My first play through of the Mega Man series continues with Mega Man 4. It’s pretty Mega Man-by-numbers, though the addition of the charge shot makes it feel closer to later, Mega Man X-style games to me (obviously at the time it was just a new idea in general!) Also Dr. Wiley is gone! Replaced with Dr. Cossack… who was being forced to do bad by Dr. Wiley. Oh well! Let’s have a look!
You know I forgot to take a screenshot of the select screen, so here’s one from Google Image Search (that’s a different dimension than my screenshots…)
Mega Man 4 was first released in Japan on December 6th 1991 under the title “Rockman 4: A New Ambition!!”, which is interesting to see that they ended up doing subtitles as well as numbers. It was released the following month in the US, and Europe managed to get it one year after that (January 1993), both under the simpler title of “Mega Man 4”.
Mega Man and his trusty robo-dog Rush have to contend with Bright Man (Flashes of light so bright they freeze you in place! … makes sense?), Toad Man (can make it rain (in the literal sense, not in the money sense) and jump really high!), Drill Man (… Drills), Pharaoh Man (looks like an Egyptian Pharaoh, and fires projectiles that come to be known as “Pharaoh Shot”), Ring Man (may as well be called Boomerang Man), Dust Man (damaging winds of dust, as well as hard clumps of it), Dive Man (looks like a bit like a submarine, fires missiles) and finally Skull Man (fires and guards himself with skulls).
This leads to some sub-bosses as you make it to Dr. Cossack, then after him the regular Wiley stages. With the likes of Pharaoh Man, Toad Man and Skull Man, this is really where the series went a bit weird with the robot masters and their abilities…
Okay, so… try and describe what you see in this screenshot and then tell me, please.
Run, jump, shoot, slide and use abilities gained by defeated robot masters. It’s pretty “as per usual”, though as mentioned in the opening paragraph, this has added the ability to hold the fire button to charge up and fire a… well, charged shot. Otherwise, it’s the same old, complete with a bunch of stages in between defeating the robot masters and facing the final boss.
Graphics and Sound:
Wow! Rain in the foreground rather than the background!
The backgrounds are more detailed, and there is some fancy layering effects like rainfall in some levels, but otherwise it’s the same 8-bit 2D goodness.
Much like MM3, the background music is good, but nothing really sticks in your head for very long. I guess comparing it to MM1 and 2’s OST is harsh on any game, but if it has Mega Man in front of a number that’s naturally what I’m going to compare it to!
Hey look! A cutscene in the middle of a Mega Man Game… with text!
The Russian (in case you couldn’t tell) scientist Dr. Cossack has unleashed eight evil robots on the world in order to take it over, much like Dr. Wiley had done three times prior.
After Mega Man begins to fight Cossack himself his “brother” Proto Man appears with Cossack’s daughter Kalinka, who reveals she had been kidnapped by Dr. Wiley, who then forced Cossack to build the army of robots… so in other words, it was the same as the other three times. Mega Man chases Wiley in his classic floaty capsule and eventually defeats him in his fortress, escaping just before it explodes. Is this the end of Dr. Wiley?! … *ahem*…
It may not have had the same catchy beat as some other games, but I really enjoyed the 3D-like rotating Mega Man part of the “get equipped” screens.
Much like Mega Man 3, Mega Man 4 was fun to play through, with the exception of looking up the recommended robot master order, I played it blind. Just good 2D action platforming, played it in little bits via PS4 Legacy save states at the start of each level (rather than putting in passwords…) There is a sense of “bloom off the rose” four games in, but I can’t honestly say it was bad, just… familiar…