Mega Man V
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy
  • Developer:
    • Minakuchi Engineering
  • Publishers:
    • JP Capcom
    • US Capcom
    • UK Laguna
  • Released:
    • JP 07/22/1994
    • US 09/10/1994
    • UK 11/15/1994
Score: 80%

This review was published on 08/27/2016.

Mega Man V, known as Rockman World 5 in Japan, is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Minakuchi Engineering for the Game Boy. It was published by Capcom in Japan and North America and Laguna in Europe. The game was originally released in Japan on July 22, 1994, North America on September 10, 1994, and Europe on November 15, 1994. This is the last Mega Man game released for the original Game Boy. All the previous Mega Man games on the Game Boy recycled content from the previous titles on the Nintendo Entertainment System, but this is the first one to break that tradition by being entirely original. Also, despite sharing the same title as Mega Man 5 for the NES, this game is completely different. You can blame the localizers for the naming oddity. To avoid even further confusion, I'll use Roman numerals for the Game Boy version and Arabic numbers for the NES one. At any rate, this game is fairly good. It's honestly up there with the Mega Man games on the NES in raw quality.

Image

Before the title screen even shows up, you'll get a few scenes explaining the story. After having saved the world countless times from Dr. Wily, our robotic hero, Mega Man, decides to take a break from all the action. A few months later, Mega Man and his sister Roll were strolling through a grassy field together, when suddenly, a new threat emerges! This threat came in the form of a robot that referred to himself as Terra. Mega Man attempts to fight Terra, but discovers that his Mega Buster has no effect on him, and is soon defeated. Hours later, robots from outer space invade Earth and begin causing wanton destruction. These robots call themselves the "Stardroids" and they wish to enslave the human race. Dr. Light, Mega Man's creator, repairs Mega Man and gives him a powerful new weapon known as the "Mega Arm." Now armed with the Mega Arm, Mega Man must save the planet from the mysterious Stardroids.

Image

For a Game Boy game, the graphics are pretty good, much better than the previous titles. All the sprites are well animated and decently detailed, plus the foreground graphics look fantastic. A nice touch is how many of the foregrounds have tiny animations in them, like flashing lights and moving gears. The backgrounds aren't quite as impressive as the foregrounds, but they're not half bad, either. The music isn't quite on par with the previous games, but it's still very solid. If played on the Super Game Boy, a cartridge that connects to a Super Nintendo Entertainment System so that you can play Game Boy games on the big screen, then the game will look even better. All Game Boy games work on a Super Game Boy, but some will have additional features when paired with the device, like this one. For this game, the additional features come in the form of a custom color scheme and unique border. Ideally, this is how you should play the game.

Image

Obviously, you take on the role of Mega Man in this game. To control him, you press the directional pad to move, the A button to jump into the air, and the B button to shoot tiny pellets. Pressing the A button while holding down on the d-pad will execute Mega Man's trademarked slide, which lets him enter tight holes. As for the Mega Arm, it works just like the Mega Buster did in the previous games, meaning you hold the B button down to charge it up, and then release to fire the attack. Doing so will cause Mega Man to launch his fist forward as if it were a projectile, and once the fist reaches its maximum range, it'll return to him like a boomerang. The fist will damage any enemies it comes into contact with, even on the way back. It's a very cool attack that's fun to use, which is good, because you'll be using it often. You could say the Mega Arm is pretty handy.

Image

Like most Mega Man games, the stages themselves are linear, but they can be done in a nonlinear order. Only four stages are accessible at the beginning of the game, but completing those will unlock four more that are much harder. The first four stages take place on Earth, but the second four are set on different planets throughout the Solar System, like Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. One stage takes place atop a submarine-like vessel, with turrets mounted onto it and giant helicopters that'll attempt to blow you to smithereens. Inside the submarine, shooting cracked pipes will cause them to erupt and release either steam or water that'll hinder you. Deeper still, there are underwater sections with spikes. Almost every stage has multiple set pieces like this, making them fun romps from beginning to end. There's even a Gradius-like space shooter section near the end of the game. The enemy designs are also rather creative, like tiny dudes that have mallets strapped onto their helmets, a robot that teleports around the screen in an attempt to squish Mega Man from above, and others.

Image

Breaking from tradition, the robotic bosses of this game don't have names that end in the "Man" suffix. Instead, most of the Stardroids are named after planets in our solar system, like Mercury, Mars, and Venus. The Stardroids all have cool designs, though some are a little overdesigned. They each have a distinct attack pattern, some of which are quite interesting. A good example is Mercury, who's able to transform into a liquid blob that splits off into smaller pieces that bounce around the room, similar to the Yellow Devil from the first Mega Man game. Speaking of, this game also has other bosses in addition to the Stardroids, like Dark Moon, which is basically a Yellow Devil recolor. Unlike the Stardroids, these other bosses often fill the whole screen with their girth. Most of the unique bosses that originated in the previous Game Boy games, like Quint and the whole Mega Man Killer gang, also appear near the end for one final shebang. You definitely won't be left wanting when it comes to bosses.

Image

In most of his games, Mega Man has the power to steal the special weapon of whatever robotic boss he defeats, and he can do the same thing here to the Stardroids. Like the Robot Masters from previous games, each Stardroid is weak to another's weapon, forming a circle of weaknesses you can take advantage of to make battles substantially easier. Some of the special weapons are pretty interesting, like the Grab Buster, which steals life energy from enemies. There's also a weapon called Break Dash that allows Mega Man to dash into and break special blocks to uncover secret passages. Unfortunately, most of the other special weapons aren't useful outside of exploiting a boss' weakness. If you find the four crystals hidden on the second set of stages, you'll get the Power Generator, which halves the energy usage of all special weapons. This is totally optional, but totally worth it.

Image

A robotic cat named Tango will assist Mega Man on his mission. You have access to Tango right from the beginning of the game, and he's selected from the menu just like a special weapon. To use Tango, you have to charge him up like the Mega Arm, at which point he'll curl up into a spiky ball and bounce around the environment, potentially harming enemies and bosses. Sadly, Tango's pretty useless, as he doesn't do much damage and will run out of energy after a while. Rush also returns in this game to reprise his role as Mega Man's robotic dog. Like the other games, Mega Man will obtain new Rush abilities after beating some of the Stardroids, such as the iconic Rush Coil and Rush Jet. Eddie and Mega Man's brother, Proto Man, also appear every now and then to hand out random items. If only Tango could be that useful.

Image

The shop first introduced in the previous Mega Man game on the Game Boy returns here. It functions identically to how it did in the last game, allowing Mega Man to purchase helpful items from Dr. Light's lab using a currency referred to as "P-Chips," which are usually found by destroying enemy robots. At the store, you can buy consumable items like Energy Tanks that fully restore Mega Man's life bar, Weapon Tanks that fully replenish the ammo of a single weapon, Special Tanks that restore all life and weapons, and more. Then there's the Energy Balancer, which is a permanent item that automatically refills the special weapon with the least amount of ammo when you pick up weapon energy. You can also permanently upgrade the Mega Arm to grab items from afar and do a special grabby attack that does loads of damage. There are enough goodies at the store to keep you feeling good.

Image

Out of all the Mega Man games on the Game Boy, this is clearly the best one. For one, this is the only Game Boy Mega Man that doesn't recycle any content from the NES games. Secondly, it breaks many traditions the Mega Man series has followed since its inception without erasing its identity. Thirdly, it's just really good, as it contains just about every improvement that was made in the last few games. As a result of that, this game is highly polished. If you only play one of the Mega Man games on the Game Boy, definitely make it this one.

Word Count: 1,610

Tweet