To say that the last few years have been tough for Mega Man fans would be a vast understatement. Between game cancellations, the departure of series father Kenji Inafune, a lack of any new content outside of iOS releases that nobody wanted and the blue bomber being excluded from huge crossover titles despite a swell of fan support, it was beginning to feel like Dr. Wily had taken over Capcom. With the 25th anniversary of the once beloved mascot looming, it seemed like the occaision would come and go without mention. Until Street Fighter X Mega Man was announced. With the popular fighting game’s own 25th anniversary coming to an end, Mega Man has to literally fight the company’s new favorite franchise for the spotlight. So just how well does he fare? Street Fighter X Mega Man started as a fan made game that Capcom USA ended up endorsing, polishing and releasing for free on their Capcom-Unity website. But it would be hard to tell based on all of the classic game play included in this 8 bit love letter to two of the biggest gaming franchises of all time. In old school fashion, Mega Man must fight his way through eight stages full of enemies, death traps and decapitated heads that he can store for extra lives, (not really.) Each world is centered around the “robot master” of that stage, featuring backgrounds and chiptune versions of their theme songs. Each master spans Street Fighter’s history, with fighters from SFII, III, IV and Alpha in the spotlight. But with this title, Mega Man wasn’t the only character faithfully represented. Each boss has a moveset that mirrors their fighting game counterpart, which could have been expected when the first images were released. What was a hilarious surprise to me is the revenge meter that the bosses have. Straight out of SFIV, as the boss takes more damage, a special meter fills up on their side of the screen. Once it’s full, they can unleash a powerful Ultra attack, complete with the camera zooming in on their sprite and everything. As a matter of fact, it’s these little things that makes the title feel special, whether its the enemies on bicycles in Chun-Li’s stage, Mega Man’s buster being able to cancel out projectiles, the 8 bit versions of classic character cries, (HADOUKEN!) and Dan being used as a training dummy, it’s clear that those who worked on this game have a lot of love for both games, and the gamer is the one who benefits the most. With all of this going for it, the problems with the game feel minor, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. SFXMM has its fair share of bugs, ranging from game freezes to vanishing enemies and music playing over itself. The balancing of the game is off, (just like a real Street Fighter game,) with some stages being ridiculously easy life farming fests while others are longer and full of death traps. This is reflected in the bosses as well, whereas some of them are braindead easy while others are a rage enducing nightmare that’ll make you punch your monitor. The second to last boss in particular, (no spoilers,) felt incredibly cheap with no reliable pattern to figure out. Or maybe I just suck, but that didn’t stop me from throwing a rage fit. Especially since there is no save feature, so aside from leaving your computer on and hoping it doesn’t lock up while you’re gone, you have to play it in one sitting. While each boss does have a weakness to a power that Mega Man takes from defeated bosses, unlike most core games in the series, most of them aren’t viable in a fight and don’t beat out the classic buster. As a matter of fact, some of the stolen powers feel flat out useless and I wonder how anyone’s supposed to use them properly. In a game that centers around projectiles, I’m still confused as to why I should walk up to someone and kick them. I mean, it’s not like our character takes damage from touching enemies or anything. On the flip side, the laser beam power tears through entire stages and makes and already easy game even easier. On that subject, a personal gripe is that overall, the game feels much easier than fans of the platformer are accustomed to, all while only taking a few hours to complete.
But who am I to complain about such minor gripes? It’s free, isn’t it? But considering how fun the game is, I’d gladly drop some cash to be able to play this crowd pleasing title that represents both universes well. Maybe it’s because I’ve been Mega starved for so long, but the platforming feels solid, the boss fights are mostly fun, the powers are fun to see in a platformer, (even though most of them are useless,) and it does a great job of capturing what makes the series a classic. Balancing and difficulty issues aside, this is the best Mega Man game in years. Well, it’s the only Mega Man game in years, but it’s still a ton of fun to play. Street Fighter X Mega Man is set to launch the 25th anniversary of our old, blue friend, and I’m glad to say it’s off to a great start. How Capcom will treat the franchise over the course of the year remains to be seen, but even someone as skeptical as I am sees this as a good sign of things to come. Please don’t let us down, Capcom! PROS:
- The return of solid platforming goodness, complete with fun stage design.
- Fun, faithful bosses.
- An attention to detail of both series.
- It’s free!
- Nagging glitches such as freezing.
- No save function.
- Useless power ups.
- Boss balancing is all over the place.
Rating:9 out of 10.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com