Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mega Man 5 (NES, 1992)

Mega Man returns with a game that is fairly acclaimed... but that I have never been a fan of personally. Will I like it more this time? Let's find out.

In this game, the world finds itself under imminent threat from... PROTOMAN?! How much is Dr. Wily paying you to take your talents to South Beach, Protoman? THE PEOPLE OF CLEVELAND BELIEVED IN YOU, DAMMIT!

Mega Man is bewildered when Protoman's scarf flutters out of the sky.

BOW DOWN to the reign of Protoman!

If these games had more of a plot, and if Protoman weren't the villain in the Mega Man cartoon series, this would be a shock on the level of Hulk Hogan joining the New World Order.

 The eight bosses for this one. It's a good set, and I probably underrated it in the past. Four of these guys appeared in Mega Man IV on the Game Boy, while the other four never appeared in any Game Boy iteration.

I feel like they should have done one final game in the portable series and thrown in those four bosses, plus the eight from Mega Man 6. Yes, twelve bosses in one game. I'm sure they could have made it work somehow (two sets of six would have been very interesting), and it would sate my OCD. Instead we got weird planet bosses in the final portable installment. Well, it's okay... that game was great.

The first boss that I take on. He's probably the most popular candidate for first. He's a good choice, but he's also one of the more difficult first bosses in this series. This game doesn't make it easy for you to break into the boss cycle.

This game reuses a LOT of assets from Mega Man 4, in addition to having the same graphical engine. This enabled them to churn out a new one every year.

The charged shot from Mega Man 4 returns, only now it's bigger and more powerful. Looks a lot closer to the Mega Man X variations. The only problem is that getting hit while charging breaks your charge. Mega Man 6 would do the same thing, but they fixed it after that. Regardless, it's a very irritating change, and it's the main thing that turned me off to this game in the past. I'm finding it to be less of an issue this time since I don't get hit as much as I used to, but it was still a poor design choice.

 Gravity Man's stage is unique in that gravity sometimes inverts. Running along the ceiling is fun, if hard to control.

This giant red robot is a recurring mini-miniboss in a bunch of stages. It's difficult to avoid his groin-to-the-face attack if you're not careful, and he takes a lot of firepower to bring down. Even if you win, he respawns again if you defeat him too far from his spawn point.

Gravity Man himself. His attacks aren't too bad, but the problem is that the gravity in the room repeatedly shifts back and forth. It's hard to keep your bearings and actually dodge his attacks when the controls keep getting reversed.

 Hmm, a gravity weapon... chances are, the airborne boss will be weak to this.

 Indeed, next up is Gyro Man's stage. He's the spiritual successor to the legendary Air Man, with a stage above the clouds.

Much like Air Man, he's fan-themed. He's also a delicious Greek food.

Crystal Man's stage is visually gorgeous for an NES game. They pulled some impressive stuff out of the NES in its final years. This was the first NES Mega Man to release after the Super NES launched, if I'm not mistaken. And there'd be another one, surprisingly, before the Super NES got one of its own.

Eddie/Flip-Top, who makes more appearances in this game than most of the others. Always be sure to get an E-Tank from him.

Annnnd it looks like I missed getting a shot of Crystal Man, so here he is from Mega Man IV on the Game Boy. Taste the grayscale! Let's see if I can get a good shot of the NES version, because why not:

The character-to-area size ratio is so different between the Game Boy and NES versions of these games...

While we're at it, here's Crystal Man from the Mega Man cartoon.

Here's Napalm Man's stage, home of Seigfried and Roy home of vicious tigers. I think this is supposed to be a Vietnam-type setting, since Napalm Man is a war-themed boss.

 There are also some caves and waterfalls. All things considered, this is probably the most colorful stage.

 Napalm Man launches slow-moving grenades. He's simple to defeat, and even easier with the Crystal Eye. Might be a better first boss to fight than Gravity Man, but his stage is more difficult.

Stone Man's stage is, unsurprisingly, a rocky cave. Not much to talk about here.

Stone Man is probably the most aesthetically-pleasing boss in this game. He's literally constructed out of bricks. I've heard of him being a tough challenge for people, but the Napalm Bomb makes short work of him. He tends to turn invincible for a few seconds, a trait also shared by...

...Charge Man, whose stage is train-themed. He's the latest vehicular homicide themed boss, like Turbo Man in Mega Man 7.

 Charge Man's theme is probably my favorite of the first eight levels. It's high-energy and upbeat.

He isn't too tough to beat with Stone Man's weapon, which spins outwards. Just need to time it for when he isn't invulnerable.

Wave Man's stage is interesting because there are puzzle elements, like this area where you need to ride bubbles to get to a higher level. ...The right bubbles, because the wrong ones bring you up into spikes.

In a portent of Mega Man 8 later on, this autoscrolling watersled section is possibly the most difficult part of any of the first eight stages. It's frustrating and you can't access your inventory to use E-Tanks if you get into trouble.

 Worse, there's a miniboss right in the middle of it. This fight isn't too bad, but it can get claustrophobic quickly. There's a very notable lack of minibosses in this game most of the time; maybe that's another reason why it isn't my favorite.

Wave Man is fairly unmemorable, and falls quickly to the Charge Kick. That's probably my favorite weapon from this game. It turns your slide into an attack. Unfortunately it runs out of weapon energy way too quickly, kinda like Top Spin. I don't know what Capcom had against weapons that use Mega Man's body as an attack.

Wave Man's weapon is a cool one with little practical use. It sends a water wave along the ground. Can't fire it in the air, though, and it's useless against airborne foes.

Star Man's stage has next to no gravity, so you can jump the height of the screen. That's even higher than a typical water jump in one of these games.

This stage features imperial AT-ST Walkers. George Lucas should sue! It's cool to see something from a sci-fi movie in a game that isn't a Xenomorph.

Star Man is the shield-user in this game. Wave Man's weapon cuts right through it in a rare display of usefulness. The Star Shield itself is superior to the Leaf Shield because you can move around with it on (similar to the Skull Shield in the previous game).

This is it, Protoman time.

Behold, Protoman's malevolent castle. Dr. Wily sure went through a lot of trouble to keep up this Protoman charade, didn't he?

As is tradition with these endgame fortress stages, some of the best music and visuals in the game are found here. The Protoman Castle theme is possibly my favorite track in the game.

The first fortress boss is oddly small. Falling into both the vehicular boss theme and the military boss theme, he's like what would happen if Napalm Man and Charge Man mated. I shall call him Tank Man.

Wait, a ground-bound enemy that doesn't take to the air at all? Sounds like a job for the Wave.

The second fortress boss is another odd Doc Robot type. This one sports energy shields that rotate around him. I know there's an X series boss who has the exact same pattern as this guy... Dr. Doppler? It's escaping me right now.

Protoman Stage 3 is full of turrets manned by hard hats. This sorta reminds me of a Mario game for some reason.

This block snake definitely reminds me of a Mario. Like the sky background, too.

The Purple Robot at the end of Protoman Castle 3 is possibly the most difficult fight in the game.  This thing doesn't mess around. Not only is it agile, it rapid-fires all kinds of beams and can freeze you indefinitely with one of them. Few things make you feel as helpless as being frozen and at the mercy of this boss. This fight is so nasty that it even got covered in a Nintendo Power Counselor's Corner.

Protoman Stage 4 is very short, and consists of a vertical tunnel where you knock out blocks to move the whole area downward. It's bizarre, and I haven't seen anything like this in any other Mega Man game.

It's brother versus brother! DON'T MAKE ME DO THIS, PROTOMAN!

Wait, what? Two Protomen? Who do I shoot?

 Turns out the evil Protoman was actually this SATAN ROBOT~! in disguise. So the real Protoman was innocent all along! Egad!

The Satan 'Bot isn't much of a fight. It follows a very predictable pattern. So... I win?

...nope, not quite. Of course, Dr. Wily is behind everything. I did NOT see that coming!

Funny thing is that the Mega Man X series pretty much trolled the fans by never having Wily come into play even after they admitted his involvement in Mega Man X4 and X5.

What? He has Dr. Light captive? NO! How will he deliver presents to all the boys and girls now? CHRISTMAS IS RUINED!

Second fortress. Much like the previous game, we get back-to-back fortresses in this game. Though really, with the Doc Robot stages, they've been doing this since Mega Man 3.

Hey Kids! Do you like falling down vertical hallways lined with spikes?, not so much. This is more perilous than the interior of Ann Coulter's nether-regions.

Not just that, this fortress also has falling ceilings to crush you with. It's a rough place to spend your time, but all things considered it isn't as difficult as some of the other fortresses in this series. This game never gets all that difficult.

Finished item screen... well, "finished", I missed the G and don't have Beat. That may pose a problem with the final boss; I usually use Beat to take him out. We'll see.

First fortress boss... Centipede Man. This is an interesting fight because you use his segments as steps to fire at the head.

Shooting a segment causes it to fly outward where you can step on it, and you need to do that with both in succession. It takes some good timing to not screw this up.

The Wily Fortress bosses are far bigger and more fortress boss-like than those weird little robots in the Protoman Fortress.

It's the giant semi-miniboss, only now it has returned from the dead as a GREEN variation.

Second fortress boss. Again, you need to use lifts of some sort to fire at the raised weak point (the nefarious-looking eyes, of course). Thanks to games teaching them that these eyes = evil, I wonder how many kids grew up with an inherent fear of stoner-eyes.

Eight boss redux. This is often a fun part of any given Mega Man game...if you know what weapons to use.

Now I can use the right weakness on the first boss that I faced. In this case, it's the Star Shield against Gravity Man. Makes for a fun fight because you have to line up so that you clip him with it when the gravity changes.

After the bosses, you go immediately into a fight with Dr. Wily. This is a weird one.

He slams the floor, but the screen moves with him and it gets very disorienting when the floor suddenly shoots up to half the screen height. It's an easy fight, regardless.

One more short stage after that, then...

Wily second form, a skull tank. The Super Arrow (a pretty sweet weapon that isn't really part of the eight) is the best bet here. Another fairly easy fight.

The third and final battle with Wily is the most difficult, even if it doesn't look like it. Winning this is a matter of firing Gyro Blades upward when he appears. It takes a WHILE.

Benny Hill music plays as Wily RUNS FOR HIS LIFE. Though I don't know what he's so afraid of, as I doubt Mega Man would know what to do if he actually caught the guy.

Wily escapes as Mega Man catches a falling ceiling, rescuing Dr. Light in the process. Christmas is SAVED.

Wily makes his escape. BUT WAIT! Who is that in the corner? Is it the mysterious Protoman? Indeed. But whose side is he on? Well, no worries, it isn't like the story of this series is treated as very important.

And that's it for this one. Final verdict? I liked it a lot more than I thought I would, and more than I did in the past. The charged shot breaking wasn't as big of an annoyance as I expected, and the game flew by.


  1. I haven't heard so much about this game, either, but it does look like another very good addition to the series. Plenty of great backgrounds and interesting bosses.

  2. Actually, Star Man is the generally accepted first stage as he's a laughably easy boss and you can easily jump into the cycle with his weapon.

    You aren't kidding about the Protoman stages having the best music.

    Which Mega Man is next on the agenda?

    1. Not sure... this is probably the last Mega Man for a while. I'll probably dedicate a month to doing the rest of them at some point.

  3. 5 and 6 were pretty good games actually, just not as good as the other megaman games and even then they were pretty good, I wouldn't be surprised if someone said 5 and 6 were their favorites.