Mega Man – NES
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date (NA): December 1987
Reviewed by FrozenMallet
Mega Man has been in a lot of games. He has become an icon, appearing in over 50 games in fact. Mega Man is even going to join Konami‘s Snake and Sega’s Sonic as the next non-Nintendo character to join the lineup of the next Super Smash Bros. game on the Wii U.
Mega Man, called Rockman in Japan got his start in the first Mega Man game released in December of 1987. Just in time for the Christmas holiday… and no one really noticed. Sure the original Mega Man game was praised by the game critics of the time but went largely disregarded by gamers resulting in poor sales. Capcom blamed the disappointing sales figures on the box art. Take a look for yourself, can you blame them? At best I can say is that the artwork is …an imprecise representation of the final product.
The plot to this point was still simple. Basically, there were two robotic scientists. Dr. Light and Dr. Wiley were partners. Together with their inventions they were ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity for everyone. Dr. Wiley being a dickhead, decided that he didn’t like that very much so he reprogramed a bunch of the robots he and Dr. Light had created to go kick everybody’s ass so he could take over the world. However, Dr. Light being a namby-pamby pacifist was also a realist so he reprogramed Mega Man with the mission to go kick all those robots asses first. Thereby maintaining the status quo.
Personally I never had a chance to play this game until I came across it at a friend’s house. I had already played through Mega Man 2 so I was already a fan. My first thought being a child in the eighties was- Cool! The first game! I can’t wait to try this! This is going to be totally rad!
Then I got the game home and had my second thought- Oh man, this is hard! What a bummer!
The formula the Mega Man series would take was there since this this first game. All the stages are available from the beginning with each stage being identified by their robot master. This first game only has six robot masters while every other game in the NES series has eight. The robot lineup for this first outing was Ice Man, Fire Man, Bomb Man, Elec Man, Guts Man, and Cut Man. It is completely up to the player to decide what order to go in. The catch is that after defeating each robot master Mega Man obtains the slain robot master’s weapon for his own use. Most players will base their completion order on the weapon obtained. For example a player might get a water based weapon to use against a robot master based on fire. My personal choice (but by no means the only choice) for a completion order is Bomb Man, Guts Man, Cut Man, Elec Man, Ice Man, then Fire Man.
One of the first things that a seasoned Mega Man player will notice is that this was the only game in the series that kept a score. This was scrapped in future games because no one cared and it added nothing to the game unless you and your friends were a bunch of nerds and needed a yardstick to create a hierarchy of nerdiness within your social circle.
This being the first in the series this is before Mega Man had all of his standard add-ons. This means there is no charge for the arm cannon, no mega-slide, not even Rush the dog. Its just you and your mega-buster. I wonder if I had a cannon for an arm how much time I would spend talking out my problems…
Mega Man has brightly colored graphics. If left standing still f0r a moment Mega Man will blink. I know it doesn’t sound like much but this was 1987 and an idle animation was cutting edge for the time. While the sound effects are average they get the job done; the music, on the other hand is spectacular. Each of the robot masters stages have their own distinct theme music.
The play control is spot on and it needs to be because this is the most difficult Mega Man game in the NES series. This one walks the line at the frustration level. The gameplay is fun enough to keep you coming back even though the challenge can be disheartening at times. Gamers who are easily discouraged may leave this one after a few tries and that is too bad because those gamers that do persevere past the difficulty will find that defeating Dr. Wiley for the first time is a truly rewarding experience.
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