After Mega Man 2 and 3, fans of the Blue Bomber were looking for an amazing follow up. Two of what many Mega Man fans consider the best games in the series preceded it and the bar was set astoundingly high. With a brand new set of Robot Masters and a new antagonist named Doctor Cossack, Mega Man 4 set out to do the unthinkable and prove itself just as good a game as its predecessors.

However, Mega Man 4 is widely accepted among Mega Man fans as being the absolute worst game in the entire series until X6. Now, I won’t harp on the lack of story because for a Mega Man game this one actually gives you a nice little history at the intro screen of the events that are taking place. Unlike Mega Man 3 which unless you had the manual you had no idea what was going on. Basically, Doctor Cossack is angered that Dr. Light and Mega Man have been stealing the media spotlight from his equally great robots. But is that all there is to it?

So, that’s the somewhat predictable story. Let’s jump right into one of the things that make Mega Man 4 so awful instead of so great like the previous games. Its Robot Masters. This is one of the things that should make a Mega Man game shine, the creative Robot Masters that we Mega Man fans love to fight and, after beating the game, love to claim favor for. But, this game’s Robot Masters lacked the luster and appeal that Mega Man 2 and 3 had. Just look at the list…

toadman

Toad Man, it speaks for itself and fighting him is actually more embarrassing than his name. Unless you don’t attack him he will never use his special weapon. He’ll just keep jumping around getting slaughtered by even the most novice of Mega Man players. His design is just as awful as he is and his stage consists of a rainy and windy atmosphere. No, not a swamp where a toad would actually hang out, but a rainy area that turns into…I guess is a sewer system? Not too many toads in the sewers either. Mutant Turtles of the Teen variety, sure, but no toads to my knowledge.

brightman

Bright Man, I’m not even kidding. He’s a pudgy pink robot with a light bulb attached to his head. His special ability doesn’t even make any sense, he can stop time with what is called “Flash Stopper”. He’s a light bulb…how does he stop time? Even his stage makes no sense because at times it’s covered in spike areas and the only way to cross them is by riding on the back of…mechanical grasshoppers. I swear to God, I didn’t make that up. Also, while you’re on those grasshoppers? Totem Poles shoot what look like dodge balls at you from their mouth. Not even kidding. To be fair there are at least bulb based enemies that, when you kill them, leave the screen in darkness. It’s an abomination of a stage and a terrible boss.

pman

Pharaoh Man, one of the bosses in the game that isn’t a terrible mess design wise. The stage fits, you start off trekking over quicksand while scorpions run across the quicksand. Then you descend into a pyramid like area where robotic mummies, I don’t know the logistics behind robot mummies, fling their robotic head at you. The only problem is…the stage is probably one of the shortest stages I’ve ever seen. Once you’re past the quick sand you’ve got some spikes to traverse and…that’s it, you’re at Pharaoh Man. One of the biggest flaws with him is that his weakness, Flash Stopper from Bright Man, stops him in his tracks, literally he just stands there and you obliterate him without any resistance. Design wise Pharaoh Man wasn’t a failure, but everything else about him was. Why couldn’t they design the Flash Stopper in the same manner as they did Flash Man’s Time Stopper? Where it drains fast and it takes the boss it’s weak to down to half health instead of just obliteration the way it does here? Just another mess that is Mega Man 4.

ringman

Sigh, Ring Man…my childhood dies over and over again every time I think about Capcom’s Ring Man. If you were following my previous Mega Man reviews you know that Ring Man was the concept I came up with for a Robot Master for Mega Man 3. Not only did this variation look dumb to me, but nothing about their adaptation suits his looks. His stage makes no sense at all, you’re basically in a weird looking area in front of a cloudy sky. The platforms are all rainbow colored and start to slowly disappear from left to right once you step on it. What does that have to do with a Ring based boss? Well…uhhh…I guess Rainbow’s form a sort of ring when they appear and it’s Rainbow colored so it’s clearly an obvious connection. There are little Saturn planets with rings around them that…I guess fit? Seemed like a cop out to me. Also, the mid boss? A giant mechanical hippo that sits on top of a platform of rings and shoots torpedoes at you. I’m not even joking about that. Ring Man himself is a fast boss that could provide you problems since when he throws a ring at you it comes back to him, but it’s easily adapted to. Probably the hardest of the Robot Masters so far, but the worst because he ruined my childhood.

dustman

Dust Man. Let that sink in with you for a second. For starters the only thing “Dust” about him is the big ugly vacuum on his head. His attacks are throwing scrap metal at you and sucking you closer with the vacuum. His stage is basically a scrap metal factory. His name doesn’t even fit HIM. You want to know what else is ironic? In a later game called Mega Man and Bass you can collect CD’s that give you information on all the Robot Masters, you know like what they like and what their quotes are. Guess what Dust Man’s is? “Don’t let me suck more than I can.” Don’t worry, Dust Man, I don’t think that’s possible. I’m not even going to give him the benefit of any more attention.

skullman

Skull Man, not that original an idea for a Robot Master, he is probably the saving grace among the Mega Man 4 Robot Masters. As you can see he looks pretty cool and his stage fits him. It’s covered in bones and the enemies look like they SHOULD be there for the most part. I don’t know why this formula became so mis-used by Capcom. The stage should reflect the boss that is in it. But this seems to be one of the few examples in Mega Man 4 that it actually happens. He is a tricky boss if you don’t have Dust Man’s weapon, his Skull Shield provides annoyance as he bounce around and wrecks havoc with you. Overall, the best Robot Master of Mega Man 4.

diveman

Dive Man…insert Bubble Man comments from Mega Man 2 minus anything good I had to say. Just another unoriginal boss that fails to do anything new at all, his stage is a typical water stage that you find in Mega Man 2. Dive Man himself doesn’t even really Dive…he just sorta spins really fast in your general direction and shoots missiles at you. If you stayed with Mega Man 4 up until this point you had some kinda patience, or you replayed if because you’re a masochist that wants to write a review for it.

drillman

Drill Man, he is the second saving grace to Mega Man 4. Drill Man’s stage fits the boss that is in it. You’re in an underground area that is covered with a rocky texture. It almost looks like an underground mining shaft, which is great because, again, it fits. It’s not totally out of the blue the way Ring Man’s stage is. There are various sections of the rock that are lined with, you guessed it, DRILLS. These drills act the way most pointed hazards would in the Mega Man series in that if you touch them…one hit kill. It adds a little difficulty to the level and really that’s a good thing at this point. Drill Man himself isn’t particularly difficult as he has a pattern that is pretty straight forward even without his weakness. So, while his stage does have its difficult points…the boss really isn’t that hard.

So, there is a little review of each of the Robot Masters. As you can imagine this was a HUGE disappointment for any Mega Man fan of the time period because of how amazing the Robot Masters in Mega Man 2 and 3 were. In comparison these Robot Masters seems like a joke, it really looked like Capcom had completely run out of ideas and were scrapping the bottom of the barrel to get more money out of the Blue Bomber’s fame.

One of the biggest disappointments, Robot Masters aside, was the music. I know in the Mega Man 2 review I said that EVERY Mega Man game has amazing music. Welcome to the exception to the rule. In particular the music that plays when you face off against a Robot Master. Rather than being catchy it is this annoying tune that grates on your nerves. Just the beginning starts with this loud almost dinging sound that made me sick every time I heard it and you can’t avoid this damn dinging sound because it continues throughout the track, the only escape is muting the television. The stage music isn’t much different, but instead of being annoying it’s just…boring. Don’t even get me started on Dust Man again because his stage music rocks about as much as my opinion of him rocks. It’s just a mess and a blowtorch to your ears.

The controls remained about the same as they were in Mega Man 3 and saw the addition of the Mega Buster. The Mega Buster is a weapon that Mega Man starts out with and is done by holding down the Fire button. Mega Man will start to slowly glow and you’ll hear a constant humming sound when it is fully charged. Once you release the Fire button Mega Man shoots a blast that is bigger than his normal attack and is equivalent to three normal shots. It’s a nice little addition because while it may sound like it makes things easier, it really doesn’t. Usually I only charge it if there is dead space so I can prepare for the next enemy coming, if you just sit there with enemies pelting away at you and try to charge it and only charge it halfway…well you fire a somewhat larger blast but it’s no stronger than a regular shot. The slide has also remained from Mega Man 3 and finds about the same use as it did in Mega Man 3. In Mega Man 4, the only thing that is as good as the previous games is the controls…which is such a horrible thing for me to say.

So, there is what I think about Mega Man 4. As you can see this was one that pained me to play and pained me even more to write such negative things about my favorite Blue Bomber. But, it had to be done if we are to get through the Mega Man series. This game alone killed the Mega Man series for a lot of fans. Most people thought that this was possibly the end of Mega Man because of how bad this game was in comparison to Mega Man 2 and 3. Yes, they were hard acts to follow but Mega Man 4 didn’t even come close.

Next time we’ll take a look at Mega Man 5, a game that Capcom was hoping would bring back the usual shine and polish that the fans expect from a Mega Man game. Stay tuned and be sure to leave feedback and your own ideas!