Thoughts on Mega Man

Three days ago, word came down from Capcom that Mega Man Legends 3 was canceled.  This is the second Mega Man title to be canceled this year, and it feels like the series as a whole is on shaky legs.  Reading this article on Destructoid made me think of Mega Man’s past, and of my own.

We might go through another series of articles devoted to the history of the Mega Man franchise, but for right now, I’d like to share a bit of my own history with that franchise, knowing it’s really not going to be much different than anyone else’s.

I remember playing the first one like it was yesterday.  I couldn’t even begin to count the hours spent trying to figure out just how the heck to get past Cut Man, Ice Man, or whomever else.  After that there was Wily’s plant.  Frustration and gritted teeth were what players found—but we didn’t mind that, either.

It’s not like games today, where save-points and checkpoints and what-not are strewn about a game quite liberally.  Heck, we didn’t even get a password system until the sequel.

Like many gamers, I sat there on the floor, moving the N.E.S. controller around as I ran and jumped and shot, hoping like heck that I wouldn’t die.  And, of course, I would.  It took an insane number of attempts to beat the game, but I did—then I turned right back around and played it again.  It was simply that addicting.

It wasn’t just the level design, which was mostly interesting if, like its brethren of that era, strict in making you go to the right.  It looked really interesting—heck, just take a look at these two images.  The backgrounds were interesting, different.  They made the game enjoyable to play through and just look at.

Then, of course, you had the ubiquitous enemies.  They were difficult, of course, as was rather expected in a Nintendo game, but part of the difficulty wasn’t just their numbers (which could, at times, be large) or the fact that half of them were temporarily invincible.  In addition to those, there was the fact that, like other games of the era, if you backtracked a screen for whatever reason, they would reappear.  All of the enemies in the screen-length would be there again, so if you had to backtrack—say to avoid another enemy’s shot—you might get into more trouble.

Still, all of that added to the fun.  You had to figure out attack patterns, what boss’ attack would be good for what other boss, and so on.  Really, it’s not unlike some games made more recently, which is doubtless part of the reason why the series has lasted as long as it has.

Many gamers spent many hours in front of their televisions, cursing the Spine or the Big Eye until they figured out how to get past them efficiently.  Then there were the whoops of joy when Doctor Wily was finally defeated.  Some, I’m sure, even did a little dance of joy after finally making it through and beating him.

Hearing about Mega Man Legends 3‘s cancellation made me think of the days I’d read in Nintendo Power about the newest game in the series, and begging and pleading to get it as a birthday present.  Even as I grew up, I kept a soft spot for that little blue robot.  It’s almost sad to think that the end of the road might be in sight, barring appearances in the various crossover games Capcom’s a part of.

Even if it really is nearly the end of the road, there are still plenty of games in the series to play, and plenty of memories to relive.


4 Responses to “Thoughts on Mega Man

  1. Elisa Michelle Says:

    I never played the Mega Man games, but I know plenty of gamers who are huge fans of the series. All I know is that some of the games have some awesome guitar riffs.

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