Retro Game of the Day! Mega Man 4
Mega Man 4 by Capcom, released for the NES in 1991.
Right, so you know I am in sort of a somber mood when I decide to write about a Mega Man game, because nothing turns that frown upside down faster than writing about (or actually playing) Mega Man games from the Good Ole Days!
It's no secret to many that I am a bit of a heavy-duty Mega Man Fan. A guy who writes this much about retro games... 'nuff said. Most people gravitate towards Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 as their favorite in the series (I'm a "2" man myself), but after those iterations, common thought is that the love starts to drop sharply off...
A feeling I've long shared. It seemed that things were starting to feel quite also-ran when I got my eager, grubby mitts on Mega Man 3, seeing as how its predecessor changed my video-game life.. as a result, number 4 didn't have a high level of expectation from me, and therefore there was not far to fall. I did pick up the game quickly, and blasted through the entire journey with ease; I certainly enjoyed the trip. But the magic was not the same.
And now, all these years later, I have picked up MM4 for some re-consideration. My memory of it was "it's an okay NES game," and looking at it I'll say now it was a wonderful NES game! It's not in the higher-up echelon there, but it's still a very well-put together, great-looking platforming experience that's a blast to wander through. Lots of the usual little touches that the series is loved for, and enough little tweaks to stand on its own.
I can see why I was tired of the series when it originally released, however.. 16-bit was in full swing, and when this released in the West I'd already been enjoying the SNES with a few years of Genesis gaming behind me already. No matter what they did with the series, it was going to look and play very much like a re-hash so long as it stayed true to Mega Man style. In spite of that, the design is solid, and they didn't "baby it up" too badly at all. Mega Man 4 is by no means insurmountable, but it would take a little force to work through. The little additions ended up being more hype than they were worth (the Charge Shot sounded like a great idea, but ended up actually feeling like a semi-useful gimmick). Sadly, most of the unbelievably addictive rockin' chiptunes from the past games were replaced with standard Capcom 8-bit fare in this title as well. Not bad, but not humworthy, never mind memorable.
In spite of the criticisms, Mega Man 4 is a solid adventure that any series lover should absolutely investigate, especially if it's been several years since you've visited this particular world. The game is still lovingly rendered, the "feel" is spot-on as ever, and the Robot Master weapons are as cool as they always are. Another winner for Capcom, even if it's a half-baked rehash of the Best they've had to offer..
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