Mega Man 5 is a 2D run and gun platformer developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. As this is the fifth installment in the Mega Man franchise I will be assuming you’re either familiar with the previous titles or have been keeping up with my reviews so I can avoid repeating myself too much. The story of this one seems to be following up more on the reveal from the third game, oddly enough. A group of robots has started causing trouble in the world. What a surprise. The twist is that this time Proto Man is behind it. It’s up to Mega Man to defeat the eight master robots and confront his long lost brother leading the charge.
The gameplay is largely unchanged. The charged shot returns and is slightly bigger. Rush Jet and Rush Coil come back, but there’s no Rush Marine this time. There’s an item called the Super Arrow that can be fired out and allows you to ride it as it goes forward. You can even shoot them into walls to make temporary platforms for yourself. There are eight items to collect in each of the main stages that spell out Mega Man V. These are hidden or put in hard-to-reach places, but collection all of them will unlock Beat, a mechanical bird that homes in on enemies for you as long as you have ammo for him. There’s also a usable M tank that will refill all weapons and health upon use. The bosses have a more traditional style of weaknesses, where they only have one major weakness instead of a variety of effectiveness. The password system has also gone back to the blue and red dotting method. After beating all of the bosses in whatever order you choose you will then go through a linear set of more difficult stages until you get to the end of the game. So aside from new powers, bosses, stages, and stage gimmicks… that’s pretty much all the news.
To be honest, I probably enjoy this one more than I should. The music is good and the visuals are really nice. The bosses are all doable even without the use of their weaknesses if you adapt to their patterns. It controls great. I do enjoy the collectible parts for Beat in the stages as a reason to play it a bit more dangerously and to explore. Hell, they even fixed the glitch that makes you fall off of ladders when unpausing FINALLY! I think it’s nice that it doesn’t try to go overboard with a story. It’s a short, simple premise with a bit of interest that follows up from Mega Man 3. In fact, this game almost feels like it should be the fourth one and that the fourth one just wasn’t very necessary. It even has some interesting new obstacles to check out in the stages. It does everything I could want out of a Mega Man game, really. I don’t have much room to complain… but let’s do so for the sake of argument.
There aren’t any great strides in the game design. The plot is pretty predictable. The system of weaknesses feels a bit regressive. The game is also relatively easy compared to the earlier titles. I found myself with an abundance of lives, lots of E tanks, and was able to beat almost every boss with just my buster. Even the buster seems a bit overpowered with the even larger blast it now has. Let’s face it… it’s just another Mega Man game. So anyone looking for something more advanced that builds on old mechanics will most likely be disappointed. But hey, it ain’t easy trying to crank out six of these bad boys all in the lifespan of one system!
So Mega Man 5 is good, just not real noteworthy or impressive. It’s a good one to check out for Mega Man fans for sure. Anyone who is looking for an easier entry to the NES Mega Man classic, this is a good place to start. It has its place and I do like it, but I can understand hardcore fans being a bit disappointed with it, given the potential of the series. I’d still say it’s worth 15 to 20 bucks depending on the form of medium. It might not end up being your favorite of them, but it might not end up being your least favorite either. It’s solid. As for me, I’m just really excited to replay Mega Man 6 with the context of the series in mind for the first time and see if it still holds up. Fingers crossed!