Mega Man Review

Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: N/A Also On: None

1987. The year saw the release of Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. 2. But it also saw the release of another game, a game that would be the humble beginning of a series that would make a company known. That game is Megaman. The first game in the series is the one that I tend to look at as the worst when all six are compared today, but, for its time, it was a creative game that showed a lot of potential, potential that would be realized in its sequels.

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The graphics on Megaman certainly aren’t spectacular compared to well-known NES games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Kirby’s Adventure, but for their day, the graphics did hold their own against Legend of Zelda and Mario 2. In fact, for 1987, the graphics on this game look pretty good. Sadly, there is slowdown occasionally and it seems that there is a delayed reaction when a robot master or Megaman explodes, but for 1987 those are minor complaints.

The sound on this game set the standard for what was to come in the later games of the series. The sound effects on this game were a typical set of shooter sound effects for the most part. They were basically average and unmemorable. But, even with the limited musical options of 1987, Capcom managed to craft music that proved to be truly addicting, and they thus began a tradition of strong music in the Megaman series. Overall, the average sound effects are made up for by the stellar musical tracks.

The story to this game isn’t anything too drastically different from that of most action games. You have your evil scientist, Dr. Wily, who has turned the industrial robots against the world in an effort to take it over. Megaman, being the beacon of justice that he is, decides to stop him.

The gameplay style of Megaman was hardly anything too creative. You traverse levels, shoot enemies, and take out bosses. This had certainly been done before 1987, and it would certainly be done many more times. But there were things about Megaman that made it stand out from other action shooters.

First of all was the ability to choose what order you did levels in. Megaman was one of the first games, if not the first game, to allow you such an option. This option was fairly important because of something else that was introduced in this game, the ability to assimilate weapons from defeated bosses. Strategy plays a part, as you can take out bosses much easier using certain assimilated weapons than you can with your default weapon.

As part of the option to choose what order you did levels in, you also have the option to choose to traverse a level as many times as you would like. However, there is nothing to gain by traversing a level a second time, with one possible exception. Also, unlike later Megaman games, if you redo a level whose boss you’ve already defeated in this game, you have to fight the boss again. That’s not a big deal though, since if you’ve beaten the boss once, you can probably beat it again.

Speaking of bosses, the bosses in this game are not only predictable for the most part, but are also repetitive. Each boss has one attack, with only a couple exceptions, and they do it over and over. Most just stand and do their attack over and over and occasionally hop forward, while one jumps around between attacks. Many of the bosses can be beaten just by getting to them with full energy and engaging them head-on. Those that cannot you can generally take out in three to four hits with the weapon they are vulnerable to.

This holds true only for the initial six levels, however. Once you get to the Dr. Wily levels, the difficulty of the bosses takes a huge jump. The first boss in his lair in this game is one that is notorious for his difficulty, and the second isn’t much better. These two bosses are quite possibly two of the hardest in the history of the Megaman franchise.

Part of the reason for that is that, unlike the later incarnations in the Megaman franchise, energy tanks don’t exist in Megaman. This makes battles that are already hard enough harder. This is one of the reasons that I believe Megaman to be the most difficult of the first six, although some of the levels have their difficult moments as well.

This is, however, the shortest of the six Megaman games, having only about ten levels. It is a good thing that this one is shorter, though, because there is no way to save your progress in it. This means that every time you play this game, you get to start from the beginning. This isn’t really a big deal, and in fact most games of the time didn’t have any way to save progress. Having to start from the beginning every time increases the replay value, especially since you’ll likely have to play it quite a few times to beat it, unless you just keep going until you win, which is possible because the Megaman series has always allowed infinite continues.

Overall, this game is a pretty good start to what ended up being a strong franchise for Capcom. This one never saw the popularity of its first two sequels, but it is still a pretty good game and is worth checking out for any fan of action shooters.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.5
Written by Martin Review Guide

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