Mega Man 4 Review

Mega Man 4

Mega Man 4 is often seen as a turning point in the series. Mega Mans 2 and 3 are hailed as classics to this day, while Mega Man 4 is often seen as the black sheep of the bunch. The next few sequels would similarly be less-fondly remembered, as Mega Man 4 didn’t give gamers much incentive to stick with the on-going NES sequels with the then-new SNES and Genesis on the market.

Mega Man 4 is a better game than its reputation might suggest. It retains much of the fun gameplay and sharp level design of its predecessors, and it even adds a good dose of narrative to the equation. But Mega Man 4 does have its faults – primarily in its lack of creativity and a gameplay change that fans still debate today – that prevent it from reaching the heights of the series’ finer entries.

The aforementioned gameplay change is Mega Man’s new Mega Buster, which allowed the Blue Bomber to charge his arm canon to shoot a more powerful blast. The charged shot made Mega Man stronger than ever, but it also came at a price, as it relegated the Robot Master abilities to little more than window dressing.

Mega Man still gains new powers from the Robot Masters he defeats, and like before their powers are effective against one another in an elaborate game of rock-paper-scissors. In the previous Mega Man games, the Robot Master abilities also found use in the stages themselves, but in Mega Man 4 they are useful almost exclusively in boss battles (some of which feel unfairly difficult without the correct power), as the new Mega Buster subverts them in the overall gameplay.

The Mega Buster was Mega Man 4’s thing. It’s understandable that Capcom would want to play it up. But they seemed to get a better hang of balancing it with Mega Man’s other powers in subsequent games. Mega Man 4 is so enthusiastic about its new toy that everything else in its toybox becomes an afterthought. Most of the Robot Master abilities even feel recycled from the previous games.

Similarly, Mega Man’s robot dog Rush doesn’t gain any additional moves, sticking to the same three he had in Mega Man 3 (with the Rush Jet strangely feeling clunkier to control than it did in its debut). The Mega Buster was at the front and center of Mega Man 4. On its own that’s not such a bad thing, but it feels like Capcom emphasized it at the expense of being creative elsewhere.

Mega Man 4That’s not to say that Mega Man 4 isn’t fun, however. This is still Mega Man, and you’d be hard pressed to find an entry in the core Mega Man series that wasn’t great to play. The run, jump and shoot simplicity of Mega Man is left intact, complimented by some great level designs that build on their gimmicks as you progress through them. Dive Man’s stage, for example, tests players’ underwater jumping abilities, only to test them further once the water levels fluctuate.

The stage design remains challenging, and will push even Mega Man veterans to their limits. At its best it’s on par with Mega Man 3’s difficulty, at its worst it can feel a bit frustrating. In short, if you’re new to Mega Man, you might not want to start with 4.

One of Mega Man 4’s highlights is its added narrative. Yes, it’s a simple plot, but Mega Man 4 presents its story in some fun ways. An opening cinematic explains the fall of Dr. Wily and the rise of a new villain, Dr. Cossack, giving the game a more fleshed-out setup. There’s even a fun (though entirely foreseeable) plot twist! Again, it’s nothing spectacular, but it gives Mega Man 4 a charm of its own.

The plot twist also means that Mega Man 4 gets a second castle segment. After Mega Man defeats the eight Robot Masters, he moves onto Dr. Cossack’s castle. Then, after besting that castle, Mega Man moves onto another castle! This extends 4’s length almost to that of Mega Man 3. Though Mega Man 3’s twist of additional selectable stages may be more fun, you have to give Mega Man 4 credit for including a twist of its own.

Mega Man 4Visually, the game looks similar to Mega Man 3, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. The graphics remain bright and colorful, though the character designs have taken a notable step down, with most of the Robot Masters’ designs feeling less inspired than those in the previous games (with the considerable exception of Skull Man, who remains one of Mega Man’s coolest foes ever). The soundtrack is still a highlight, though its tunes aren’t quite as memorable as those in the previous games.

Overall, the appeal of Mega Man 4 largely depends on if you’re looking at it for its own merits, or stacked up against the other entries in the iconic series. On its own, Mega Man 4 is a NES title that has aged well, boasts some great level design, and provides a satisfying adventure. But Mega Man 4 also lacks the inventiveness, balance and variety of Mega Man’s better titles.

 

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Mega Man 3 Review

Mega Man 3

It’s not easy being the third entry in a popular series, no matter the medium. If the immediate sequel manages to live up to or surpass the original, then the threequel has an even steeper hill to climb. Mega Man 2 was the game that made Mega Man a bona fide video game icon, so Mega Man 3 had a lot expectations to meet in 1990. Thankfully, Mega Man 3 was up for the challenge, and is a sequel that is almost on par with the series’ sublime second entry.

Mega Man 3Mega Man 3 uses the same groundwork as the first two installments: Mega Man runs, jumps and shoots his way through eight selectable stages, gains a new power from defeating each Robot Master at the end of those stages (with each Robot Master’s power being particularly effective against another), and finally makes his way to a series of stages in Dr. Wily’s fortress.

The setup may sound very familiar, but Mega Man 3 brought some clever gameplay innovations and twists to the game’s progression to make it anything but a cookie cutter sequel.

The most simple such innovation is Mega Man’s new slide move. The slide allows Mega Man to make his way through small spaces as well as avoid a good deal of enemy attacks. It’s a seemingly basic mechanic that becomes an incredibly useful tool throughout the game.

Mega Man 3Mega Man 3 introduced two vital character additions to the franchise: Rush, Mega Man’s robotic canine, and Proto Man, the Blue Bomber’s morally ambiguous older brother.

Rush replaces the non-combat powers from Mega Man 2, and gains new abilities and transformations throughout the game, including a spring to give Mega Man a boost in his jump, a jet to fly over large gaps, and a submarine to maneuver in water.

Proto Man serves as a recurring mini-boss throughout the game. Although Mega Man 3 still has a simplistic story like the previous titles in the series, Proto Man’s presence was a good attempt at adding a new layer to the series’ narrative.Mega Man 3

Aside from new characters, Mega Man 3’s biggest innovation to the series was the twist that occurred after defeating the eight Robot Masters. In the two previous titles, Mega Man would automatically progress to Dr. Wily’s fortress after defeating the eight standard stages. But in Mega Man 3, after besting the Robot Masters, four of the stages must be completed again, with new, more challenging level designs.

During Mega Man’s first run through these stages, some areas might be closed off or out of Mega Man’s reach, but they become accessible during Mega Man’s return visits. Some areas see more enemies and traps pop up the second time around. And, in a brilliant little twist, all eight of Mega Man 2’s Robot Masters return, in spirit, as the boss fights of these revisited levels.

The four altered stages not only add a fun spin to the Mega Man formula, but also extend Mega Man 3’s total playtime, making it the lengthiest of the NES Mega Man titles.

Mega Man 3Mega Man 3  continues the series’ tradition of top notch presentation. The graphics are some of the most colorful on the NES, and the character designs give the game a great sense of personality. The music is on par with the second game’s as one of the NES’ best soundtracks.

The only notable drawback in Mega Man 3’s presentation is that it suffers from slowdowns a lot more than Mega Man 2 did. Mega Man 3’s stages are often filled with enemies and obstacles, and you may find that the game slows down considerably in more hectic moments. It may not be a big deal on its own, but with the extreme precision of Mega Man 3’s platforming, the slowdowns can lead to accidental game overs.

The game follows suite with the series’ trademark difficulty. Mega Man 3 is a very hard game, and although it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, there are a few instances that are so difficult they teeter on frustrating. Mega Man 2 was a hard game, but its challenge was never aggravating. Mega Man 3 seems tailor-made for those who mastered Mega Man 2, as those who aren’t Mega Man experts will have their patience tested.

But these are ultimately minor issues in an otherwise stellar game. Mega Man 3 continues what Mega Man 2 achieved with terrific level design, polished gameplay and a fantastic presentation, and did it all while introducing some wonderful new tricks of its own. Mega Man 3 remains one of the Blue Bomber’s finest, and a must-have for anyone who enjoys gaming in its purest form.

 

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Mega Man 2 Review

Mega Man 2

Although Capcom’s 1987 classic “Mega Man” introduced the world to the titular Blue Bomber, it was with the series’ second entry in 1989 that Mega Man became a superstar. Playing it again today, it’s not hard to see why. Mega Man 2 is still an incredible achievement in gaming even today.

From the moment you first boot up the game, and the screen scrolls upward to reveal Mega Man (without his helmet!) standing atop a skyscraper, ready to take on the world, you know you’re in for a treat.

The overall setup of the game remains similar to the first game: You play as Mega Man, a good-natured robot out to save the world from the evil Dr. Wily and his band of Robot Masters. Players select the order they want to tackle the game’s stages, and at the end of each, Mega Man comes face-to-face with one of the Robot Masters. Each Robot Master grants Mega Man a new power upon defeat and, in an elaborate game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, each Robot Master’s ability is particularly useful against another.Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 is a game that excels at virtually everything it sets out to do. It takes the foundation of the first game in the series, and expands and refines it in every regard. The original game’s six Robot Masters has been upped to eight, which remained the series’ standard from that point onward. It included new items like the rare, energy-refilling E Tanks to the mix. Mega Man gained some non-combat powers that were needed to reach every nook and cranny of the stages. And the Robot Master abilities introduced here were so well thought out that Capcom resorted to recycling most of them in subsequent games (just how many derivatives of Wood Man’s Leaf Shield have we seen over the years?).

Simply put, Mega Man 2 became the standard for the long-running series. You won’t find many sequels that so perfectly defined their franchise.

Mega Man 2Mega Man 2 retains much of the first game’s difficulty, but here it’s better balanced and more accessible. Healing items appear more frequently than they did in its predecessor, and the level design feels more fair. Mega Man 2 even features two difficulty modes, with Normal Mode giving Mega Man twice as much power against Robot Masters, and Hard Mode keeping the bosses at max difficulty. The tweaked difficulty curve ensures that Mega Man 2 remains a very challenging game, but a more welcoming one than its predecessor.

Mega Man 2 includes the gameplay of the series in its purest form. Mega Man wouldn’t get his sliding ability until the next entry, but here his simple mechanics of running, jumping and shooting were utilized to their very best thanks to the clever and varied level design. The Robot Master abilities were also well implemented. As fun as it was that later entries allowed Mega Man to charge his Mega Buster, it also largely overpowered Mega Man, leaving the Robot Master powers feeling downplayed. But here they were used to their fullest.

The game remains visually appealing thanks to some colorful graphics and creative character designs, though the game does suffer from some notable slowdowns when too much is going on onscreen. There are also some instances of “NES flickers” on the edges of the screen. But overall the game’s presentation is still impressive.Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 also boasts what is arguably the greatest soundtrack in the entire NES library. Mega Man 2’s soundtrack, despite its technical limitations, managed to capture so much character and so much energy that it still goes toe-to-toe with the great scores in gaming. The theme music of Dr. Wily’s Castle is still one of the most iconic pieces of video game music for a reason.

 

Mega Man 2 succeeds in not only improving on its predecessor’s blueprints in virtually every way – from gameplay to level design to music to difficulty, and everything in between – but in being one of the best sidescrollers and NES titles ever made. Video games have come a long way since Mega Man 2 was first released in 1989. But in so many ways, Mega Man 2 is still one of the all-time greats.

 

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Mega Man Review

Mega Man

When it comes to third party titles on Nintendo consoles, few have had the impact of Capcom’s Mega Man. Back in its day, Mega Man was as synonymous with the NES as Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda. Although it was Capcom’s first console exclusive title, it proved to be a successful debut. Mega Man spawned countless sequels, and its hero remains one of gaming’s most beloved characters. While the original Mega Man is not without its problems (which its two immediate sequels touched up), it remains a great game to play even today.

Mega Man was renowned for its non-linear structure, allowing players to choose between six different stages in whatever order they saw fit. At the end of each stage is a boss fight against a “Robot Master,” with each one giving Mega Man a new weapon upon defeat. Another unique aspect of the game was its rock-paper-scissors-like structure, with each Robot Master’s given weapon working especially effective against another one.

Mega ManPlayers take the role of the titular Mega Man, a young robot boy trying to save the world from the nefarious Dr. Wily, who corrupted the six Robot Masters created by Dr. Light and repurposed them for his evil schemes. It’s the kind of simple but honest-to-goodness setup of many games of the time that adds to the game’s charm, even if plot was rarely present in the game itself.

Mega Man’s gameplay remains tight and intricate. Mega Man can jump like Mario, but he must use his “Mega Buster” arm canon, or one of the Robot Masters’ weapons, to defeat enemies. The weapon-based gameplay added a new spin on the platforming gameplay, and it gives the Mega Man series a sense of uniqueness among other retro platformers.

Also of note is that this is the only Mega Man title with a scoring system, as Mega Man is awarded points for defeating enemies, picking up items and completing levels. It doesn’t add a whole lot to the experience, but those who want to beat their personal high scores may find reason to revisit the game numerous times.

The level design was some of the most difficult of its age, and the game arguably remains the most challenging entry in the series. The game is fun, but some players may find the difficulty close to unfair, as some of the stages’ challenges require such precision in their platforming they teeter on unforgiving. The bosses (and even some standard enemies) can take Mega Man down in a few quick hits, and replenishing items and extra lives seldom appear. The entire Mega Man series is known for its steep difficulty, but the original is the one that may be off-putting to some players for the sheer level of its challenge.

One retrospective drawback to the original game is knowing how the sequels improved on the formula, leaving some aspects of the original to feel less fleshed out. The sequels would add sliding moves, charged blasts, and even sidekicks to the mix. The original, by comparison, feels stripped down and straightforward. A fault only in hindsight perhaps, but the comparison to its sequels is inescapable by this point.Mega Man

Visually, the game is one of the more approachable NES titles to revisit. The colors and characters are simple, of course. But the game has a distinct, fun look about it, and the great character designs add to its retro charm. The music remains one of the better NES soundtracks. It may not reach the same heights as some later entries, but Mega Man’s soundtrack is still one of the most iconic in the NES library.

Mega Man remains a classic of the medium. Its sequels may have bettered it, with the two following installments still being considered the ‘definitive’ entries in the series, but the original Mega Man remains, in its own right, an absolute blast.

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Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition Review

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition

Given how far the 3DS has come, and how impressive its library has grown, it can be hard to remember that during the system’s first few months on the market, its sole highlight was a port of Super Street Fighter IV. It had to satisfy 3DS owners while they waited for Super Mario 3D Land and Pokemon. Thankfully, Super Street Fighter IV is a hefty enough game to have helped the 3DS in its bleak beginnings. Unfortunately, hindsight also shows that this 3D Edition is probably the title’s weakest iteration.

 

The fighting mechanics don’t always translate well on the handheld. The joystick and button layout all work well enough, but pulling off some of the more advanced combos can be a little more difficult than they should be. The characters don’t move as fluidly with the control stick as they do in the game’s home console counterparts, which makes chaining together button presses and movements feel less responsive.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D EditionCapcom seemed to address this by adding buttons on the touchscreen which perform characters’ special moves without the need to perform more extravagant combos. This comes as a bit of a double-edged sword, however. While the touch screen specials do make the game more accessible on the 3DS, they are also easily exploited, leaving many multiplayer matches to feel one-sided in favor of whoever hits the first move. Perhaps brief cool down times on the touch screen could have prevented this move-spamming.

Visually, the game still holds up. 3D Edition looks nearly as impressive as its HD home console counterparts. Better still, the 3D effects, while among the first to hit the 3DS, are still impressive. The 3D is especially noticeable during the character’s more extravagant animations in their special moves.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is still a solid gameplay experience, but some of the game’s finer aspects were a little lost in the transition to its handheld form. You can still find a complex fighter if you dig deep enough, but some of the tweaks that attempt accessibility only end up making 3D Edition feel considerably more hollow than its refined home console editions.

 

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