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TBT – Why I Love Mega Man & Why You Might Too

Super Fighting Robot: Mega Man!


Hey all! What, surprised to see me? Yes, even I can do things other than reviews. If you haven’t guessed from my profile picture, I love Mega Man with a passion! It is my favorite video game series and franchise. Being one of the games that got me into gaming, there are other aspects of it besides nostalgia that make me love the series. Mega Man‘s history, gameplay, and music are the main reasons why I love the series so dearly. Its history has humble beginnings, the gameplay is entertaining enough to make you want more, and the music is fantastic, especially for its time. As you read my reasons on why I love this series, perhaps you will gain an understanding of my passion for it. Lastly, if you’re not a fan of Mega Man, then that is okay! Hopefully, I can give you an idea of what the games are all about and help you become a fan!

History
Mega Man‘s humble beginnings began with developer Capcom in 1987. Created by Akira Kitamura and designed by Keiji Inafune, Mega Man, or Rockman in Japan, was released on the NES. After its release, it went on to become one of the most important icons in the video game industry. Amusingly enough, the first box art cover for the first Mega Man game is talked down upon due to its poor design. Despite that, Mega Man‘s big break came with the release of Mega Man 2, which helped immensely with its popularity, as it was adored by fans all over.

TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too! TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too!

Since then, Mega Man has released more sequel games and even spin-off titles such as Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero, which added to the Mega Man universe with diverse gameplay. Mega Man has also spawned a few anime and shorts. From the 1994 Ruby Spears Mega Man series to the NT Warrior anime, and even the short Day of Sigma OVA, you can see that Mega Man tackled the anime industry. Despite some of them being low quality, I would recommend looking into them to see how much Mega Man has grown. If you ask me, I prefer the Day of Sigma OVA, since the voice acting improves significantly compared to the other animated series.

TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too! TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too!

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much activity recently and the reasons are still up for debate. Even so, Mega Man has not died out. He has made a surprising appearance in Super Smash Bros. 4 as a playable character to fight for everlasting peace. Among the fan communities, there are several fan games that have been created that play and feel like a real Mega Man game. Lastly, one can say that Mega Man has given birth to similar, yet new games. On December 15th, 2010, Keiji Inafune launched a new game company called, Comcept, which plans to release Mighty No. 9, a spiritual successor to Mega Man. On June 21st, 2016. Inti Creates, the company responsible for the Mega Man Zero games, have been releasing Azure Striker Gunvolt, which is also the spiritual successor to the Zero games. With the announcement of Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 coming out this summer, it is evident that Mega Man and his spirit is not dead.

TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too! Azure Striker Gunvolt

If you dig deep into it, Mega Man has a long and complicated history. It is worthwhile to see how a franchise from the late 80’s has flourished, especially in this day and age of gaming.

Gameplay
If I had to describe Mega Man‘s gameplay in two words, it would be: frustratingly addicting. In the classic Mega Man series, the gameplay boils down to a platform-shooter style, which is challenging, yet fun. You control Mega Man and shoot numerous enemies with his trusty Mega-Buster while traveling through the selected stage, which can be filled with pitfalls, spikes, and disappearing blocks. If this sounds tough, then believe me when I tell you it is, but with trial and error, it will become second-nature to you. Another addicting gimmick about the gameplay are the robot master abilities. At the end of a stage, Mega Man has to fight the robot master of said stage, and if he wins, his “get” ability activates, which enables him to get the ability of the defeated robot master. Seeing which ability Mega Man gets is the most interesting part of the game for me, because as a player, I get to explore the new ability and use it in new ways. It’s like getting a new superpower and using it over and over to see its maximum potential. Oh, by the way, if you go into rage mode due to the constant death and pitfalls, that’s normal, but it’s worth it…..trust me.

TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too! TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too!

The classic Mega Man gameplay is interesting and challenging on its own, but I believe it becomes unique with the spin-off games; some examples are Mega Man Zero and Battle Network series. In the Zero series, there are still elements of platforming involved, but a fighting or beat ’em up element is added in. When you control Zero, you can still use a buster, but there are different weapons he can use, such as a saber, a shield boomerang, or his hand. Interestingly enough, in Mega Man Zero 4, if the player uses Zero’s hand to defeat most enemies, Zero can use the weapon of that enemy to cause damage. This is a throwback to the classic series where Mega Man could do the same with a robot master.

TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too!TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too!

As for the Battle Network series, I feel this is where the gameplay truly expands and tries something new and different. The style used still has that shooter element going on, but this time, it adds a bit of a strategy element by using chips in battle. I find this great because some chips can have added effects, which can contribute to your next chip. You can even combine chips to form a combo or program advance. The style reminds me of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, but instead of using cards, you’re using chips. In Battle Network 5, the game adds a tactical style of gameplay that is very similar to the style used in the Fire Emblem series, but instead watching the fight, you do the battling.

TBT - Why I Love Mega Man and Why You Might Too!Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories Card System

Despite the different styles of gameplay added, every game still feels like a Mega Man game. I believe this is a reflection on his power, which is to take from someone or something and make it his own. This is displayed when the series experiments with different gameplay elements while still maintaining that Mega Man feeling.

Music
For me, the music is what makes this entire franchise for me. The classic Mega Man games have that 8-bit style of music that gives it a feeling of electronic retro. As you go on to the X, Zero, and even Starforce series, the music changes to the era it was created in. I find that fascinating because each Mega Man series has soundtracks that blend with the times and should tell you that it is not all 8-bit music. If you dive deep into the music, you’ll find that it is very difficult to pinpoint an exact composer for the series. Each game has a different composer, which explains the diversity in its music. In some of the classic Mega Man games, Manami Matsumae was the go-to composer, but again, composers changed, meaning she did not work on every game.

In 1999, a Japan-exclusive line-up of remakes titled, “Rockman Complete Works” was made available for 6 of the classic games. The set included a remastered version of Mega Man‘s music. When I was made aware of the complete works, I dove into that as quick as I could and fell in love. What made me love the collection is its remastering quality. It takes the original 8-bit melody of the games and updates it with this modern electronic sound in a way that that stunned me. Not only does it do that, it also takes the time to add some versatility by using different instruments to accompany the electronic melody. In my own opinion, it resulted in this excellent combination of modern electronic and natural instrumentation that I absolutely adore. After listening, I realized that the music is just like the games; it takes in different styles and elements, then makes it its own. I will provide soundtrack examples from Mega Man Zero 3 and 4 that I feel best to represent its versatility. After listening, I hope you can gain some understanding of what I am feeling when I speak of the works.

To me, Rockman Complete Works’ soundtrack is more than just music. Like the music itself, it is a bridge that connects, and when it does, it feels like magic; the same goes for Mega Man‘s music. I will go as far as to say that it brought out the kid in me again. It takes the old 8-bit nostalgia and makes it modern, becoming something refreshing and new. It’s as if the music grew up just like I did; from 8-bit retro to remastered and that is something I truly enjoy with my entire being.

Final Thoughts
The entire Mega Man franchise as a whole is extensive and broad, so if you dive into it, you might find something that you enjoy besides the history, gameplay, or music. By writing what I love about Mega Man, hopefully, I have peaked your curiosity in the franchise. If there is one thing I want anyone to get out of this, it is that like any other game, it has a lot to offer in so many ways. In summary, when exploring, please do take your time and enjoy it for what it is: a Game. Take it easy and I’ll catch you later in the next article!
Sources: Wikipedia (1994 TV Series, Keiji Inafune, Manami Matsumae, Mega Man NT Warrior, NES System), Mega Man Wikia (Mega Man 2, X, Zero, Battle Network, Starforce, Rockman Complete Works), Mega Man History, Capcom, Super Smash Bros 4, Comcept, Mighty No. 9, Inti Creates (Azure Striker Gunvolt), Youtube (Mega Man Zero 3 and 4 Remastered Soundtracks) Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Fire Emblem

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