|Publisher & Designer:||Capcom|
|Release Date:||March 1994|
Although it didn't quite have that magical sparkle or aura of nostalgia so prevalent throughout earlier Mega Man titles, the sixth game in the immensely popular series was still an exceptional game. Featuring fantastic graphics and the same fabulous gameplay found in previous Mega Man classics, the Blue Bomber's NES swan song made the series go out in a blaze of glory! And for all of the loyal fans who had followed the series from its infancy, the ending was a special treat...even if it was "to be continued."
Overview: There is a certain amount of truth to be found in the popular cliche that "if you've played one Mega Man game, you've played them all." In terms of style and gameplay, Mega Man 6 mimics its predecessors to a great extent and possibly even to a fault! Veterans of the series will be able to jump, slide, and blast their way through the game like pros within nanoseconds and even newbies to the series shouldn't have much trouble getting the hang of the game. Whether or not this is a good thing will probably be debated until the end of time, but the game itself is a lot of fun to play, and that's the important thing.
All I can say is that die-hard NES gamers such as yours truly were just thankful for the opportunity to experience one more great NES game before its inevitable demise. By the time Mega Man 6 was released, we could all see the writing on the wall. No matter how great the NES was, no matter how nostalgic and dreamy we felt about games like Mega Man 3 and Little Nemo: The Dream Master (no pun intended), the future had clearly shifted from the sentimental favorite, the NES, to the more powerful and honorable heir to the 8-bit dream machine: the Super NES.
And yet, even though the Super NES was red hot during this time; even though the number of halfway-decent new NES games could be counted on one hand, Capcom stuck with the NES to the very end. Not only did they release one last Mega Man game for the console where it all began; they even released the underrated Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 game pak. Perhaps that is one of many reasons why I have so much respect for Capcom. Not only do they make fantastic games but they've shown a lot of loyalty and class in the past.
But you're not here to hear my gabbing are you? You're here to read my review of Mega Man 6 a'intcha? (That'll drive English majors up the wall!) I suppose that I'm just filling up space since there really isn't a whole heck of a lot to say that hasn't already been said in my gazillion other Mega Man reviews.
Anyway, Mega Man 6 takes pretty much everything found in the first five Mega Man games and adds a few new treats and surprises here and there. The main additions have to be the new and improved Rush Armor and Rush Jet adapters. In MM6, Rush actually transforms into either a bulky suit or a sleek jet outfit. Both of these suits will prove to be very useful too! With Rush Power, Mega Man is able to crush the multitude of cracked blocks and boulders found throughout the game. Not surprisingly, this adapter can be very useful against enemies and even some bosses as well! Just think of it as having some sort of "uber-Guts Man" power. The only drawback? You cannot slide while wearing the armor which kind of makes sense when you think about it.
Although it may not seem like it at first, the Rush Jet adaptor is just as useful as Rush Power. With this suit equipped, Mega Man is actually able to fly for a brief amount of time! Not only can you discover a ton of secret items and alternate routes this way, but the jet will undoubtedly save you from the plethora of endless pits and chasms found throughout the game. Besides, it just looks really cool!
Let's see...what other goodies are in Mega Man 6? Well, for one thing, I thought that the mini-bosses were quite impressive. Two huge Gutsdozer-like robots await in Plant Man's domain, a Japanese warrior and his pet frog battle you in Yamato Man's dojo (no joke), and a Mettaur boss resembling a gumball machine lurks in the desert region otherwise known as Tomahawk Man's stage. Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but what can be more fun than blasting these monstrous monstrosities to smithereens within seconds? (Hint: If you want to beat one of these guys quickly, use the Knight Crush...it's incredibly powerful.)
Other tidbits of uniqueness include the springs found in Plant Man's stage (in an area littered with chasms...I might have known), the various fans/wind currents in Wind Man's level, and the reverse-gravity effect on the water in Centaur Man's ancient ruins. One notable note is that a whole slew of stats appear whenever you select a robot master (i.e. stuff like agility, power, defense, etc...) and random flashes of lightning when entering a boss room. Cute stuff really. Unfortunately, the gaudy Mega Buster of Mega Man 5 was replaced with a much smaller one in MM6 (although it is still larger than the one in Mega Man 4). Fliptop and Beat are back and Protoman makes a very brief appearance if you're lucky enough to find him.
Graphics: In the midst of an era in the NES' life when the graphics seemingly went to the dogs (see Conan the Barbarian and Cliffhanger), Capcom continued to do what they do best. Mega Man 6 features the same incredibly crisp, detailed graphics that we've all come to love and then some! The atmosphere, while not as magical as previous Mega Man hits, was still pretty cool. I thought that the Blizzard Man, Plant Man, and Yamato Man stages were creative and just fun to play through. All of the reds and greens in Plant Man's lair were nice to look at and catching energy pellets in trees was just too cool! And Knight Man's castle-like area had a neat "dark" feel to it. It reminded me of Little Nemo: The Dream Master for some strange reason. And Tomahawk Man's stage has to feature some of the most impressive parallax-scrolling that I have ever seen in an NES game! The mountains/setting sun in the background was just a nice touch and showed that Capcom really cared about making the sixth Mega Man game a fitting finale for the NES. I remember just going back and forth and marveling at those graphics. Yeah, I know...us NES geeks could be pretty strange at times. ;) Not to be forgotten were the memorable graphics throughout the Mr. X stages (especially that first one that takes place at night...in the city!).
The animation was pretty typical stuff. Nothing really revolutionary or impressive but it worked. Those "college" bots that turned evil when you shot them once were pretty funny. I enjoyed blasting those robots resembling landmines in Flame Man's stage too. I still can't figure out how they transformed into clouds in oil/water though. Strange.
Music: It wasn't the greatest Mega Man soundtrack by any means, but Mega Man 6 still featured some impressive, upbeat, catchy music. Like usual, Capcom didn't disappoint in a category that they've come to dominant over the years. Although nothing in the game stands out as being truly outstanding, there were a whole truckload of tunes that fit into the "very good" category.
One aspect of the game's soundtrack that stood out to me was the whole diverse/ethnic feel. As the game's story indicates, the eight robots that Mega Man has to go up against were created by different scientists around the globe and the soundtrack certainly reflects this. Flame Man's track has a definite Arabian feel, Tomahawk Man's tune is your typical old west ditty, and Yamato Man's stage has a heavy Japanese influence.
The three aforementioned tunes are all pretty good, but any discussion of the game's music has to include the Blizzard Man, Plant Man, Knight Man, and Mr. X stage tracks. All of them have their own unique feel and contain some nice melodies...the typical stuff really. Oh!! And who could forget another nice tune found in the game...the final battle theme. The first time I fought the final boss (guess who?), I was simply enamored. It was just so appropriate for the final battle between Mega Man and an old foe (at least on the NES anyway).
Granted, not all of the music in Mega Man 6 fit into the "very good" category. Although they are both good tracks, I felt that the Yamato Man and Centaur Man tunes just didn't fit very well in a Mega Man game. I can't explain it except that they just didn't feel appropriate. And the Wind Man tune, while nice and uplifting, lacked the gusto of the Gyro Man stage theme found in Mega Man 5. Also, I thought that the Wily Castle theme was very weak. Once again, it wasn't necessarily a bad track; it just didn't seem to fit the mood at all! Where were the upbeat, adrenaline-pumping tunes that usually accompany the final stages of a Mega Man game? I wouldn't have had a problem if there had been two or three different themes that played in the Skull Castle (as opposed to this one track). Granted, I know that Mega Man 5 did the same thing but then again, I thought that the MM5 Wily track was much better.
Play Control: Capcom hardly had to change a thing in respect to the play control. Heck, by the time Mega Man 3 rolled around, they had already perfected the controls. Why mess with a great thing right? The only noteworthy aspect of the game's controls that I should probably mention are the controls for the two Rush Armors. Although I didn't like the fact that you couldn't slide when donning either suit, I felt that both of them were executed pretty well. Being able to actually fly was pretty cool and the Rush Armor was simply a beast when used correctly. Having to skip that brief screen that appears everytime you equip either suit gets a little annoying after a while though. Besides that, everything is pretty much vintage Mega Man stuff!
Challenge: As far as the Mega Man series goes, Mega Man 6 probably fit somewhere in the middle in terms of difficulty. For the seasoned pro, this game is relatively easy. However, for beginners delving into the Mega Man series for the first time, this game can pose quite a challenge. The main challenge that comes to mind, other than having to locate the true bosses in four levels in order to find the Beat parts (the Yamato, Knight, Centaur, and Tomahawk Man stages all have true and false bosses...naturally, finding the true ones requires the use of one of the Rush Armors), is probably avoiding the countless pits littered throughout the game. Perhaps it's just me but I thought that Mega Man 6 was full of the buggers! That final area of Plant Man's level could be a bear because, not only was it full of pits, but, #1. You are bouncing on springs incessantly and #2. enemies are coming at you from awkward angles. Now, I'm not complaining but I can envision a newcomer to the series getting awfully perturbed to put it nicely.
Storyline: If Mega Man 6 has any real weakness other than its general lack of originality, it would have to be the game's story. I don't know; some gamers really liked it but personally, I thought that it was uninspired and incredibly predictable. Granted, the ending was surprisingly good but the general story just didn't have any intrigue or mystery like the MM4 or 5 plots.
Basically, the First Annual Robot Tournament, sponsored by a mysterious character calling himself Mr. X (I'll bet it took days of endless meditation to come up with that one.), was held with various robots from around the world competing to win the coveted title of "the strongest robot in the world." However, once the field was narrowed to eight (uh-oh...I smell trouble!), Mr. X stole the robots and began using them to terrorize the world! Naturally, Mega Man and company come to the rescue to defeat this mysterious character but Mr. X says something that's supposed to be surprising. Evidently, we're led to believe that Mr. X is actually the guy above Dr. Wily; that he's been using Dr. Wily all of these years and has decided to take charge himself! I guess that fighting Dr. Wily's master was supposed to be exciting or something. Yippee...hooray. However, veterans of the series probably saw past that one before it got off the storyboard. After all, doesn't Mr. X just look a whole lot like someone Mega Man knows well?
That's not the only problem I have, however. You see, I could have lived with the disappointing story had the game featured some nice twists and turns along the way. However, for some odd reason, all of Mega Man's friends just seem to be...there in this game. It's almost as if Capcom felt obligated to give each character token appearances in Mega Man 6. For one thing, Protoman, the character that made Mega Man 3 so intriguing, is almost non-existent in this game. He appears for a few seconds just to give Mega Man an item that is hardly necessary to beat the game. And Dr. Light and Roll are, for all practical purposes, completely out of the picture in MM6. This is probably one of the main reasons why, despite the wonderful graphics and gameplay, Mega Man 6 just doesn't score very highly in the "magical" or "intangible" category.
Sorry if it sounds like I'm ranting. Seriously, the game's story isn't quite as bad as I've made it out to be, although it has to be the weakest game story-wise in the entire classic series. Granted, this particular area has probably been the weak link in the series since day one. I guess that by the sixth Mega Man release, I was just hoping for something a little more intriguing in this regard.
Funfactor: Even if Mega Man 6 has a few flaws here and there, it is still a wonderful gameplay experience that shouldn't be missed. After all, it's Mega Man for crying out loud! The crispy-cream graphics and outstanding play control were definitely the highlights in the Blue Bomber's sixth classic. I really enjoyed fooling around with the new armors as well. Being able to fly over chasms (finally!) was a blast and the Rush Power was...well, powerful! I was also thrilled to see more alternate routes than usual in Mega Man 6. The large levels gave the game a fair amount of replay value which was completely non-existent in most of the late-generation NES games (playing through some of those games once was a chore in itself). Anyway, even with its minor issues, I still felt that Mega Man 6 was a great way for the NES series to end. It clearly wasn't the best of the series, but the play control and gameplay were incredible as always. And in terms of bare bones fun and enjoyment, you really can't do much better than this game. So go play it already!
Negatives: Outside of the unique ethnic feel of a few of the game's stages, Mega Man 6 just wasn't a very original game. While this is not entirely a bad thing in itself, lousy weapons, a few average tunes, and an uninspired story don't help. Nothing really jumps out at you as being exciting or outstanding. There are no cool surprises like Beat in MM5 or Fliptop in MM4 and the story took a major nosedive in MM6. Following one of the more intriguing subplots concerning Mega Man's brother, Protoman, I just expected something more than a Robot Tournament organized by Dr. Wily wearing a goofy disguise.
Ratings: Graphics: 4.5 Music: 4.1 Play Control: 4.7 Challenge: 4.0 Storyline: 3.0 Funfactor: 4.5 Overall Score: 24.8 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Bronze Bravo
Back to NES NostalgiaLast Updated: February 27, 2011