Mega Man V
|Mega Man V|
North American cover art
|Release date(s)||Game Boy|
|Distribution||4-megabit ROM cartridge|
Mega Man V, known as Rockman World 5 (ロックマンワールド5 Rokkuman Wārudo Faibu?) in Japan, is a video game developed and published by Capcom for the Game Boy handheld game console. It is the fifth and final game in the Game Boy version of the original Mega Man series. The game follows the adventures of the protagonist Mega Man as he must defend the Earth from a group of powerful robots from outer space called the "Stardroids". Mega Man V was also unique from the previous Game Boy Mega Man games as it features original and unique bosses rather than recycling those from the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Mega Man games.
Mega Man V is an action platformer in which the player selects stages in a non-linear fashion and acquires the weapon of each boss defeated to use as their own. Although it plays nearly identical to any other games in the series, Mega Man V features a new default weapon (the powerful "Mega Arm") and introduces Tango, a new assistant character. Mega Man V received an average to positive critical reception. In 2013, Mega Man V was made available on the Virtual Console of Japan's Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS. It was later released in the North American and PAL region eShops the following year.
The game opens in an unspecified year in the 21st century ("20XX AD"), several months after the events of Mega Man IV and another failure by the infamous Dr. Wily to conquer the world. Mega Man and his sister Roll are strolling through a grassy field, when suddenly, they are confronted by a mysterious new robot who calls himself Terra. Mega Man attempts to fight Terra, only to find that his "Mega Buster" arm cannon has no effect on this new powerful enemy. Mega Man is knocked unconscious, and two groups of powerful robots calling themselves the "Stardroids" attack Earth, defeating numerous robots, including Robot Masters from previous Mega Man games. Waking up in Dr. Light's laboratory, Mega Man is presented with the new and powerful "Mega Arm" to help him fight the Stardroids in his newest mission to save the planet.
After defeating all the Stardroids, including Terra, Mega Man finds out that his archenemy Dr. Wily was ordering them to dominate Earth. Mega Man sets off to the mad scientist's new base, the Wily Star to stop him. In the base, Mega Man has rematches with the four foes from his previous adventures (Enker, Quint, Punk, and Ballade), before facing off against the eight Stardroids once more (strangely Terra does not appear again). After Wily is stopped once again himself, he releases a mysterious and ancient robot called Sunstar to destroy Mega Man. However, Sunstar disobeys and attacks Wily instead, and then turns his attention to Mega Man. The hero wins the battle and tries to convince Sunstar to be repaired by Dr. Light. However, while Sunstar would like to see such a world, he is already too badly damaged, and minutes later he explodes, taking the Wily Star with him. Mega Man escapes using Rush, and in the game's epilogue he again walks through the field seen in the opening sequence, pondering the recent events, when Wily makes one last, unsuccessful attempt to attack him. The game ends with Mega Man chasing Wily off the screen, similar to the ending of the original Mega Man game.
The gameplay in Mega Man V is largely similar to other games in the Mega Man series. As the protagonist Mega Man, the player is presented with a set of action and platform-style levels to complete. Mega Man's primary weapon is his staple arm cannon. However, rather than being able to charge and fire a more powerful blast with the trademark Mega Buster, the Mega Arm is used in essentially the same manner. Charging up and releasing the firing button causes Mega Man's arm to detach, strike an enemy, and then reattach. Destroying the boss at the end of each stage adds its special weapon to Mega Man's arsenal for the rest of the game. As each boss is weak to specific weapon, the player is encouraged to complete some stages before others. Defeating some bosses will allow the player to access Mega Man's robot dog Rush, who can transform into useful "Coil" and "Jet" modes for easier stage navigation. Mega Man V also introduces Tango the cat, another robotic pet to help Mega Man. Like the bird Beat from previous installments in the series, Tango will appear on the screen when summoned to attack enemies, transforming into a buzzsaw and ricocheting around the room. As in Mega Man IV, the player can return to Dr. Light between stages to purchase items using "Power Chips (P-Chips)" scattered throughout the game.
Mega Man V breaks an established trend in the Mega Man games released on the Game Boy handheld. Prior to its release, games in the series on the system featured a set of four "Robot Masters" boss characters from their titular NES counterpart and a second set of four from the succeeding NES game in the series. Mega Man V instead features entirely original enemy characters with the Stardroids, who are all named after the planets in the Solar System: Neptune, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter, Saturn and Terra (Earth).
Mega Man V was developed by the same third-party company that worked on three of the four previous Game Boy Mega Man games. According to Mega Man series artist Keiji Inafune, the fifth installment took the longest time to develop of all five of these titles. Inafune was responsible for the game's character designs after their initial concepts were devised. "When you have a theme to follow, it can make things easier and harder at the same time," Inafune recounted. "Especially with a theme as vague as space." He additionally recalled having "a lot of reservations" when designing the Stardroids. Tango was included as a support character not featured in the home console games; his name, like other characters in the series, is part of musical motif. Inafune, who always enjoyed working on animal support characters, was especially pleased to design Tango due to the artist's personal fondness for cats. Mega Man V is the final installment in the Game Boy line of games based on the original Mega Man series. Inafune stated, "In the end, I think we had a lot of fun working on this series". Mega Man V was developed with Super Game Boy support, which allows the game to be played with a custom color scheme and border on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It was one of the first games available with added support from the peripheral.
Reception and legacy
Overall critical reception for Mega Man V has been average to positive. While many aspects of the game were commended, critics found very little change from previous installments in the series. VideoGames summarized, "If you don't have a Mega Man game for your Game Boy, this one is a good as any. It's entertaining...it's Mega Man. If you're thinking 'rehash', you might be right and it's still a pretty fun game, though." Nintendo Power was impressed by its gameplay and graphics, but felt that the game is too short, "especially when you sit down with the Super Game Boy and cruise". GamePro was contrastingly unimpressed with the controls on the SNES, considering the use of Game Boy much simpler.
In 2008, Nintendo Power listed Mega Man V as the 14th best Game Boy or Game Boy Color video game, praising it as the best of a quality series of portable Mega Man games. Game Informer's Ben Reeves called it the 11th best Game Boy game due to its relative ambition compared to its Game Boy predecessors. Mega Man V was available for the similarly named Nintendo Power cartridge service in Japan on April 13, 2001 alongside its four Game Boy Mega Man predecessors. Outside of Japan, the game is considered to be quite rare. All five games on the Game Boy were to be released as part of a Game Boy Advance compilation in 2004 titled Mega Man Anniversary Collection, but it was delayed indefinitely, renamed Mega Mania, and eventually cancelled. In 2011, IGN listed the game among titles they wished to see downloadable from the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS. On July 18, 2013, it was confirmed that Mega Man V is planned for release on the 3DS Virtual Console; it came out November 6, 2013 in Japan, on May 22, 2014 in North America. and August 28, 2014 in the PAL Region.
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