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Mega Man’s 25th Anniversary

Mega Man, and the franchise’s parent company Capcom, have had it rough for the past few years.


Mega Man has not had not a retail release for a major home console since Mega Man X8 back in 2005 on the PlayStation 2, a game which sold poorly (though I personally adored). The series, according to Capcom’s investor relations page, has managed to sell 29 million total units. However, that number should be considered in context—there are 129 total releases for the franchise and the series is now 25 years old. To put that in perspective, Pokémon Red and Blue have sold approximately 31 million units in their lifetime alone. That’s right; the entire Mega Man franchise collectively can’t stand up to the first generation of Nintendo’s collect-a-monster RPG series. Even though Mega Man 9 was an 8-bit masterpiece and helped reinvigorate interest in the series in the public eye, the franchise’s troubles were far from over. An uncertain future, a fragmented brand identity, a convoluted canon, and a difficult position in the market meant trouble for the blue bomber. So, Capcom had cancelled its projects for the year. Among those was Mega Man Legends 3, a game that I, like many other fans, was eagerly waiting for with rabid enthusiasm. Cancelling that game was simply the last straw for the fan base.

What's next for the series?
What’s next for the series?

Perhaps it’s a good thing though. Because of that cancellation (among cancellations for the promising Mega Man Universe and the interesting Mega Man Online), the fan response has been significant. It would be fair to point out that the level of hatred aimed at Capcom is, most of the time, rather unwarranted. Fans were willing to find fault in everything that the company did, taking any available opportunity to voice their disgust. However, considering everything that has happened, the company has tried to gamble on the blue bomber a lot. The games in the series have not typically sold well. The original games were not on par with Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog, yet Capcom pursued it. We’ve even seen several spinoffs and reinventions, including the fan-favorite Mega Man Legends and the Mega Man Battle Network series (which is still rather unique and unorthodox).

This has been the best time ever for Mega Man merchandise.
This has been the best time ever for Mega Man merchandise.

With the fan response, Capcom has re-evaluated their position on Mega Man. Hopefully now the series might be taken seriously again and a full, retail, console release might be in the realm of possibility. The series has certainly not died out among its fans and this has been the best time ever for merchandise based on the franchise. The excellent comic adaptation from Archie, the great English-adaptations of the Megamix and Gigamix manga series, and of course, the thoroughly awesome D-Arts line of collectible figures have been real treat for fans. December 17th is Mega Man’s official birthday, and this year marks the 25th anniversary for the franchise. To commemorate this event, Capcom has released Street Fighter X Mega Man, a company-backed fan project. The game can be downloaded now directly from Capcom’s website, for free.

Download this game immediately!
Download this game immediately!

This game is a real treat for fans of both series. It’s a labor of love from fans to the rest of the fan base—and it’s great to see that the Company has recognized and supported this project.  Zong Hui and A_Rival deserve large amounts of praise for working on this game. Capcom has been a rather supportive company, even in times that fans would like to claim otherwise. What other company gives fans an early look into the development process? Reaches out so well online, via blogs and forums? Actively pursues user content and feedback? While there are many fair criticisms that can be leveled against the company, they have frequently sought innovation, tried new things, partnered with other companies, and done everything to reach out to fans and others in the industry.

Download Street Fighter X Mega Man and give it a try. Even if 2D side-scrolling isn’t your thing, it’s an excellent project, and one worth supporting. The game plays like every other in the classic Mega Man series, with simple jump and shoot mechanics. The charge shot and slide mechanics seem like they were ripped directly out of Mega Man 4. The game is certainly challenging. The level design is simplistic and can appear rough around the edges, but the game has some clever ideas and fun enemies to face. Hopefully after this, Capcom will start to look into other games to release. Mega Man 1 through 6 are being prepared for release on the 3DS eShop and some new merchandise is in the pipeline.


What’s next for Mega Man? As a fan, there are many projects I would love to see. A revival of the Legends series and Mega Man X9 are the games I would most like to play. Some new games on the home console and new innovations in the franchise would also be appreciated. If I had to make some predictions about what may come out for Mega Man’s 25th anniversary, I would place my bet on some kind of ultimate anthology collection. I’m also willing to bet that the company is looking at a franchise reboot, to try and provide some innovation for a series that many accuse of growing stagnant. Perhaps it is the right time, as well. Mega Man X reinvigorated interest in Mega Man after people grew tired of the 8-bit adventures. Mega Man Legends brought the series into 3D, infused it with adventure gameplay a la Legend of Zelda and even some trace elements of sandbox gameplay. Mega Man Battle Network dramatically altered the face of Mega Man and was one of the franchise’s more notable successes. Maybe it’s time for a new series to help bring it back into the spotlight.

NOTE: You can download Street Fighter X Mega Man here. This game is only available for the PC at this time, though it may come to consoles at a later date. It is completely free! Gamepad controls are supported during play and it is highly recommended that you use a USB controller rather than a keyboard.

A New Mega Man Game?!

CAPCOM has not enjoyed the best relationship with its fanbase for the last year or so, especially with the Mega Man faithful. Following the cancellation of Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3, fans are feeling particularly sour. Some people look for any reason to be upset, whether it’s the inclusion of hilarious Bad Box Art Mega Man in Street Fighter X Tekken (which is so radical I’d buy the game just for him), the lack of Mega Man in Ultimate Marvel vs. CAPCOM 3 (the way he was butchered in Marvel vs. CAPCOM 1 and 2 makes me grateful he wasn’t in, to be honest), and the frankly lazy iOS port of Mega Man X. But some fans will be very justified in their dissatisfaction with CAPCOM’s latest announcement, Rockman Xover (pronounced “cross over”).

The concept made me excited beyond words at first. According to the translated description posted on sites like The Mega Man Network, the story goes: “It’s a world where all the worlds of Rockman have crossed over. The gulf of space-time has been closed thanks to the efforts of Dr. Wily, Sigma and other villains to Rockman and co.! Dr Light and Dr. Cossack work together in creating a new robot to oppose this crisis. A production model, this robot uses “battle memory” that has been scattered over the world, and possesses infinite potential to transform and increase his power. The player battles evil as this new type robot. Create your own Rockman, and battle with others to protect peace!”

A crossover game putting together every series in the Mega Man franchise? That sounds amazing! I would’ve loved to see all of the Mega Man characters team up to take down villains from the franchise. The description, however, leads me to believe that it isn’t really “all” of the games, but rather the classic and X series respectively, given the inclusion of Dr. Light and Dr. Cossack, as well as Sigma. What could possibly be so bad about this? Well, it’s a Social RPG for iOS. I can’t say I’m too excited for the idea. Actual game mechanic details are slim at this point, so it’s probably too early to make a judgment call, but I just can’t shake this feeling of disappointment. Some fans are obviously taking this too far, claiming that CAPCOM intends to kill the franchise intentionally–which is just silly and misguided. Hopefully more games will be announced as part of the 25th anniversary and this is just a taste of things to come, and for what it’s worth, this may end up being a fun and addictive little diversion.



As a quick disclaimer about compatibility,  it will run on iPhone 3GS/4/4S, and iPod Touch models beyond generation 3. It is playable on iPad, but the game is not designed for the iPad’s resolution. The game is currently set for release in Japan this Fall. CAPCOM has already confirmed that this will be released in the US and European markets. Thanks to 4Gamer.net for posting the original story.


Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge Review

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge (Available on Nintendo 3DS eShop)
ESRB Rating:
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: CAPCOM
Developer: CAPCOM
Release Date: September 15th, 2011
MSRP: $3.99

What is it? Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge was originally released on the Game Boy in 1991 and was the Blue Bomber’s first foray into the handheld scene. More of a remix than a new entry, Dr. Wily’s Revenge took elements from Mega Man and Mega Man 2 on the NES and combined them into one distinct adventure. Select Robot Masters from each game make appearances, along with a new enemy named Enker. The premise is simple: challenge a Robot Master, complete his level, and then defeat him to claim his weapon. That weapon can then be used for the rest of the game. Each boss enemy is weak to a specific weapon, giving the game a rock-paper-scissors design.

Review Basis: Completed the game at least a dozen times, on both the original Game Boy and 3DS.

The Great: Mega Man on the go! The original Mega Man series remains as one of the greatest relics of the 8-bit era. The fine-tuned gameplay, fun characters, and excellent stage design made the NES games stand out as some of the best on the system. The Game Boy title, Dr. Wily’s Revenge, successfully kept the spirit of the series in tact on its way to the handheld scene. The game still remains fun to play today on the eShop. With so many Mega Man titles available on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console series (including 1 through 5 and X), it was only a matter of time until the Game Boy titles made their debut. If you enjoy platforming/action games, this is a great choice.

The Good:

+ Fun and challenging 2D levels. While not nearly as long as the NES originals, the levels are well designed and challenging. They can be completed in short bursts, which is ideal for a handheld action game. Each stage has a unique gimmick or stage theme to fit with the boss’ name/powers. Also, even though the boss enemies are the same, the levels are actually completely different from the NES games! Even the stage themes have been changed, to give the game a distinct flavor. Each level has a variety of traps and hazards, many of which can kill you instantly.

+ Tight controls. The jumping and shooting mechanics are as spot on as ever. Certain sections require precise jumping skills, so mastery of the controls is an absolute necessity. Several levels are quite difficult.

+ The Restore Point feature improves on the game’s balance. The original game was incredibly punishing because of its high level of difficulty. The password system let players save their progress, but the Restore Point feature makes saving progress easier and can make tense platforming sections less stressful.

+ Eight bosses, including one special boss! There are four main levels to tackle, each of which housing a Robot Master to take down: Fire Man, Ice Man, Cut Man, and Elec Man. In Dr. Wily’s castle, players can face off with Quick Man, Bubble Man, Flash Man, and Heat Man from Mega Man 2, in addition to the Mega Man Killer Robot Enker!  Defeating Enker nets you his unique and powerful Mirror Buster weapon.

+ Catchy chiptune music. While not as memorable or as exciting as Mega Man or Mega Man 2’s soundtrack, Dr. Wily’s Revenge has a radical set of tunes.

The Bad:

-Compared to later Game Boy Mega Man games, the package is light. Mega Man II through V on Game Boy have more stages and content to play through.MM IV and MMV especially outshine this entry thanks to a slew of fun, new features, better level design, better visuals, and improved balance.

-The zoomed-in perspective can make platforming more difficult. Compared to the NES games, Mega Man’s character sprite is larger and the perspective is far more zoomed-in (most likely to compensate for the Game Boy’s small screen size). This can make traversing difficult platforming sections even more stressful.

The Ugly:

-No Energy Tanks. Even after all these years, it still hurts.

The Lowdown:

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge is far from the best game in the classic series. It is easily outshined by the superior NES titles and some of the later Game Boy entries, especially Mega Man V. Still, even a “good” Mega Man title is still far from the bad choice. It jumps ahead of many other games available on the eShop Virtual Console service and is worthy of a purchase. If you like run-and-gun 2D action games, give this one a go!

Score: 7.5/10

Mega Man 10 Impressions

So Mega Man 10 is out today for WiiWare…so as a hardcore fan, I’ve already played through and beat the game!  Now I’m ready to lay down some initial thoughts of the experience.

First of all, Mega Man 10 is obviously continuing on the retro-revival route that was set down by Mega Man 9.  That means the game feels a lot like the original six NES games in the series, although it does reference 7 and 8 as well.  It’s a simple, fun, but challenging game.  Mega Man 9 was really successful in bringing back the nostalgic feeling of the classic NES days, even though some fans have been very vocal about the retro 8-bit graphics.  As a fan, I would love to see a console release with more snazzy visuals, and the PSP remakes were great to see especially, but the 8-bit aesthetic is easy to appreciate–and it’s quite at home as a download game.  It makes the game really easy to get into for a small price.

In the course of this game, all the robots of the world are becoming sick due to an illness called Roboenza.  Mega Man’s sister Roll also comes down with the illness, making Mega Man desperate to find a cure.  Dr. Wily claims he was looking into making an antidote and had finally produced a machine that would make the antitode, but it was stolen by an infected robot who went crazy.  The story is actually a little light here, even for a Mega Man game.  In the classic series, the focus isn’t so much on the plot (unlike the X games), but still, a little more narrative would have been nice.  The game’s prologue takes awhile, but it feels like there very few cutscenes during the course of the game, and the epilogue is practically nonexistent.  The classic Mega Man games are supposed to be fun and lighthearted, which is what 10 does, but a little more story wouldn’t hurt.

The gameplay is just awesome.  In true Mega Man fashion, it’s all about run-and-gun.  It seems as though 10 incorporates many ideas that weren’t implemented in 9, and is a very rich game as a result.  Each stage is thoroughly creative and offers some kind of unique twist.  There are many variations of enemies to conquer, and some stages even feature multiple pathways (similar to Mega Man 6).  Commando’s Man has quicksand areas similar to Pharoah Man’s stage in Mega Man 4, but it also has its own unique twist with a sandstorm stage hazard–making it impossible to see pitfalls or other hazards.  Pump Man’s stage takes place in a sewer, thus giving it some similarity to Toad Man in Mega Man 4, but there are some interesting quirks, like enemies that plug up pipes and block your way.  Right off the bat, Mega Man and Proto Man are both available, and there are some differences in their play style.  Just like in 9, Proto Man has the charge shot and slide, while Mega Man can only run, jump,and shoot.  The game also features an Easy Mode right away, although Hard Mode can be unlocked after beating the game.

Some gamers may be tempted to go with Easy Mode right away…and for good reason.  Mega Man 10 is HARD, and unapologetically so.  I’d say that the game on Normal is a little harder than 9 on the same mode.  There are lots of very challenging moments and there were times I just barely got by.  Playing with Proto Man is even harder, because he takes double damage from every enemy!  Against the robots masters, I would stometimes die in as little as four hits.  The game is certainly hard, but it’s been a fun ride.

There are also a variety of challenges available, but there are two kinds.  One list of challenges are basically achievements, which are earned through the course of the main game.  If you beat the game without getting damaged, you’ll earn the Mr. Perfect Challenge.  The other kind of challenge is basically a seperate game mode, where you have to play through short stages with specific rules, similar to Mega Man Powered Up.  For example, one stage is called “Jump Master,” and in it you must reach the end goal by mastering some difficult jumps.  That’s about the gist of it, and adds a lot of longevity to the game.  The other additions from Mega Man 9 have always made their way into 10: rankings, time attack, and download content.

The music is great overall, with a fantastic array of tunes.  The feel of the soundtrack is darker than 9’s, making it feel a lot like Mega Man 3 on the NES.  Some of the Wily stages in particular, along with Pump Man’s stage bring this to mind, with darker, slower tunes.  Mega Man 9 had a lot of brighter, faster songs that felt quite similar to Mega Man 2.  The ending theme in 10 is particularly awesome, and my personal favorites were Solar Man’s theme and Nitro Man’s theme (which you may recognize from the prootional trailers).  The music for the final Wily stage was a bit disappointing though.

Mega Man 10 is great for the fans.  Expect the full review soon.