Review by SPaul

Reviewed: 06/05/02 | Updated: 06/05/02

This isn't your console's Megaman...and that's a bad thing.

Back in 1990, I didn't have a Nintendo. I had to make do with the computer scene for a long time, and when my family got its first IBM PC (a 486/25 SX for those of you who remember them), we were thrilled to get our hands on a copy of Megaman. We'd played the Megaman games constantly at friends' houses, and now we had a copy to call our own.

Be thankful of ports made today. They're better than you could ever hope for. This version of Megaman still makes me gag when I think of it.

The first thing PC gamers of today will notice about Hi-Tech's release of Megaman is the fact that it probably runs way too fast. You'll need a slowdown program of some kind to even view it. Secondly, these same gamers will be horrified to learn that PC Megaman has nothing at all to do with its NES incarnation. Rather than fight through the familiar Iceman, Cutman, Gutsman, and the others, you will only face three enemies: Sonicman, Voltman, and Dynaman, whose powers you can probably get an idea of. After their defeat, you'll fight through Wily's other assorted traps, including facing the three bosses again, before meeting Wily in a one-on-one confrontation in his secret lab. Be careful, though...lose to any of the first three bosses and it's back to the beginning of the level again.

In true Megaman fashion, you enter the various stages and fight your way through to each boss. Once you defeat the boss, you will gain a weapon based on the boss's general description (Sonicman delivers a wave shot which bounces off walls, Voltman gives an electric shield which protects against and harms enemies that can be turned on and off at will, and Dynaman offers a potent stick of dynamite that can be triggered by time or by punching the fire button a second time). Each boss is weak to a certain attack, and hitting a boss with this weapon causes more damage than Megaman's normal gun.

This, sadly, is where the similarities to the console Megaman games ends. While those games are great fun and offer countless hours of amusement, the PC Megaman has neither. Not only is it short (mercifully), but it's also poorly designed and implemented. The controls are clunky. Sound is poor and virtually nonexistent. Megaman looks like someone put a battle suit on the Pillsbury Doughboy. The only thing going for it is the original bosses (these bosses have never appeared in another game, and they aren't too badly designed to boot) and the surprisingly high difficulty rating (though this is mostly due to the bad controls). Add in the easiest Wily battle of them all, and PC Megaman becomes underdeveloped hunk of trash that Capcom should be ashamed of, considering its track record. But the real blame should probably be on Hi-Tech, who not only made ANOTHER game in the series (Megaman 3, which does not resemble the REAL Megaman 3 in any way), but also did the Street Fighter conversion that I panned in another review. Thankfully by Street Fighter 2 Hi-Tech had cleaned up its act pretty decently, but these early releases showcase a distinct lack of care and every sign of cheapness, especially considering by 1990 the game world was much further along than this; although it should be noted that, according to the credits, three guys were responsible for this game. Maybe if they had more help the game would have been much better. Ah, well, live and learn.

Megaman is far more portly and generally dumb-looking than his console counterpart. This may explain why he can't jump right. The in-game baddies look extremely poor and wimpy, save for the four bosses and a pre-level-select robot dog, all of which look pretty good considering the 16 color graphics. The graphics are big, but at a nasty cost: there's less screen available to see, meaning you might accidentally run into some traps before you even know it.

The biggest sign of cost-saving. No options for any soundcard save for the PC speaker. The sounds it generates are not pleasant most of the time. Plus, no music. EVERY Megaman game needs music, in my opinion. Well, actually, every GAME needs music, in my opinion.

Megaman trades in his regular slow glide for an ultra-fast run, which is both a blessing and a curse, considering how easy it is to run right off of ledges and such. Firing weapons and switching between them is easy enough (tapping the space bar or pressing the joystick button to fire and ESC to change weapons), but jumping is atrocious. If you thought Megaman used to jump weird, try aiming onto a specific ledge 15 feet away with a 0.5 second window of opportunity to do it. Also, the jumping is so spasmodic flying enemies are almost impossible to hit...even AFTER they hit you. And remember those lovely reappearing/disappearing block puzzles? Imagine being stuck for about an hour trying to complete, not because the blocks disappear too quickly (which they do), but because Megaman has the crappiest jump on the planet. That's right, folks, an hour.

Not worth it unless you need to own every piece of Megaman memorabilia or just want to see the bosses. Otherwise, keep away from this. I still have it, not so much because I have a nostalgic feeling for it (which after recently trying it again I don't), but because quite frankly no one else would want it. If you like Megaman, hook your old NES back up and play the originals. Or the many other-console sequels. Either way, you'll be a lot happier than spending frustrating hours with this tripe.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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