Capcom's unofficial mascot, Mega Man, made his first appearance in the game of the same name back in 1987 on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Although it sparked off the numerous sequels, spinoffs and other games featuring a Mega Man, the first game wasn't a huge success; it was to be the sequel that would cement the character in the hearts of gamers the world over.
This First game was the one that set up the foundation for the next 8 main games in the series, and would provide a glimpse of what the ninth title would become.
The story for this game is a relatively simple one, and one that would repeat itself many times; Dr Wily, a brilliant scientist, aspires for World Domination, and Mega Man, a robot created by Wily's old partner Dr Light, sets out to stop him, and does so by blasting his way through 6 Robot Masters before confronting Wily himself.
The core of the game is also easy to explain. You take control of the small blue robot, Mega Man, and make your way through platforming and shooting levels to take on each of the Robot Masters (pictured above, and created by Dr Wily) and gain their powers to use in other situations. It's all good fun, and beating the bosses feels very rewarding. Of course, saying it is one thing, doing it is quite another...
This game will test every ounce of your gaming ability. Your reflexes, patience, ability to adapt to enemy patterns, accuracy, and loads more besides. Most jumps become too close to call, and avoiding hailstorms of bullets needs to become second nature. Needless to say, chances are this game will frustrate you, but in a good way.
Unlike Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES (reviewed last week), Mega Man's difficulty is never unfair. True, there might be a portion of the game that you can't beat, but you will never feel that you are being cheated; enemies won't appear out of nowhere and knock you into a bottomless pit, and platform jumps won't be leaps of faith. In short, although the game is hard, it is fair.
Graphically, the game is fine. Crisp, clear visuals with varying landscapes and a good amount going on on-screen. Reminiscent of the time, this game has the Sprite Flicker effect which, although it slows down the basic gameplay, helps with avoiding bullets and collisions.
Music is another high point for Mega Man, in that each stage brings it's own tune to the speakers. Great 8-bit retro tunes that fit their stages like a glove.
Mega Man is one of those games that shows you its full hand the moment you start it up. Beating all 6 Robot Masters and getting to Dr Wily is certainly not an afternoon's work, although when it is all said and done, there is little to tempt you back. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, because it's a heck of a bumpy one.