So, by now most people know that I am a HUGE Mega Man and Mega Man X fan. But there's
one thing about these games that I absolutely despise: disappearing blocks. If you've
played a Mega Man game, you know the ones.
Yup, those ones. There's usually a series of sets of these monoliths of mayhem, with a
learning curve to getting through each progressive set in the series. The first set is
innocuous, basically saying "we're here, jump on us in order, yay!"
Then they get harder, almost always requiring you to jump straight up with split-second
timing to get from one block to the next, before the block you're standing on disappears. At
best, you fall down to the floor and have to start over. At the worst, you fall into a pit or
onto spikes or lava, causing you to start over.
The only reprieve from having to handle these dastardly disappearing deathtraps comes in
the form of the items. In Mega Man (1), the Magnet Beam allows to bypass the worst of
these, depending on when you obtain it. In Mega Man 2, Items 1 and 3 can allow you to
ascend walls to bypass some disappearing blocks, and Item 2 allows you to bypass the
infamous LAVA BLOCKS OF DOOM in Heat Man's stage. And in Mega Man 3, the Rush Jet
can help you, if you beat Needle Man early enough (a bit of a feat, actually).
Item 3 helps the Blue Bomber climb avoid dealing with the enemy and the blocks
Using Item 2, Mega Man flies over lava that he would otherwise have to maneuver over on the devil blocks.
Thankfully, they all but got rid of these timed blocks from hell in the Mega Man X games,
with the exception of a "cameo" appearance in Mega Man X5, a game filled with deliberate
references back to the Classic series. It's a big part of why I prefer the X games over the
Classic games, and the one part of X5 that I can't stand.
With Mega Man 9's release this Monday (Sept. 22nd), the one thing I'm NOT looking forward
to when playing it is dealing with the vanishing block areas. Preview and review videos
have shown at least one. But I'm ready. I'm practicing my timing to jump up to that block
right above me. I'm set to....
Well, it appears there's demand for me elaborating, even if only from one or two people.
And I realize another IYLICI blog on MM has been posted, but I don't care...
Still, I better clean up my act before I write a full-on fail blog. So, with further ado (why not
have some ado? Everybody wants less ado, and I say MORE ADO!!!!!)
That was the ado.
1) Quick Overview
2) What the MM and MMX games need
a) Series transition
b) MMZ style
c) Ducking and angled shooting
3) Remakes I want
First, we probably all need to face the fact that Mega Man as we knew and loved him is
probably dead. Considering how popularity waned for the later Mega Man, and especially
later Mega Man X games, it's easy, but sad, to see why.
Read up on MM and MMX stuff at Wikipedia or at http://blue-
bomber.jvmwriter.org/index.php . Both have decent story summaries of the MM and MMX
games, and other info. Also, music at the latter link.
a) The transition between the MM storyline and the MMX storyline never really happened.
We know Light made X, Wily made Zero, probably to destroy X, and for once, Wily got his
shit together and made a hardcore powerful bot. But what happened to Wily and Light? Old
age? Did they blow eachother up? Did Zero come kick ass and get sealed away to come
after X in the future? Why was X made? That question gets asked in every MMX game
manual but never answered, probably as a hook. "Maybe they'll answer it THIS time!"
Also, what happened to Mega Man, Roll, Blues, Bass, etc.? Yes, there's a 30+ year gap
between the two series. But they never end the MM series. The Mega Man community
constantly fairly constantly asks what happened, so I'm suggesting Capcom do something
When you really look at them, the games never evolved. 6 NES iterations of the same
mechanics, with minor, mostly cosmetic, alterations, of which 2 were really good, followed
by a sleeper 7th game on the SNES, and the 8th game on the Saturn and PS1, both of
which were little more than graphical upgrades. Sure, there were some tweaks and neat
ideas, like getting upgrades to your arm cannon in MM8, and different versions of Rush
mobility upgrades, but nothing that wasn't already being done in the Mega Man X series.
Speaking of which, the Mega Man X games were my favorite series of all time, but even
they grew stale. I think Inafune was good at keeping the X games fresh up through X5
(with some flaws in X4 and X5), but when he stopped being involved, X6 and X7 really went
downhill. X8 was great, but it was too little, too late to save the X series too.
Honestly, there's probably not that can be done to change the mechanic, and Capcom didn't
make it a goal to. They tried to keep is fresh though, and I can't fault them for that. I think
the 3D "revolution" hurt the MM/MMX games too hard. But the MMZ games are a return to
the old style, with some updated mechanics that keep things interesting.
The more RPG-ish style that the Mega Man Zero and ZX games bring might be well added
to the original MM and MMX series. The more open-ended exploration with missions works
well. It never made sense storywise why Mega Man could teleport to the start of a stage,
but not right outside the boss's door. The way upgrades worked in some of the MMZ games
was pretty cool too.
Yes, I think ducking and angled shooting would be cool additions to the games. Sliding,
which was introduced in MM3, could make you "duck" but you also had to be moving. A real
duck, where you were stationary, would have been cool. Necessary? Maybe not, but if you
could duck, then gameplay elements could be included to make use of it.
And angled shooting was something I didn't want until I played Super Metroid. I have
played through the MMX games so many times that I challenge myself NOT to use special
weapons, and adding angled shooting would add another level of strategy when just using
the pew pew shooter. I know some people say that lack of angled shooting, the
requirement to jump and shoot, is part of the game mechanic of MM/MMX games, and I
agree that the addition of angled shooting would change that. But I think it would be an
improvement that same way it was in Super Metroid. In Metroid, jumping and shooting was
part of the mechanic, but when an evolved version of the game appeared, the mechanic
evolved as well. And if you didn't like angled shooting, you wouldn't have to use it. Oh yes,
Axl did get angled shooting. I didn't like him either, but I liked the angled shooting.
At least three MMX games have advertised multiplayer action, which never happened. As
Kapkomi said, X8 would have rocked out with multiplayer. In fact, from X4 onward, when
Zero became fully playable, and from MM3 onwards when Protoman appeared, coop
multiplayer would have been feasible and totally awesome. there are several ways it could
have been done: alternating, like Super Mario Bros. 3 (but with access to old levels);
simultaneous, where MM and PM, or X and Zero, ran around kill robots together. It would
have been insane. Plenty of games did this. Beat 'em ups were known for such a
mechanism. And if you had a system like that in Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, where
coop is also competitive? Well! Also, MM7 had a fighter mini-game if you put in a special
password and held down L and R while pressing start, and the MM Power Battle and Fighters
games were Mega Man fighters (playable on the MM Collection on PS2 and GC). So
competitive gameplay would be feasible as well. All sorts of competitions could be had
between heroes. I won't list any now because I can't come up with specifics.
3) What else I want
I loved Powered Up, and I love MM2 and MM3, so naturally, I want them remade in that
style. Capcom can stop there. Similarly, I love X2 and X3, and loved Maverick Hunter X.
The same math applies. I think Kapkomi is right: double-packs of the pairs would be
excellent. Either PSP or XBLA/PSN/WW (WiiWare) versions would be cool. I still like owning
disc/carts of things, and portability is cool, so I'd rather have PSP versions.
I was going to discuss the Battle Network ad Star Force series, and what I don't like about
them, but I decided that this is long enough as it is. Instead let me just say that I think
they're not really Mega Man games, they just use a Mega Man name and resemblence on a
PokeMon/RPG game. Which is fine, but it's like Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger; if CC
weren't meant to be a sequel to CT, it could work. But it's not independent of CT.
Final Note: Originally, Inafune wanted the design of Zero to be X. The higher-ups at
Capcom wanted to make X more recognizable as the next Mega Man, so he had to be blue.
Thus, Zero was born!