The final installment in the series for NES, Mega Man 6 oddly enough was released well after everyone else had moved on from publishing 8-bit games. This included Capcom who opted not to release the game themselves and instead publishing duties fell to Nintendo of America, who released the game in the beginning of 1994 in the US. The formula had been well worn by this point, especially in light of the improvements Capcom had made to it in the Mega Man X series. But despite this it remains an enjoyable last hurrah for those who still had not moved on to the SNES or Genesis.
The story finds a robot tournament being held with participants from around the world. Uh yeah, this sounds a little too much like another series that has fights that take place in the streets by the same publisher. Mr. X reprograms the 8 most powerful robots and plans to use them to take over the world. Mr. X my ass, we all know who he really is. Mega Man will have none of that and so the game begins.
Back for one last dance on the NES. Time to show Dr. Wily who’s boss once again!.
Gameplay is the same as the previous five installments. You have your pick of 8 robot masters to fight in any order. Your choice of boss order will largely determine how difficult your journey will be. New this time are alternate pathways in the levels provided you have the necessary upgrades to reach them, a nice touch. Rather than receiving upgrades for Rush, he now combines with Mega Man to form the Power Armor, which allows you to break select blocks in every level, and the Jet Adapter, which allows you to fly for brief periods. These have their drawbacks in that you can’t slide or charge your shots, effectively gimping you and all but forcing you to switch back to normal instead of trying to finish a level with them. Instead of collecting 8 letters to gain Beat, you only need 4 this time. Lastly the energy balancer will automatically fill the weapon with the lowest energy, something brought over from Mega Man X.
Rush Power Armor and Rush Jet. You’ll be using these extensively throughout the game. Kind of wonder why they didn’t do this sooner.
2 of the bosses, Knight Man & Wind Man came from a contest held in America to design a boss. This was similar to what the designers had done previously in Japan for nearly every installment. In light of this fact the bosses are a slight letdown this time out. Their patterns are really very simple. Plant Man for instance will jump over you and then throw his shield. That’s it. Knight Man can only attack from close range. Yamato Man has to run and pick his weapon back up after throwing it at you.
In the same way the bosses are a letdown their weapons are once again a rehash of prior games. The C. Flash is exactly the same as the Gravity Hold from MM5, the Plant Barrier is the Leaf Shield all over again, and Knight C. works exactly like Cutman’s weapon. The lack of challenge extends to the levels themselves. Enemies drop extra lives left and right, and you’ll easily build up a large stock of energy tanks by the time you beat the 8 bosses. The final levels do step up the challenge a bit and kind of make me wish the whole game was at that level.
Though some of the robot masters are a letdown, the mechanical designs throughout the game remain top notch.
By this point you know exactly what you are getting when you play a Mega Man game. There is nothing wrong or offensive about Mega Man 6 but by this point the redundancy was very obvious and you can see why the Mega Man X series was needed. In spite of it offering nothing new and as a final hurrah it allows the Mega Man series to bow out of the 8-bit era with its head held high. Whether you still have it in you to play yet another Mega Man game is up to you.