Mega Man 6 is a 2D run and gun platformer developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. As this is the sixth and final installment in the NES line of the series, I will be assuming you are up to date on my previous five reviews or familiar with the series in general as far as the basics go. It just saves time. The plot here is that the first annual robot fighting tournament is being held, with eight of the world’s most powerful robots ready to compete. Suddenly, the sponsor known as Mr. X hijacks the competitors and reprograms them to help him dominate the world. It’s up to Mega Man to take them down and stop this mysterious madman from his cartoonishly evil plan.
You remember Mega Man 4 and 5? Well the gameplay is pretty much the same. Charged shots, sliding, Rush, Beat… they all return along with the familiar staples of the series. Fight robot masters in your chosen order and then go on to a set of more difficult linear stages until you win. The only tanks you can carry this time are E tanks. As far as new features, there are a few. For instance, getting Beat this time around requires getting the four Beat parts, each one representing a letter in Beat’s name. You get them by accessing secret boss rooms and defeating the robot master of the stage. Doing so will award you the part as well as the usual power if you didn’t already have it. You can also find an item that will automatically refill whatever weapon is the lowest on ammo when you walk over the ammo refills without the need to switch to the specific weapons. If you miss any major secrets in a level then after beating it the bosses square on the selection screen will be blank. The Mega Man head or appropriate Beat part will show up if you get everything. The Rush Power Adaptor is brand spankin’ new. With this, rush turns himself into a pair of powerful fists around Mega Man, allowing you to do major damage and even break certain boxes with your charged punch, though your bulky body will be unable to slide. The Rush Jet Adaptor comes back, but it’s much different than before. Like the power adaptor, Rush transforms himself and attaches to you as a jetpack that allows you to fly up and hover for a limited time. This also is too bulky to slide in and does not allow you to charge up your buster. Neither of these run on a weapon meter, instead having their own built-in limitations to balance their effectiveness. Other than that, it’s all pretty much the same old same old.
I’ll admit it, I love this game. The music is awesome and visually it’s pretty interesting. The controls are tight and responsive. And hey, the formula wasn’t broken so they didn’t fix it. I like the new Rush adaptors. The fact that you don’t have to worry about a weapon meter on them makes them much more tempting to use. They help you reach some pretty neat secrets, which is another thing I like about the design giving it a more adventurous feel. Plus, I think the Rush Jet Adaptor looks really cool and it’s so fun to fly around with it. Looking for secrets and shortcuts helps a bit with replay value as well. I also just think it has a fun, more casual feeling to the whole thing. It’s not too difficult and has some cool events in the stages while still remaining a simple and straightforward game. I suppose nostalgia doesn’t hurt my feelings towards this game either, heh heh. Oh, and they went back to a singular color for the password grid screen so… I appreciate that.
However, I get why it’s not as beloved as some of the others. It’s probably the easiest of them all, which is not the way difficulty should curve in a series. This makes the harshness of instant death from spikes even more of a contrast when it’s the biggest threat in the game. It’s also not largely different than 4 or 5. And let’s admit that being the sixth installment in the series coming out at the end of the NES while the SNES was already out, not to mention being released so close to Mega Man X on that system, didn’t exactly make it the most appealing option. So not as many people remember this one from their childhood. Also, most of the robot masters are so easy that you don’t even need their weaknesses. Proto Man shows up without any introduction or plot. And let me just give you the big twist… Dr. Wily is behind it all. I mean, Mr. X BARELY looks different than Dr. Wily anyway so are you really all that surprised? Hell, even the premise is tad stupid to begin with. It’s another lazy game in terms of changing things up. Not the worst, but still lazy.
As much as you can nitpick the game, it’s certainly still more solid Mega Man goodness no matter how you slice it. It has enough little new things to make it interesting, while having enough polish to make it very enjoyable. I’d even go as far as to say it’s the best of the back half due to having enough changes to make it worthwhile. As far as recommendations go, it’s definitely worth giving a look if you’re a Mega Man fan that missed it. If you want an easier Mega Man game to try getting into the series, I think this is the best one for that. Also, I think it’s really interesting since not a ton of people have played it. Personally, I’d be willing to pay a bit more for a copy than most, but 20 bucks or less is not a bad price for getting this one in some form or another. You may not love it as much as I do, but I simply cannot recommend it enough. Even with the context of the series in mind as I replayed it, I came to the same conclusion. Mega Man 6 is still my favorite Mega Man game. I look forward to trying out more games in the series and the spinoff series as well in the future. These games really do rock, man. I… I’m sorry… I had to. Forgive me!