Review by Andrusi

Reviewed: 09/07/02 | Updated: 09/07/02

Mostly flash, but kinda fun

This game is a weird half-port of the SNES version--it's a substantially different game, but it ''feels'' a lot like the original. That is, unless you're playing it on a slow-as-molasses emulator. For those of you just joining us, Rockman & Forte for SNES was a game created to annoy people who wanted to play as Blues/Protoman; to do this, they kept Rockman/Mega Man playable, but instead of bringing in Protoman as the second playable character, they brought in Forte/Bass. Who is a bad guy, no less.

In this game, a mysterious group of robots have attacked some Generic City, and their leader is a robot named Rockman Shadow (it would probably be Dark Mega Man or something like that in a hypothetical English release). Mega Man and Bass both show up and decide that since they both want R-Shadow stopped (Mega Man wants to save the world, Bass just wants to save Wily's lab in the city according to a translation I saw somewhere), they'll fight him instead of each other. So they do. Eventually R-Shadow reveals himself to actually be Quint, who first appeared in Mega Man II (that's the Game Boy game) and apparently was Mega Man himself in the future or something. Dr. Wily, the normal Mega Man villain, never appears in the game.

There are eight bosses in this game: the intro stage boss, who is a Yellow Demon type thing that I've named the Gray Demon; AirconMan, DanganMan, KonroMan (who looks like an enemy from MM2), and KomusoMan, the traditional any-order Robot Masters; the ClockMen, a fifth Robot Master that you fight two of (Gemini Man!); Compas(s)Man, a pseudo-Robot Master with no Master Weapon who seems to be R-Shadow's second in command; and of course Quint himself.

Just to get this over with:
Aircon = gale (like the storm)
Dangan = bullet, shot, shell (I'm leaning towards bullet)
Konro = stove (KonroMan does look like a camping stove...)
Komuso = Zen priest (seriously)
Compas = Compass (''COMPASSMAN'' had one letter too many)

The Mega Man, Bass, and Protoman sprites seem to be based on the ones from the SNES game, which in turn were taken from the 32-bit Mega Man 8. Unfortunately, they also carried over a few of the MM8 sprites' quirks. Protoman stands in a position that looks like he's showing off his belt, Bass never quite looks right (and he feels the need to do a Super Sonic impression after teleporting in), and Mega Man... well, his teleporting animation is really, really strange, as he looks like he's drunk. All of these, as I said, are side effects of the sprites being downsized and simplified R&F-SNES sprites. For the most part, however, the sprites look good (and if you can find a sheet somewhere, they also lend themselves to being colored). The new characters look great once you know what the heck they are, and Quint actually looks respectable for the first time. The recurring enemy graphics are a bit iffy (the Mets are mediocre, though the Bubble Bats are quite nice... and what's a bat from Mega Man X doing here?), and the original stage enemies are downright stupid (among other things, a floating cube and a pair of scissors). The backgrounds are great, though, and the still images (such as the intro, stage select, character intro, and ending pictures) are among the best I've seen in 2D gaming--certainly the best I've seen on an 8-bit system.

Moving on, gameplay. It's pretty standard for the Mega Man series: simple, yet hard as hell. Like in the SNES game, Bass has the amazing ability to aim, and he also has a double-jump. Mega Man has neither, but you should be used to that by now. The downside of Bass's aiming ability is that now he can't fire while he's walking. They play a lot like their SNES counterparts. Unfortunately all the stages seem to rely on ''tiny platforms over a pit'' design; you might thing Bass is okay with this because of his double-jump, but unfortunately he has a different problem: his buster is weaker than Mega Man's UNCHARGED buster, and he can't charge it, so he needs several good shots to defeat even weak enemies, and when you're crossing a pit on platforms that fall out from under you, the time it takes to line up those shots is a luxury you can't afford.

There's a ''store'' type feature in this game. Basically, you find little bolts in the levels, and Dr. Light or Roll (depending on who you're playing as) can use them to build useful items for you. Mega Man, for instance, can summon Rush (in his Rush Coil form) to get up to high places, and Bass can merge with Treble and gain the ability to fly for a limited time. The drawback to this is that you can only carry one of each item at a time, and they go away when you use them. Sucks to be you. Fortunately, you can revisit stages to get Bolts anytime you want, so on your next time through the level you can have the item again. There's no CD database like in the SNES version, but it wouldn't have been worth it anyway.

As usual, the weapons Mega Man gets from bosses are pretty different from their own attacks; what's unique about this game, though, is that some of them are also pretty different from the ones Bass gets. This gets to be unfair at times (Bass's fire weapon from KonroMan, for instance, is useful as a shield), but it's a nice touch at any rate. You get no weapon from CompasMan, and if you got one from Quint you wouldn't have anything to use it on.

Finally, the music. It's decent, for 8-bit adaptions, but the 16-bit version is better. On that note, the music is all taken from the SNES version (for example, Pirate Man's stage music plays in CompasMan's stage). I would have preferred new music so the new characters would have their own themes, but at least they didn't copy from ''Monotonous Music 4'' (all the tunes in Mega Man 4 were very similar).

Overall, not a bad game. Not exactly a masterpiece, and playing it as your first Mega Man game would probably qualify as ''starting off on the wrong foot'', but it's not total crap. If nothing else, it at least solves the mystery of what happened to Quint when he teleported away in MM2, and provides people making comics and games with another set of sprites to work with. And hey, it's not a total drag; it's one of the worst of the Mega Man series, but that's like being the slowest cheetah.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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