There is nothing like coming home from a day of work, sitting down at the computer and remembering that all you have to do is download one of the greatest crossovers of our generation. Your friends at Capcom have been hard at work with a neat little surprise for Mega Man’s 25th Anniversary – a crossover game featuring another Capcom staple, Street Fighter. Mega Man fights for ever-lasting peace even on a day of celebration.
Street Fighter X Mega Man (PC)
Release: December 17, 2012
MSRP: Free [Download Now]
Mega Man doesn’t get to enjoy his anniversary for very long before the Street Fighter folks decide to challenge the Blue Bomber mono-a-mono with their own stages populated by new and revamped robot foes. Where did they get these robots? It’s best not to ask these kinds of questions when you’re living in an 8-bit world.
I’m not going to lie to you, Street Fighter X Mega Man (SFxMM from here on out) is an odd mix and one I never would have put together in my wildest dreams. In one corner we have Mega Man, the blue bomber who fights for justice and because 25 years ago he didn’t have any other choice. In the other corner we have eight Street Fighters ranging from the classic to modern age. If I knew any better I would say that Dr. Wily is behind this, even though he would be first to deny any such allegations.
Before I get too into this, I need to say that I suck at Mega Man games. I’ll die, over and over again and will need to replay levels repeatedly until I beat them. With that said, I love Mega Man games. I love the challenge and I love the satisfaction that comes from overcoming a part in the game that previously made you want to throw your controller at the screen. So it came as a surprise to me that the levels weren’t too difficult and health was abundant, sometimes just lying on the ground with no enemies nearby. The boss encounters themselves in SFxMM are a different story.
So here’s my main gripe with this mashup, the bosses are just too damn frantic. They’ll jump and hop and toss everything at you all at once and if that wasn’t enough, they are way faster than you as well. To add fire to the Yoga Flame, they each have a “Super Move” that is released once they take enough damage. The first time I encountered the Super Move was fighting Blanka and his attack killed me instantly. I think the problem lies with the zoom in effect when the Street Fighter bosses activate their specials, there is a weird delay before you can move again and depending on the move you’ll either take massive amounts of damage or be KO’d. The specials are a nice feature that make boss fights need an extra layer of strategy, but the thing is they weren’t a walk in the park to begin with either. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I did manage to waltz right through Chun-Li’s stage and defeat her without dying so it’s not all crazy hard.
Negative point out of the way, time for something positive. The music is a very interesting mix of Street Fighter-esque tunes, run through an NES with bits of Mega Man inspired flourishes and I have to say it works well. My absolute favorite stage theme is Urien’s, it is just so full of energetic. On the other end of the sound files we have the sound effects and they definitely sound like they were ripped straight from the old Mega Man titles. I wish I was better at recognizing certain sounds and being able to pinpoint exactly what game they came from, but I’m not. One really neat thing I noticed instantly is whenever the Street Fighter characters use their signature moves they utter the names of their moves, but rather than use digitized vocals, the developer’s try to replicate the words using 8-bit sound effects instead. It’s really cool and if you listen really closely (while also trying to dodge attacks and attack at the same time) you’ll hear things such as “Yoga Flame,” “Spinning Bird Kick” and of course “Hadoken.” So awesome.
Everytime one of these retro Mega Man games comes around you have to re-learn what skills the “new” Mega Man has and this game is no different. Mega Man retains his trusty buster arm with the ever-charging Mega Buster upgrade from way back in Mega Man 5, as well as his slide and Rush from Mega Man 3. The Mega Buster shot isn’t as giant of a blast as it was in Mega Man 10 and seems to be closer in appearance to Mega Man 4’s charge shot. What’s really nice, is a full charge will continue to damage enemies even after it hits an enemy and kills it. The acquired powers are a mixed bag though. Take Blanka for example, his signature move is electric-based so I naturally assumed that I would get an energy ball or an electric shield style power up, but instead I get a watermelon that I kick at enemies. If Dr. Wily designed these robot masters, he must have intentionally picked the worst powers that Mega Man would be able to obtain.
So I guess you could look at this in one of two ways. It’s fan-based game that Capcom gave its seal of approval to and even helped develop. It’s an interesting idea that combines two well-known franchises, but it doesn’t always work. The level designs are inventive and interesting and really play off of the Street Fighter themes well and the music is superb. Oh and it’s free, a free gift from Capcom to their fans. The other way you could look at it is, it’s not completely a true Mega Man game in the strictest sense and the game is stripped of even the most basic of conveniences such as saving, passwords and replay ability. In the end, it all comes down to what side of the fence you happen to find yourself on, but it’s a free game so who cares if it’s perfect or not?
Bonus: Check out the Capcom Unity staff play through the game by clicking here.
[Submitted by contributor Shane Peltzer]