Mega Man comes to the Game Gear with a game which is almost like something programmed by fans, taking elements directly from Mega Man’s NES adventures such as Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 4.
As far as I know, this game was not programmed by Capcom but rather by US Gold. The game is decent (much better than the computer games) but is lacking in a few areas. Here’s a list of pluses and minuses that I noticed as I was playing (and things to keep in mind):
+ The graphics are almost identical to Mega Man’s NES games, except with additional colors. Some of the shading, however, needs work.
+ The power-ups bounce. I don’t know if energy would bounce for real, but it’s cute.
+/- Robots are invincible while they are flashing after being damaged. (Just like Mega Man!) This seems fair to me but it means you can’t rapid fire. (There is a sound effect of your weapon connecting, but no damage will be inflicted. Watch out.)
- The screen isn’t as large as a TV screen, but instead of reducing the size of the levels, they made the screen scroll (vertically as well as horizontally) as you move. This is annoying because you can’t see what’s below you. (Thus why vertical scrolling is generally a big no-no. The Mega Man games have avoided it for a long time for just this reason.) Update: A reader points out to me that the game supports a Sonic-style shifting of the screen (hold jump and use the control pad to scroll the screen) so that you can look below you. I’ve been meaning to pull out my old Game Gear and give it a try, but until then, I’ll just leave it at that.
- Mega Man can only have two plasma shots on the screen at once instead of his usual three. Funny how one less shot makes a world of difference.
- There are no continues! You lose all your lives, you’re doin’ the entire two castles all over again. (Luckily they aren’t that long!)
- Wheelalligator reports that while you can revisit stages, power-ups that are found lying around the a stage can only be picked up once. So you can’t collect E-Tanks and 1-Ups this way. Also, weapons aren’t refilled when you revisit stages, only when you beat bosses.
- Others: Mega Man’s energy meters have an annoying habit of disappearing. Also, some of the collisions seem off, and using the Game Gear’s controller is almost impossible. (Of course, this last one is Sega’s fault, not that of the game programmers.)
- Play Control:
- Maybe it was just trying to use the Game Gear’s not-so-great controller, but I found this game especially hard to control. It didn’t seem to really be the fault of the programmers, although the vertical scrolling of the screen was very annoying.
- The graphics here are the NES ones with added colors and shading. While most of the shading is good, some of it is placed oddly; for instance, there is a mysterious solitary dark pixel in the middle of Mega Man’s chest that doesn’t seem to have a purpose.
- Because the graphics were taken from the NES, the animations are almost identical to those from the NES originals.
- Many of the tunes are similar (though not identical) to ones from various NES games; however, most of the music does not sound very hot. Again, this is probably more of the fault of the Game Gear’s hardware than the software; however, even with lame hardware, it’s possible to play good music if you know how.
- Sound Effects:
- The sound effects suffered from the same thing as the music, though at least most were true to the NES games.
- Plot: N/A
- What plot?
- Difficulty: (insane)
- Again, this might have something to do with the Game Gear’s controller, added to the fact that you have no continues and the screen isn’t big enough to show you your surroundings. Whatever it is, I found this game too hard for its own good. If you want a challenge, this is your game.
- Replay Value:
- There really wasn’t much to bring me back to this game; I had to force myself to play it just to write its reviews.
- There wasn’t a whole lot of added features to this game, other than the power-ups bouncing, that don’t appear in previous games. Some new additions, such as the screen scrolling or the lack of continues, are more or less unique to this game, but I don’t see them as features!
- Overall: 50%
- This game scores higher than, say, the computer games would, because its graphics were actually decent, the music was okay, and the frustrating play control seemed due to the Game Gear controller. In other words, it is generally a good game, especially when compared to the original computer games. But, it still ranks below the official Mega Man games, i.e., those made by Capcom.
- + Plus:
- The power-ups bounce.
- - Minus:
- The game is very short, and the passwords only take you halfway through it.
There are only four stages which you can choose the order. They go in a complete loop, so you can actually jump in wherever you want. Some people like to start with Bright Man, but I always take on Star Man first. Habit I guess. Take your pick.
- Star Man (use Mega Buster or Power Stone)
- Bright Man (use Star Crash)
- Napalm Man (use Mega Buster or Flash Stopper. No Crystal Eye here, sorry!)
- Stone Man (use Napalm Bombs or Mega Buster. He is only vunerable when he is jumping or standing. Try to have him land on your shots.)
There are hatches in this game, but none that take you to rehash fights with Robot Masters, so there’s nothing I need to post here.
After Wave Man and Toad Man, you’ll go to a remake of Quick Man’s stage. The Flash Stopper doesn’t work, so don’t bother trying it. You’ll have to dodge the laser beams. You have two things to your advantage here though that you didn’t have in Mega Man 2: the slide, and the fact that if you hit the very tips of the lasers, you will only be damaged instead of killed outright. Good luck.
After that, you’ll get a breather stage. When you get to the teleporting hatch, you’ll find a single Pellet Cannon. Blast its pellets for power-ups.
- Dr. Wily:
- (Not this attack style yet again!) Wily, once again, has his saucer appearing and disappearing. Generally you’ll want to stay in a corner, though which corner you chose depends on where he appears. When Wily first appears, he will shoot a shot straight below him that splits into two orbs that travel along the floor. Then he will produce a spiral of plasma shots and disappear. The spiral will arc out then in and disappear, and Wily will appear in another location. Which weapons you can use on him are severely limited by which ones will hit Wily’s saucer which usually appears high off the ground. The Rain Flush will hit easily if timed correctly, but it only inflicts one or two units of damage. Again, the Power Stone only does minimal damamge. The Star Crash is useful but it can be wasted by other shots. Your Mega Buster is actually your best bet as it hacks off about four units and can hit most of Wily’s locations.
There are only four stages in the entire game to which you can get passwords! With no continues, this really stinks.
Here is the one that will take you to (Dr. Cossack’s?) fortress (the first one). This one is for Normal mode.
This is the same password for Difficult mode. (Thanks go to DocLight for these images.)
For other passwords, try the Password Generator!
You have the Rush Coil in this game, and that’s it. Your weapons screen is so cramped there’s no room for other items, anyway!
A lot of the techniques used in the mimiced games will work here, but some won’t. Oh, and watch what’s below you! If you aren’t familiar with the stages (and even if you are!), you will probably find yourself often falling into spikes or bottomless pits that you couldn’t see because they were off the bottom of the screen. Sometimes it is handy to have a friend play the NES versions of the stages with you so you can see where you’re going.
This game doesn’t really have a plot, so there is no real need for an ending either. But as Danny pointed out, they do give you an ending sequence of sorts (which may or may not change depending on the difficulty mode)—Wily’s castle (or is it Cossack’s?) blows up, you get a congratulatory message, and then after the credits, you see Mega Man standing in front of a panicking Wily.
One curious thing I noticed while watching the credits: all the names are English.