Welcome to another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games! Every Tuesday join Cyril as he reviews the best (and worst) retro releases for the week.
Last week we saw the first stinker on the Virtual Console. Thankfully, this week is better ... but not by much. This week we talk about a familiar face, one who has starred in games I have highly recommended on these pages. But this time around things are different. The good news is you get a full review of Mega Man IV. Unfortunately, that means you have to put up with reading another episode of This Week in Defunct Games!
Mega Man IV (Capcom)
[ Virtual Console - 500 Points/$5 - Nintendo Entertainment System - 1992 ]
What Is It?
The Blue Bomber is back for yet another 2D platformer game. By the time Mega Man IV hit the Nintenedo Entertainment System gamers already knew what to expect. We knew there would be a bunch of crazy robots, a proper order to beat them in and cool weapons you can steal from each encounter. Unfortunately, for a lot of Mega Man fans, this fourth installment was the official sign that Capcom had completely run out of ideas. Charge Man? Stone Man? Gravity Man? Okay, I can see something cool happening with Gravity Man, but certainly not Star Man. Is Capcom just stealing their ideas from Jeff Bridges movies? Will Mega Man 11 have Crazy Heart Man?
Beyond the stupid names, this was also the first time it felt like Capcom didn't know where to take the level designs. In the past the mazes Mega Man is forced to fight through were inspired. Often they were actually better than the boss battles, giving you plenty of original ideas and hard platforming challenges to test your skills. Unfortunately the level designs aren't nearly as interesting this time around. The game borrows a little too heavily on the games of the past, giving this entire sequel the impression that we've seen it all before. And that's the problem; we HAVE seen it all before. With recycled level designs, lame boss fights and nothing new to add, Mega Man IV just feels like a retread of what we've seen already.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The good news is that Capcom didn't toy with the controls, so Mega Man IV is just as accessible as its older siblings. Then again, it's hard to screw up a 2D Mega Man adventure. Perhaps that's part of the problem. By the second or third game, Capcom had a template that would go unchanged for years. They knew all they needed to do was add new bosses, change some of the backgrounds and then call it a day. We see very little innovation here over the last installment, which makes it hard to warrant the purchase of yet another carbon copy. The actual gameplay is still strong, but you've seen it all before.
Is It Worth The Money?
I'm sure there are people who see this as yet another $5 expansion to the Mega Man universe, and maybe at that price the redundancy of it isn't that big of an issue. However, I there's really no reason to buy this game if you already own Mega Man 1 - 3. That's not to say that you won't have fun, but If you're a big fan of these games and want to play them all, then might I suggest you pick up the cheap Mega Man Anniversary Collection. Mega Man IV proves to us that Capcom only had enough good ideas for three of these games, which is why this franchise started to get a bad reputation. Hopefully Capcom doesn't fall back into the same trap when it comes to their new line of 21st century sequels.