By Justin Guillou / May 9th, 2014
|Title||Mega Man 6|
|Release Date||March 15, 1994(US)|
|Platform||NES, DS, PS1/PS2|
I have very vague memories of being over at my cousin’s house, watching my brother and them play Mega Man X for the Super Nintendo. I watched them go through and die countless times, but never really played it myself. This was probably my young self being overly shy and feeling like I could not possibly get anywhere if my much older brother was failing at it. My young mind could not yet understand what was happening on-screen, but, for some reason, I enjoyed every second of it! Anyways, my brother and I would eventually get our hands on Mega Man 6 for the Nintendo Entertainment system.
So, here is the story of Mega Man’s sixth outing. There is a tournament being held, and robots from around the world are competing to see which country has the strongest robot. Mr. X is hosting this tournament and takes control of the robots in order to rule the world. Mega Man, feeling a sense of justice, is out to put an end to his plans. There is an insane mind-blowing plot twist in the middle of the game that is totally going to catch longtime fans off guard. I’ll leave a little clue right here:
The Mega Man games are basic platformers with a bit of run and gun gameplay sprinkled in. You have two buttons to work with: One jumps, one shoots. What more do you really need? This entry in particular gets a LOT of hate from fans of the series, however, I feel much of the criticism stems from the fact that it is the sixth game on the same console and was released in 1994. In fact, it was released AFTER Mega Man X! It does not help that, at first glance, it looks very similar to the previous games, and nothing really makes it stand out. The thing is, if you actually took a second to play the game and not treat it as “just another Mega Man game,” you would find a solid NES title that still holds up.
Every year, Capcom would host a Mega Man boss design contest in Japan. The winning designs would end up becoming one of the game’s bosses in the upcoming game. The finished robots would have slightly tweaked designs, but the original authors would get credit for it. For Mega Man 6, Capcom actually reached out to westerners via Nintendo Power. Two Robot Masters designed by fans living in North America ended up winning, and as a result the series was blessed with Wind Man and Knight Man, the latter of whom has an awesome stage theme.
Some criticize Mega Man 6 for having boring Robot Masters, with which I only semi-agree. Plant Man is not one of the better ones if only because his attack pattern is so stupid. He puts up a flower shield, takes a couple of steps, jumps OVER you, bounces off the wall and launches it. Seriously, you barely have to move sometimes when fighting him. The other Robot Masters are, thankfully, a bit more interesting. Flame Man can make fire towers rise from the ground at random, and can be tricky to dodge. I have a lot of fun fighting Flame Man, and he’s one of my favorite boss fights from the classic series. Fun Fact: his weapon is one of Mega Man’s moves in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game! Another cool one is Yamato Man, who can launch the tip of his spear at you, and then charges across the room to retrieve it. Centaur Man can teleport and freeze Mega Man while shooting a giant spread shot. Some may say they are boring, but, overall, I thought it was a pretty cool and diverse cast with a few unique characteristics.
The special weapons you get from bosses are also really useful, once again, contrary to popular belief. The problem with fans of the Mega Man series is that, as soon as the Mega Buster was introduced in Mega Man 4, many people decided, “All right, I’m just going to use the Mega Buster from now on.” As a result, those players overlooked the special weapons. Those same gamers are the ones who end up complaining about how the weapons are not as useful as the first three games, when, in reality, it was just them failing to actually experiment with them. The messed up part is that same argument can be applied to Mega Man 2‘s Metal Blade, which in my opinion was even MORE game-breaking than people claim the Mega Buster was. Yet no one had any problems with it in Mega Man 2 (THE BEST MEGA MAN EVAR), but it is suddenly a major issue in Mega Man 4-8. If anything, the Mega Buster is toned down by comparison, considering that you have to charge it up and listen to the “WUWUWUUWRRRRRR” sound it makes while charging. At the end of the day, if you think it is too powerful and game-breaking, then don’t use it. That is the beauty of Mega Man games, you are rarely forced to use a single weapon, so you are free to play it your own way, and experiment.
Mega Buster aside, I felt these weapons were just as useful as weapons in previous games. Flame Man’s ‘F.Blast’ is great at taking out some of the larger enemies you encounter, and is good for attacking enemies on a lower platform than you. ‘B. Attack’ can destroy those annoying floor sliding enemies, ‘C.Flash’ is a screen nuke which is useful in later levels and ‘Y. Spear’ can go through enemies, and, if you time it right, and you can take out multiple enemies in one shot. What is nice about these weapons is that they offer an attribute or advantage over the Mega Buster. THE BEST PART about the weapons in this game, in particular, is the Energy Balancer. Hidden in one of the levels is an enhancement that allows Mega Man to always fill one of his special weapons whenever he comes across an energy capsule. You no longer have to press Start, select the weapon, then pick it up. You can just pick it up. This is something that is incredibly annoying about playing these games on the NES, and I am glad that they finally fixed it. Why did it take six games, though?
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