Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Mega Man (NES)

No one's dying to see any screenshots of this game, but I had to get around to playing a Mega Man game sooner or later, and I decided to make it sooner.

The original Japanese version actually has Mega Man Rockman himself posing on the title screen, but it seems that they were determined to make sure that no one outside of Japan ever got a clear view of what the guy actually looks like.

The US and European versions of the game each have their own reimagined Rockman Mega Man on the box, though only the American version gets a wonky handgun.

Apparently the game didn't sell too well in the US at first. With that cover I'm surprised it sold at all

Some games start with a character select screen, this one starts with an enemy select.

I've heard that the bosses drop new weapons when they're killed, and different bosses are weak against different weapons. But I haven't got a clue which boss is easiest or what order to play them in, so I'll just play the stages in clockwise order.

Somehow I expected it to look better.

Also holy shit these grinning heli-bots are annoying. They like to fly perfectly straight across the level, then suddenly dive at me when they get close. It makes them a pain in the ass to shoot. If the first enemy in the game's giving me this much trouble, somehow I doubt I'm going to make it very far.


EVENTUALLY.


Fortunately some of the enemies dropped (a tiny amount) of health, so despite my screw ups I'm not doing too badly.

The game was scrolling across just fine earlier, but that all stopped when I climbed a ladder. Now I'm only getting one screen at a time, and this particular screen is filled with wall-mounted gun turrets.

Fortunately if I'm hit and knocked into the hole, I just fall back down to the last screen. Though that's still really annoying, as all the enemies will have respawned.

A red ball? The first few enemies dropped health pick-ups, but what does a red ball get me? Apparently nothing at all.


TWO SECONDS LATER.


Crap, poor Mega Man took too many hits and exploded, and the game put me right back at the start again. With the grinning bastard heli-bots. I hate these things so much.


LATER.


I hate these things too. Though they're easy to destroy and only move side to side on a set path, so if I get hit I've only got myself to blame. Now I've only got one hit point left, so I can't afford another stupid fuck up like this. I should take it slower and be more careful, it's not like I've got a time limit.

I'm actually starting to kinda miss the heli-bot things, because at least they occasionally dropped some health when I killed them. Very occasionally.


BUT THEN...


Son of a bitch!

I'm going to lose all my lives before I even reach the first boss at this rate.

I'm having to keep track of a lot of bullets in this game, from wall turrets and floating orange... gunballs. And I'm really really bad at it. If this game had one hit kills I'd have never made it past the first ladder.


A FEW MORE BULLETS LATER.


A door! That's got to mean I'm near the end of the level, right?

I thought these things were health pick-ups to help me prepare for the boss. But then they opened up and started shooting me, like everything else on this damn stage.

Though I actually managed to make it to Cutman with a decent amount of health. Cutman likes to throw his scissor hat around behind me like a boomerang, then run up after it to catch me in the middle. And it worked, he beat the shit out of me in seconds.

Three deaths and it's game over, and that was my final life. Using a continue put me right back at the start of the level and there's no saves or passwords, so I'm going to just quit and try a different stage.


GUTSMAN'S STAGE.


Now I'm being attacked by evil mining helmets that are invulnerable until I'm in their firing range. Fortunately they fire crappy slow bullets that I can outrun.

This is Gutsman's stage apparently. I think I've got the other boss robots figured out; Fireman uses fire, Bombman uses bombs etc. But what the hell does Gutsman do? Rip out his intestines and throw them at you?


A FEW STEPS LATER.


This is a nice piece of game design. The platforms tilt when they move to a broken part of the track, and the game's kind enough to demonstrate this to me before I've jumped to a rail with a gap in it. Not that it mattered much in the end, I missed the jump entirely and dropped Mega Man down a bottomless chasm. Three times.

I know this place is presumably designed for robot workers, but still... these are shockingly unsafe working conditions.


ICEMAN'S STAGE.

Oh shit, Iceman's stage is a slippery slidey ice world! I'm starting to miss friction already.

These green robots are cunning little gits. I blew up his body, and the head flew off to do an impression of Cutman's grinning heli-bots. So now I know, always aim for the head.


LATER.


It's a disappearing platform puzzle! I need to jump on each platform in turns as it appears, then get the hell back off and onto the next one before it disappears. The punishment for failure is landing back in the water where that thing skids around erratically.


SEEMLY HOURS PASS.


Oh come on! Just jump a little bit further, a few more pixels. It's RIGHT THERE.

I just can't get him to jump far enough to reach that brick. I need to get a bit of a run up, but whenever I do that I screw up the timing and fall off before I jump. Then I'm back in the water, with the... thing. I really really hate that thing.

I really wish Mega Man could just duck and shoot it. But nope, he wasn't designed to duck.


MUCH LATER.


Wow. I just burned up all my lives on the same screen. On the plus side, I'm done with Iceman's stage now. Forever.


BOMBMAN'S STAGE.


Are those robot trees in the background?

I hate this green Power Ranger robot, almost as much as I hate all the other robots. It seems that I can only shoot him while he's shooting me, which isn't an ideal situation because I don't like being shot.

Damn. Plan B didn't work out either, the bastard just followed me and drained all my health.


LATER.


Oh crap, another one? And this one's using an extra life as bait. Well I ain't going up against a green robot just to grab a replacement head, he can keep it.

Oh son of a bitch... another one?

Fine, let's just shoot each other for a bit. May the robot that starts off with the most health win.

These guys again? I thought they were Cutman's toys.

A second after I took this screenshot I got hit and fell off the ladder all the way down into the boss room, with one hit point left. Well I'm screwed.

Aww. I actually took off most of Bombman's health before getting a bomb to the face. If I'd come into this fight with TWO (or more!) hit points, I bet I could have taken him.

But screw Bombman, I've still got two more stages left.


FIREMAN'S STAGE.


Fireman's stage is full of fire. Not a massive shock.

Damn, I got caught between an exploding bullet, and one of those spiky ground things. And that's it for Fireman's stage.

Alright, last stage now.


ELECMAN'S STAGE.


You know, I was kind of expecting there to be electricity on Elecman's stage, not more of these damn erratic ground sliding things. It's hard to time my jumps right because they change their speed.



FIGURATIVELY HOURS OF JUMPING LATER.


Oh shit, more of them? Actually, I've had enough of this. Elecman wins, I'm going home. I'm not even going to lose all my lives on this stage, I'm just turning it off.

Final score: 0 robot bosses defeated.


This doesn't seem like a bad game, but I can't say I was enjoying it, and I'm not sure it's just because it was bastard hard. Maybe it gets better after Mega Man's got a few new weapons, I dunno. Next game.




LATER.


I just put it back on again for five minutes to double check something and I accidentally beat Cutman and stole his power. And now I finally know what all those red balls I've been collecting actually do! They do nothing, besides give me a small bonus to my score.

But now I've got Cutman's scissor hat as a weapon, and I know a few heli-bots that could use a bit of trimming.

Crap, I can't hit anything with this thing! I'm doing even worse now. Next game!

6 comments:

  1. It's funny that the EU box was so bad it was good

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  2. fireunknown27@yahoo.com.vn11 June 2012 at 08:52

    I really really have the same pain as you, Megaman 1 is FUCKING HARD. I played rockman x4, then x5-mega 4-5-3-2------1. Until now, i can't beat this game. Without dash, buster full shot, megaman is nothing, so am I. I wonder how people in 80's could finish this game? they're awesomeeee.

    ....And i'm not a roboot.

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  3. I totally agree with you until you say the game has merit. I think megaman is trash. Some of the x series are ok, but its really not the difficulty that ruins it for me, its the plot, the characters, the entire concept. Robots killing robots for powers that do nothing. Yawn. Its just garbage, only japanese could like this, as its obviously made for people who like gimmicky electronic garbage just because its different and causes pain.

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    Replies
    1. I have to admit I don't care much about Mega Man's storyline myself, but that's fine because it's not actually in the game. You switch the NES on, it goes to the title screen, then the boss select, then right into the gameplay without a single line of dialogue or hint to what's going on.

      Plus it's a NES platformer, it's all about the gameplay, and being able to steal new weapons from robots is a sensible gameplay feature. I'm definitely not going to complain about being able to fire scissors.

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    2. What's funny is that the Mega Man games have some sweet plot. It's just delivered over several dozen games that are all about "kill robots, get weapons" and often have cringeworthy plots.

      The short of it is "Dr Wily fucks up; humanity extinct," but there are things like the first robot to truly make its own decisions (our friend here ain't it), or the word "maverick." Initially it's a condition, being corrupted into wrecking things and being a level boss, but then there's that war you later played. Robots are declared mavericks for being on the wrong side and maverick hunters are sent after them. Skip forward a century or two and surprise, surprise, "maverick" is a political term the state slaps on any metallic undesirable it wants to kill. Cue resistance members being mowed down by light-blue-on-dark-blue robots with arm cannons.

      Good times.

      But the first series is Wily builds robots, Wily builds robots, Wily holds telethon to build robots.

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  4. Thats a reasonable point, but its mostly a concept point. Are you going to complain about the scissors having an agonizingly slow refire rate, having a completely illogical attack pattern, and just being mostly worthless? Ah, thats right, you already did! Most of the weapons are junk, and the levels seem designed to frustrate rather than challenge and entertain, which is why I peg it as a specifically Japanese phenomenon, who as a culture seem to thrive on frustration, and excel when put through agony like this.

    Although I must admit, after watching some megaman speed runs on the internet, and seeing the user blow through levels with nary a problem, and anihilate bosses with a few choice attacks (attacks that seem completely different when used by me, apparently the cutman attack can actually be made to bounce back and force several times, damaging the same enemy more and more with each hit, if you arent there to grab it back up, but I've never gotten that to work) I can't shake the feeling that megaman is secret genius, that I just don't understand.

    But then I remember that everyone I've ever talked to, even people who LOVE megaman, and even watched the TV shows (there was a tv show, right? I think there was), admit that they either hate, or never ever played the first couple NES ones, usually only picking it up around the much more playable X series, or the couple of later numbered ones that gave you a dog, and a bunch of other gadgets that could save you from destruction.

    The first 3 seem hated even by the fans most of the time, and I think I know why, the weirdly distorted controls, NES controls are occasionally perfect, but since there was no uniform hardware libraries for the NES and all the peripheral interfaces had to be programmed from scratch in assembly, you were happy if it even worked, and usually didnt put too much thought into vital things like latency, and stickiness, once you got all the buttons working. So like so many other NES platformers there are strange delays and impractical frustrations inherent in the basic controls, which is why you couldnt make that jump near the end of your review, I had the exact same problem, and I think the reason is that the level designers didn't get feedback on how bad the controls actually were and how impossible a jump like that would be until the game needed to be printed to chipand it was too late.

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