To say that I have little interest in sports would be like saying my junior high crush had little interest in me throughout the duration of the 7th grade.
It’s not for lack of trying on my part. There have actually been several moments in time when I’ve attempted to embrace and understand these culturally important pastimes, only to find myself wishing I was doing just about anything else. Soccer in particular is the one that’s probably confounded me the most seeing as it’s the most popular sport in the world. As a self-professed lover of UK culture, I may or may not have even found myself at one point shopping for Tottenham Hotspurs merchandise whilst being absolutely clueless as to what a hotspur actually is. A quick Google search tells me that it’s in reference to a dude.
So now I know.
If there was ever an opportunity for me to finally grasp the intricate majesty of kicking a ball, it was going to be when they added Robot Masters to it. I imagine this would apply to most things, really. I don’t much care for Shakespearean theater, but you bet your buns I’d grab a first row ticket if they added Guts Man to the cast. This is the mentality that goes into most cash grabs and is really the only justification for Mega Man Soccer’s existence. Similar to the way that demand for just about anything skyrockets when you plaster a Star Wars character on it, I tend to lose my discerning eye when they put the Blue Bomber in something. Sadly, there have yet to be any Mega Man grapes as far as I know.
Really little more than a re-skinned version of Nintendo World Cup, Mega Man Soccer only has value as the briefest novelty. The controls are awkward and half the time you have no idea who you’re actually passing to. It doesn’t matter anyway since the AI is relentless, seemingly always in the right place no matter what you do. The only way to consistently score is to spam kicks while standing in the CPUs blind spot. Seriously, there’s one place in the field where it will never be able block goals, causing you to wonder if Bubbleman is constantly stopping to tie his shoes or something.
I didn’t know this years ago, of course, but even then I really only liked the game for its over the top celebratory dances and the inclusion of Enker, who’s a rather deep cut that only appeared in the Game Boy series. Beyond that, it’s not just bad, but blatantly unfinished. The game shipped with tons of features (including the endings) missing. Characters that were originally promised to appear in previews are mysteriously absent. Dr. Wily was theoretically intended to be available for exhibition games, but just sits partially offscreen where you can’t actually select him. Granted, Skull Man is there in his full glory, but his mere presence isn’t enough to save such a rushed mess.
I’m not terribly sure that it could have been saved even if released as intended, honestly. It certainly wasn’t going to stir enthusiasm for me in soccer the same way that Mario made my fandom of virtual golf so strong that it still exists to this day. Perhaps it simply wasn’t the right avenue for the character.
Call me when they make Mega Man Shuffleboard.