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The time is nearly upon us: soon, the very first issue of Archie's new Mega Man comic book will be making its way to subscribers, with the book reaching comic book shops on May 4th and other newsstands during the week of May 17th. To help get everyone into the mood for more Mega Man (though if you're visiting this site, you probably are already), we'll be spending the rest of the week taking a trip down memory lane, looking at past attempts to adapt the Blue Bomber's adventures into other media in North America. Along the way, we'll see what missteps were made in these efforts, and how Archie's new series will differ from those past attempts.
But before we get into that, we are shining a special spotlight on the artist, Mr. Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante, who we've had the pleasure of interviewing before. Though he is best known for his work with Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog series, this is not Spaz's first time illustrating the Blue Bomber.
Previous Mega Man works you may have seen from Spaziante include the final issue of Dreamwave's comic book series (which we will discuss at greater length later) and the rare cards which were randomly-inserted into packs of Mega Man trading cards from Artbox several years ago. In addition, Spaz illustrated a number of covers for the video game publication Diehard GameFan Magazine (including the Donkey Kong 64 illustration seen through that very link), and one of them happens to bear his first published illustration of Mega Man himself.
However, the cover was not for a Mega Man game, but rather, for a game in which the original Mega Man had a cameo appearance: Cannon Spike. This game was a top-down shooter which featured Mega Man as a secret character and member of a group of Capcom heroes assembled to stop the forces of evil.
Despite being a secret character and not a part of the main roster, that did not stop Spaz from giving Mega Man center stage on the GameFan cover, though. Check it out:
Issue 86 (Volume 8, Issue 10) of Diehard Gamefan from October 2000; courtesy of Retromags
Be sure to check back in tomorrow as we continue our look back at Mega Man in the media! In the meantime, you can subscribe to the Mega Man comic and make sure you don't miss any of the action!
Without any proper Mega Man titles on the platform among Capcom's considerable list of games (for the system's short lifespan), one might think there is really nothing we here at The Mega Man Network can offer in looking back, but that's not quite true, for the original Blue Bomber did make three appearances on the platform, two of which are more difficult to find today.
The most notable one is Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, which some might say is Capcom's ultimate fighting game. As the title implies, many of the biggest names from both Marvel Comics and Capcom's library of games face off in this clash of three-on-three team fighting.
Not only is Mega Man a secret fighter, just waiting for the raw power of his chargeable Mega Buster attack to be unleashed, but his sister, Roll, is also tucked away in there with a Buster of her own. In addition, air pirate Tron Bonne is available right from the start, and fights from within a modified version of her mechanical Gustaff riding armor. She commands the entire squadron of Servbots to aid her in battle, and one of them is even playable as the smallest character in the game.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the Dreamcast has often been considered the most faithful home port of the arcade game, and it is from this version that Capcom recently decided to make a new console version for Xbox LIVE Arcade and the PlayStation Network. Unlike the Dreamcast version, though, Mega Man, Roll, the Servbot, and all other unlockable characters are unlocked from the outset. Despite this, however, some maintain that the Dreamcast version remains superior.
Prior to Marvel vs. Capcom 2, of course, was the first Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. There were only three versions of this title: the original arcade machine, the Dreamcast port, and the PlayStation version. But due to the latter's inability to allow for tag-team switching, the only way to enjoy the two-on-two action of the arcade in your own home was to own the Dreamcast version.
Tron and Servbot weren't available as playable characters this time out; instead, Mega Man was available from the get-go, while his little sis remained hidden out of site until certain conditions were met. Also unlike the sequel, each regular character had their own stage, with Mega Man's being the construction site for one of Dr. Wily's new fortresses, with the mad scientist himself screaming at the combatants from the background through a megaphone.
In addition, the first game beget some action figure merchandise from Toy Biz, including a very happy looking Mega Man, who featured a launching projectile, metallic paint for his darker-blue areas, and snap-on armor to transform him into a likeness of his Hyper Mega Man super move from the game.
Marvel vs. Capcom, unlike its more popular sequel, is the only one of the two games to feature a semblance of a story line, giving each playable character their own ending, including Mega Man and Roll. As such, it's unfortunate that the Dreamcast holds the only faithful home version.
Finally, Mega Man also made a special cameo appearance in Cannon Spike, a top-down shoot-em-up game which mixed a variety of Capcom characters into the roster, including Charlie and Cammy from Street Fighter, and a more contemporary version of Arthur from Ghosts 'n Goblins. Not only were these unlikely teammates grouped together, but many were given artillery to use and roller blade-like footwear with which to move around quickly.
Mega Man, however, the super fighting robot that he is, came prepared with his own trademark firepower, and was equipped with a limited hovering ability in his boots to allow him to traverse the terrain more quickly.
The gameplay is likened to other arcade classics such as Smash TV, or Capcom's own Commando: Wolf of the Battlefield series. The game itself has some nice graphics and is fun to play, even though it's not terribly long. In addition, each character has their own endings, including hidden character Mega Man.
Also of interest is the error made in the instruction booklet: while a profile is given for Mega Man, offering a brief background of his creation by Dr. Light and battles with Dr. Wily, a picture of MegaMan Volnutt from MegaMan Legends 2 is instead used for some reason. Thankfully, this never occurs within the game itself.
So there you have it: Mega Man's three Dreamcast appearances, two of which may be worth your while to hunt down. In a way, it's too bad the Dreamcast didn't last longer, as it might have been interesting to see where else Mega Man, or some of his friends and allies, might have turned up next.
But as it is, happy anniversary Dreamcast. You offered a lot in your short time with us. Cheers.