Mega Man (NES) Review

MM1

I played Mega Man on my brother’s NES when I was very young, so young that I sucked at it… really bad. I then played it as a teen and I was bad, but not awful. Now I brought the Mega Man Legacy Collection on my PS4 and guess what? I completed the game! Admittedly I used a single game state save before starting the Wily stages, but still! Very happy to get that monkey off my back, and now it’s time to give it a review! Why not?

Background:

MM1 1

Choosing your stage was such a big deal to me at the time…

(quick note, these screenshots comes from GameFAQs, because it just never occurred to me that I was playing on a PS4 and could have just pressed the screen capture button like I do on modern PS4 games… for some reason. Sorry!)

Mega Man was released in Japan (as Rock Man) and the US in December 1987, and then, bizarrely, two years later in Europe in December 1989. It has since been re-released a whole bunch of times, in various collections on many, many consoles. It also had one of those awkward looking “3D remakes” in 2006 under the title “Mega Man Powered Up”

In Mega Man 1, we see the titular Mega Man (or, again, Rock Man in Japan!) face off against Cut Man, Guts Man, Ice Man, Bomb Man, Fire Man and Elec Man, before running the gauntlet ahead of tackling Dr. Wily. Guts Man can pick up heavy objects and throws them, for the record… it’s the only one that isn’t self-explanatory!

Gameplay:

MM1 2

Ah yes, the vanishing blocks segment on Ice Man’s stage… F***ing hell I hated them in the past.

D-Pad to move, one button to shoot, one button to jump. Simple as that, but what they do with such simple controls is a masterclass, though being entry #1 there are some small niggling bits. I find the jumping sometimes a bit unresponsive, though since this time round I played the game on the PS4 Legacy collection it could just be the PS4 controller or the emulation, but I’m pretty sure it’s always been there, or maybe I just sucked when I was young… okay, I definitely sucked at Mega Man when I was young, so that doesn’t really help…

When you defeat one of the Robot Master bosses you get to use their trademark weapons by picking them in the select menu. This can lead to a bit of a top trumps style system where each boss is weak to one of the other bosses weapons, which combined with the ability to do each stage in whatever order you want, can lead to very different playthroughs (or a set order that is generally considered he easiest route…)

Speaking of easy or hard, Mega Man 1 is among the most difficult in the franchise, or among the easiest depending on if you decide to make use of the repeating pause glitch (if you fire Elec Man’s beam at one of the bosses and repeatedly mash pause as it strikes it, it will deal damage every unpaused frame that has the beam on the boss, meaning most of them go down rather easily…) That being said the vanishing blocks sections and floaty platform bits I struggled so hard with when I was young wasn’t so bad this time… maybe I have more patience? Oh and there is no password system, that’s definitely a method of making this more difficult than its follow ups, though as I already admitted, I used the Legacy collection’s save states to save after I did the 6 bosses and started the Wily run…

Graphics and Sound:

MM1 4

Mega Man somehow looks ashamed to be on the same screen as Fire Man…

Graphics, for an early 8-bit game, are good. The sprites are clear and the stages are well designed and nice looking. Mega Man and the boss robots have a definite charm about them, a charm that’s still pleasing to look at today.

The sound, well, what else is there to say about NES Capcom soundtracks that hasn’t already been said? Sure, Mega Man has fewer iconic tracks than MM2, but it still has a great selection of recognisable and catchy tunes in this game.

Story:

Do I even have to? It wasn’t really the point of games during this era… Fine. Doctors (in the scientific sense) Light and Wiley have had a falling out, and now Dr. Wiley has turned a bunch of Light’s robots against him in a bid to conquer the world. Dr. Light has no other choice than to send in Mega Man, his best creation and sort-of son to clean them up and defeat the evil scientist. There.

Final Thoughts (Then):

MM1 3

Okay, I’ll admit these segments were still a pain in my arse…

I loved the look of Mega Man, I loved the idea of getting to choose your level and how each stage looked different, but man… I was terrible at it. I was only, like, 6 or 7, and soon moved on to my Mega Drive where there were less tricky platformers, so I never really had the chance to get good. The game and its sequel still stayed with me though, despite my brother having only rented them out once or twice. As a teen I naughtily played on some ROMs of them… and still sucked, but was better, able to defeat most of the robot masters, but if I was honest, my review from “Then” would have been “Too hard!” or something to that effect…

3 Star Game Old

Final Thoughts (Now):

MM1 5

I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to whether I paused and unpaused at this point…

The trophy on my PS account showing the world that I completed Mega Man 1 is among my proudest game achievements. Sure, purists will say I didn’t complete it on a regular NES cartridge and I used a save state before Wily in order to skip having to redo the six regular levels, but I don’t care! I had a great time and I’m going to continue through the Legacy collection on and off, and have a great time doing so!

It’s one of those older games that was made so well that it stands the test of time, still a really well made, thoroughly enjoyable experience that’s just difficult enough to be on the verge of giving up, but satisfying when you stick with it and beat it. Really enjoyed my time with this game and I recommend the experience to anyone, though I am looking forward to the better jumping (if memory serves) and Items 1-3 in the next game to make it a tad easier, so I wouldn’t blame anyone who wanted to jump straight to MM2…

4 Star Game New

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