Review by MKillBill
"Megaman Begins his Mega Downward Spiral"
MegaMan V was one of those games that seemingly came out of nowhere. By that, I mean it appeared almost immediately after MM4, perhaps too soon for my taste. In retrospect, perhaps this game really WAS rushed out of production to compete with the Super NES. I knew this game was out there, but for some reason I never got around to playing it. I guess I just thought the series was complete after the 4th installment. This combined with the fact that the SNES was becoming vastly popular around this time (1992) led me to disregard MMV completely. I never actually got around to playing MM5 until a few years ago when I decided to go back and revisit the "lost MM games"(5 and 6) as I refer to them. What follows is a review of a popular game in a series slowly losing its luster due to lack of creativity and originality.
This is the story that should have been MM4. Protoman's role should have been further developed from MM3 to lead up to a big showdown in the following game. The fact that it is occurring now is still OK, but I just think it should have been done sooner. In any event as you'll find out, there is an all too predictable plot twist in the game upon reaching Protoman (do I really need to say what it is?) Yeah you figured it out. The main premise has started to get stale here, though it's not completely dead...yet. It's still a better story than MM4 by far, so I'll adjust the caption score accordingly.
This is one area of the game Capcom can not screw up (at least after MM1). The smooth animation of MM3 and MM4 returns, the backgrounds are phenomenal as always, and the bosses look pretty good to boot. I always love to see the character images on the stage select screens, great artwork. The only real change is with MegaMan's Mega Buster. The shot burst looks a little different as if it were more powerful, but it does the same amount of damage as in MM4. One thing I have always enjoyed is viewing the progress of your journey through the fortress levels as well as the fortresses themselves. Very nicely done here again with Protoman's castle and beyond. Once again, I have absolutely nothing to complain about here. That was short and sweet.
Sound (includes music and FX): 5/10
The lackluster effects which have plagued MM since the third game have followed him all the way to the end and this game is no exception. "oink oink oink!" "Achoo! Achoo!" Really gives a kiddie feel to the game; moreso here than in any of the previous 4 installments (Hey the game is called MegaMAN not MegaBOY). Things have improved slightly though. The sound made when an enemy is killed sounds more realistic than before, and a powered up buster shot better than before. As far as the soundtrack is concerned, for a MegaMan game, I was very disappointed. There were a few memorable tunes, but overall it just wasn't up to par with the rest of the series and it continues to have that mellow feel which began in MM3. It may not bother some people, but it rubs me the wrong way. The boss battles in particular were a major letdown. Even MM6 had better boss music than this (and MM6 was bad overall, let me tell you).
You go on a hunt against 8 robots before finally facing Protoman. The concept of using another bosses weapon against another boss never gets old and remains a primary reason why the series is so popular. There are a few new things in terms of extras, but essentially nothing new. MegaMan has no new skills this time around, which isn't necessarily bad, but it is a little disappointing if you are looking for change in the series. The Buster shot and the slide are still available, thankfully. Rush returns as your canine sidekick, but this time with only two forms: the Coil and Jet. The Marine was eliminated from this game due to it's obvious uselessness in the previous two games. One of the extra items added into the game is the Super Arrow; a device which acts similar to the Magnet Beam of MM1 and the jetsled of MM2. You can use it as a stepping stone or to fly across the screen. A useful device indeed. The balloon and wire adaptors from MM4 were removed, which I found disappointing; ESPECIALLY since the Rush Coil has been somewhat weakened in this game. Rush bounces up with you instead of bouncing you up alone and as a result the altitude of the jump is considerably lower. Only the Rush Jet is a viable option in my honest opinion and even that leaves something to be desired. The Rush Jet is still bound by the inability to move left or right, only up and down. MegaMan also has a new buddy at his disposal called BEAT. Beat is a robotic bird that flies around automatically killing or damaging any enemies on the screen. In order to acquire BEAT, you must go through each of the 8 regular levels and locate a particular letter in the phrase "MEGA MAN V." He's helpful for killing those out of reach enemies, those it's just as easy to use a weapon from a robot master. An interesting, yet unnecessary addition to the gameplay. Lastly, there is another new type of energy tank: the M tank. The M tank acts as a "refill all" tank, as it refills not only your lifebar, but also the energy of every single weapon and item you have. These tanks are very rare, but come in handy for refilling before a boss fight or the traditional robot master gauntlet at the end of the game. There is also an instance in the game where you commandeer a jet-ski, something I found fun and interesting.
Play Control: 9/10
They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The perfect play control created in MM3 continues again in MM5...with maybe one or two minor exceptions. In certain levels where the gravity shifts up and down, the controls are reversed and it becomes confusing at times. The boss battle with Gravity Man comes to mind, in which gravity is constantly shifting. It makes for a very interesting, yet frustrating level and boss battle, one of the best I've ever played in fact. But aside from this, everything remains pretty much the same. No major issues except for the reverse controls with gravity.
Compared to the rest of the games in the NES series, this is one of the easiest. It offers some challenge in particular stages and with certain bosses (Gravity Man and Charge Man in particular), but overall the difficulty factor just isn't as high as its predecessors. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some of the challenge is due to the play control with the shifting gravity in a particular stage, but otherwise it's slightly above mediocre. The fortresses after the regular 8 stages are, once again, a joke. They are relatively easy to breeze through. So all in all you have an above average challenge, but nothing overwhelming.
In terms of game length, MM5 is about as long as MM4; perhaps a tad longer. There are 8 robot masters and 2 fortresses, but if you wish to search for the letters necessary to acquire BEAT, that could tack on some additional time. The password feature comes in handy here again, moreso than ever now with those BEAT letters. It keeps track of enemies beaten, items acquired, number of energy tanks, and the BEAT letters you've found.
I think a 6 describes this game perfectly. It's above average; not terrible. But MM5 doesn't offer anything new which we haven't already seen. The additions of BEAT and the Super Arrow were interesting, but were merely bonuses that didn't add much to the gameplay. The music which we've grown to love with MegaMan games took a serious nosedive here; another factor which led to the score decrease. Players new to the MegaMan series might enjoy this game very much given it's fair challenge level and fantastic graphics. If you are looking anything new and exciting from the blue bomber, you'd be best to stop your adventures after MM4. As you'll see later, MM6 also fails to bring anything new to the table.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 02/18/05, Updated 04/25/06
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