Dr. Wily is assumed to be dead after his crushing defeat in the end of Mega Man 3. (Groan. I know—bad pun.) A new scientist enters the scene to take Wily’s place after an entire year of peace. This new scientist, Dr. Cossack, claims to be angered at Mega Man and his creator for always overshadowing his own robotic creations. Of course, in reality Dr. Cossack’s daughter Kalinka was being held hostage by the all-too-alive Dr. Wily, who forces Cossack to (attempt to) destroy Mega Man in return for Kalinka’s safety. Luckily for Dr. Cossack, Proto Man frees Kalinka before long—this is lucky because the scientist would never have stood up to the might of Mega Man!
This game introduces the Mega Buster, a great new invention which allows Mega Man to charge up energy before firing. A fully-powered Mega Buster shot is equivalent to three normal shots, but if you only power up to the first level, the shot isn’t any more powerful at all—just bigger!
- Play Control:
- The play control for this game settled into the almost-perfect niche. The execution of the Mega Buster needed some work, but that was done in future games.
- Getting better all the time.
- The animations are still the same. Which kind of makes sense—Mega Man isn’t going to grow or anything.
- The music in this game had a uniform washed-out tingey-ness to it. It’s hard to explain, but though the style was used throughout the game, I didn’t like it as much as other Mega Man musics.
- Sound Effects:
- Nothing much has changed here, either.
- Though only executed in a minimal way, the story of the game was unique at least—a new evil bad guy should have put the “I’m sick of Wily” crowd to rest. ’Course, it’s Wily anyway, but you weren’t supposed to know that...
- Difficulty: (normal)
- After a spell of two insanely-easy games, this one breaks the trend by offering more of a challenge and less ways to “get around” your troubles.
- Replay Value:
- You can revisit stages again which is nice, but I find having to navigate both fortresses in one sitting rather discourages me from even bothering.
- The Mega Buster was a very nice touch, and so was the little history given during the opening. Other than these, though, the game was average.
- Overall: 78%
- Although the game itself wasn’t as much fun to play, it was still quite good, and held onto a bit of the feeling of the previous games.
- Toad Man (Use arm cannon; fire constantly and he won’t hit you with the Rain Flush)
- Bright Man (Use Rain Flush)
- Pharaoh Man (use Flash Stopper)
- Ring Man (Use Pharaoh Shot. The timing of your leaps is the key.)
- Dust Man (Use arm cannon. Jump straight up when he fires the Dust Crusher at you, and when the shot splits all the pieces will miss you.)
- Skull Man (Use Dust Crusher; the Ring Boomerang will cut through his shield (as noted by DocLight).)
- Dive Man (Use Dust Crusher and Skull Barrier)
- Drill Man (Use Dive Missiles)
- Hole Driller:
- Use Ring Boomerang, Pharaoh Shot (fully charged), or Dust Crusher. You want to hit the small gem above the drill.
- Moving Room:
- Use Dust Crusher or the Wire Adapter. Slide under the sections until they are shifting slowly (you will get a feel for the timing) then jump inside. You’re aiming at the red gem at the top, of course.
- Wall Walkers:
- Use Drill Bomb, Ring Boomerang, or fully-powered Pharaoh Shots (sometimes you can just hit the things with the ball over your head, saving weapon energy).
- Dr. Cossack:
- Use Dust Crusher and slide underneath him to avoid being grabbed. You only have to get him down to about 2 units of energy...
- Giant Met:
- Use Mega Buster or Ring Boomerang. You can encourage how far it leaps to a degree based on how far from it you stand.
- Giant Bomb Ball Machine:
- Use Ring Boomerang (aim at the green light).
- Wily 1st time:
- Use Mega Buster or Dust Crusher. Stand right in front of the skull’s mouth, and as long as you don’t jump into a shot Wily won’t touch you. Watch out for that final explosion, though...
- Wily 2nd time:
- Use Mega Buster or Drill Bomb; aim at the green light. The Drill Bomb will bounce off if it hits directly; what you must do is detonate it early by pressing the fire button while the bomb is midair. Time it so that the bomb blows right next to the green light, and you will cause damage.
- Wily 3rd time:
- Use powered-up Pharaoh Shots. Don’t bother firing but instead hit him with the ball over your head. Keep moving, as Wily appears randomly. Take note of his position when he flashes onto the screen, then aim at that spot. He will still be in that location for several seconds after he disappears, which means you can still hit him even though you can no longer see him.
Mega Man 4 marks the first game where the passwords don’t save your Energy Tanks. You’ll have to go back and get them each time. Try Skull Man’s world for this.
This will take you to Cossack’s castle (as far as the passwords will go, sorry).
- Rush Coil: You have this at the start of the game.
- Rush Jet: Obtained by defeating Drill Man.
- Rush Marine: Get it from Toad Man.
- Balloon Adapter (Makes platforms, like the Item-1): In the beginning of Pharaoh Man’s stage, jump over the first pit you come to (that leads to the rest of the stage). The screen will scroll over, and at the end of this section you will find the adapter.
- Wire Adapter (Grappling hook; press up and fire to use): After fighting the second whale in Dive Man’s stage, the screen will scroll over. Drop into the first pit you come to, and dodge the spikes. If you make it to the bottom alive you will net the adapter.
The Pharaoh Shot has a few nifty “features” (AKA bugs) which were overlooked during the game testing. Namely, as Procyon Lotor pointed out, you can use it without actually draining any of its energy. Try some of these things:
- Equip the Pharaoh Shot and you can charge up at any time, even before a major battle, while your enemy is busy filling up its energy meter. (This isn’t the case with the Mega Buster.)
- Charge up the weapon so that a giant ball of energy forms over Mega Man’s head. Hit something with it, then switch to the sub screen without letting go of the fire button. Keep holding the button down as you switch back to the game. The shot will begin to charge up again all over again, without any loss of weapon energy.
- Use this technique against Dr. Wily to defeat him more easily. Whenever he appears, jump up and hit him with the ball over Mega Man’s head, then use the above trick to get the ball back without losing energy. This way you never have to worry about running out of Pharaoh Shot energy in the midst of the battle.
- Some minor enemies will not cause the ball to disappear at all. Use this to your advantage. Find a spot where enemies are coming in high (like the homing missiles that the Hippo fires) and simply stand there, letting the enemies hit the ball and drop their power-ups directly onto Mega Man. Stick a chair leg on the fire button and go eat dinner. When you come back you’ll have full energy and a ton of 1-Ups. (Thanks to OmegaWarrior for this bit.)
- One interesting glitch: If you’re charging up the Pharaoh Shot, you leave the ball behind when you die. I defeated a boss after perishing once because it walked into the ball that had been left sitting in space. Of course the victory didn’t count, but...
This was one of the first games where Wily’s fortress blows sky high, but certainly not the last.
The cloud resulting from the explosion is in the shape of a skull...a cute joke that’s a little overused later on...oh well. Basically, Dr. Wily begs for a bit, then alarms start going off. Wily jumps up and escapes through a secret door. Mega Man teleports out. Then you see the fortress from the outside—Wily’s saucer flies away just in time for the castle to kabooom!
Mega Man rides home on top of a monorail car (he always rides on top...saves fare, I guess!). He has his helmet off the entire time. Rush and Roll meet him when he arrives at his “stop” and the screen freezes there. Credits scroll (to Mega Man’s theme song again!). At the end, Eddie appears to toss out the letters that spell CAPCOM. Then he stands there blinking until you hit RESET or turn off the power.