MegaMan and Bass – Game Boy Advance
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Release Date (NA): March 11, 2003
Nerd Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Reviewed by: Flagostomos
When I first picked up Megaman & Bass, I had never played a Megaman game before. I saw it in Nintendo power and thought it looked like a fun game. It was originally released on the Super Famicom in Japan, but made it’s way to North American shores via a re-release on the Game Boy Advance.
The very first thing you do is select who you will play as, Megaman or Bass. Megaman has the charge beam and he can slide, while Bass has dashing, double jumping, and rapid fire capabilities. You might think it’s a simple choice of “this person does this better”, but the sad reality is that Bass is almost universally a better character than Megaman. The opening level makes this quickly apparent in two areas: the first being the bad weather area where double jumping makes the platforming easy, the second with the battle with the Green Giant at the end of the level.
The game stays true to the Megaman formula first introduced in Mega Man X. You start with an opening stage that teaches you the basics of the game, then are presented with a series of “Robot Masters” and their courses that you have to trudge through and eventually defeat the boss at the end, gaining their powers. The courses are bland, especially if you compare it to Mega Man X‘s course design. I won’t let this pass because this game was originally on the Super Famicom, and came out after Mega Man X did. They knew how to make good course design, so I’m not sure what happened here. Actually I do scratch that.
Megaman and Bass are unbalanced. Bass is superior to Megaman in every way, especially when he picks up the Buster upgrades. He can traverse levels like X could in Megaman X. Double jump and dash makes a lot of the platforming ridiculously easy. This is flip-flopped when you change to playing the game as Megaman. It’s almost as if they made the platforming and enemy placement at the absolutely easiest difficulty for Bass, but this left it at heavy difficulty for Megaman. I would have preferred re-skinned levels made to complement each character’s abilities rather than an unbalanced game.
The only boss that will provide you trouble is the first one, before you have any of the upgrades. Once you learn the order of the Bosses, which a simple FAQ will tell you, they pose no more threat. Until you get to the end of the game, and the King fights will really kick your butt.
I’m not sure there’s much story here. Wily is at it again, using a new Boss master, King, to steal all of the robot’s data so he can make an army of robots loyal to him. You actually randomly find the robot’s data scattered throughout the various courses, and a side objective other than beating the game is collecting all those data discs.
The controls, surprisingly, are not bad. They handle just like any classic Megaman game does, providing you with total control and some tight platforming. The problem with the platforming and combat lies in the course design, not the controls, which makes this category a head scratcher for reviewing.
Megaman has a charge shot, which you charge with B. He only has a standard jump, but he can slide if you hit down and A. He walks slow and doesn’t have a dash, so a lot of times you will be hugging the end of a platform to make that jump. Bass on the other hand has a rapid-fire shot, which you use by holding B. He can’t move when he’s firing though so you will be jumping and shooting a lot. He has a dash that you use by double-tapping the direction pad, and a double jump with tapping A and then again in the air.
The only time I felt the controls were messed up was during the water sections. I understand Megaman has slower movement, higher jumping and slower falling under water, but it feels out of whack. The jump, especially with Bass, just feels too high and you find yourself hitting spikes too often.
The graphics are as good as you would expect from a Megaman game. The robots are surprisingly detailed, especially Bass and King. The cartoony look and feel is kept while adding in environments that actually look dangerous. The fire animation is pretty good as well as the water look to a certain course. The bosses’ attack animations are also really good.
The audio is nothing special, it has classic Megaman sound effects and themes with some other music in there as well. I do like the one song that kind of sounds like “Rock N’ Roll Fantasy” by Bad Company though.
The game tries its best to make you play through it multiple times, but only the dedicated will beat this game 100%. You have to play at least twice through with each character, and having 4 save slots makes this helpful. There are also data discs scattered in each course that you have to pickup for 100% completion. Some only Megaman can reach, some only Bass can reach, and some you need a particular boss’ power to be able to grab. I played this game through so many times that five years later going to play it for this review, I still remembered the courses.
Gameplay: 7, even though it’s unbalanced
This game is by no means bad, but when you put it side-by-side to an amazing Mega Man game like X, it’s just kind of a disappointment. It almost feels like a step back towards classic Mega Man instead of advancing forward. The Game Boy Advance port also messes up the ratio of the screen due to hardware limitations, so if you can pick up the Japanese version for the SNES, I might actually recommend that version more.
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