[MEGA MAN 5 LOGO]

[CRYSTAL MAN'S LAIR]


System: NES
Publisher & Designer: Capcom
Release Date: December 1992
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Save Feature? Yes

I have very fond memories of the year 1992. It was simply a magical year. I remember swinging during the early spring mornings, spending summer days swimming with friends, and enjoying the last really strong year for the NES. Although there were many quality game paks released in 1992, the game that I associate with that year has to be Mega Man 5. Just receiving this game was magical. I had just opened my last Christmas present when my Dad came down with one final box. I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the box and saw the Blue Bomber staring back at me. The game didn't disappoint either.

Overview: Not a lot needs to said here because Mega Man 5 plays so much like the other games in the series. In just minutes I felt right at home with the solid play control, crisp MMC3 graphics, and a surprisingly good story! Yes, you heard me right. The plot was actually quite good (I'll talk about it in more detail later.)

One cool aspect of Mega Man 5's gameplay was that it was the first game in the series to include lettered blocks in each of the game's main eight stages. Snagging these blocks (which spelled out "MEGAMANV" when collected) was completely optional but added a new element to the gameplay. In addition to fighting enemies and jumping over obstacles, you now had to summon your inner adventurer and explore the game a little more! And while many of these letters are in plain sight, a couple of them are really hard to get (most notably the one in Crystal Man's stage). The extra work is definitely worth the effort though because once you collect all of the letters, you can utilize the services of Beat! And this loyal, robotic bird means business because he will attack nearly any enemy in sight! He even proved to be invaluable during the game's final battle! Not bad for a new addition to the series, eh?

In my personal opinion, Mega Man 5 was the last truly magical game in the original NES series. It can't quite match the magic of the second or third Mega Man games but then again, what can? Capcom pulled yet another rabbit out of its hat with MM5.

[THE WACKY PHYSICS OF GRAVITY MAN'S STAGE SEEM TO BE TAKING EFFECT!]
[JET-SKIING IN WAVE MAN'S WORLD]

Graphics: Like every other Mega Man game for the NES, the graphics in MM5 are both crisp and colorful. Everything (including the backgrounds) just looks really sharp! The Gravity Man stage in particular absolutely blew me away with its bold colors, unique upside-down environment, and it even had some cool parallax-scrolling effects (a rarity for a Mega Man game). The jungle atmosphere of Napalm Man's stage, the quiet, serene feel of Crystal Man's world with its blue, purple, and red hues, and the fun, intuitive Wave Man stage where you even got to ride a jet-ski were all brought to life in grand fashion by the graphic designers at Capcom. I could honestly go on and on about how impressive the graphics are in Mega Man 5...they were that good.

What really impressed me was the abundance of animation in Mega Man 5. It seems like there is background animation in every stage! Palm trees wave, crystals shine, and magnetic forces charge up...in an NES game no less! I can't recall any real slowdown or image breakup either. How Capcom pulled that off on such a limited machine is a real mystery indeed. In any case, they deserve all kinds of props for what they accomplished in MM5.

Music: Honestly, the music in Mega Man 5 didn't seem to be anything earth-shattering the first time that I played through the game. It was very good but just didn't come across as being all that memorable for some reason. However, I discovered that as I began to play Mega Man 5 repeatedly, the soundtrack really started to grow on me! For whatever reason, the music in MM5 just seems to take longer to appreciate than other soundtracks in the series. Why that is I cannot say.

Whatever the case, I am now a huge fan of the music in this game! Personal favorites include the fun jungle beat of Napalm Man's stage, Gyro Man's pleasant, cheerful track, and Crystal Man's mysterious, relaxing tune. The Charge Man and Stone Man tracks are very nice as well and even Wave Man's calm, soothing music continues to grow on me. The boss theme is surprisingly good as well and both the Protoman and Dr. Wily themes are superb! I love the ending theme to MM5 as well...it almost brought a tear to my eye when I first beat the game way back on a wintry February day in 1993. I suppose you could summarize the MM5 score in one word: pleasant. It's just a very nice, pleasant soundtrack and I suppose that's one of many reasons why this game is still one of my favorites in the series.

The sound effects are pretty standard Mega Man fare. I really like the sound of the upgraded Mega Buster though. You've gotta love the classic clanking sound when Mega Man lands as well...very cool. Some of the weapons sound pretty realistic too (for the NES anyway).

Play Control: The controls in Mega Man 5 are exactly the same as they were in the third and fourth Mega Man games. It is simply as close to perfection as you can get! Within a matter of minutes even the layman will be able to run, jump, shoot, and slide with ease. The addition of a stronger Mega Buster is a major plus as well. It is much easier to blast away enemies. I also enjoy using the special weapons in Mega Man 5. Some of them like the Charge Slide were quite unique and the Gyro Attack and Crystal Eye weapons were a blast to use (I still love hitting walls with the Crystal Eye and watching it break up into little fragments.) The addition of the Super Arrow was really sweet as well! You literally felt as if you were soaring on a Rush Jet on steroids because this arrow could really fly! It was even capable of causing significant damage to enemies and was particularly useful against some of the giant foes in the game! Granted, the Power Stone might be the lamest weapon to grace not only MM5 but the entire series as well (although the Skull and Plant Barriers from MM4 and 6 respectively are certainly in the discussion) but I thought that the other special weapons compensated nicely for this pitiful excuse of a weapon.

[ONE OF THE GUARDIANS OF GYRO MAN'S DOMAIN. DON'T LET THE VERTIGO GO TO YOU!]
[WHICH ONE WILL IT BE?]

Challenge: While Mega Man 5 isn't the hardest Mega Man game out there, it sure isn't the easiest either. The more difficult sections in MM5 involve "instant death" kills where one hit spells doom for Mega Man. Areas littered with spikes and endless chasms can make even the most battle-tested video game players sweat. However, this doesn't make the game frustrating which is a very good thing. It sure tests your jumping and shooting abilities though.

While the sections just described make Mega Man 5 challenging, a few aspects of the game more than offset this. For some reason, you seem to get a whole slew of extra lives every time you play Mega Man 5. By no means is this a bad thing; it is strange though. It's almost as if the programmers designed this game to spawn more extra lives than normal when defeating enemies. Also, the Mega Buster covers a much larger area in MM5 than in MM4 which makes it much easier to nail enemies. Once again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I love it! The Mega Buster in MM5 is a lot of fun to use and I always enjoy trying to nail three or four enemies with one shot. Overall, MM5 is probably somewhere in the moderate range in regards to the game's difficulty.

Storyline: One aspect of MM5 that I really liked was the game's surprisingly intriguing plot. When I learned that Protoman had supposedly turned evil and kidnapped Dr. Light in the process, I couldn't believe it! I simply had to play through the game to see if Protoman had truly turned to the dark side. Ever since Mega Man 3, I had really grown to like Protoman. His mysterious nature was so appealing and, while his actions indicated that he was on Mega Man's side, you never really knew what he was thinking. Although the story did turn out to be fairly predictable, it was cool to see Protoman in the spotlight for once.


[I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE MEGA MAN 5 ARTWORK!]

Funfactor: As you've probably figured out by now, Mega Man 5 is indeed a very enjoyable video game experience. It ranks just below the legendary second and third Mega Man classics in my book. I felt that MM5 was simply magical with its creative graphics, pleasant music, and mysterious plot. You had to love the improved Mega Buster and the addition of Beat as well. Good level design, smooth animation, and plenty of challenges, particularly late in the game, solidify this game as one of the best!

Negatives: With the exception of Beat, there was nothing really new to report regarding the actual gameplay in Mega Man 5. Although this wasn't a big deal at all to die-hard Mega Man fans such as myself, I could see some gamers really wanting to see something radically new thrown into the series by this time. This was the fifth game in the series after all! And although I really did enjoy the game's main story, it kind of loses its luster once you discover the truth late in the game.

[DO YOU FEEL THE JUNGLE BEAT?]

Ratings: Graphics: 4.7 Music: 4.5 Play Control: 4.9 Challenge: 4.2 Storyline: 4.2 Funfactor: 4.7 Overall Score: 27.2 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Golden Classic!!

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Last Updated: March 3, 2011
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