Since its first release in 1987, the “Mega Man” franchise has had it rough over the past couple years. Highly anticipated titles like “Mega Man Universe” and “Mega Man Legends 3” went down the drain after series creator Keiji Inafune left Capcom. The Blue Bomber’s 25th anniversary year has looked bleak ever since. Thankfully, the massive cast of the “Street Fighter” series, who also celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2012, weren’t about to let a fellow Capcom character celebrate his birthday all alone and have given the Bomber a new set of bosses to take on for his anniversary.
That’s right, Mega Man has been given a new 8-bit adventure, courtesy of fan programmer Seow Zong Hui and Capcom distributors, in the same style as the previous “Mega Man 9” and “Mega Man 10.” However, the plot shows no traces of Wily or Robot Masters. The game instead features a series of stages and bosses inspired by characters such as Ryu and Chun-Li, as well as a final showdown against the sinister Shadaloo organization, headed by M. Bison (of course).
The game is littered with sly references to the Street Fighter mythos. For examplee, the bosses have their own Super Meter that fills up as they take hits and allows them to execute a super move when it fills completely. Or, if a boss is defeated without taking a hit, the word “PERFECT” will flash on the screen, in awesome fighting game fashion.
And, thankfully, the boss fights do not disappoint. Move sets from the “Street Fighter” series are translated perfectly to the 8-bit “Mega Man” formula, leading to a lot of fun fights with Dhalsim, Blanka and even obscure characters like Urien.
Unfortunately, the level design isn’t as well done. The numerous game stages were either very difficult or very easy, and all of them felt far shorter than anything that the older “Mega Man” games chalked up. There are many moments where deaths feel cheap instead of fair, and while the controls are as tight as you would expect from a “Mega Man” game, playing with a keyboard instead of a gamepad is clumsy and infuriating.
That being said, this is a very nicely done game. For a title that is completely free of charge, it does a lot of things right. If you can weather the mediocre level design, this is definitely an experience worth fighting through.