Mega Man 6
The SNES was already released and coincidentally was the next step forward for the franchise, Mega Man X. Meanwhile, the final Mega Man game was in the works for the NES. You thought that they would move on completely to the new system but no, there had to be a final hurrah. For the first time ever, gamers not native to Japan were able to send in their Robot Master designs and two actually made it in too. Which is funny because we wouldn’t see Mega Man 6 till 1994, as Capcom had no plans to release it outside of Japan themselves. Fortunately Nintendo stepped in and decided to release it alongside a few other games to promote the new top-loading NES model. The game was received positively, but still faced the same criticism previous games had for getting redundant.
Of course Wily was behind all of the events in Mega Man 5, who else could it possibly be. Rock let him escape yet again, but at least this time he has an excuse because this small robot held up an entire collapsing tower. Humans were getting quite tired of Wily trying to mess up their day constantly, so it was time to take action. A new mysterious figure called Mr. X hosts a world tournament to determine which Robot Masters are the strongest of them all and worthy to form an alliance and protect the world from the mad scientist Wily. But surprise surprise, Mr. X himself is evil! GASP! He has been manipulating Dr. Wily since the very start, making him the actual mastermind! He also totally doesn’t look like Wily. Rock sets out for the sixth time to stop this evil new villain and save the whole world!
The world tournament part of the story is also the main influence of the game. Inafune mentioned that this game has the ”The world is our stage” theme and it shows. There are eight Robot Masters from the world, all heralding from different countries of the world and being designed after them as well. We got for example Centaur Man representing Greece, Flame Man representing Arabic countries and Tomahawk Man representing Americans. I love the inspiration they took for the Robot Masters this time around, and suffice to say this set of Robot Masters is one of, if not my favourite set out of all of them. And it’s not just the designs themselves, but also the stages and enemies. Taking Centaur Man as example again, we have a coastal area with flying pelicans dropping fish, and Yamato Man’s stage takes place inside a dojo with multiple robots inspired by the monk Musashibou Benkei, how cool is that? I’m easily attracted to originality so yet again, points for Mega Man 6.
I always have trouble deciding whether this game or Mega Man 5 has better stage designs. The latter had more gimmicks such as the ride section in Wave Man’s stage and anti-gravity in Star Man’s stage, but at the same time: they had gimmicks. While I personally love gimmicks in stages, quite a lot of people don’t and Mega Man 6 has less of these. That, and there are a lot of different pathways due to two new upgrades Rock has gotten in this game. Rush has become more than just a robot dog now that can turn into a jet or coil. In the spin-off “Rush the Dog 3 and Knuckles”, he went out to find the seven chaos emeralds and can now merge with Rock to become.. Mega Mega Man! Joking aside, merging with Rush gives Rock access to two new forms: Jet Mega Man and Power Mega Mega Man. The former allows him to fly for a bit and reach higher platforms, while the latter is focused on the offensive and breaks blocks, shields and more. You have to obtain them from specific stages first, but they allow for quite a lot of alternate paths. Four stages even end with an alternate exit (you still have to face the boss) and when you’ve found all four, you gain access to a nerfed Beat again. While the stages may have fewer gimmicks overall than Mega Man 5, the number of alternate paths more than make up for it.
The only negatives of the two forms are that they lose access to the charged Mega Buster, and you can’t slide with them. But for two powerful forms that require no ammo or anything, it’s a cheap price to pay. The weapons themselves aren’t anything we haven’t seen before. There’s a new screen nuke in the form of Centaur Flash, a Plant Barrier functioning as shield and other damaging weapons that do their job. The Knight Crusher, Silver Tomahawk and Yamato Spear are all three good weapons that I would occasionally use outside of boss battles for when I’m bored of using the Mega Buster which is in most situations still the best weapon. It’s a nice selection overall; still not the best set of weapons out there but there’s not really one here that I actually avoid using altogether like the Power Stone.
Following in Mega Man 5‘s footsteps, the game isn’t too difficult. The stage design is very forgiving, bosses are fun but also not too difficult and the new Rush adapters make platforming a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about precise platforming anymore now that Jet Mega Man is a thing. The m-tank from Mega Man 5 is gone for whatever reason, but e-tanks are still very present. Yet again the game takes about three to four hours to beat with the extra added castle, possibly more since you’re able to revisit stages for the alternate exits you may not have been able to reach before. They are indicated by the Mega Man head icon when a stage is finished. These alternate exits are completely optional and only for the people who want Beat back as a weapon.
This is the most detailed and beautiful Mega Man game on the NES. That is probably a given since it is one of the last games on the NES of course but hey, credit where credit is due. For this first time we got a new super fancy Robot Master intro scene with stats nobody cared for and a title befitting of said Robot Master. The weapon get has also been enhanced and looks better than ever, even showing what the weapon in question does! Graphics overall looks great, and the music is also well done. Thought it would be befitting to end this series of review with the final boss theme, and so I did. I would have done credits but y’know, that’s just a recap of all the Robot Masters and their theme. Also, compliments to that credits scene for also being the best out there for the 8-bit Mega Man games.
Being the last of the NES games, Mega Man 6 is the most refined game out of them all and probably the one that’s closest to the ideal image the creators had in mind for the blue bomber. Great level design with multiple different pathways, while also taking the country of the representative Robot Master into account as well as drawing inspiration for enemies. The two new forms for Mega Man by merging with Rush are very fun to use, and the weapon selection overall is good enough. The presentation is top notch and a great way to end an era of great Mega Man games. And with that, here is my final verdict for Mega Man 6:
I won’t deny it: out of all the classic Mega Man games, this is definitely my favourite because of the above-mentioned reasons. It just played really well and defines Mega Man for me. What about the remaining games? Find out soon! Next up I’m taking a look at Mega Man 7, which should be out.. any time soon. These six reviews already took longer than I had in mind so I won’t promise an exact date. See you soon hopefully and thank you for reading!