Over the past year or two I've read a couple of books and watched a couple of films that personally I think would make epic video games.
Street Fighter x Mega Man Review
It has been 25 years since the Blue Bomber made his debut. This franchise has been with me since my earliest gaming days. It’s a crowning achievement of mine (in the video game spectrum, at least) to be able to say that I have played ever released Mega Man game and beaten them, including the WonderSawn games and the Japanese iOS release of Rockman XOver. I have even been able to play through Phantom of Network and Grand 5 Island Adventure.
Needless to say, Mega Man is one of my top gaming franchises and the one character that has stayed with me since I first received my NES back in 1991. I knew very well of the approaching anniversary and well, it’s bittersweet. To say that I’m happy to see Mega Man reach 25 and to have games still coming out is one thing. However, to say that my beloved franchise is in good measure would be a lie.
Mega Man is dying. It’s on its last legs and now Capcom is using this free downloadable PC game to determine its fate.
So how is it? Well, honestly, this review is just formality. Street Fighter x Mega Man is a free game where its downloads may determine the future of a franchise with a huge fan base. Download it. Play it. Hate it or love it all you want but give it a download. The fans will thank you for it.
The US link: http://static.capcom.com/sfxmm/SFxMM_US.zip
The EU link: http://static.capcom.com/sfxmm/SFxMM_EU.zip
Note: Please do not download this game from mediafire or any other user uploaded links. Capcom will most likely only count the downloads from their own mirrors. It’s slow but just weather through it.
Note: This is an introspective about Mega Man and the series’ 25th Anniversary. If you’re just here for the review, skip to the next section. However, I hope you read this part, too.
So here we are. 25 years ago Mega Man/Rockman released and single-handedly showed off platform gaming at its finest. Compared to everything else out there at the time, Capcom had just released a monster hit when it came to simple jumping, shooting, and beating the bad guys. That’s all it really was, too. It was simple and honestly no one at Capcom or even people playing it thought it would blow up to be this big.
Here’s a mind blowing fact: There are 133 Mega Man games that have released. Spread out over a multitude of platforms including smart- and not so smart-phones, obscure handhelds like the Wonderswan, and the Neo Geo Pocket Color, the Blue Bomber has been just about everywhere. He has had games come out on almost every system since his introduction on the NES.
There is no denying the impact Mega Man has made on gaming in the long run. Platform gaming wouldn’t have been as big as it is without the release of Mega Man. Perhaps Chiptune music wouldn’t have been a cult favorite if it weren’t for the many Mega Man tribute bands out there or even the 8-bit lovin’ musicians who constantly feature Mega Man tunes as their top releases.
For 25 years, Capcom’s Blue Bomber has been a classic, a legend, and an ever-present figurehead in the world of gaming.
That’s why when I look back at the last couple of years, I have to shake my head in wonderment trying to come up with any reason why Capcom would be showing such disdain for the character. In the past two years we’ve seen cancellations, near zero news on the franchise’s future, and petitions reaching great numbers just being ignored.
It’s clear that there are people on the dev side who still love Mega Man just as much as the fans do. The blame is given to the higher-ups who have put aside a legendary character who helped build up and become a foundation for the company in support of games like Dragon’s Dogma and Asura’s Wrath that will most likely be looked at as cult favorites but overall disappointments and retail failures. Am I saying that a Mega Man in place of those is the better way? No. What I’m saying is that Capcom is not looking at what their fans want. New IP’s are great and I do think Dragon’s Dogma was a step in the right direction for Capcom in terms of development future. However, it is clear as day that the fans are barking for classic Capcom titles to make a return or rebirth. Mega Man just happens to be the loudest crowd.
It is sad to think that the past two years have been a constant fight against a non-caring, quiet corporate entity in support of a character and franchise that has retained so many fans over the years. When I look at the entire 25 years overall, though, I think about how great Mega Man games have been to me during my gaming time. It was a series that brought a lot of my friends together and took plenty of hours away from my life.
Here’s to hoping the future of Mega Man is bright and will erase the last two years from fan’s minds. Do I think Street Fighter x Mega Man is the answer? No. Am I going to give it my blessing as a good addition to the Mega Man franchise? No. Do I think that should deny Mega Man any kind of future? No.
Stop caring about downloads of a .zip file, Capcom. Listen to your fans. Put your employed fans in a room and tell them the franchise is their’s, just send an invoice. Make money. Make us happy. Problem. Solved.
Okay, so now onto the game in question! Street Fighter x Mega Man is a free downloadable PC title that you can get from the links above. This was created by a huge fan of the franchise that was seen by some big names in the company and given some funding. Despite the title structuring, this is a Mega Man Classic game. It plays just like the 8-bit games of olde with the overall difficulty of Mega Man 10’s challenge levels and then some. Sounds good, right?
Not so much.
Let me first say that I always felt that Mega Man games controlled terribly on a keyboard. These platforming games just work so much better with a D-Pad and some dedicated buttons. As I said above, I’ve played and beaten every released Mega Man. It doesn’t matter which one you put in front of me, with a keyboard, I’ll always screw up the jump and attack buttons and somehow press too many buttons when trying to move fast and end up shooting in the wrong direction. Fast paced PC games are ones that require the use of both keyboard and mouse. That way your hands aren’t both on the same hardware peripheral and each can concentrate on their own thing going on.
So that sums up the controls. They are average and do not compliment games like this.
The level design is also lacking. Many levels feel more like a Castlevania section instead of a Robot Master lair. They just don’t flow right. I liked the addition of going right and left on some sections to uncover items or to make you think fast before you fall into a trap. That gives these levels some decision making. Aside from that, I felt that the level design was created just to ensure enemy placement was going to be a grade-A pain in the ass.
When you sit there and look at a screen during a level and see the way the enemies are placed, you have to look at the level first and see that the enemy placement isn’t the issue here. The stages are deliberately set-up to make sure that traversing these areas is just one of the issues. The other is that cramming enemies on the screen ensures that you’ll be cursing at your computer monitor many, many times.
So the game’s difficult. So what, right? It’s Mega Man Classic.
That’s just not the case. I’m accustomed to the varying difficult of the Classic series and even some of the placement traps that the devs usually make us suffer through but the way this game’s level design and enemy placement are done just feels cheap. It’s unnecessarily cheap. In fact, during Dhalsim’s stage, I actually thought I just magically traversed to a bullet hell game. It just comes down to the face that many areas of this game just feel like you can not possibly move on without being hit and putting yourself in danger. That is poor design.
This also gets intensified by the way E-Tanks work in Street Fighter x Mega Man. You’ll find E-Tanks littered throughout stages and while they stay with you through death, you’ll sometimes find yourself using them before reaching the boss just so you don’t get there with zero lives left.
This, more-so than previous Classic games, is a challenge of memorization and luck. There will always be parts of the stages that you will get hit by enemies. There will always be part of the stages that you just can’t evade or just have to hope to the high heavens that you make that jump.
Mega Man games in the Classic series (or style) are just difficult. They test your patience, memory, and reflexes and always have. However, Street Fighter x Mega Man just seems like it was built to frustrate and enrage players.
That all being said, the game retains none of this after you beat it. You’ll realize that while the level design is truly bad, the enemies will be easier to deal with it once you unlock Optic Laser and you know the attack patterns/timing. You’ll still have areas where dying or just getting hit is all but certain unless you get lucky. However, you’ll find yourself nearly a master of the game after just one playthrough. There is almost no challenge or reason to play after that.
Fighting bosses in this game is actually really fun. There’s a new mechanic that plays off the Street Fighter formula where every hit the boss takes fills up their special bar and when it is filled they unleash a signature move. Ryu launches a Shinkuu Hadouken (I think it’s Shinkuu. It may be the Metsu.) which if hit by it will do a large amount of damage. Some specials for bosses, such as this powered-up Hadouken can be launched and the boss goes right back to fighting you while the dangerous bits of pixels are still on the screen. It’s an extra challenge and it makes the boss fights fun.
These fights aren’t frustrating, though. These are fights that test everything Classic Mega Man games have taught you. The issue lies with how many lives you come into the battle with an if you had to waste any E-Tanks during the excruciating stages.
Luckily, the Boss Rush at the end of the game gives you plenty of chances to have fun with these fights again. Just some advice, break the orbs and get health after each fight. Hopefully you were able to stock up on E-Tanks.
The final boss is the easiest of them all which goes against the Classic series forumla. Wily always made for a great challenge.
The secret boss, however, is very hard. It seems the method of getting this boss to show up is up in the air right now. I finally fought him during my second playthrough. I never used a continue and I got perfects on 3 bosses before he showed up. I won’t ruin who it is, though. Just know, it’s pretty awesome.
This gets its own section because the 8-bit tracks that have graced the Classic series are iconic and whenever you play a game in this style or series you always hope for some great tunes. You’ll get them here.
Street Fighter x Mega Man features mixes of Mega Man Robot Master stage music and Street Fighter themes. Example? Snake Man from Mega Man 3 + Dhalsim’s Theme from Street Fighter II. Awesome.
This game’s soundtrack was made by A_Rival and really captures the best of what a Classic series game should sound like. It is a great mash-up for this crossover and makes every stage come alive. In fact, it is the only good thing about the stages aside from the amazing sprite work on the enemies.
Let’s just get it said right off the bat: the level design and enemy placement during stages make this game a living hell until you’ve unlock the Optic Laser power which decimates normal enemies. Still, the frustrating design of this game left me really overall just not wanting to play it again.
If you go through this game fighting and beating the secret boss in your first playthrough, I see no reason why you should go through it again. The challenge put into this game feeds off your first playthrough since you know nothing of the stages, the enemies, and the importance of E-Tanks later on in the game. Once you manage to beat it, the game becomes stupidly easy and therefore retains none of its prior infuriating difficulty.
You’ll go from hating your experience so much to breezing through it. It’s a radical change in playthrough experiences that doesn’t sit well.
It’s not all bad, though. The music is superb and the sprite work is amazing. A lot of enemies just look fantastic and make the bosses look weak. In fact, some of these stage enemies look like they should be bosses. Very good work there.
As I said, the boss battles were fun and I enjoyed the special bar mechanic. The secret boss was a great addition and I feel the game did a good job of crossing over key Street Fighter mechanics that made sense in a Mega Man game.
Stepping back and looking at this overall, Street Fighter x Mega Man is a nice download and it was awesome to see it for free but if this was something you had to pay for, I’d tell you to keep your money and spend it elsewhere.
Download this, try it out, and either continue playing it or just throw it in a folder or delete it. However, I beg you as a fan of Mega Man to download it from the above links. Save Mega Man since Capcom thinks using a download count is acceptable to determine the future of a classic franchise that helped shape them as a company.