Mega Man 8
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publishers:
    • JP Capcom
    • US Capcom
    • UK Ocean Software
  • Released:
    PS1
    • JP 12/17/1996
    • US 02/28/1997
    • UK 02/28/1997
    Saturn
    • JP 01/17/1997
    • US 02/27/1997
Score: 75%

This review was published on 06/27/2013.

Mega Man 8 is a 2-D, side-scrolling platform game developed by Capcom for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It's the eighth game in the classic Mega Man series, with the previous one being released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This was another big jump for the Mega Man series, sporting an amazing graphical upgrade and higher quality sound effects. Mega Man 8 was the first Mega Man game available on 32-bit consoles and the first one on a CD. Thanks to the CD format, it was able to introduce anime cutscenes with voice acting, though that wasn't exactly a good thing, considering how bad the voice acting in this game is. The game came out around the 10th anniversary of the Mega Man, and what better way to celebrate the anniversary than with a new game? Mega Man 8 pretty much plays like Mega Man 7, just with substantially superior visuals, sound effects, and music. Many people didn't like Mega Man 7, and Mega Man 8 was probably even less well received. It was clear that the game mechanics of the classic Mega Man games were already dated by this point, so many weren't able to stomach it. The game really isn't all that bad, though, and it's worth playing if you enjoyed Mega Man 7.

Image

We begin the story with a couple of FMV anime cutscenes. Somewhere in the dark recesses of outer space, two entities have an intense battle together. After exchanging a bunch of devastating blows, they both fall down to Earth. Meanwhile, back on Earth, our blue robotic hero, Mega Man, is on a mission to investigate things worth investigating. Dr. Light, Mega Man's creator, discovered some strange energy readings emanating from an island somewhere, so he sent Mega Man to investigate. Shortly after arriving on the island, Mega Man meets Dr. Wily, long time villain who just doesn't know when to quit. Seriously, the guy has been at it eight times now. Wily takes a glowing orb and flies away in his trademark flying saucer. Mega Man discovers the damaged remains of an unusual robot and asks Light to look into it. So it turns out that the island is one of Wily's secret bases, but he abandoned it after being discovered. As per usual, Wily sends a bunch of robots he built, the Robot Masters, to various locations to keep Mega Man busy. I would like to emphasize that a lot of these cutscenes are fully voice acted, and the voice acting is absolutely atrocious. You might find it entertaining to listen to, though. Dr. Light literally sounds like Elmer Fudd. Wily is one of the few who doesn't sound too bad, but he does come off as overly flamboyant. As for Mega Man, well, he doesn't sound anything like a man. Mega Man 8's story is a love it or hate it deal, as it all depends on how well you tolerate the terrible voice acting. I will say that the artwork for the anime scenes is very nice.

Image

Similar to Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8 opens up with an intro stage before you get to the stage select screen. The intro stage takes place on that island I talked about earlier. It's not a terribly impressive level from a design standpoint, but the visuals are pretty amazing. Unlike Mega Man 7, you can actually revisit this stage after completing it. There isn't much reason to beyond collecting a few optional goodies, though. The intro stage to Mega Man 8 is really just a way to get you used to the game's mechanics, and also to blow you away with its lush, colorful environments. Mega Man 8's intro stage isn't as good as the previous game, but it's much lighter on the dialogue, and that's an improvement. An interesting thing to note about this stage is that it actually has multiple paths, which is a rarity for Mega Man games. All the paths eventually lead to the same place, but there are different ways to get there. It's a little strange, because the other stages in the game don't do this very much. Mega Man 8's intro stage is short and sweet, not really getting in the way of the main course.

Image

The main course to any Mega Man game is the stage select screen, where you can pick which Robot Master you'll be going after. Like Mega Man 7, this game only has four of the eight Robot Masters available at the beginning, but the rest open up once you take out the first four. The first four are Clown Man, Grenade Man, Frost Man, and Tengu Man. Frost Man is one of the biggest Robot Masters ever, taking up an enormous amount of the screen, and Clown Man is a wacky robot with a personality. All the Robot Masters have voice clips now, which is a nice touch. It can get irritating at times, though, since they sometimes repeat themselves endlessly. Grenade Man sounds suspiciously like Pee-wee Herman to me. The next four are Aqua Man, Sword Man, Search Man, and Astro Man. No, Aqua Man isn't the DC Comics super hero. Sword man is the coolest one of these, obviously, because swords are cool. Astro Man and Search Man are weird, yet interesting. The latter is a Robot Master with two heads, each one bickering with the other. Mega Man 8 has a really interesting cast of Robot Masters, many of which are brimming with quirky personalities. Not everyone will appreciate the quirkiness, but at least Mega Man 8 opts to go for a different style.

Image

Stages in Mega Man 8 are structured a little bit differently than the previous games. First off, all stages are much longer now, often being divided into two halves. You can tell you're in the second half when you spot a loading screen. That's the wonders of disc based technology. Mini-bosses typically appear in between the two stage halves, though not always. You'd think that longer stages would be a good thing, but these stages tend to overstay their welcome. I felt like most stages should have ended by the halfway mark, which is bad, considering there is still so much of the stage left. A few stages decide to mix things up a bit by having sections with different kinds of game play. One such example is Tengu Man's stage; there is a part where Rush, Mega Man's robotic dog, transforms into a jet and allows Mega Man to fly around in a shooter segment. This part is actually pretty cool, and even has temporary power-ups like in some Gradius shooter. Not all of these gimmicks are good, though. The one that everyone hates is the infamous "jump, jump, slide, slide!" section of the game. That section has Mega Man riding on a jet powered snowboard across many hazards in a dangerous fashion. These sections are very fast paced, perhaps a little too fast paced, and there is an annoying voice that tells you to either "jump" or "slide," depending on the incoming hazards. The voice is helpful, but it's also annoying. Be prepared to die many times on these snowboard sections, as they are infuriatingly difficult. Mega Man 8's stages are decent for the most part, but they are too long and the gimmicks can sometimes be annoying.

Image

Mega Man absorbs the weapons of whichever Robot Master he trounces, and every boss is weak to a particular weapon. One thing to note is that Mega Man actually starts the game with a special weapon already in his arsenal, which is unlike any of the other games in the series. This special weapon is the Mega Ball. It can be set on the ground and then kicked like a soccer ball towards any unfortunate souls. The Mega Ball can also be used to simulate a double jump of sorts, as Mega Man can jump off the ball in mid-air. It's not terribly useful beyond that, but it's neat. Many other special weapons also have this dual functionality thing going, where they can be used to attack enemies or to allow for extended mobility. For example, Tengu Man's weapon releases a tornado on the ground that can propel Mega Man to new heights, kind of like the Rush Coil from previous games. The coolest one has to be Clown Man's weapon, though. This one shoots out an electrical whip that can be used to swing from certain rods, much like how Tarzan swings around on vines. It's kind of reminiscent of the Grapple Beam from Super Metroid. The dual functionality of some special weapons adds a nice bit of depth to Mega Man 8.

Image

Our blue hero, Mega Man, controls much like he did in Mega Man 7. He can jump, shoot, slide, and charge up his Mega Buster. There is one additional thing he can do in Mega Man 8, though. For the first time ever, Mega Man can actually swim! In all the previous games, Mega Man would simply sink to the bottom of any body of water, but now, he can actually swim. This is a pretty significant change for the series, even though the series isn't known to have many underwater levels. To swim, all you have to do is press the jump button multiple times while underwater. Swimming works much like it does in the Mario games, except a lot worse. In actuality, swimming in Mega Man 8 sucks. It does open up possibilities for new game play opportunities, but these opportunities are only really new for the Mega Man series. Every other game in the world has already explored these opportunities in a superior manner. There's too much forward motion whenever Mega Man swims, making it really hard to control him inside bodies of water. If the swimming controls were tweaked to fix this, then maybe they would be passable. As it stands, the new swimming mechanic introduced in Mega Man 8 acts as one of the game's faults.

Image

This game has a store where you can buy stuff, much like Mega Man 7 did. The store did get a makeover, though. Roll, Mega Man's sister, runs this shop now, and she's kind of hot for a robot. This time the shop mostly carries upgrades. There are quite a large variety of upgrades, though. The upgrade range from marginally useful stuff, like being able to start with a greater amount of extra lives, to extremely useful things, like an upgrade that prevents knockback whenever Mega Man gets hit. There is also an assortment of upgrades that Mega Man can do to his basic buster gun. You can modify Mega Man's gun to shoot an armor piercing laser, or a blast that splits off into tinier blasts whenever it hits an enemy. These are all really useful, but the most useful is the upgrade to Mega Man's charge time, allowing him to charge his Mega Buster much faster. Unfortunately, you won't be able to get all these upgrades. The currency in Mega Man 8 is bolts, like in Mega Man 7, but unlike Mega Man 7, the bolts are in limited supply. There are a set number of bolts in the whole game, and any collected bolts are gone for good. This means you have to be really selective about what you buy at the shop, because there aren't enough bolts in the game to buy everything. It's kind of a bummer, but it does make for a greater amount of strategy. The shop is one of Mega Man 8's strong points, as it adds a tremendous amount of depth and strategy to the game.

Image

Mega Man 8 probably won't win you over if you hated Mega Man 7. It pretty much continues from where that game left off, both in style and in substance. The graphics, music, and sound are all a lot better, benefitting from the more powerful hardware and CD format, and the anime scenes are good if you can handle the voice acting. This game also has decently designed Robot Masters, some cool special weapons, and a great shop feature. The stages are a mixed bag; the shooter segments on the Rush Jet are good, but the snowboard sections are all terrible, and the stages are way too long. Overall, Mega Man 8 isn't one of the better games in the series, but it's still quite playable.

Word Count: 2,065

Tweet