Tag Archives: wily

FGC #319 Mega Man 6 & Mega Man 7 (Live!)

So I’ve done three streams for the site, and I haven’t actually “finished” a game in a single one. This had to be rectified, so, in order to test Discord chat, we had a live stream of Mega Man 6. And then it segued into a stream of Mega Man 7, because… why not? And then there was a little Sonic Mania, because I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to that title. It happens. Anywhere, here you go:

Notes! With Time Annotations!

3:00 – After a few adjustments, we’re ready to go. Mega Man 6 has always been one of my favorite Mega Man games, so, finally, we’re doing a stream of a game I’m actually good at playing. Our guests to start are Fanboy Master and A Turtle Does Bite.

15:00 – And then BEAT shows up! He’s drinking Victory Golden Monkey booz. Does this count as a plug? Should… should I be getting paid for this?

22:00 – At this point, I randomly start singing what I can remember from We Are Rockman, which was a Japanese song used to peddle Mega Man’s Soccer. Submitted without comment, here’s a sampling of lyrics:

You don’t have to be a president to clock mad dough (yo)
Run you own show (yo) drive a phat car (yo)
Fuck blond ho (New York)
Bro, act like you know

30:00 – We’re going to talk about centaurs now. The Penny Arcade strip mentioned, Unhorse, can be found here (https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/05/26 ). It’s almost a decade old… and honestly, I thought it was older. Huh.

40:00 – LancerECM joins us in the text portion of the stream. Yay! Someone is watching! Oh, I think this is also whereabouts I compare Dr. Wily to confederate war general statues. They’re both bad.

50:00 – I seriously believed I was the first to propose the dual timelines theory of Bubble Bobble, but it apparently originated in a Bad Rats episode. There is nothing new under the sun.

How to live1:09:00 – And thus did Mega Man 6 end. I guess it took an hour to complete? That sounds about right. So, naturally, we talk about the ages of Street Fighters.

1:15:00 – Because I’m rather enjoying myself, we flip over to Mega Man 7, the immediate sequel to Mega Man 6. I realize this should seem obvious, but it’s not like Mega Man 6 requires a complete understanding of the rich lore of Mega Man 5.

1:19:00 – Hey everybody, it’s the first appearance of Shadow the Hedgehog Bass! Also, Muteki stops into the stream. Always room for one more.

1:37:00 – Here’s an actual videogame relevant fact: in Mega Man 7, you can’t obtain the RUSH letter and the RUSH part on the same run-through, so you either have to return to the stage later, or suicide. I choose the option that leads to a dead robot. Also, BEAT talks about streaming his wedding.

1:45:00 – I apologize, the Mighty No. 9 quote about female characters was in reference to Mighty No. 3, the electrical lady. The full quote is “This is pretty much the No. 3 design by Inafune-san himself. You can see how much he likes strong female characters.” –Kimokimo. Maybe there were secret “strong female characters” in the Mega Man franchise?

1:56:00 – I can actually hear the gameplay now, and, yes, I did successfully activate the Ghouls ‘n Ghosts music for Shade Man’s stage. Also, to prove I’m not insane, here’s Mega-Caveman:

Ook

2:09:00 – We’re mostly just talking about Sonic throughout the stream. How many chaos emeralds has Knuckles lost over the years? The world may never know.

2:15:00 – You can fight Protoman and steal his shield in Mega Man 7. For all the talk of how this game was rushed out the door, there are a lot of fun little details in this adventure.

2:23:00 – Though the “thoughtless”, rushed game design does show itself with the lack of an easy “escape module” (like in Mega Man X). Having to repeat an entire stage because you chose the wrong option on the menu is just terrible.

2:33:00 – Another day, another Wily Castle. Let’s talk about Atari landfills.

2:40:00 – Bass and Treble are known as Forte and Gospel in Japan. It’s still a basic music theme, but “Gospel” does at least make certain organizations in Mega Man Battle Network 2 sound more interesting.

I hate you2:52:00 – Nobody cares that Freeze Man can “freeze” the game, so let’s talk about fictional characters liking fictional universes. I’m sticking to my theory that Dr. Light sits around watching century-old cartoons when no one is around.

2:58:00 – Mega Man 7 final boss! I hate everything about this!

3:10:00 – And then it finally ends. BEAT talks about “Fifteen Minute Classics”, which is a book that I’m almost certain doesn’t in any way exist.

3:17:00 – We’ve been talking about Sonic Mania all night, so I finally decide to play it. Knuckles is clearly the main character of Sonic Mania, right?

3:25 – BEAT leaves, because it’s 1 AM. I try to stop the stream, but then we start talking about Trump, and I can’t pass up a good chance to deride that idiot, so the stream continues for about another half hour.

And that’s it! Four hours of complete nonsense! If you decided to actually watch the whole thing through (during the live stream or now) congratulations, you’re a Gogglebob.com super fan! Thanks for watching, and thanks to everyone that participated! See you on the next stream!

FGC #319 Mega Man 6 & Mega Man 7

  • System: They’re not quite as ubiquitous as Mega Man 2 & 3, but 6 & 7 have appeared on a number of systems. In this case, it was the Playstation 4, but I’m pretty sure these games have been available on every Playstation model… and Xbox… and maybe like 75% of Nintendo consoles, too.
  • Number of players: One person plays, like four people watch and comment.
  • Pew PewMaybe actually talk about the game for a second: Mega Man 6 isn’t the apex of the NES Mega Man games, but it’s a tight, fun experience. Mega Man 7 is loose, but pretty, and generally inoffensive. If we could even out the difficulty of both final bosses, we’d have some kickass games here.
  • Favorite Robot Master (Mega Man 6): Centaur Man, because 70% horse, 50% man forever.
  • Favorite Robot Master (Mega Man 7): Shade Man, because robot vampire. I guess I just like the “mythical” robot masters… but then again, when the competition includes friggen’ Spring Man…
  • Goggle Bob Fact: Mega Man 6 was one of two games I kept at my grandmother’s house, so it got played roughly 600% more than other NES titles. This is likely why the level layouts of that title are now a part of my DNA.
  • Did you know? Wind Man and Knight Man were both “designed” by American fans (and specifically Nintendo Power readers), but if you look up the “original” designs, they’re pretty far off from the actual final product. I guess it’s more like they officially “named” a couple of robot masters. And I’m not jealous. Not at all.
  • Would I play again: I will play every Mega Man game again until the end of time.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Low G Man for the NES! Time for some low-down dirty gravity hijinks! Please look forward to it!

The news!

FGC #201 Mega Man Zero 4

Here is the complete history of one reploid named Zero.

Our story begins back in the olden days of 20XX, when one Dr. Thomas Light worked together with Dr. Albert Wily. The two had been friends for many years, and, while Light was always considered the greater scientist, Wily possessed more of what is colloquially referred to as “drive”. This drove Wily to, upon the completion of Light’s initial eight numbers, steal the living hell out of the most dangerous robots this world had ever seen. Fireman may have been built for waste disposal, but any creature with flamethrowers for hands and a head does possess significant destructive potential. In response, Dr. Light modified the super cleaning robot, Rock, into Megaman, the little metal boy with a heart full of righteousness and an arm full of bullets. Megaman went on to totally crush Wily’s Robot Rebellion and demolish that hastily assembled Skull Fortress.

From that point on, the roguish Wily did everything he could to defeat Megaman. He built his own robots. He framed other robots. He hired Russian labor. He invented the worst board game ever. Soccer happened. Through it all, Megaman triumphed, and Wily was barely capable of achieving even fleeting victories. Couple this with severe budgetary issues (building a colossal fortress shaped like a robot’s helmet sounds like a great idea on paper…) and it’s a wonder Wily ever found the time to engineer his greatest creation.

GET IT!?As ever, Light and Wily worked in parallel. When Wily weaponized Gutsman, Light developed Megaman. When Gutsman became a tank, Megaman gained a hoverboard. Wily threw a giant cat into the mix, so Megaman got a dog. Angry robot birds to fight angry robot birds, and companion mecha armor to fling robot dog punches about. Years after their rivalry started lowering Monsteropolis property values, Light and Wily had transferred their enmity to their most prominent creations: Megaman, still defending Dr. Light, and Bass, the very similar robot designed by Dr. Wily.

But neither scientist was satisfied. And this rivalry would lead to the end of mankind.

Light was proud of Megaman, but his creation was not a true artificial intelligence. “It” was programmed to be good and noble and true, but the problem was that it was literally built that way. Megaman, for all his victories, was still just a robot, and could never be the real “son” Thomas had always desired. With this in mind, Light began work on the X project, a mechanical biped capable of more than simple computed thought, something more than a robot, something that would one day be known as a reploid.

Dr. Wily had much the same thought at the same time, but he was more focused on a bot that could double jump. Oh, and a virus that would infect that blasted Megaman if he ever defeated the beast. That would show ‘em.

Both scientists succeed in their endeavors, but, unfortunately, did not live to see it. Light sealed his newly created Megaman X in a capsule so it could run diagnostics confirming “he” would not go crazy and kill everybody upon awakening (Light watched a few too many Matrix movies during the project). Wily sealed Zero in a similar time capsule. It is not known exactly why the traditionally impatient Wily would do such a thing, but there is some record of a mishap involving a jealous Bass and, to quote a discovered recording, “that beautiful girl hair”. Whatever the case, both proto-reploids were sent forward in time to an age when the Wily Wars were long forgotten. And those that ignore history…

ScaryMegaman X was discovered by one Dr. Cain. Dr. Cain, unfortunately, was a complete idiot. Like, seriously, the guy couldn’t find his butt with both hands on a good day, and, on a bad day, he decided to arbitrarily clone a mysterious robot he found in a capsule. And from there, he decided modifications to the design would be a good idea, and created perfectly invisible chameleons made of spikes and octopuses equipped with all the missiles on Earth. Though he did make one adorable penguin, and that was pretty alright. Cain decided to call the reproductions of X “reploids”, and then he knocked off to the pub to have a pint and tell the guys about his great idea for a horsey that could punch fireballs.

Unfortunately, Cain’s sloppiness led to cataclysmic consequences. X had undergone a century of diagnostics to guarantee his heart was in the right place. Cain hastily copy ‘n pasted that code into a number of modified units, and found that the untested dittos had about a 20% chance of becoming instantly homicidal. Rather than halt production, Cain decided the best answer was more reploids (dude was all in on this project, it was either this or live with his mom), and, to answer the murderous “maverick” reploids, the Maverick Hunters were created, with Sigma, a reploid designed to never go maverick, at the helm. For the record, Cain didn’t implement that “immune to being maverick” code in every reploid because, as stated earlier, Cain was an idiot.

WeeeeSigma had a pretty good run as head Maverick Hunter, but eventually happened upon a long sealed cave that housed a certain red reploid. Yes, Dr. Wily’s long lost final creation had finally awakened, and, when Sigma attempted to subdue the rampaging Zero, the hero of humanity became infected with the Zero Virus meant for Megaman. Whoops! From that point on, Sigma started wearing clown makeup and commanding his trusted Maverick Hunters to hunt humans for sport. It was right about that point that it was a really good idea to grab a vacation home on some secluded island somewhere, as highway repair was about to fall far off to the wayside.

Mega Man X, who had previously been sitting out this whole war while reading a book on arm cannon philosophy, decided to wade into the fray to stop Sigma. It was on this adventure that he met Zero, now rehabilitated and working for the (human friendly) Maverick Hunters. Zero was far more experienced in the ways of combat than X, so it was only natural when, toward the end of X’s journey, Zero gloriously and suicidally exploded in an effort to destroy some ride armor that usually can only withstand like eight hits. Zero was blown into exactly three pieces, and X soldiered on to separate Sigma into many, many more pieces. Zero, Wily’s greatest creation, died saving Light’s legacy. There was poetry in the final, friendly end of an eternal rivalry.

But it didn’t last.

Wily’s Zero Virus had mutated in Sigma to become the Sigma Virus. So Sigma lived on past his destruction, and gained the ability to transfer his sentience through cyberspace, thus becoming more malware than man. Zero survived, too, after a fashion. Yes, Zero was trisected, but X was able to retrieve those pieces, and Dr. Cain was able to successfully weld those pieces together with superglue. Ultimately, it was Wily’s superior engineering that allowed his creation to breathe again. Yes, it only took a hundred or so robots, but Wily did finally realize that “extra lives” was the source of his constant failures.

He'll be back laterSo X and Zero defeated Sigma time and time again, fighting side by side, and only occasionally pausing to fight each other. Zero died again, came back, picked up a lightsaber, and killed Boba Fett a whole bunch. X quietly wondered what he was fighting for (Zero had a tendency to scream it), and dreamed of a day when Sigma was finally defeated, and all could live in harmony. Took about a century to get to that point.

Sigma’s defeat came from the most unlikely of sources: an elf. A “cyber elf” is a small, module-like piece of sentient programming that is capable of rewriting or overwriting code. Considering Sigma had essentially become code, the lead Mother Elf finally able to wipe Sigma off the face of the Earth. Yay! Now it was just a matter of eliminating the last remaining mavericks, and all would be well. Oh, my bad, I mean, everything would be Weil. Dr. Weil decided that the Maverick Wars weren’t ending fast enough, so why not kick Zero out of his (apparently immortal) body, drop the Mother Elf in there, and use her new invincible body and mind to overwrite and control every reploid on Earth. That would put an end to Mavericks/free will, right? That should make everything fine!

Zero and X weren’t into this plan. Zero got a new, slightly sexier body, and fought with X on the frontlines against his old body (now dubbed Omega). This led to a four year conflict where, somehow, 90% of all reploids and 60% of all humans died. Also, six cats were seriously inconvenienced. In the end, Zero and X defeated Omega before it could combine with Mother Elf, and Scary dudeWeil was transformed into a cyborg that was doomed to forever wander the mostly ruined Earth. Zero decided that, after centuries of fighting, he’d knock off and take a nap for a few years, and X was left with cleanup duty.

X wound up ruling what was left of the planet’s population admirably for a while, but, when faced with the Mother Elf still causing mischief for the population, he decided to sacrifice his body to seal the Elf for a solid couple of years. X lived on as a disembodied consciousness, though, and four Guardians who all embodied some random part of his personality. Fairy Leviathan, for instance, was born of the part of X that was a lady fish. But the universe abhors a vacuum, and, with only “segments” of X to keep the world happy, a young prodigy decided to be the second idiot in history to make a duplicate of X and hope for the best. It went about as well as the first time.

Copy X became, with very little exaggeration, Robot Hitler. Ciel, his creator (who also happened to be nine), regretted her decision, and founded a resistance movement consisting of reploids and humans. By the time she was the ripe old age of twelve, Ciel found Zero’s newish, sleeping body, and awakened him to fight once again. Zero finally fulfilled his destiny when, after fighting through four lesser versions of X, he finally got to slice Copy X in twain. Thus a Wily bot had finally and completely defeated the last Light number, and all was well.

Do not touchWhoops, did it again. All is Weil, as it turns out that sentencing a dangerous lunatic to become an immortal, unkillable monster man is not the best idea. Weil resurfaced shortly after Zero quit and then rejoined the resistance, and tormented the red reploid with vague hints that Zero was in the wrong body. Zero apparently didn’t have much a memory at this point (can’t blame him, death is tough on the brains), and fought Weil to discover the truth of Omega and the Elf Wars and why Fairy Leviathan keeps hitting on him. Finally, after every last aspect of X is sacrificed, Zero discovers the truth, and learns that he wasn’t really attached to his old body, anyway. Zero destroys Omega… but Weil still takes over the last vestige of humanity, Neo Arcadia. Win some, lose some.

Weil, it turns out, was really, really insane (like, more insane than usual), so he decided to destroy the planet. Like, literally, with a space laser. Dude belongs in a Final Fantasy universe. Regardless, Zero is called upon to save the world yet again, and, in his final mission, destroys Weil once and for all as the Ragnarok Orbiting Death Laser crashes to Earth.

Sorry?And, thus Zero’s story ends while being burned up in reentry. The rivalry between Wily and Light that started over construction robots ended with the near destruction of the very planet itself and literal centuries of war. In time, humanity as we know it would give way to reploid/human hybrids, and the very concept of saving without a monkey companion would become a long forgotten memory. Zero died as he lived: fighting some random lunatic over the fate of the universe, and Wily’s dreams died with him.

… And then some damn kids started wearing Zero like a suit because that idiot with the ponytail couldn’t leave well enough alone. But that’s a story for another day.

FGC #201 Mega Man Zero 4

  • System: Gameboy Advance for the original, DS for part of the Mega Man Zero Collection, and WiiU if you feel like playing a GBA game on the TV.
  • Number of players: Zero. Wait. I mean one.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: It’s a Mega Man Zero game, the end. I’m sure I’ll have more time to examine what that exactly means in the other three Zero games, but, in short, it’s a difficult, “close range” Mega Man game. This seems to be the easiest of the Zero titles, primarily thanks to how the elves (well, elf) and ranking work. Though, an “easy” Mega Man Zero game is still pretty damn difficult.
  • RAWR?Favorite Einherjar Eight Warrior (seriously, that’s what they call the Robot Masters): Mino Magnus is a minotaur… wait… most reploids are half animal hybrids, is he still a minotaur, or just a bull/man reploid? No matter, what’s important is that he’s got a crazy axe and magnet powers. This guy gets my vote because he’s the archetypal “big guy” maverick, but he has the ability to magnetically separate and reassemble himself, so he isn’t just the typical “stand and slash” giant. Also, he’s dumb as a post.
  • Made it through a whole Mega Man Zero article without mentioning Mighty No. 9? Well… kinda.
  • What’s in a name? Mega Man somehow survived, in one way or another, through Mega Man Zero 3. He also makes a return as part of the X biometal in Mega Man ZX. But Mega Man X is completely absent from this adventure, so, despite the title, there is no Mega Man in this game. Technically.
  • Did you know: Albert Wily was named after Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein had an ancestor named Jakob Weil. … Well, I thought that was neat.
  • Would I play again: Of the Mega Man Zero games, this one might be the easiest to pick up and play. All the same, I’d rather be playing a straight up Mega Man game, so the odds are good, but not great.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Plok for the SNES! Guess it’s a good week for action heroes that gradually get disassembled! Please look forward to it!

Huh?

FGC #197 Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

What a titleDr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is a Puyo Pop clone with a Sonic skin. Dr. Robotnik is mechanizing the peaceful people of Beanville, and it’s up to you, player, to defeat the bad doctor and his robotic minions in a series of head-to-head puzzle challenges. Triumph, and the beans will be free to roam around and be joyful little loco roco rejects; fail, and Dr. Robotnik will utilize his new robo beans to conquer Mobius.

Feel like something is missing? That’s right, Sonic the Hedgehog is nowhere to be seen. Sonic, Tails, and Charmy Bee are all completely absent from this adventure. Dr. Robotnik gets the title, and Sonic doesn’t get so much as a chili dog.

And I think that’s a good thing.

Villains have a tendency to be more interesting than their heroic rivals. Dr. Robotnik is a mad scientist with an IQ of 300, a grandfather that tried to blow up the moon, and a revolutionary method of converting useless bunnies into robotic abominations. He’s dedicated to his twin goals of conquering the world and maybe building a shway theme park. Despite failing over and over again, Robotnik soldiers on, and doesn’t let a little thing like having his Egg Fortress obliterated get him down. Sonic the Hedgehog… likes to run fast.

And this happens in a lot of videogames, to the point that I’m now going to pit classic videogame heroes and villains against each other in a battle for supremacy (or at least top billing).

Mario and Bowser would be the obvious starting point… but that already seems kind of unfair. Mario is, essentially, a charismatic, well-liked soldier. Bowser is menacing toads again! Somebody call the one and only guy that ever seems to curb that dreadful dinosaur. PHOTO OF BOWSER UNAVAILABLEOn the other side of the aisle, though, you have Bowser, who is the king of a very eclectic kingdom. Peach rules a kingdom of funguys that are virtually indistinguishable from each other, while Bowsie corrals a mix of chestnuts, beetles, cacti, turtles (both bipedal and quadrupedal), and the occasional homicidal sun. And he somehow commands all those creatures to literally die for his cause. Peach can barely get her toads to venture outside the castle walls, and even her second best soldier is more likely to cower than conquer. Mario jumps, Bowser rules.

To be clear, I’m not saying Bowser is a good guy. He’s a very violent fire-breathing turtle monster, and his “grab ‘em by the Peach” policy should only be derided. But when you consider what goes into the average Bowser plan versus a Mario plan (run, jump, repeat), Bowser undoubtedly leads the more interesting life. But does Bowser get anything other than the occasional tennis match or RPG cameo? No! Meanwhile, Mario is munching on mushrooms on his 12,000th adventure. That mustache has to rescue… I don’t know… have we saved Candy Land, yet?

WIN!And this reminds me of another grand conqueror, Ganon, and I guess that damn Link kid, too. Ganon (give or take a dorf) must have the absolute worst luck. At this point in Zelda mythology, we know that Ganon is the reincarnation of a gigantic, malevolent demon that once threatened the very gods of Hyrule. It’s kind of a shame, then, that he’s routinely routed by a kid that herds cows. Ganon comes from an oppressed people, wants nothing but, ya know, water and other basic resources for his thirsty family, but is still turned away at the gate because a precocious preteen princess decided to tell everybody about some bad dream. He tries to make alliances with a shady sister kingdom, and his calls just keep going to voicemail until some damn jester picks up. Poor ginger tries to revive an entire mystical kingdom, and he gets a divinely-mandated sword in his forehead for his troubles. Link, meanwhile, seems to continually luck into the most powerful relics on the face of the Earth (“Gee, nice flute you got there, you say it controls all of time and space?”), and lays claim to these holy relics because… he’s courageous? Ya know, I’m pretty sure I could successfully poke some giant worm in the butt with a sword if the alternative meant death or falling off a tower. That should only merit The Triforce of Basic Survival, not Courage. Ganon fights for the good of suppressed others everywhere; Link usually only has one brunette in mind.

Speaking of generational heroes battling an immortal dictator, Dracula already has the title in Japan’s version of “Castlevania”, so I think he’s getting his due.

CRYDr. Wily, now there’s a guy who should get top billing. Screw “Mega Man” “Rock Man” or “Rainbow Man”, the true title of that franchise should be something along the lines of “Dr. Wily’s Funhouse (featuring some robot boy)”. Raise your hands if you wanted to be Dr. Wily as a kid. Thought never crossed your mind? Okay, but did you ever create your own robot masters? Design your own levels or weapons for Mega Man? Guess what! That’s Dr. Wily’s job! Dr. Light built one adaptable fighting robot, and then Dr. Wily built six death mazes and an entire castle to fight back. And then another eight levels, robot masters, and a castle. And then again! And again! Sometimes he built entire “dummy” castles just to screw with Rock-for-Brains! And when he ran out of ideas, he kidnapped another scientist so Mega Man could have even more robots to fight. And there was a soccer tournament somewhere in there! That is some insane dedication to his craft. Maybe mad. Obviously they can’t all be winners (Stone Man? Really?), but every once in a while you get a robot master choo choo or snake, and it all works out. Mega Man knows one big thing, but Dr. Wily knows many things, including how to build a fortress in the shape of a giant skull.

SO ANGRYBut I guess now we’re talking about Hedgehogs again. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine might not be the “The Adventures of Eggman”, but it is at least a chance for the mad scientist to shine outside of that rodent eulipotyphla’s limelight. Maybe we’ll see more Eggman times in the future, but for now, we must be content with one measly villain owning a puzzle game. We’ll get that hedgehog next time.

FGC #197 Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

  • System: Sega Genesis, Game Gear, and a menagerie of rereleases on later systems. Despite the assumed licensing issues, this game has no problem resurfacing every generation.
  • Number of players: Two player head-to-head puzzle action. Eat your heart out, Nintendo Tetris.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: It’s Puyo Pop. It’s a match-color game. It’s practically Dr. Mario. It’s also really difficult for some reason. Like, the second stage is already pretty rough with piling the garbage blocks on the player.
  • So, did you beat it: Once, on one of the Sega/Sonic Mega Collections. I want to say Playstation 2 era? The final boss is Dr. Robotnik himself.
  • Hey, speaking of villains headlining games, what about Shadow the Hedgehog: This blog does not recognize color swaps as real characters. You heard me, Reptile!
  • Did you know? The aesthetics of this game are predominantly based on the Sonic the Hedgehog animated series. The, uh, daily one, not the one that only aired on Saturdays and was super rad because Sonic the Hedgehog was some kind of freedom fighter and there was a rabbit that was also a cyborg and I think Sonic had his own Uncle Ben. … The 90’s were a weird time to be alive.
  • Would I play again: No. I’m proud of Robotnik being immortalized in the title of this Puyo Pop clone… but it’s still just Puyo Pop. So why don’t I just play that?

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Ducktales, the Wayforward version! Get ready for life to be like a hurricane! Please look forward to it!

Ugh

FGC #168 Mega Man IV

Charge ahead!I’ve said it before, but videogames are inordinately complex. I’m not (just) talking about how many programmers it takes to animate the leading man’s nose hair, no, I’m thinking of the basic design going all the way back to Mario. Jump physics “feel wrong”? Game is crap. Powerup distribution makes the game too easy/hard? Game is crap. Level 2 Boss is impossible and there’s no skipping it? Game is crap. It seems like a million little pieces have to work 100% in tandem, or the whole thing tumbles down the dumpster hole. In a way, this is true of many mediums (how many times have you seen a movie with an interesting plot but insipid dialogue), but considering how much a videogame is impacted by how the player “feels”, well, I admit there have been a few videogames I quit inside of five minutes. Tekken: Death by Degrees, I’m looking at you.

Mega Man basically got it perfect on his second shot. Mega Man 1 had its share of… weirdness with terminal falls and noisy platforms, but Mega Man 2 just about perfected the formula for many games to come. Yes, things were added, like the slide and mega buster, but I can see why Mega Man 2 deserves as many accolades as it receives, as it’s a very well-constructed game from top to bottom. Assuming I’m willing to ignore the boobeam trap, of course.

And, honestly, Mega Man is comforting in its familiarity. When Mario, the Belmonts, and even Contra couldn’t seem to pin down one 100% same gameplay style between titles (I can fly now? I can be a pirate? What the hell is Contra Force?), it was heartening to have “the same, but with a new cast” every year or so. Hell if the franchise was created today, from Mega Man 2 on, every Mega Man title could practically be an expansion pack.

Oh God I just realized how badly I want a new eight robot masters every year…

The Mega Man Gameboy titles were an obvious attempt to translate those great games to a portable system. Save Mega Man V (which I already… kinda… discussed), each of the Mega Man Gameboy titles Toad Flush isn't going to cut itreused robot masters, incidental bots, and stage hazards from their “big brother” NES titles. In general, this led to a mix of different robot masters comingling (Quick Man and Cut Man in the same game? Why, I never!), and, sometimes, the opportunity to use new techniques against old enemies (eat mega buster, Snake Man!). But, overall, the first three Gameboy Mega Mans were… lackluster. Not completely bad, mind you, just another example of early portable ports that were greatly compromised compared to their console brethren.

And then there’s Mega Man IV.

Mega Man IV is actually a pretty great game all on its own. It combines the fun of Mega Man 4 and 5 superbly, introduces Ballade, the final (and pretty cool) Mega Killer, and the geography of many of the areas (like the interiors of the gigantic Wily Tank) are pretty splendid. This is the kind of Mega Man game I’d like to play on the go, and really makes me lament the fact that I ignored it for so long (thinking it’d be just as underwhelming as its Gameboy ancestors). I didn’t play this title until well after Mega Man Mania was cancelled (sometime around the GBA days), and more’s the pity.

However, the changes to the Mega Man formula this game does make really highlight what works so well in the “real” Mega Man series.

ARGHThe first and most obvious issue is that everything is cramped as hell. Mega Man usually has full reign of the entirety of the NES’s vertical space, and his little metal boy sprite doesn’t take up that much real estate. Not so on the teeny tiny Gameboy screen. Now, in the previous three Mega Gameboy titles, the dedication to aping the old level design was held above actually fun level design, so things like Elec Man’s disappearing blocks became… frustrating. Meanwhile, in Mega Man IV, levels finally feel like they’re designed for the Gameboy, and not just ported. This is great for the minute-to-minute gameplay… but can be a little disorienting for someone who has played Mega Man 3 a billion times, and isn’t used to hitting the ceiling so often. Mind you, the most open areas (Toad Man’s stage comes to mind) still seem to retain a sprawling feeling, but the feeling that an unseen enemy may be lurking just out of range gets pretty insistent as the stages proceed.

Secondly, and less immediately obvious, is the fact that Mega Man has less health. Your life bar is shorter in all the Gameboy games, and that creates a sort of dissonance between the “classic” rival bots and their new deadliness. Revisiting Toad Man’s stage again: here are some water rat bots. In Mega Man 4, they’re an inconvenience that is most likely to murder our mega pal only through some edge of a platform knockback. In Mega Man IV, a single hit from those rodents seems to drain a quarter of your life bar. There are less enemy bots per stage than in the NES titles, but since they’re all so powerful now, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. In mainline Mega Man, lesser bots are nuisances, but on the Gameboy, they’re downright deadly.

Of course, the shorter life bars also mean the bosses go down a lot faster, so, good, less Ring Man to deal with.

Too humidNow the health thing might be a pain on its own, but it couples poorly with the new P-Chips System. From a strictly theoretical perspective, I love P-Chips. Mega Man now has access to a shop, and, if you’re terrible at the game, you may incidentally accumulate enough P-Chips to buy a shiny new E-Tank or stock of extra lives. That’s great! No more do you have to farm that one E-Tank in Hard Man’s stage, you can buy your consumables, and defeat even the hardest robot masters with all the technique of Thomas the Thumbless Man. Life keeps getting better!

However, the downside is now that where there might once have been free energy for your health or weapons, there’s a P-Chip. This random mook could have dropped a lil’ energy refill, but, nope, P-Chip. And P-Chips are great!… they just can’t be used actually within the level you find them… so you’re stuck waiting to cash in your chips later. That’s super an’ all, but I’m dying now! And did I mention that weapon refills are really important in the later stages that don’t grant that “free” between level fill up? But don’t worry, you’ve got more P-Chips!

And, finally, we have the recoil factor. This is one subtle change that absolutely changes the game entirely. Now, whenever Mega Man fires a fully charged mega buster blast, he recoils juuuuust a little bit. It seems small, and it’s unlikely to impact a boss battle (probably when the mega buster is most abused), but wow can it make an impact over platforming segments. Carefully leaping from one platform to another is dangerous already, but there’s an enemy! Quick, shoot it! … But Whoopsyou were charging, so you fired off a mega blast, recoiled just enough, and now welcome to the abyss. While this never comes up on the NES games, here Mega Man has an actual reason to not be charging all the time. Scary platforms ahead? Stop holding down that B button and use your regular pew pews. You’ll be glad you did.

What does this all mean? Well, it illuminates exactly how Mega Man is make or break based on the tiniest changes. Overall, for better or worse, I would say most of these changes make the game more difficult. The closer ceiling is a pain, the recoil factor will get you killed, and P-Chips are very situational. I don’t need to mention (again) how a smaller life bar is going to end poorly. However, Mega Man IV is still a fun game. It’s more difficult than Mega Man 4/5, but it’s also just different enough to be interesting. Like the concept Final Fantasy 4 DS would eventually embody, this is a game that is fun for new players, and plays with veteran players’ expectations just enough to be a new experience. Mega Man IV is highly recommended because of how it tweaks its formulas.

But it just goes to show that every robot lives or dies thanks to a million little pieces.

FGC #168 Mega Man IV

  • System: Gameboy and 3DS Virtual Console. I don’t think any other systems want that pea-green business.
  • Number of players: One, because I don’t want to see that stupid link cable again.
  • Too bombyFavorite Robot Master (this game): Toad Man continues to impress through his own sheer lack of… anything. Dude can dance, and, other than that, he’s basically a slowly moving target. Dr. Cossack was having an off day, I guess.
  • Did you know? This was the first Mega Man game to feature the Energy Balancer, the item that allows Mega Man to pick up weapon energy without opening the menu every damn time. You will note that this item became completely standard for the Mega Man X series.
  • Would I play again: I would, but Mega Man V has all the cool stuff of this game, and a rocket punch. I can’t say no to a rocket punch.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Venetica for the Xbox 360! Venetica… isn’t that a font? I would play a game about a font fighting to become part of a default list of… oh never mind. Please look forward to whatever this is!