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Game or Plot?
December 1, 2018

I remember years ago when I purchased Mega Man 5 on practically the day of release (and this was in the days before the Internet) because I had read a preview in a gaming magazine that discussed Proto Man turning evil and trying to take over the world and so forth. I couldn’t believe that Capcom would do such a thing, and just the thought of it was tying me in knots. I had to find out what was going to happen.

Yes, that’s right, I bought an action game for the plot.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t expect for the traditional Mega Man games to have terribly complicated plots. They’re all about the game play, after all. Though it’s interesting to note that most of the early titles at least tried to have a curve ball each time: this time it’s Dr. Cossack (but really it’s Wily); then it’s Proto Man who’s flipped out (but really it’s Wily); and after that it was “Mr. X” (but really it’s Wily)... I mean, it started becoming something of a tradition. (This being one of the reasons it was so humorous that Dr. Wily isn’t the final boss in Mega Man V—we’ve been conditioned all this time to expect it, then Sunstar comes along and gives him the boot.) But overall I generally don’t mind if the game has only a very basic plot. Mega Man 2 didn’t have a very complicated story, for example, but it was still one of the best games in the series, adored by many (at least in its generation).

So I’m not going to knock Mega Man 11 for its fairly simplistic plot. Sure, they could have perhaps stuck to tradition and brought in a “fake bad guy” and then have it turn out to really be Wily, but the straightforward path works too and also has precedent.

If I had any complaint about the game’s plot at all, it wouldn’t really have to do with the story per se, but I would have liked to have seen Proto Man and Bass at least show up, even if they weren’t critical participants in the plot. I know, I know, this is kind of silly, but they’re pretty established characters (especially Proto Man, who has appeared in pretty much every game since his introduction), and it would have been a good nod to tradition to have them appear. It wouldn’t even require anything particularly complicated or any rewriting of the overall plot.

For example, just off the top of my head: There could be hidden rooms in each stage where Proto Man could pop in to offer a random power-up item and maybe a hint or a bit of advice for that particular stage. (Could have him not appear at all on Superhero difficulty, and maybe he only gives the hint on Casual or below.) Bass could be a boss during the fortress stages, where he could taunt Mega Man about the Double Gear and engage him to a duel to prove who is really the best. He wouldn’t even have to be doing it for Wily’s sake; he could just be there for his own pride. Then when he’s defeated he flees and that’s the end of that.

Oh well. Maybe in Mega Man 12?


- The MegaMaster



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