RELEASED: July 22, 1994
AVAILABLE ON: GB
PUBLISHER(S): Capcom, Laguna Video Games
We've reached the end of this chapter in the Mega Man saga, and it has been one rollercoaster ride. At first, I didn't rightly know what to expect of this game. Capcom never doubted their desire to have their third party make it, although the idea of uniting two NES games into one Game Boy title had ran its course, and Mega Man 6 wasn't such great source material for adaptation anyway. That's why they took a surprise turn and had them make a completely original game, the first and last for the Game Boy. With its originality alone, Mega Man V has got a lot going for it. It's not quite the punch in skeptics' faces as the last game, but a good, unique experience for sworn fans to have.
The planets align
Months after seemingly putting an end to Dr. Wily's struggle for world domination once and for all, Mega Man is attacked by Terra, leader of Stardroids, a group of renegade robots from outer space. After being nearly destroyed in the short fight, Mega Man is saved by Dr. Light and fitted with a new arm cannon, the Mega Arm. Accompanied by Rush and his new robot cat Tango, Mega Man takes on the Stardroids and their powerful leader before travelling the solar system to investigate their ultimate cause.
|This screen is cool, although |
I have to wonder about the
presence of the Mega Buster.
|Bubbles, this game's version |
of the springs in Mega Man 6.
OK, I'm playing on an emulator so I don't have to worry about the borders, they've been snuffed out from this particular version of the file, and I guess it's cool to have the game in at least something else than the usual black and white. But, it still doesn't look good, never did - then again, if we think of the game not as a Super Game Boy game, but rather any Game Boy game, it looks quite damn good. The design is good all around, the cinematics and animation are quite impressive on the scale, and although the lag STILL persists, the game looks and feels the most fluid out of all the titles on the Game Boy. Pissing on the atmosphere a little is the soundtrack, which goes from one extreme to another, mostly digging the bottom. The music is not very good. It's all new stuff, of course, which is a plus, but either it's just OK, or just bottom deep crap - and it just so happens that the latter kind seems to play in all the longest levels. It sounds like leftover stuff from a really bad Disney game or a casino simulator.
Although music is an important part of the Mega Man experience, jumbling it up isn't reason enough for me to start deep-criticizing the game. That's where the influence of Mega Man 6 comes into the picture. Once again, if your memory's not on the mark or if you just haven't followed me that long, I hated Mega Man 6. Not only did it suffer from the obvious - repetition - it had the goofiest enemy design ever seen in the series. EVER. It also had the stupidest and most badly disguised plot ever, and to top all the cracks on the surface off, it had terrible ideas in store for the "benefit" and "fresh feel" of the gameplay. "Optional" upgrades to your basic weaponry which you actually couldn't do without, and at the same time the elimination of Rush, and terrains filled with springs or other materials/elements to make Mega Man jump around like a bunny on dope. Like I said back then, despite the similarities, Mega Man was never DuckTales - adding physical elements like this in a Mega Man game was not a good idea. And it still isn't.
Your new weapon, the Mega Arm, is quite neat - Mega Man's still wearing the Mega Buster in the weapon gain screens, though... - it's your arm, and it comes off. Duh. It's also upgradeable by two different upgrades, which seem perfectly optional. Yet, if you want to survive, they're far from optional, and they cost a lot of P-Chips. The most essential upgrade is the Magnet Hand, which can be used to pick up items inside walls or otherwise out of your reach. At first, there seems to be no use for it. You do the natural thing and spend your P-Chips on Energy Tanks and other Tanks between levels. Then, the game suddenly slaps you across the face with a huge dick and produces about 37 instances of "fuck yous" within one single level, level after level. Energy Tanks, extra lives, crystals (I'll tell you about 'em soon)... don't have the Magnet Hand? Well, fuck you! Have a nice day! In all seriousness, the Magnet Hand is not that expensive, but after you realize how much use you'd have for it, it'll take a while to gather the necessary sum of P-Chips, and during that while, you're going to see a lot of essential stuff just pass you by. Besides, in the final levels you don't have much direct use for it, anyway, as much as you'll have for the other, more expensive upgrade.
|How many times must we |
go over this? MEGA... MAN.
MEGA MAN. Not MEGAMAN.
Also, Mega Man 6 had very faceless bosses (remember Yamato Man?!), only a few of which had an obvious theme. Here, they have bosses who have obvious themes; Neptune's level has many water-related hazards, of course, and Mars' level is like a crazy army depot with all kinds of heavy artillery set on destroying Mega Man. But, it doesn't carry all the way through. Waterfalls, for just one example, end up disrupting your progress in a lot of different levels, which renders Neptune's level less unique. Also, some of the bosses don't seem to have any sort of themes to their levels at all, although they could've come up with all sorts of neat level designs for 'em, if they'd worked on the game just a while longer. They ended up just repeating things in different order and fashion, even before the final levels in which that's expected.
|I guess Rush is FINALLY |
prepared for space travel.
|"W"? Could it be? Well, of |
course it could. And it is. But
it's not as obvious as usual.
Mega Man V is a good game, and definitely one Mega Man fans should seek out for the sake of novelty. It slaps the player around a little for the sake of mischief, in addition to already being difficult in the traditional Mega Man style, and I don't like that. It also draws influence from the wrong place and it sounds horrible most of the time, but... it's good.
+ Another all-around fresh take on a classic formula, and a totally original Game Boy exclusive
+ The plot, as irrelevant as it is
+ Surprising intermissions such as a space shooter level
+ The bosses all have different behaviour like in Mega Man X
+ In terms of artificial design, the bosses are a refreshing turn away from the "Man" gimmick...
- ...However, as strong as some of their themes are, there are a few unmemorable and less unique levels, like investment in them suddenly stopped halfway through development
- The music is awful
- Physical elements like the "nightmare springs" in Mega Man 6 are reprised, and they still simply SUCK... luckily there's only one level with anything of the sort
- The "optional" upgrades, or rather lack thereof, is shoved in your face
- Rush takes the longest time to appear, 'til that you'll have to deal with the useless Tango
- Mega Man is still the one protagonist I prefer silent
- The lag still rears a few times despite otherwise fluid gameplay
< 8.1 >