I feel like I can’t really end a week of Mega Man without some commentary on how dormant the series is now. Sure, last year marked the release of the Legacy Collection, which was somehow marketed under the pretense of “game preservation” despite there already being approximately 8,000 re-releases at that point, but as far as new games, be it in the original series or any of the offshoots, it’s been quiet for a while. Inafune leaving Capcom certainly didn’t help, as he seemed to be the only guy still fighting for Mega Man.
Before everyone was mad at Konami for killing their franchises and screwing over their developers, Capcom had seemingly already written the book on it, which made the release of Street Fighter X Mega Man even weirder. What started as a fan project was conveniently co-opted by Capcom just in time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mega Man, presumably because they didn’t have anything else planned. While certainly a cool novelty, you get the feeling pretty early on that the game was released more to market one series than the other. It’s easy enough to tell just from who got first billing in the title, but even the game, by its nature, is more focused on the Street Fighter universe.
As a Mega Man game, it’s functional, but inconsistent. I’ve spent time with a few romhacks and homebrews before and it’s par for the course, but I have to wonder if the game wouldn’t have been better served as a simple boss rush, forgoing the levels entirely. Most don’t add much and really just feel like one-note homages to familiar Street Fighter backgrounds. Chun Li’s in particular may actually be the worst Mega Man level ever; consisting of nothing more than a straight horizontal run through an uninspired series of pagodas, as if the entire thing was the result of hitting crtl+v over and over for a minute or so. Others are more inspired and there’s a genuine attempt at making traditional Mega Man enemies seemingly fit with the theme of their bosses, such as Urien’s stage featuring rotating Aigis Reflectors, but if you think about it too much, you start to wonder why Ryu commands an army of shogun robots.
Shogun Robots is the name of my ska band, by the way.
Gripes aside, it is free, so I can’t complain too much. As a huge fan of both Mega Man and Street Fighter, I do have to recognize that the game is really only going to appeal to a certain niche, not just for the references, but because it’s often unfairly difficult. For the price, you can’t expect the trademark polish of the other games, but it does make you wonder what a full team could have done with the concept in a more official capacity.
Wishful thinking, for sure. At this point, we’d be lucky to get another reference to Mega Man’s existence in the next Monster Hunter or something.
Now I’m depressed.