Review by Weltall548
The Pinnacle of NES Mega Man
Mega Man 4 successfully builds on its predecessors and avoids their blunders in order to make an incredible game. It's not absolutely perfect, of course, but is undoubtedly one of the best NES games, if not the best.
The music continues to be impressive, almost matching 2 in quality. Every theme is memorable, especially the fortress music.
The presentation has been cleaned up since the first 3 games. There's a proper intro that sets up the game and provides backstory for the whole series, something that Mega Man 3 lacked. The annoying 2 - page weapon select from 2 and 3 is replaced with a much cleaner menu that allows you to switch weapons faster.
The graphics are further improved from Mega Man 3. Every level is detailed and distinct, and the whole game feels more colorful that 1 - 3. The level design compliments this well. Not only do the level look unique, they feel unique. Toad Man's level has rain and waterfalls which impede your movement. Bright Man has robots which can turn the lights on or off if destroyed. Pharaoh Man has quicksand and mummy enemies. The combinations of interesting level design and aesthetics makes the each level more entertaining.
The whole game feels more balanced than the first 3 games as well. The difficulty is consistent and fair, and no level sticks out as bad as Heat Man's stage or the Doc Robot Levels from 2 and 3. The robot masters are much more difficult this time, though, due to very high contact damage and more aggressive attack patterns. This is balanced out my the new Mega Buster.
The Mega Buster allows Mega Man to charge shots up before firing for 3x the damage. It gives the game a slightly different feel, since most enemies have more health to compensate for the Charge Shot. The Mega Buster was arguably the most controversial change to the Classic Series, and many fans do not care for it.
Should you dislike the Charge Shot, you can use one of the Robot Master Weapons, which are far better than 2 or 3's. Like the original Mega Man, most of the Weapons are useful and fun to use. The Ring Boomerang, Dust Crusher, and Pharaoh Shot can all replace the Mega Buster as your primary shot. The Rain Flush can clear the screen of enemies. The Bright Stopper is actually useful in the levels, unlike 2's Flash Stopper. The Drill Bomb does high damage. The Dive Missile homes in enemies, but is sometimes wonky. The Skill Barrier is The only bad weapon. It allows you to move while using it, unlike 2's Leaf Shield, but it disappears after contact with any foe or projectile.
Mega Man 4 started the trend of having 2 fortresses, which 5 and 6 also do. This feels like a more proper way to extend the game than 3's Doc Robot levels, but it's ultimately unnecessary, and is scrapped from 7 onward. The second fortress, while fun, is less memorable than the first one by far.
After the rushed Mega Man 3,
Mega Man 4 is impressively well balanced and polished. I have some minor gripes, like the high contact damage and the fact that boss health bars full up slowly, but they are minor in the grand scheme of things. The game is fantastic, and isn't topped until 9, years later.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Mega Man 4 (US, 01/31/92)
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