Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 01/02/02 | Updated: 01/02/02

Mega Buster versus Twitchy Controls

Mega Man 4 sparks off the departure of some of the more classic elements of the Mega Man series and truly steps up the action a couple of notches with the addition of new boss characters, better visuals, and new game play techniques that can be applied throughout the game. No longer are you battling off against the complete insane and seemingly invincible Dr. Wily, but now you’re going up against the mad Dr. Sigma and all of his robot henchmen! The story line has different just a little bit, in which the goal of the bad guy isn’t so much the destruction of the planet or even rule over everything living, but more along the lines of completely annihilating Mega Man instead. You’ll be taken to different areas that all reflect the different capabilities of the enemies that you face off against, and in all honesty, this is the first time that a Mega Man game as been given the visual acuity that it deserves. If you’re a fan of the series, and you’re looking for some improvements that go well above and beyond what you’ve seen so far, you’ll be half-right in assuming that this game does so. The return of character powers that are extremely similar to the previous games is back again, and you’ll find that it remains this way well into the future sequels as well!

The game play that you find here in Mega Man 4 is nothing different in the respect that you run and gun your way through several different stages of projectile dodging, boss blasting madness. You’ll be able to pick up small power ups that will allow you to keep your Blue Bomber charged up with full life, and with the ability of the Mega Buster at your disposal, destroying enemies is nothing more than a simple button charge away! Aside from this, you’ll find that most of the game still plays like the previous Mega Man titles, in which you choose a boss character to go after, and then you battle through the stages until you face off and ultimately defeat him. However, most Mega Man gamers will find that the weapons you pick up once you’ve defeated said enemies is nothing more than a slight re-hash of previous weapons from other games! Speaking of the stages, you have your original eight stages, but there are more after that, which allow you to continue the game on into some pretty intense battles. The challenge here, as in most of the Mega Man games thus far, is high but the replay value of the game is extremely low in which once you’ve been through the game once, there really is no need to go back through unless you’re going to test out your skills on some of the tougher stages.

Aside from the ability to charge up your shots and being able to blast through several enemies at once with the press and hold of a single button, you really have nothing that has changed since the third game. The additions of adapters and otherwise are limited enough to keep the usage automatic, and you’ll find that switching in between the different weapons is nothing new or exciting. Yet again in Mega Man, there are plenty of instances of the ever present NES Ghost Control in which you never have full precision over the Blue Bomber and I’ve said the following before, and I’ll continue to say it until there is something different that tells me otherwise. If you’re heavy into NES gaming, then you should have no problem figuring out how to get around this problem, but if you’ve never played the old Mega Man games, then you’ll find that the game takes on a certain amount of difficulty that takes patience and practice to get through.

Visually, the game has taken an extremely large step forward in giving more detail and life to the characters and the backgrounds that you travel through. In most of the stages, you’ll find that the character you’re going up against stays true to the surroundings, with one of the more intricate stages being that of Pharaoh Man. There is something to be said for adventuring through pyramids and having them look good enough to the eyes, to leave an impression in my mind! Other various stages and enemies that you come up against are clearly drawn and well thought out, but you’ll still find that there are some extreme instances of image break up once you get into the later stages where the action gets pretty intense. Aside from all of that, everything else is put together well enough to make it worth looking at as well as playing.

Audio wise though, the music suffers from a bad case of bad programming or whatever else an excuse can be made for when it comes to the different stages. You’ll find that the music is so bad in some cases that your finger will be drifting towards the mute button on the television remote on more than one occasion! The reason for this is, is that the game just doesn’t seem to give you the feeling of adventure and it just doesn’t immerse you into the action that the game is supposed to represent. Now this isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its good points, but those points are so far and few between, that I have a hard time finding them myself, let alone review them. Sound effects are the same as they have always been, and there isn’t much more of an improvement over the first three games, so be prepared for a disappointment.

Mega Man 4 is the turning point in the series when it comes to games that you play, looking for a step away from the original. But only to a degree to the actual improvements come out, usually with the game visuals and some of the game play mechanics being on the forefront! The control is still screwed up, and the music is a horrid mess, but the game play is still the same run and gun action that becomes addicting until you actually finish the game. With all of these problems and additions factored in, the best that this game could hope for is an above average rating, and an above average following, both of which it has received.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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