I hated Mega Man growing up.
If you know me now, this might seem a weird thing coming from me. I love the Blue Bomber now, in quite a few of his incarnations. I charged and blasted my way through Mavericks Reploids in X. Slashed my way through Neo Arcadia as Zero in his series. Battled online viruses with my Net Navi Mega Man. And, of course, shot my way through the robot masters before taking it up to Wily in his Castle. I even went racing in Battle and Chase and sat staring at the screen hoping something decent would come out of Battle Chip Challenge.
Yet growing up, I hated that little blue guy. I never understood why there were so many games featuring him out there. Then again, his franchise had less of a hold on Europe than he did America and Japan. His presence didn’t really dominate gaming stores or magazines. Kids didn’t talk about him because well, they didn’t know him. He had no presence, no hold, nothing.
My first experience with Mega Man, outside of his horrible portrayal in Captain N, was Dr. Wily’s Revenge (which I pronounced as Willy’s Revenge because I didn’t know shit about Mega Man or the English language back then) on the Gameboy. Looking back now, this really wasn’t as bad a game as I originally remember it to be. My problem with it was that it was hard. Really hard. I couldn’t get past any of the levels. Never even made it to a Robot Master. After many, many frustrating attempts at playing the game, I just simply gave up.
Again, if you know me now, this seems as an incredibly weird thing coming from me. I love challenges now. Give me a challenging game and I’ll dedicate my time into learning how to beat the patterns, break through the traps, set ups, and boss battles. I’ll make sure that whatever the game throws at me, it will be overcome. In fact, the less challenging the game is, the more likely I’ll die. The lack of challenge gets boring and I stop paying attention. Not meaning I want everything to be challenging. I just like enjoying the game, and giving my all in a simple and easy game will have me break it, missing out on fun that could have been had.
Back then though, and this was when I was maybe 9 or 10, I didn’t play games to be challenged. I played games, but I never really played through them. I just enjoyed the moment of playing. And yeah, I greatly overindulged in that. Sometimes when I look at people messing around in sandbox games, I miss that play style. I don’t even sandbox in Saints Row anymore. I just go right ahead and do the missions and side quests one after another. I’m still enjoying what I’m doing though, so there’s nothing wrong with my play style as it is right now.
So when a game like Wily’s Revenge popped up and beat the shit out of me, I’d rage and quit. I never played another Mega Man again.
At least, I never played another Mega Man game until I came across this one title that looked kind of different. Unlike that experience I had with Wily’s Revenge. It kind of looked like an adventure. Like something fun and silly. Something enjoyable.
So I rented Mega Man Legends and started playing it. I enjoyed that game immensely. It was just the right game in the right time. I loved the setting, the characters, the boss battles. Heck, even the silly cut scenes. Maybe I was wrong about the Blue Bomber. Maybe, just maybe, Mega Man was a better franchise than I thought it was. I tried Mega Man Battle and Chase afterwards, it wasn’t too bad. Certainly not the best Mario Kart clone out there, but far from the worst.
Some time later I became friends with a gigantic Mega Man fanatic. The first time I visited his place he had rented Battle and Chase and was really into it. After that I watched him play through Mega Man 8. It actually looked like fun if you had a decent idea of what you were doing.
After watching him play through Mega Man titles, I decided that I could give the franchise another proper chance, starting with X this time. It took me a while, but after some time I managed to play through the first three Mega Man X titles. Just in time for Mega Man Battle Network to be released.
I don’t care what the reviews kept saying about the Battle Network series, I fucking loved it. For a short while, this game was the only thing I played on my GBA. This got even worse with the release of Mega Man Battle Network 2. The amount of endgame content and the challenge of getting an S-Rank on all of the upgraded boss battles… I was in love with that game. The third one felt a bit awkward to me, but I enjoyed the fourth Battle Network greatly. Bought that one alongside my first DS.
About a year ago I went on a retro spree. I wanted to play through as many old NES titles as I could simply because I had never beat them before. What kicked this off? Mega Man, obviously. I blasted through the first three titles, and still go back to Mega Man 2 attempting to beat the game without a single death. Furthest I’ve gotten with this? Dr. Wily himself.
It’s funny, Mega Man, as a franchise, is almost as old as I am. Despite that I haven’t taken him seriously until the last 10 years or so. I might be relatively new to Rock’s adventures, but even then I felt outraged when Mega Man Legends 3 was officially cancelled. So much of it felt like Capcom had cheated its fanbase.
Sorry for bringing this up again, but this being a post on my feelings regarding Mega Man, I do feel this has to be a part of the post.
Mega Man Legends 3 was cancelled because it was fully dependant on fan support and there wasn’t enough of it. And because the game wasn’t playable yet. Considering the amount of attention Legends 3 was constantly getting from the fanbase, the first point is bullshit. The second? Well, have some gameplay footage of a game yet to be playable.
Part of me wishes Mega Man wasn’t a Capcom property so he could’ve have gotten a more honorable death.