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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Virtual Console Review: Mega Man 4

System: NES
Genre: Action/Platformer
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Virtual Console Release: Apr. 19, 2010 USA / Apr. 16, 2010 EUR / Feb. 9, 2010 JPN
Original Release: Jan. 1992 USA / Aug. 1993 EUR/ Dec. 6, 1991 JPN
Players: 1
Cost: 500 points
Controllers Supported: Wii Remote, Classic Controller GameCube
Rated: E for Everyone

It's widely believed that the classic Mega Man series peaked with the second game, but in truth, Capcom still put out plenty of good Mega Man adventures that were worth your time. Mega Man 4 may not be as good as Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3, but it's still a solid entry in the long running series and even managed to introduce a few new gameplay elements.

Dr. Wily isn't the only scientist that's green with envy. Dr. Cossack, a Russian inventor of advanced robotics is also tired of not being recognized by the world for his achievements. And what better way to get people to notice you than inventing an army of eight robot masters and sending them after Earth's champion in a bid for world conquest? Dr. Cossack may be jealous of Dr. Light but is there more to the story here? Is Dr. Wily involved? Spoiler alert: Yes and yes.

Defeating Toad Man is simple.
Shoot, slide, repeat.
Toad Man's Rain Flush works wonders on the
quick sand section in Pharaoh Man's level.

Following the same tried and true formula of the first three Mega Man games, you can select whichever robot master stage you wish to go to in any order. Some robot masters and levels are certainly easier than others, so it can be very beneficial to come to a more challenging stage with the proper support items and robot master weakness weapon.

Mega Man 4's biggest innovation is the Mega Buster. The Mega Buster is a weapon Mega Man has by default. Holding down the fire button will have Mega Man glowing green and blue. Release the button and Mega Man fires off a charged shot that can do a sizable amount of damage to enemies and robot masters. Due to the nature of this weapon, this can make fighting robot masters with it a bit easier, but they still take more damage for the weapon they happen to be weak against than the Mega Buster. It's been long debated that the Mega Buster is a game breaking tool. Yeah, it can be used a lot and consumes no energy but it never truly ruined the series in any way. The Metal Blades were absurdly busted yet you won't find a soul whining about that ruining Mega Man 2.

Bright Man knows the fine art of cheap
fighting tactics.
The crushers in Dust Man's stage look
intimidating, but this is actually
one of the game's easier sections.

The game serves up some of the most memorable robot master of the classic series, along with some of the most silliest with Dust Man falling into the later category. I do have to give Dust Man credit for fighting a heck of a lot Better than Bubble Man ever did. Ring Man might sound like he belongs in  jewelry shop, but he's quite fast, one of the quickest robots in the classic series. You get some pretty useful weapons from these guys to boot. Pharaoh Man's Pharaoh Shot can be charged and thrown diagonally and because of the size when it's fully charged, the radius it covers is quite large. Bright Man's Flash Stopper is even better than Flash Man's since it can be used in bursts and you can shoot with it. Toad Man's Rain Flush damages all foes on the screen. The damage it does varies depending on the enemy, but this is still a good weapon for getting rid of multiple pests all at once. Skull Man is one of the coolest-looking robot masters of the bunch, but sadly, the Skull Barrier is one of the weaker shield weapon. Dive Man's Dive Missiles home in on targets like  Magnet Man's Magnet Missiles but they aren't nearly as fast. Overall, Mega Man 4's weapon set isn't too shabby but could be better.

It wouldn't be a Mega Man game without tons of spikes, perilous jumps and precise shooting and Mega Man 4 has that and then some. Bright Man's stage has a few sections where you have to be careful that you don't turn out the lights or you won't be able to see. Skull Man's level holds a few E-Tanks, including one that is simple enough to grab, but jumping back after you've obtained it isn't so easy with the slight miscalculation sending you to your doom. Atop Dr. Cossack's fortress is a auto scrolling section over, you guessed it, a huge bottomless pit. Like all the Mega Man titles before and after this one, Mega Man 4 does not apologize for it's difficulty.

Box art for the Japanese release.
Box art for the European

When you're playing a Mega Man game, great music is a given and Mega Man 4 boasts some incredibly catch chiptunes. The audio was all done by Ojalin (Bun Bun just did the game's sound effects) and he did a bang up job. Skull Man, Bright Man, Pharaoh Man, and Dive Man's stage themes have all become fan favorites and Dr. Cossack Stage 2 is one of the best castle themes in Mega Man music history. Dr. Wily Stage 2 is also quite brilliant as is the final boss music, even if it is a very short looping tune. Pity that charging the Mega Buster messes up the sound of the music.

Box art for the Japanese Rockman 4
The Complete Works on the PSone.

Mega Man 4 does a lot of things right. It's a noteworthy game and at 500 points, it cost less than what you'd likely pay for a physical copy. Don't miss out on one of the Blue Bomber's best entries in the classic series because people are hating on the Mega Buster or a so called "lousy" set of robot masters because even Mega Man 2 and 3 had their share of losers. Mega Man 4 proved that even after four games in, the series still had steam left in it's engines.



dste said...

My second favourite Mega Man game (after Mega Man X) and still the only one that I own on the NES due to the prices of the others.

Haven't played it for a while but still a great game.

Adam said...

After 4 it was a gradual downhill though

Reggie White Jr. said...

@dste Mega Man 4 is certainly one of my favorite Mega Man games.

@ Adam, MM5 and 6 may not have been as good as what came before, but I certainly wouldn't call them bad Mega Man games by any means. I really enjoyed MM7 and MM8. MM9 and MM10 were certainly great. X6 and X7, however, are very bad games.