Also available on PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Gamecube, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii, 3DS, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Android, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 01/25/2019 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
I spent a good ten minutes trying to think of some halfway decent intro for this review, but after reviewing four Mega Man games in a row (excluding the MLP fan hack of Mega Man 3 that I’ll be reviewing soon…or five if you count that one), I got nothing. The NES games all play so similarly that an intro seems rather pointless. Continuing my admittedly excessive critique of the box art, though, this is the best looking Mega Man of the four. He still looks like an evil ventriloquist’s dummy, but it’s the most normal looking Mega Man we’ve gotten so far. The gameplay maintains the high standards set by Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3, but as for overall game design…it leaves some to be desired.
In terms of game mechanics and control, Mega Man 4 is fantastic. In terms of visuals and music, Mega Man 4 is great. In terms of enemy and robot master design, Mega Man 4 is a bizarre step down in quality from its predecessors. To the game’s credit, Capcom did give each level an obstacle that’s unique to that level, but when the boss at the end of that level feels lackluster and rather uninspired, it doesn’t really break even. It feels a lot like some of the Pokemon in Black/White or X/Y like friggin’ “Roggenrolla” or literally an ice cream cone. Like the inspiration just wasn’t there this go around.
Mega Man 4 also replaces Dr. Wily (at least initially) as the antagonist and replaces him with some lame Soviet Ruskie named Dr. Cossack who just happens to build robots that are just uninspired rip-offs of Dr. Wily’s minions. That’s not to say that Cossack ruins the game or anything, but it does seem like an unusual shift. The slide returns from Mega Man 3 along with the addition of a charged shot that does additional damage. That’s balanced, however, with what feels like dramatically increased enemy health. That might be all in my head, but it felt like the enemies were a lot tougher, at times in excess of the added damage of the charge shot.
Mega Man 4 is definitely a step down in terms of overall design from the high standards of 2 and 3, but that’s certainly not to say that it’s a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. The robot masters may feel a little uninspired this go around, but the game design and mechanics overall are still rock solid, the visuals are still fantastic, the music still phenomenal, and the platforming is still superb. It’s not as satisfying overall as Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 in my opinion, but it’s still a damn good Mega Man experience.