By Justin Guillou / May 9th, 2014
The levels themselves are very colorful. Seriously, this is a really good-looking NES game. Since each Robot Master comes from a different part of the world, each level takes place in the Robot Master’s home country. There are also some weird and cool parts in the stages, such as the giant submarine in Blizzard Man’s stage, the upside-down water segment in Centaur Man’s level, the falling spiked ceiling in Knight Man’s stage or the oil field that can catch on fire in Flame Man’s level. Unfortunately, I think they could have done a slightly better job at making the levels feel more like they were from different countries, but what is here is acceptable. Yet another new addition to this game is the alternate paths. Four of the Robot Masters have a clone. In order to reach the REAL Robot Master, you need to make use of the brand new Rush Adaptors to reach the alternate paths. Defeat the real Robot Master, and you will receive a letter. Get all letters that spell ‘BEAT’ and you unlock Beat the Bird. When equipped, Beat flies above Mega Man and attacks any enemy onscreen. This guy is very useful for taking out airborne enemies or those that are out of your reach.
Instead of Coil, Marine and Jet, Rush transforms and fuses with Mega Man, giving him an awesome set of armor. There are two of these. The first is the Rush Power Adaptor, which turns Mega Man into this bulky musclehead that uses his fists to attack (reminds of Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog). The other adaptor is one of my favorite power-ups in any video game. Mega Man becomes Jet Mega Man. With this adapter equipped, Mega man can briefly fly! It is so much fun to play with this armor, it’s not even funny. Plus, there is something about flying into the sunset in Tomahawk Man’s stage that is just so beautiful to watch.
Even though you can skip it, you do have to watch the transformation animation every time you select one of the adaptors, which I can see some players getting annoyed at. However, if you are playing the PS1/PS2 Anniversary Edition, these get mapped to the R2/L2 buttons to make the change faster. The only drawback to these armors is that you are unable to slide, so be sure to switch out of them when you get to a smaller space. Speaking of the slide, in this game, you are unable to jump out of the slide. This is yet another thing that people seem to nitpick at in Mega Man 6, but it is really not that big of a deal. I never found that technique to be as essential to the gameplay as other people apparently do.
One thing about this game that may or may not be a dealbreaker is the difficulty. The game is not very hard. In fact, it is quite easy compared to other Mega Man games. I think its easiness is due to two main factors. For starters, the game is very generous with E-Tanks. They are very easy to get to in the levels, and I swear, in this game, Eddie has a high drop rate for E-Tanks and extra lives. It is not unusual to max out your E-Tank count during a playthrough. The other reason for the game’s lack of difficulty is that Mega Man 6 does not seem to rely on cheap traps and obstacles as much as the other games do. Every Mega Man game up to this point has had that one level or really annoying trap, such as instant death lasers or spikes in a really inconvenient spot, but this game does not have any that I felt were that troublesome, other than an occasional tricky jump. Maybe I just know the game way too well. But don’t think for a second that this toned down difficulty makes the game any less enjoyable than others in the series. Honestly, I would argue this is one of the smoother games in the series due to the lack of random difficulty spikes seen in earlier titles.
It is impossible to have a Mega Man review without mentioning the music. This music in this game is absolutely awesome! Knight Man, Flame Man, Mr. X, Plant Man, Tomahawk Man… Screw it, ALL the stages have a cool and catchy theme! The boss theme is also one of my favorites in the series. I also like how, when a Robot Master enters the room, there is a lightning sound effect. Little things like that really help this game to be memorable. As with most Mega Man games, it is very short. A playthrough only takes about an hour and a half, but the flexibility of the weapons keep the gameplay fresh and prevents it from getting old. The game also has passwords if you really want to go old school and write them down on a piece of paper like I used to. The Anniversary Edition and Virtual Console versions have save states if you prefer that. I can typically finish this game in one sitting nowadays, so I generally ignore the password/save system.
Mega Man 6 added quite a few new things to the series and refined a couple of other game mechanics, yet it is still hated among much of the fanbase. Perhaps it was just released too late for its own good. After all, it was coming out around the same time as the masterful Mega Man X, which did A LOT more to push the series forward. Capcom themselves did not want to publish this game in North America. Luckily for me, and everyone else in North America, Nintendo came in to save the day and publish it. The game came out in 1994, making this one of the final NES games to be published here. Unfortunately for Europeans, you guys had to wait until more recently when it was released on the Virtual Console. A copy of the original cartridge will cost you anywhere from $25-30 online. If that is too much, you can purchase the game via Virtual Console for only $5 or buy the Anniversary Collection for about 15-$20.
Mega Man 6 was not JUST another Mega Man game, it was a good way to end the series’ 8-bit NES days, especially with the ending. I will also say, those of you scared of trying out Mega Man because of the difficulty, this is one you may want to check out. The game is very generous with E-Tanks, and does not try to frustrate players too much, making it one of the more accessible titles in the series. This game got me into the series, and I am sure it can for you too, as long as you give it the chance it deserves. To finish this review off, I have a nice mid 90s commercial for my readers to enjoyReview copy supplied by author
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