Mega Man 5
|Mega Man 5|
North American cover art
|Distribution||4-megabit ROM cartridge, CD-ROM, download|
Mega Man 5, known as Rockman 5 Blues no Wana!? (ロックマン5 ブルースの罠!? Rokkuman Faibu Burūsu no Wana!??, lit. "Rockman 5 Blues' Trap!?") in Japan, is a video game developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the fifth game in the original Mega Man series and was originally released in Japan on December 4, 1992. It saw a release during the same month in North America and in 1993 in Europe.
The plot takes place after the fourth defeat of the evil Dr. Wily at the hands of the heroic robot Mega Man in the year 20XX. Mega Man's brother and ally Proto Man uncharacteristically leads a group of menacing robots in attacks on the world and kidnaps his own creator Dr. Light, leaving Mega Man little choice but to take up arms in a fight against his once trusted sibling. Mega Man 5 carries over the same graphical style and action-platforming gameplay as the four preceding chapters in the series. The game introduces a new character, Beat, whom the player can use as a weapon once a series of eight collectable letters are found.
Mega Man 5 was met with an average to fairly positive critical reception, with the one major complaint being its lack of originality in either its plot or gameplay. Like other NES games in the series, Mega Man 5 has been re-released in Japan on the PlayStation, PlayStation Network, and mobile phones; in North America as part of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection; and in both regions on the Wii Virtual Console. It has been released in North America, Europe, and Japan on the 3DS Virtual Console.
Mega Man 5 takes place during the 21st century, about two months after the events of Mega Man 4, when the mad scientist Dr. Wily once again attempted to take over the world. Proto Man, brother and once ally to the world's greatest hero Mega Man, leads an army of robots in a series of destructive attacks on the world. To cripple the world's defenders, he kidnaps his own creator, the genius scientist Dr. Light. Mega Man wonders why his brother is doing this, but with little choice left, he sets out to stop him.
Mega Man prevails over a new group of eight powerful "Robot Masters" working under Proto Man: Star Man, Gravity Man, Gyro Man, Stone Man, Crystal Man, Charge Man, Napalm Man, and Wave Man. Mega Man then makes his way to Proto Man's fortress and confronts his fellow creation, who nearly kills the protagonist in the process. However, a second Proto Man arrives just in time, revealing the first as Dark Man IV, one of Dr. Wily's newest robots. Mega Man vanquishes the impostor, then pursues Wily to his newest hideout, defeats him, and saves Dr. Light. Wily manages yet another retreat in the end.
Mega Man 5 is an action-platform game that is very similar to previous titles in the series. Gameplay revolves around the player using the central character Mega Man to run, jump, and shoot his way through a set of stages in the order of the player's choosing. If the player takes damage, Mega Man's life meter can be refilled by picking up energy capsules scattered about each level or from fallen enemies. Mega Man's default Mega Buster arm cannon can be fired an unlimited amount of times. The Mega Buster's charge feature, introduced in Mega Man 4, has been upgraded to allow its powerful, charged shots to encompass a slightly wider area. Each stage ends with a boss battle with a Robot Master; destroying that Robot Master lets the player copy its special "Master Weapon", which can be toggled and used throughout the remainder of the game. Unlike the Mega Buster, Master Weapons require weapon energy to use and must be replenished if it is depleted in the same selected stage. Other power-ups including extra lives, "Energy Tanks", and a new "Mystery Tank" (which fully refills health and all item power) can be picked up as well but if all health and weapon power is full, it turns all enemies on screen into extra lives for the player to collect.
After completing certain stages, the player can call on Mega Man's faithful dog Rush to reach higher platforms or cross large gaps using his "Coil" and "Jet" transformations. These abilities require refills with the same weapon energy that Master Weapons use. Some of the level designs in Mega Man 5 are unique from earlier games in the series. For example, in Gravity Man's stage, the gravitation is reversed from the floor to the ceiling, while in Wave Man's stage, the player drives a water craft from the halfway point to the boss room. Hidden within each of the eight Robot Master stages is a collectible circuit board. Gathering all eight of these boards (spelling "M-E-G-A-M-A-N-V") will give the player access to a robot-bird friend by the name of Beat. The player can then call on Beat to attack any onscreen enemies.
Mega Man 5 was developed by Capcom. Having had major involvement in the development in all prior Mega Man games, artist Keiji Inafune, credited as "Inafking", worked under a new project leader for Mega Man 5. As with past entries in the series, Inafune used his experience to guide his supervisor and the other team members. He did this in order to avoid making what he considered to be an "unreasonable game, [...] an affront to the players". As a result of this leadership, Inafune felt Mega Man 5 turned out with a lower difficulty level. The team already felt they had accomplished all the gameplay they could with the release of Mega Man 4, so they decided to simply "introduce powered up versions of everything", such as the Mega Buster. After working diligently on the fourth installment of the series and being the man behind the concept of the chargeable Mega Buster, Hayato Kaji, credited as "H.K", was called in to help out during the middle of Mega Man 5's development. The game was "taking a while to come together" at that point according to Kaji. Inafune summarized his work on Mega Man 5 as being fun, but he admitted having trouble with the designs, balance, and colors.
As with previous titles in the series, the eight Robot Master bosses in Mega Man 5 are a result of fans sending in their own designs to Capcom. Capcom received over 130,000 character submissions for the game. Inafune recounted having a difficult time getting approval on the chosen bosses, having had to re-illustrate them several times. However, the artist had little trouble in designing Beat, whose first draft was accepted by Inafune's superiors. The idea for Beat originated in the development of Mega Man 3, where the concept support robots included a dog and bird. The team chose to keep the dog character as Rush for this earlier game, while the bird would serve as the basis for the character Beat in Mega Man 5. The musical score of Mega Man 5 was composed by Mari Yamaguchi, credited as "Mari". She would later collaborate with other composers of the core franchise for Mega Man 10 in 2010.
Reception and legacy
Mega Man 5 has enjoyed generally positive reactions from printed and online publications. Many critics were complimentary of the game's graphics, music, play control, and challenge level. IGN's Lucas M. Thomas holds Mega Man 5 as one of his favorite entries in the series and, because of its lowered difficulty compared to its predecessors, considers it the easiest of the bunch to casually pick up and play through. IGN lists Mega Man 5 as the 84th best game on the NES.
Like other sequels in the Mega Man series, Mega Man 5 has suffered criticism for its lack of innovative gameplay and storytelling. GamePro summarized the game as "déjà vu all over again for disciples of the series" and that "Capcom must get some kind of cash rebate for recycling video games". 1UP.com's Jeremy Parish considered Mega Man 5 as "a painfully phoned-in episode lacking not only innovation, but pretty much all the polish and balance that made the earlier games so enjoyable".
In 1999, Mega Man 5 was re-released for the PlayStation as part of the Japan-exclusive Rockman Complete Works series. It featured a helpful "navi mode" for beginners, arranged music, encyclopedia modes, and artwork. A port of this version with fewer extras was released in North America for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube in 2004 and Xbox in 2005 as part of Mega Man Anniversary Collection. Another port of the game was released in Japan in 2007 for mobile phones compatible with Yahoo! Mobile and EZweb applications. Finally, in 2011, the NES version was made available on the Wii Virtual Console service in both Japan and North America, and the PlayStation Network in Japan.
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