Mega Man 4 – NES
Release Date: January 15, 1992 (NA)
Nerd Rating: 8.5/10
Reviewed by: InfiniteKnife
Well, here we are having passed the year 200X and we don’t have fighting robots yet! What gives, scientists?! Clearly the 80s and early 90s had a lot of overly hopeful people working in the entertainment industry because we are still waiting on most of the stuff they predicted (come on, hoverboards!!!) Either way, Capcom hooked us up with another classic Mega Man title in 1992, riding on the abundance of awesome from the previous 3 titles.
It’s been a year since Mega Man foiled the evil plans of Dr. Wily (again) and things have seemingly calmed down. One day, Dr. Light receives a message from Dr. Cossack, a new evil scientist who says he is unleashing 8 new robots to face Mega Man and the blue bomber is suddenly back to what he does best: Shoot everything he comes across and ask questions later!
If you’re familiar with the series, gameplay will be familiar. You’ve got your run/jump/shoot still going strong as well as the slide from Mega Man 3, but there is 1 new mechanic that was a bit of a game changer for the series. Mega Man 4 was the first game to include the Mega Buster! For the first time, Mega Man could charge up his standard arm cannon to fire a more powerful shot. I remember playing this and thinking it was the coolest thing since *insert your favorite early 90s fad here.* The only real gripe I have with the Mega Buster is that it makes a pretty annoying noise while you hold the charge and there isn’t much reason not to be constantly charging as it takes out many level enemies in 1-2 hits. Still, this paved the way for later games in the series as Mega Man has had the charge shot in almost every title since Mega Man 4.
The Rush adaptors are back in Mega Man 4 and as in Mega Man 3, you begin the game with the Rush Coil, which is a spring that helps get to places too high for a normal jump. Rush Jet and Marine are added by defeating certain robot bosses. A new feature for the Jet is that Mega Man can completely control flight by going in any direction and stopping at will. He can also shoot while onboard! As neat an idea as the Rush Marine is, I can say I’ve only used it a handful of times ever in all my playthroughs of Mega Man 4. There aren’t very many water areas that aren’t easy enough to traverse without using it.
In addition to the Rush adaptors, there are 2 others that are hidden in the boss levels. The first is a balloon, similar to Item 1 in the iconic Mega Man 2. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a balloon that you can use to jump over gaps or reach higher platforms. The other is called the wire, which allows you to shoot a grappling hook into the ceiling above you. It grabs on and pulls you up. Neither of these secret adaptors is vital to completing the game, but both do come in super handy in a few areas.
Aside from the new items, the game format follows along with the previous Mega Man titles in that there are 8 robot bosses that need defeating. Each gives you a new ability you can use based on their powers. Each of the new weapons is super effective against at least 1 of the other bosses, so there is a recommended order in which to play the levels, though all can be defeated with the Mega Buster. In actuality, a few of the bosses are easier with the Mega Buster, anyway.
In Mega Man 4, the bosses are Toad Man, Skull Man, Ring Man, Dust Man, Pharaoh Man, Bright Man, Drill Man, and Dive Man. One really neat thing about these robot bosses is that they were all created by fans in a contest that Capcom put on and they were all largely unchanged from the drawings submitted. Each of the 8 winners received a super rare gold cartridge version of the game for the Famicom (Japan’s NES).
As was the case for the first 3 Mega Man titles, the music in Mega Man 4 is on point. It has a few of my all time favorite level themes in the series. It’s funny to think that when the series was made, I doubt the composers thought the music for these games would be so memorable and hold up so well over time. I’m one of those nerds who has the soundtracks to the classic games on shuffle in my mp3 player and these just don’t get old.
For me, Mega Man 4 was the last truly memorable game in the classic NES series. There were 2 others, and I played them, but none stayed with me like the first 4 did. Mega Man 4 had a great balance of awesome gameplay, challenging (but not unforgiving) difficulty, great music, and cool bosses. I dust this one off and play it every so often and it is still an absolute blast. Definitely recommended to any fan of the series. If you haven’t played it yet, go and do it…….right now.
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