Mega Man 5
|Mega Man 5|
North American cover art
Mega Man 5, known as Rockman 5: Blues no Wana!? (ロックマン5 ブルースの罠!? lit. "Rockman 5: Blues's Trap!?") in Japan, is an action-platform video game developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the fifth game in the original Mega Man series and was released in Japan on December 4, 1992. It saw a release during the same month in North America and in 1993 in Europe.
Taking place after the events of Mega Man 4, 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 the title character 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, a robotic bird that the player can use as a weapon once a series of eight collectible letters are found. Artist Keiji Inafune had to re-illustrate the bosses several times but described his work as fun.
Mega Man 5 was met with a positive critical reception for its graphics and music, while receiving criticism for its lack of innovation in 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 also been released in North America, Europe, and Japan on the 3DS and Wii U 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, secret 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 Proto Man is doing this, but with little choice left, he sets out to stop him, assisted by Beat, a robot bird gifted to him by Dr. Cossack.
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 destroys the protagonist in the process. However, a second Proto Man arrives just in time, revealing the first as Dark Man, 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. However, the fortress begins collapsing, and while Mega Man is distracted from holding up the ceiling from crushing himself and Dr. Light, Wily manages yet another retreat. Just after Wily escapes, a familiar whistle is heard, and part of the ceiling is blasted away, allowing Mega Man and Dr. Light to also escape. As the two watch the castle collapse from a distance, their mystery savior is revealed to be Proto Man, who quietly slips off unnoticed.
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. 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.
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 different 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") gives 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.
In a new direction Capcom held a contest in collaboration with Nintendo Power Magazine requesting submissions for new villain characters, 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").
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. It has also been released on the Wii U's Virtual Console as well as the 3DS eShop.
The Mega Man series from Archie Comics went on hiatus before it could reach an adaptation of Mega Man 5, but some characters and elements from the game were foreshadowed. In particular, the final issue saw Dr. Light experience a vision of the events of this game, noting that it seemed as thought Proto Man were attacking but that something seemed wrong.
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Narrator: In the year 20XX AD. A vicious army of robots is bent on destroying the world!! And behind this destruction is... ProtoMan!?
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Dr. Wily: You've done well, Mega Man! I never expected you to defeat my powerful Dark Man robot!! Until now I have managed to frame Proto Man for my crimes, but now the real Proto Man has appeared and spoiled my plan!! Dr. Light is a captive in my lab. Come if you dare!! Ha, ha, ha.
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