And I thought you had forgotten our anniversary, Capcom, but here you are, presents in hand and not asking for anything in return, what more could a gamer ask for?
*Rips open packaging*
Oh wow! Aren’t you thoughtful Capcom, celebrating two anniversaries at once, how clever! A tribute to your two of your most venerable franchises. Where on Earth did you get this from? What do you mean you got a fan to make it for you? Are you saying you didn’t put your best men on a project like this?! Oh, Capcom, how could you?!
We need to talk about this. Don’t walk out on me; sit down right now, Capcom! Alright, I can see that the thought is here. I mean, an 8-bit Mega Man game where the bosses are Street Fighter characters, that’s one of the best ideas you’ve had in a long time and with a bit of polish this could have stood toe to toe with any of the classics in this long running series. But, as it is, Street Fighter X Mega Man feels like a fan made game (and it should, since it is!) in all the wrong ways.
Your past couple of efforts - Mega Man 9 and 10 - both featured the great and inspired level design from the late 80s and early 90s but this time around you treat me to uninspired levels that are as bland as butterless toast. The big problem is that apart from the few developers who worked on this project you were barely involved. It’s like sending your secretary out to pick up our anniversary present. If you’re going to call this the game to celebrate Mega Man’s 25th then put some effort into it!
It’s not even like you could just give me a bad gift and make this easy for me. No, you had to go and make something passably decent. All the small joys that come when you boot up an 8-bit Mega Man game, they're all here, from the tight platforming to the tried and true combat. I’ll admit that was all pretty fun. But it just serves to remind me how, with a little effort, you could have made something amazing and not just merely passable.
Oh Capcom, don’t cry, it’s not all bad. You did use the gameplay from Mega Man 4, so I could slide and charge my mega buster. And you did manage to find a way to make the keyboard controls feel tight and responsive, which is a must for any Mega Man game. And the Street Fighter elements, like super attacks and moves based on the fighting franchise are a nice addition and, of course, it does play and ‘feel’ like a classic Mega Man game, just one made by a fan that you can find on any number of ‘free game’ websites.
You know you’ve had a bad few years when you have to open your game’s story with an apology but such is the state that we find the Mega Man franchise in in this day and age. Basically, Mega Man has no robot masters to defeat so he decides to vent his frustrations on the cast of the Street Fighter games. Though I will admit that seeing an 8-bit Mega Man duking it out with an 8-bit Ryu, Chun-Li and Blanka is pretty adorable.
While your 8-bit Mega Man games have never been very visually impressive, Street Fighter X Mega Man unfortunately represents a low point for the series. The backgrounds and levels are all bland and mostly just solid walls of color and basic blocks. A few objects and enemies do pop in now and then to remind us that we’ve crossed into the Street Fighter universe but for the most part I was pretty miffed at your efforts here too.
And the glitches! Not only do your barge in here with a present you got someone else to cobble together but it’s not even finished?! How dare you? Since when do items disappear after just a couple of seconds on the screen? And Mega Man stays invincible after a hit for nearly twice as long as he should. And my, the hit detection! We all saw it, I was nowhere near that bird and you know it!
At least you didn’t forget our song. The tunes here brought me back not only to classic Mega Man tracks but also mixed them up with some Street Fighter ditties as well. And Ryu’s 8-bit Hadoken shout? Adorable. It’s not as good as when you first played for me those sweet chiptunes from Mega Man 2 but this is definitely some of your better work here in years.
If you don’t pay for it, it has to have unlimited value, right? Wrong, you see, unlike other free games I’ve reviewed in the past (The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords: Anniversary Edition / Photo Dojo), I wouldn’t pay for this game. It feels like the fan made game that it is and is definitely not on a par with any of the 10 classic Mega Man games that preceded it.
And what happened with the difficulty Capcom? The old (and new) Mega Man games offered a hardy but fair challenge that forced you to become good in order to reach the end of the game. Here the levels are far too easy and the bosses swing from the one extreme of being pushovers to the other extreme of being cheap and unfair in their level of difficulty. I will admit, however, that there is a solid amount of gameplay on offer (a few hours, less if you're good) and you did hide some pretty neat secrets and easter eggs around the place.
But Capcom, don’t act like you didn’t see this coming. There’s only so much that a gamer can take before enough is enough. I know we’ve had good times, and lots of funs over these past 25 years, but you’re just not trying anymore. Maybe it's how you treat our memories together like cash-ins or how you make the same mistakes over and over. And this gift of yours? I suppose it's alright, but far from good enough for a 25th anniversary present. It's the gaming equivalent of getting chocolates from a gas station after a quarter of a century together. So this is goodbye Capcom, we’re through.
This review is based on a digital version of Street Fighter X Mega Man for the PC.