Mega Man 5
The Mega Man Hype was not stopping yet, as Mega Man 4 also sold well and Capcom could not let that sweet cash pass by. This entry yet again had a new project leader working on it, with Keiji Inafune still being part of the team and guiding the new project leader as he has been with the franchise since the very beginning. Though problems did arise as the team already felt they had accomplished everything they could so far with the NES limitations and their creativity, leading to Mega Man 5 being accepted generally positive but with criticism that there was a lack of innovation. Yet again, all of the Robot Masters have been based after sent-in designs by fans.
It turns out that dr. Cossack was not evil after all and–you guessed it–it was Wily who was behind it all! He escapes at the end of Mega Man 4 in the most anticlimactic way possible, thus allowing Capcom to push out more sequels. But this time Wily is nowhere to be seen and instead.. Proto Man has turned evil! He has kidnapped dr. Light and leads an army of robots to cause destruction. Now it’s up to Rock to rescue the doctor, beat Proto Man and save the world in a plot that totally doesn’t involve Wily in any way or form. It’s funny how much they tried to make us believe there was an original villain but that just isn’t the case with Mega Man games.
When I mentioned in the into that the game was criticised for lacking innovation well. that wasn’t a lie. Rock has gained no new abilities at all. His Mega Buster has been improved to have a bigger, more clear radius than before and.. that’s basically it. There are eight new Robot Masters to defeat and two new castles to go through, so this is a basic Mega Man game. That said however, I don’t mind that there is no innovation as they’ve made what plays good even better. I’m talking about the stages here, which I criticised in the Mega Man 4 review for being different in a good way but just having bad level design overall. That is not the case here, as the levels are really fun to go through and I almost never came across cheap deaths. While previous stages had the designs based around the Robot Master’s theme, these stages throw actual gimmicks in there like anti-gravity in Star Man’s stage, flipping gravity in Gravity Man’s stage and an actual ride section in Wave Man’s stage. This is the stage design I’m looking for in a Mega Man game, and Mega Man 5 delivers in spades. I also like the Robot Master their designs for the most part, there were some really good ones here like the three I mentioned before.
The weapons themselves are more of a mixed bag however, especially since some are just weakened versions of previous versions. Gravity Hold for example is another screen nuke, but it takes enemies off screen and as a result, they leave no items behind. The Napalm Bomb, Charge Kick and especially the Power Stone are pretty bad items. The others well, they aren’t bad but not ones that I would use often outside of boss battles, especially not since the Mega Buster most of the time does a much better job. Rush is still here, though they took away the Rush Marine. The Balloon and Wire are also gone and replaced by an arrow that can be stood upon which is.. eh. There is a neatly hidden surprise weapon however. Dr. Cossack created a robot bird companion for Rock as an apology for the events of Mega Man 4. This bird is called Beat, and he loves the blood of his enemies. You have to go through some effort to get him–namely getting a letter in every stage that spell out MEGAMANV–but it’s absolutely worth it.
The bosses are fun to fight, and are overall not too hard. Which I can actually say about the game in general; the difficulty has been toned down quite a bit. But honestly, I don’t mind at all. I’ve had much more fun going through this game than more difficult ones, and it’s not like this game is automatically a breeze or something. They did introduce the m-tank however, an upgraded e-tank that only appears once in the game but not only refills your health, but also all of your ammo! Like the previous game, this one also takes around three to four hours to beat due to the added castle.
Like how the gameplay has essentially been an enhancement of the previous game, so has the presentation. I complimented Mega Man 4 for having a great presentation and Mega Man 5 continues that trend by having really solid graphics and animations. I do miss the previous weapon get animation however, but the new one still does the job. The soundtrack is very solid overall, but here’s where my inner fanboy comes out. This game actually has one of my favourite 8-bit tracks.. ever! Behold, for I present you.. Proto Man’s Fortress! Oh but for this special occasion I actually grabbed the ”We are ROCK-MEN” cover. I can’t help it man, I am absolutely in love with this track.
For many people this is the most forgettable out of all the Mega Man games, as it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. While I can see that being a problem for some, I don’t mind it too much as everything else has pretty much been further improved. The stage design is arguably the best we’ve seen so far, the designs of the Robot Masters are good and the presentation is very solid. The weapons are on the weaker side of the spectrum, and it doesn’t help that the Mega Buster is almost always the better alternative for how much better it has gotten. The game is also relatively easy compared to the other games, making this a good entry point game as well. And with that, here is my final verdict for Mega Man 5:
Welp, that is definitely the shortest my review has ever been. As much as I love Mega Man 5–this one is actually one of my favourites–, there simply isn’t enough to talk about since it is the game that improved upon its predecessor the least. Still, this one is definitely worth giving a shot and I highly encourage you to do so! This game is available on all current generation consoles, as well as the NES.