Although it’s very hard to find as an arcade box, Mega Man’s very own arcade game was actually translated to English! (There is a sequel called “Power Fighters” which was released sometime later and is even more difficult to find in English.) These arcades are rare to find in an actual arcade unit, but you can now at least experience them at home via the Anniversary Collection.
This is a boss-fights-only game of battles against Robot Masters from Mega Man 1 through Mega Man 7. The graphics look almost direct from Mega Man’s seventh title and first SNES game. The characters are pretty true to their originals, and you even acquire weapons from your fallen foes.
The game is two player (all right!) and most of the Robot Masters have altered their moves some, but other than these the battles are very much like their original counterparts. Players can choose from Mega Man, Proto Man, or Bass, and, completely immune to each other, they team up against six Robot Masters, a boss (either the Yellow Devil or the Pumpkin from Shade Man’s stage), and three incarnations of Wily.
There’s not much in the way of plot, but the game is meant to be a quarter-munching button-pounding adrenaline fest. As such, it’s a fairly easy game; the home console ports make it even easier considering you get essentially an infinite number of quarters to use.
The stage selection is played on a roulette. You can try to punch a button and select the stage you want, but it’s not quite as simple as pointing and firing like you do in home console games. There are three modes, each which features robots from various Mega Man games. These three modes also determine the difficulty level of the game. In order of easiest to most difficult, we have:
Here are some suggested orders in which to attempt to tackle the Robot Masters of each section. See the Stage Layout section, below, for information on who is where. Note that using Master Weapons isn’t quite as beneficial here as it is in other games—you run out of weapon energy too quickly, and the robots aren’t quite as weak. I found myself just using my Mega Buster all the time, but if you want to try some weapons, here are some suggestions. Also note that the energy meters of the Robot Masters get longer with each successive one you fight. So you’ll want to fight the ones with which you have the most trouble first. Because of these two situations, the following suggested orders might be moot. Feel free to alter them to your tastes. (Note: Suggested Orders are from Charge Man.)
- Mega Man 1-2
- Mega Man 3-6
- Mega Man 7
I thought I’d mention the stage positions here, since the game doesn’t tell you ahead of time who is where (just like with teleporting hatches).
- Sky and Cloud Land (upper left)
1-2: Heat Man — Played in same stage layout as Gyro Man except there is no automatic scrolling.
3-6: Gyro Man — The scene is high in the sky with Gyro Man stage blades in the background. It scrolls continuously throughout the battle.
7: Cloud Man — This stage is totally different, with lots of clouds and a big umbrella, and Cloud Man’s Mega Man 7 stage music playing in the background.
- The Giant Gear (top)
1-2: Cut Man — You fight this guy on the ground, with a brick wall behind you supporting a satellite dish and the Reggae-like birds from Mega Man 7. It sounded as though they play Gemini’s stage music here.
Magnet Man — This is the same stage, but you start out high in the building, on a gear-like disk that continuously lowers throughout the battle until it reaches the bottom.
7: Shade Man — Same stage as with Magnet Man, only Shade Man’s music is played here. The battle hasn’t changed much.
- WilyLand (upper right)
Wood Man — His new stage shows a volcano in the background spurting a waterfall, and a big sign with “WilyLand” written on it. Curiously enough, they play Crash Man’s music here—and not during the actual battle with Crash Man!
Plant Man — His new stage is the same as Wood Man’s except it is now nighttime.
Slash Man — This is an obvious one since there are dinosaurs in the WilyLand backdrop.
- Ice Land (lower right)
Ice Man — You expected someone different? His stage is mostly a frozen tundra with a metal whale, of all things, in the background. They play Freeze Man’s stage music here.
Gemini Man — No Blizzard Man? This stage is changed slightly; it contains more igloos than anything else. They play Gemini Man’s stage music, and the battle is very reminiscent.
Freeze Man — Who else? There are some extra touches with his stage. First, Ice Man is perched on the whale in the background. Second, it’s nighttime, and third, they seem to play Gemini Man’s music.
- City (bottom)
Guts Man — You knew he had to be in here somewhere. That darn cartoon influence. Just kidding. The battle here takes place on a highway, with tiny old-fashioned cars driving around in the background. They play Guts Man’s stage music here.
Napalm Man — The stage here is pretty much the same except there are walls to jump off.
Turbo Man — Another obvious choice—it is apparent this game was constructed around Mega Man 7.
- Industrial Factory (lower left)
Crash Man — (What’s Napalm Man’s music doing here?) His stage has upward-lifting chutes that can come in handy, but more often than not they suck you up when you don’t want them to. Try jumping against the walls instead.
Dust Man — This room is the same as Crash Man’s but without the chutes, and I think they play Guts Man’s tune here.
Junk Man — His room is full of junk, and it features his own music.
- Wow, this thing as learned quite a few new tricks. Besides its usual stunts, it will alternate between leaping around, tossing square blocks, morphing into a sphere, doing any of a million other things, and/or splitting into three mini Yellow Devils...with horns!
- Anyway, try the Power Arm or the Gyro Attack. Remember that with the latter, you can cause the Gyro blades to each change directions once by pushing on the joystick. Press up and you can aim the blades straight up—at the little Rock Monsters on the ceiling!
- The battle here is pretty much the same as it is in Mega Man 7 except it fires more bullets, and releases Bubble Bats from time to time. You can strike it either on the outer shell’s eyes when it is closed, or on the purple pumpkin inside when the outer shell is open. I think the Noise Crush did well here.
Wily 1st time:
- Just shoot him anywhere besides his contraption’s red hands. Use the slide/dash to get under him when he bounces toward you, and use the walls to dodge the hands.
Wily 2nd time:
- Simple shoot and dodge. This form should fall pretty quickly. If he shoots electricity, try standing about one-third of the distance between him and the far wall. Also, try the Rolling Cutter on him.
Wily 3rd time:
- Stand near the middle of the screen, firing left and right as necessary. You can only hit the pod with Wily, and he will switch pods whenever you land a successful hit. If you have two players, have one facing right and one left. This is a good time to use your Master Weapons—try the Rolling Cutter or Slash Claw. If you don’t defeat him before the counter expires, Wily will escape. If you do defeat him, he escapes anyway (with Bass’s help if someone is playing Bass), so don’t feel too badly either way.
Here is a collection of various tidbits of information about the game, some of which affect the game play and some which don’t.
- When you press down and hit the jump button, what happens depends on your character. Proto Man dashes, Mega Man slides, and Bass air-dashes. (Unfortunately for Bass, as with X, his dash doesn’t do much to allow him to duck obstacles. It just speeds him up.)
- Proto Man carries his shield, but as in Mega Man 3, it does not actually protect him. Sorry.
- If you have two players, try alternating super-shots. While one is charging, the other can be firing. There’s no point in both of you hitting the robots at the same time since all enemies are immune for a short time after they are hit.
- The Robot Masters’ energy meters get increasingly bigger as the game progresses.
- Proto Man whistles whenever he teleports in.
- Bass’s gems glow.
- If you want to hear all (well, most) of Proto Man’s tune, beat the game with him alone, or him and Bass. This is because the endings always go in a set order (Bass, Proto Man, Mega Man) skipping whoever isn’t there, and the last ending music played continues throughout the credits.
- The screen flashes if you hit a robot with the weapon he is weak against.
- The battles against Wily differ slightly depending on what mode you chose. For instance, in the first set, his hands don’t extend to the edge of the screen (so you can avoid them by just standing at the edge), and in the Mega Man 7 mode, the background is replaced with psychedelic color cycling (as RacShade put it).
- Incidentally, Proto Man’s normal arm cannon shots (without charging) are way too big. Bass’s also don’t look anywhere near right, and Mega Man’s are blue of all things...
- Weapon energy is refilled between stages. So blast away!
- The “Got Weapon” music is from Mega Man 4.
- Wily’s first battle music is from Mega Man 3.
- Wily’s final battle music is from Mega Man 7 (natch).
- Halfway through the game, Wily’s fortress is seen hovering over the center of the stage select screen.
- The Stage Select music differs depending on the mode; the graphics are also a bit different. For instance, in the Mega Man 7 mode, the sky is dark.
There are three different endings for this game depending on which character(s) you used. Mega Man’s is the usual, he-goes-back-to-the-lab-and-talks-with-Dr. Light-and-Roll ending. Proto Man’s ending shows him standing on a ledge on the outer wall of a building. All it tells us, though, are things we already knew. (That Proto Man disappeared shortly after he was built and likes to come and go as he pleases.) Bass’s ending had to be more complex, of course, because Bass is supposed to be on Wily’s side.
Well, he still is.
If someone is playing Bass, he will save Wily at the last second.
During his ending, you see him and Wily outside the destroyed fortress. Wily yells in a fit of anger, “Nooo! My laboratory! Bass, what are you doing!?” Bass explains in his cocky way that he was just proving that he’s the only robot Dr. Wily needs—why does the scientist keep building other, inferior models (i.e., Robot Masters)? To which Wily promptly responds, “You’ve been beaten by Mega Man before.”
“I underestimated him,” Bass replies. “Next time I won’t make the same mistake.”
“Whatever,” Wily tells him. “The robot I’m building now will blow the both of you out of the water.” (This is explained in the sequel, the Power Fighters.)
“All you make is junk,” Bass scorns, forgetting, of course, that Wily made him too. “Do what you like.” And he leaves.
“Bass!” Dr. Wily shrieks. “Don’t just leave me here!” And the ending pretty much ends there.
Anyway, I think the best part of these endings was the music—cool remixes of each character’s theme songs.