Mega Man Soccer
  • Genre:
    • Sports
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Sun L
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 02/17/1994
    • US April 1994
Score: 65%

This review was published on 03/15/2015.

Mega Man Soccer is a sports video game developed by Sun L and published by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in Japan on February 17, 1994, and North America in April 1994. As with any popular series, there are inevitable spinoffs, and this is one of many for Mega Man. Normally, the prolific Mega Man series consist of side-scrolling platform games, but this time, the blue bomber takes to the field to play some sports. If that's not a recipe for disaster, then I don't know what is. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that most Mega Man fans probably aren't into sports games. Unsurprisingly, the critical reception for this game was poor. Outside of the Mega Man motif and a couple of unique game mechanics, there's nothing that separates Mega Man Soccer from other mediocre sports games of the time.

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Set after the events of Mega Man 4, the tale of Mega Man Soccer begins as a soccer match between two of the best teams in the nation is about to take place. Suddenly, the field is shot with explosive blasts! The resulting smoke then clears to reveal that all of the players have been replaced with robots. It turns out that Dr. Wily, the evil mad scientist and main antagonist of the Mega Man series, has replaced all of the soccer players with his very own Robot Masters. Having had all his previous attempts at world domination thwarted by Mega Man, Wily now wishes to conquer the world by taking control of the most popular international sport. Dr. Light, the good scientist who created Mega Man, somehow foresaw this outcome and created an army of Mega Man clones to deal with the situation. Now the most important soccer championship game in the world is being held to determine the future of everything. Why does Wily think controlling soccer will lead to world domination? I have no idea. It's obvious that this plot was hastily put together to justify a Mega Man sports game.

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The basic rules of Mega Man Soccer are the basic rules of soccer. There's a field with two nets, one on each side, two teams, and a ball. The objective is for your team to get the ball into the other team's net whilst defending your own. Each team in this game has seven players, and your control will constantly switch to the player that's closest to the ball. When the player you're controlling doesn't have the ball, you can use a sliding kick move or a tackle in a violent attempt to steal the ball from an opposing player. Once you have the ball, you can either pass it to another teammate or shoot it towards the goal. These mechanics are pretty standard fare for most soccer games, but where Mega Man Soccer changes things up a little is with power shots. By holding R and pressing B, your character can make an extra powerful shot that will temporarily disable anyone it touches. Each team has a limited amount of power shots they're allowed to perform, so they have to be used strategically. This is a cool mechanic, but that's about the only unique thing Mega Man Soccer has on offer.

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Many of the Robot Masters from the Mega Man series make an appearance in this game as playable characters. They were the bosses Mega Man fought against in the main series, so being able to control them here is kind of neat. Each character has different attributes that make them excel in various tasks. The attributes affect things like running speed, kicking distance, and defense. Additionally, every character has a different power shot. In many of this game's modes, you choose which characters to put on your team, which makes their attributes an important factor to consider. You also get to choose what role those characters play on your team, and because of their talents, some characters are better in certain roles than others. For example, Wood Man has a high defense value, making him a good goalie. On the other hand, Gemini Man has wicked high speed, and that makes him better suited for more offensive positions. There are a little over twenty characters in all, giving you a decently large selection to choose from. Constructing your Mega Man Soccer dream team is the best part of the game.

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The main mode of play in Mega Man Soccer is the Capcom Championship. Before the mode begins, there is a small intro scene explaining the game's story, and the very first line of dialogue has a typo. That shows how much care and polish went into this game. Anyway, you have eight Robot Masters to beat in this mode. You can challenge them in any order and each one will have an entire team comprised of clones, so going for Cut Man means you'll face off against an entire team of Cut Men. Initially, your team has nothing but Mega Man clones in it, but after beating a particular Robot Master in a soccer match, you'll be able to add them to your team. As a result, your team will get progressively better as you win matches. Also, a password system is used to record progress. Cooperative play with a pal is possible in this mode, which is nice. Conceptually, this is a cool mode, but the slow and repetitive game play prevents it from being as fun as it could be. Despite being the primary mode, it doesn't have an ending; it just kicks you back to the title screen once you're done. What a rip off.

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There are a few other modes in Mega Man Soccer besides the championship, but don't get too excited, because they all are pretty similar. These modes are exhibition, tournament, and league. Exhibition is a single soccer match where you can pick which characters you want on your team, what stage you play on, and whether you go up against the computer or a friend. You can even watch two computers duke it out together for maximum boredom. Tournament mode is exactly like it sounds; a tournament, single elimination style. League mode is essentially the same thing as tournament mode, except it's done in round-robin style, and victory is determined via points. In both the tournament and league modes, you choose from eight predetermined teams and challenge the other teams you didn't pick. There's also an options screen that lets you change some of the rules for these modes, like the amount of time matches last, or the amount of power shots each team is allowed. Like championship mode, all these modes support co-op. The large variety of modes is nice, but they don't remedy the game's core issues.

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Mega Man Soccer is an affront to both fans of sports games and fans of Mega Man. While the few unique mechanics are nice, they don't add enough to the game to differentiate it from other, more conventional soccer games. The occasional slowdown, unresponsive controls, and repetitive game play also make this a below average soccer experience. Mega Man Soccer doesn't even have the decency to have a proper ending, and for a game with barely any dialogue, it somehow manages to have a few typos. This is really nothing more than a bland, generic soccer game with Mega Man characters plastered all over it.

Word Count: 1,248

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