Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mega Man 4 Review

In 1987, Capcom launched probably their most recognizable franchise: Mega Man. His weapon-stealing, shooting action became so popular that it produced a very large number of sequels and side franchises. Mega Man 2 is the most well-known and popular out of all of them, but one title in the franchise, Mega Man 4, remains sorely overlooked.

Mega Man 4 starts off with a little backstory on the Blue Bomber's past; how he turned from humble cleaning droid to a super-fighting robot. Pressing Start sends you to that all-to familiar Boss select screen, an important staple in the franchise. These robots this time around are well-designed and feature some of the most fun stages in MM history. Dive Man's stage is decievingly difficult, with underwater physics and death spikes all around. Pharoah Man's stage has branching pathways that lead to some tightly-spaced platforming. Toad Man's stage is water-logged and full of dizzying effects. And the story is even more interesting this time; a Russian scientist is now the evil mastermind of these new Robot Masters, though it's not long until you figure out who the real villian is.

The new gimmick of MM4 is the Charge Shot, which allows Mega Man to hold a Buster shot in, then release it to make it much more powerful. While it erases some of the challenge, it is still a very welcome addition. The weapons this time around are the series' best: every one is used numerous times throughout the game. The Rain Flush and the Pharoah Shot in particular are very usefull, but not brokenly-spammable like MM2's Metal Blade.

The graphics are vibrant and still amazing, but unlike MM3, do not cause horrible slowdown and flicker. The music is the series' best: with amazingly atmospheric tunes and beats you'll be whistling for weeks. One small complaint about this game could be that the password saves still won't let you advance to any of the castle stages, which ruins some replayability, but the game is so polished and fun anyways that you probably won't notice it as much.

Gameplay: Polished to perfection. Capcom got everything right this time. 9.75
Graphics: Still well-done, and almost no slowdown. 9.5
Audio: Amazing, but great music is a Capcom standard. 9.75
Overall: It all adds up to be the greates MM in the whole series, even better than Number 2. If you're planning on picking up one Mega Man game, make it this one.
9.75 out of 10

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