Mega Man 8 is a very interesting game in the series, as it is the first one in the classic series to land on the PlayStation One console. How does the massive jump from the SNES too the PS1 effect the Classic series formula?
Interestingly enough, very little. If Mega Man 7 was the celebration of the series up to that point, then Mega Man 8 is the graphically impressive title that does very little to change the series formula outside of continuing to take elements from the X series.
The development of Mega Man 8 was something worth noting, as it sparked a bit of conflict between Capcom and Sony. Sony wanted ONLY 3D games on the PlayStation in an effort to separate it from the prior generation and the at the time released Sega Saturn. So, they pushed internal studios and third parties to push their series into the 3rd Dimension. Many did not mind this, but Capcom was the exception.
Mega Man was a series linked to 2D gaming and Capcom refused to budge on pushing Mega Man into 3D. They saw it as a 2D series; changing it into a 3D game upset Capcom. So, they told Sony that if they could not release their 2D titles like Mega Man 8 and Mega Man X4, they would not release Resident Evil 2 and other 3D games by them on the console. They even threatened to keep Mega Man 8 Saturn Exclusive. So, Sony budged but under the condition they would produce a 3D Mega Man in the future. Hence, the Legends series releasing on the PlayStation.
The game released to celebrate the anniversary of Mega Man and to accomplish this, they had the Saturn version (due to releasing later) having bosses against Cut Man and Wood Man, in addition to better visuals and a new track for Tangu Man’s stage.
One thing to note is the high production values, with the game having animated cut-scenes to show the ability of CD-ROM technology and to offer a nice homage to prior games in the series through its opening FMV.
The story here is that two robots that have good & evil energy are fighting in space with the Evil Robot crashing down to Earth. While this is going on, Mega Man is fighting with Bass, saying he should “Why must we fight bAss?” and after a few scenes of a girl-sounding Mega Man and Elmer Fud-like Dr. Light talking, we are headed to the intro stage to investgate the crash landed robot.
Wily gets it before Mega Man can get it, so Mega Man and Rush set out to take out a series of Robot Masters to capture this evil robot and learn that Wily has been using EVIL energy to power-up the robot masters. In the mean time, they head to Wily’s base of operations but encounter a force-field. Mega Man then heads out to finish off the remaining robot masters to take out the barrier before taking out Wily and Bass.
“Why you do not understand” – Rock ‘Mega Man’, Mega Man/Rockman 8
I enjoyed the story for all the wrong reasons. The voice acting is just too good and some really well-placed engerish lines make the story even better. Joking aside, it is interesting to learn a bit out the energy source that would later lead to the creation of Zero in the X series.
Gameplay is classic Mega Man, with Rock being able to Jump n’ Shoot while also having a very useful double-jump ability thanks to the Mega Ball weapon you get at the start of the opening stage. One thing to note is how Mega Man ‘feels’ though; the screen is zoomed out, giving you the impression that ‘Yes, I’m playing one of the NES Mega Man games.’ I point this out as Mega Man 7 have the camera/perspective so close to Rock, making the sprites larger then most would like.
You can still slide, use Rush Abilities like Rush Jet and Rush Coil, charge your buster and use various robot master weapons. But this time, they have more usage in the stages. You get an eletric beam from Clown Man that allows you to swing across various objects in the stages. Another useful power is Sword Man’s power which lets you have a effective melee attacks.
Mega Man 8’s robot master powers are more useful to the level designs and those are some of the most different things compared to the other Classic Series titles; gameplay gimmicks. Rock can ride on a jet-board with….JUMP JUMP JUMP……that can……SLIDE SLIDE SLIDE…..through tight gaps. You have signs telling when to JUMP SLIDE so you don’t have to worry about the game being unfair. You also have two light-gun sections where you have Rush, Eddie and Auto assisting Rock as you collect power ups.
Gameplay changes up often and it makes the levels interesting to me. However, the thing to note is the challenge level compared to other titles; the game is quite easy. It took me a single run to get through the entire game and the only times I died were the Jet-board sections. I did not mind this, but I could easily imaging that bugging people.
Before heading to the tower levels, the game removes a lot of the additions from other titles. You do not have the Rush Adapters like in MM6 and 7 (though Bass can use the Treble Adapter) and you lose the ability to use tanks. Meaning, you cannot refill your heath and weapon energy. However, the games save system and easy difficulty make this a non issue. Mega Man and Bass……boy, we are going to have fun talking about this problem then.
The Tower Stages aren’t too bad either, with the Mega Man X4-styled check point system being in place. Lives mean nothing in MM8, so you can not worry about starting over a level like in other titles in the series. That alone makes the Wily Tower levels not that bad.
You have a jet-board and light gun section in two levels and a fight with Bass before fighting Wily one-on-one. Rush can heal you thankfully, so you can not worry much about fighting the boss over and over again.
The game is one of the most beautiful sprite-based games on the PlayStation. Vivid detail on every foe and object, the robot masters look great and Rock is very expressive throughout. And even though I joked a lot about the bad voice acting, having animated cut-scenes is nice.
Overall, the game is a fun though easy adventure. It does little wrong and I had a blast going through this my first time. Looks great, sounds great and fixes the sprite size issues some had with Mega Man 7.
But it takes away some elements that make MM7 so great like the wide selection of abilities to play around with and the Adapters. Overall though, I recommend this one and hope you all give it a shot.
Next up on the MM Retrospective is Mega Man 9 and 10, then we will be visiting MM & Bass not long after. Hope you enjoy these upcoming Retrospectives!