon energy refills and automatically fill up the lowest weapon or item in your inventory without having to manually switch to that weapon/item. Handy if you are lazy I guess, but unnecessary. Fliptop is back again, just as in MM4 and MM5; giving you helpful energy and weapon refills, extra lives, and the likes when possible. As always, you have access to the classic energy tanks and also the M-tanks introduced in MM5 (the refill all tank). And finally, BEAT has returned to aid MegaMan in the later stages of the game. You only need to acquire 4 letters this time as opposed to 8 in MM5, but to get them you must find a secret entrance to the robot master chamber and then defeat the "true" robot master. The game is easy enough that you shouldn't need to even consider getting BEAT, unless you are the type of player who needs to find every single secret in the game. To summarize, nothing overly new, but it's simple enough to remain fun.
Play Control: 10/10
Ever since MM3, there have little to no problems in the play control department which I am very happy to report. The reverse control problem which reared its head in MM5 has disappeared since there isn't a reverse gravity level in this game. The basic controls, the smoothness of play, it's all here and nothing has changed. Jump, shoot,, move, climb, slide, power up shot. With the Rush armor, holding down the shoot button will power up the armor to get the desired effect. No complaints.
This game is by far the easiest installment of the NES series. I will admit that the game level design challenge is decent, especially in the fortress levels. The AI of the actual enemies is decent, but the real joke comes with the robot masters. The majority of their attacks rely on jumping around the screen and their actual attacks are downright pitiful. Next to Mega Man 1, this is by far the most pathetic display of difficulty from bosses I have seen. What was Capcom thinking when they programmed the AI for these bosses? Appealing to the younger, inexperienced audience perhaps? I know the robots were "created by people from around the world" but I didn't realize they were that stupid, lol. Mr X deserves to be killed for his idiocy, I swear. Him or the brains at Capcom... Enemy intelligence aside, the addition of the Rush jetpack makes much of the game seem simple since you can reach any place on the screen and fly over any tough spot without firing a single shot.
This game is many things. Worst music in the series, worst challenge in the series, and also the longest game time in the series. Aside from the obvious 8 robot masters and 2 fortresses, you have the option of searching for those BEAT letters. To do that, you will have to find alternate entrances to the boss chambers. Doing so and defeating the "true" robot master will give you one of the four letters which spell out BEAT. This only needs to be done in 4 of the 8 regular levels, but it requires playing through the levels twice, unless of course you find the secret boss chamber on the first run-through. The password feature is about as helpful as ever; keeping track of every single item/weapon collected.
It pains me to have to rate a MegaMan game this low, but all things considered I have no choice. The sloppy soundtrack, lack of meaningful additions to the game, HORRIBLE challenge factor, and insulting storyline have forced me to give an insulting score to a game in a legendary franchise. This being said, if you are looking for an introduction to the NES MegaMan series with a minimal challenge, this is your game of choice. If you are a veteran to the series looking for something new, I am sad to say that you will be sorely disappointed (unless the Rush Armor appeals to you). It is a crying shame that such a famed series in gaming history has to have the equivalent of Virtual Boy in it's library.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 02/22/05, Updated 09/21/15
Game Release: Mega Man 6 (US, 03/31/94)
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