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As part of our celebration of the Mega Man series hitting its 25th anniversary, we are featuring a look back at many of the games of the Mega Man series. This time, I’m examining the first installment of the Game Boy sub-series, Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge, a short but tough monochrome romp.
Capcom and the outside team from Minakuchi Engineering they entrusted to develop these games took an interesting approach to the Game Boy sub-series. As most people know by now, each of the first four Game Boy installments reused Robot Masters from two NES games. Players were given the chance to see what effect Rolling Cutter had on Quick Man, what the Air Shooter did to Needle Man, and so on.
Generally speaking, the Game Boy games generally inherit whatever gameplay innovations were featured in the games they mix and match, thus Dr. Wily's Revenge has no slide or Mega Buster. Unlike the NES installments, the player can only choose from four Robot Masters at a time. On top of mixing and matching the Robot Masters, each game threw in a new robot (most of the time, a "Mega Man Killer") to fight with a unique weapon. While these games started out fairly simple, it eventually led to some of the best and most influential games in the Classic series, leading to significant change in the main installments.
Dr. Wily's Revenge, or Mega Man I, to use Mandi Paugh's naming convention, is sort of a miracle. Considering the other Game Boy games released in 1991, it pushed the Game Boy hardware pretty hard. The size of the sprites remained unchanged from their transition from the NES, and the speed of the game is only slightly affected. The music is nothing to write home about, but most of the tracks come close to faithfully recreating the music from the NES games. MMI nails it in terms of aesthetics and staying true to the solid play control of the console installments, making an easy transition from TV screen to the dot-matrix playing field.
One element of gameplay that suffered from this transition, however, was the room given to the player to maneuver due to incredibly small size of the dot-matrix playing field. Retaining the NES sprites makes the game look good but its easy to see how this can be problematic for the player. While the game does not punish the player with frequent off-screen antics (which would later be the chief complaint of a number of NES-to-Game Boy Color ports), it means that there is simply not a lot of room to dodge enemies and move around obstacles.
The game makes some omissions for the smaller screen-- the Yoku blocks are now Yoku bars, for instance-- but for the most part, the game is NES graphics with less about the third the playing room. It's unfortunate that more changes were not made to accommodate the platform, especially considering that Minakuchi Engineering made serious revisions to the game, as the prototype features a number of differences and changed content.
This leads to a dramatic change in how the game is played. While on the NES one can move fairly quickly through the levels, the lack of maneuver space means that it is far more advantageous for the player to engage enemies from a distance and tread a bit more carefully. This is doubly true considering that Mega Man's life meter is reduced from its NES total of 28 bars to 19 for the Game Boy outings. How the developers managed the gameplay with these restrictions would change over the course of the sub-series, but it made for an incredibly tough first outing.
The first four levels feature two-thirds of the lineup from the original Mega Man on the NES. While Ice Man and Fire Man's levels and boss behaviors more or less resemble their console counterparts (Ice Man adds melting blocks and falling icicles, Fire Man adds the Hothead enemy from MM2), Cut Man's level is completely different, featuring moving walkways from Mega Man 2 and an all-new enemy, the Cutting Wheel, while Cut Man himself is a terror due to his speed and no room to dodge. Elec Man also underwent a change, with new propeller boxes that generate gusts for Mega Man to leap over larger chasms and battling Elec Man is a bit simpler, with the Thunder Beam being less powerful than its NES incarnation.
An interesting note: The gates leading to the Robot Master all feature a drop down into the arena, and in fact this is one classic game that completely omits normal, horizontal gates.
After the first four levels, Mega Man gets to navigate a fairly lengthy Wily level that utilizes the one and only Carry item. Carry generates a platform under our hero, allowing for a bit more variability in how the final levels are structured.
Following the end of the first Wily level, the player finds himself in front of four teleport hatches that lead to Robot Masters from... Mega Man 2. The boss fights themselves are a bit slower and take place in empty rooms, but overall not too different from the NES incarnations. In the end, Mega Man faces off with Enker, the requisite unique robot for this Game Boy installment.
The final level takes place in the orbital Wily Station, beginning another Game Boy tradition that goes nearly unbroken. With a stirring 8-bit version of the Popcorn Song and armed with the interesting-but-not-always-useful Mirror Buster from Enker, the player navigates another incredibly long level. The Wily Machine fights are less than fun, with dodging an incredible amount of Cutting Wheels and in the end using the Mirror Buster, this game's unique weapon, to defeat the evil doctor (which, of course, becomes another sub-series tradition).
Looking back, some of the design decisions are curious: Was it truly necessary to even include the four Robot Masters from Mega Man 2? Why give the player five new weapons with only one level to use them in? Given that this game was developed in 1991, why not give Mega Man the slide and the Mega Buster?
One can only wonder now, but it is likely that the game was developed on a tight schedule and was treated an experiment in what was possible on a platform most wrote off as one more given to puzzlers and simple arcade ports. Overall, Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge is an enjoyable game but has been overshadowed by many of the portable games that came after it. It is a solid but short distraction and a good first effort, but the transition from NES to Game Boy meant a far more difficult game, even if it was a measly six levels.
James is a feature contributor for The Mega Man Network and world traveler. He is currently in a faraway land, but he occasionally sends messages in a bottle. If you require more of his love, he left behind a sentient Tumblr account that updates all on its own.
The views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mega Man Network.
Yesterday, news broke that Nintendo Power magazine will soon be ending its nearly 25-year run as a print magazine, though there is some hope that it may continue as an online presence. When it comes to print magazines, Mega Man could not have asked for a better friend than Nintendo Power. Certainly, other magazines would cover his exploits, maybe even continue to praise some of his games, but few managed to keep it up the way Nintendo Power did. From the early issues' preview and cover story of Mega Man 2 (where he was first dubbed "the Blue Bomber") to putting Mega Man 10 on the cover of the subscriber copy of their 250th issue... if the Mega Man franchise and Nintendo ever crossed paths, Nintendo Power was there to give us the scoop.
So join us as we look back at the legacy of the longstanding relationship between Mega Man and Nintendo Power, through covers and unique art to other features which came up in-between. It's been nearly a quarter of a century for both, and much has been said.
The seventh issue of Nintendo Power, from July/August 1989 (back when it was bi-monthly), was Mega Man's first appearance on the cover of the then in-house publication, but it certainly wouldn't be his last. Check out the awesome clay(?) versions of Mega Man and Dr. Wily engaged in battle.
Prior to this issue, however, there was a four-page preview and a poster, all with original in-house art which lent a cartoony (well, cartoonier) aesthetic to Dr. Wily and his hated foe:
Get a load of the text where Wily is talking to Mega Man on that final page; looks like Fawful may have learned a thing or two about being an eccentric-speaking mad scientist from him.
Mega Man would also appear throughout the Mega Man 2 guide, though strangely enough, only one Robot Master would join him:
On a personal note, these issues were where I first learned to draw Mega Man, along with a number of Skull Castle pics. It wouldn't be until Capcom themselves finally released some decent in-house art in their Mega Man 3 instruction manual that I would learn the "proper" way to draw him; it was like learning all over again.
The following issue woulds spotlight Mega Man 2 in the then-monthly comic, "Howard & Nester":
Yes, we see what Wily is doing in the third-to-last panel; please try to keep it clean.
The next game would bring with it another cover, and some would argue rightfully so. After all, if any Classic series game were to give Mega Man 2 a run for its money as the greatest, it would be Mega Man 3:
As you can see, the staff took a different approach to this one, using a mixture of in-game assets, original art, and-- for some reason-- the same image of Dr. Wily in his Wily Machine which adorned the previous cover, despite it not appearing in the game. And much as the cover differed, so too did the art for the feature:
Just as before, in the issue prior to the one in which the game was covered, they included another fold-out poster showing off the new Robot Masters and Gamma in their new style.
As #20 points out, "many of the pictures NP’s art was based on were not widely published in the US in 1991 (if at all) so the only conclusion left is that the artist was working directly from Capcom’s own materials."
Just as before, the following issue would again feature Nester donning the Blue Bomber's tights:
After Mega Man 3, the Blue Bomber would go on to debut somewhere he wasn't quite so blue-- the Game Boy, an event which not only warranted yet another cover on the 27th issue, but also a return to the full-model style:
And check that out-- this was when the Super NES was gearing up for its release, too!
The coverage itself featured a bit of the box art and a colored version of the Mega Man diagram from when you acquire a weapon, but there wasn't much otherwise-- just some original art of the minor enemies from the game:
An interesting version of Sniper Joe, to be sure. Perhaps he could double for the version featured in The Protomen's songs?
In 1991, Nintendo began producing their own Player's Guides, kicking things off with the multi-title NES Game Atlas. Featuring many big-name titles and series from the NES, Mega Man's first three adventures were included with this art on the lead-in page:
Mega Man would not grace the cover of the magazine again for a while yet, but coverage of each new release remained steady, while the quality of the art would be all over the place. In fact, it was after the above coverage that the series would soon reach an all-time low point within Nintendo Power's pages with Mega Man 4:
Then came Mega Man 2 for the Game Boy, which brought back some decent-to-good original art:
Seemingly out of nowhere, the magazine even made a retro-strategy for the very first Mega Man game, using original art throughout its 42nd volume:
A big turnaround came in volume 44, the January 1993 issue, as Nintendo Power presented a massive three-part, 16-page Mega Man blowout featuring coverage of Mega Man 3 for the Game Boy, Mega Man 5 for the NES, and sandwiched in between? The results of the first-ever Robot Master contest to allow North American participants:
Art such as what you see above (the pro stuff, not the submissions) was sprinkled throughout the coverage, and even included a cool recreation of Mega Man 5's box art. The eight Robot Masters, on the other hand, instead used Capcom's stock art... or art close enough that one could confuse the two, at any rate.
A couple of months later, Nintendo Power volume 46 would take a special look at Capcom. As one might expect, part of that feature included the following look at Mega Man, showing off some rare (to us, anyway) Japanese merchandise and just how many entries the contest received!
Volume 50 in July 1993 would not give us any sweeping coverage, but it did give us an early look at a game which would transform the franchise forever...
...and in all its glory, the fabled "White City" from the early version of the game.
In December 1993's volume 55, there would be coverage of both Mega Man 4 for the Game Boy and Mega Man 6 for the NES, the latter of which very nearly did not come to North America until Nintendo themselves stepped in. The art within for both games was more like what we saw from the Game Boy Mega Man 3/NES Mega Man 5 coverage, with the Mega Man 6 article wrapping up by revealing that Knight Man and Wind Man were the creations of two winners from their Robot Master contest.
Plus, there was also a sneak peek at what awaited next month with Mega Man X, including a look at his upgrades, a poster of Capcom's stock art for the X, Sigma, and the Mavericks, and some screens. Oddly enough, one of those screens showed regular X firing a blast only made possible by the X-Buster upgrade... in the intro stage.
When it came time to cover the game itself, luck was on X's side as his first release coincided with the bonus January 1994 issue. This meant that he got not one, but two covers!
On the left was the special cover, an embossed silver book cover which housed the magazine-- featuring the right-hand cover-- within. Though the one on the right is clearly based on official art, it isn't without its own unique touches; check out the rivets on X's upgraded armor and the hinged robotic fingers.
The art for the feature itself, however, was largely plain; the cover art for the game adorned the first page, with Capcom's stock art for the Mavericks and Sigma spread throughout. They did have some art for some of the Mechaniloids, but that seems to be about it.
In September that year, Mega Man 5 for the Game Boy and Super Game Boy came out, and though it did not get a cover, it did get a strategy review with some of the most unusual, interesting art to date:
You can also see how some of the Stardroids and their minions came out here. They really seemed to be playing the art to the low-color output of the Super Game Boy, perhaps not wanting the actual color designs to show the adapter's capabilities up.
The last Mega Man cover for the next 15 years came with Volume 69 in February the next year, and featured Mega Man X2:
By this point, however, things had changed; though the covers still featured original images, the features did not. Instead, stock art of Mavericks, Mechaniloids, and a couple of pictures of X himself were included. Prior to this issue, however, was-- you guessed it-- a poster, one which did feature some original art based on the cover image of the game.
And so it would go from then on; Mega Man titles would receive coverage, so long as they were on Nintendo platforms, but no covers and only using Capcom stock art. At the time, seeing the original art was great; however, in this age of the internet and books such as the Mega Man Official Complete Works, where we see practically everything from Capcom, it's the original stuff which seems to hold the most charm and value.
In addition to game coverage, Nintendo Power would show Mega Man love in lots of other ways. When Mega Man X was released, they were the ones to distribute those pogs which you might have seen around. The next year, they released a set of eight trading cards with the Mavericks from Mega Man X2, and other randomized trading cards featuring various games in numerous issues after, several of which featured different Mega Man games of the day, complete with some facts about the games on the back.
More recently, Nintendo Power was the one to break the news that the long-awaited Mega Man 9 was on the way, and later Mega Man 10 as well, which would also adorn the cover of the subscriber copies of their 250th issue:
This would be the first Mega Man cover on a Nintendo Power magazine in 15 years, and by the look of things, quite possibly the last.
There would be numerous other articles, features, and tidbits over the years as well. To celebrate Majesco's re-release of Mega Man X on the Super NES, they featured a rather typo-ridden article called "Mega Man: The Deluxe Database," a guide to all of the bosses and weaknesses in the series up to that point.
Upcoming merchandise would be featured and fan art would be showcased, with interviews being given to the Archie staff behind the Mega Man comic on a couple of occasions. "Playbacks" would highlight Mega Man games from days past, while "Star Power" would examine the careers and histories of characters such as Mega Man and, most recently, Zero. And their online polls, especially in recent months, would ask various questions about fans' preferences regarding different aspects of the series, including favorite weapons from given games. And for Mega Man's 20th anniversary, a six-page article featured an interview with producer Takeshi Horinouchi and more.
But what may stick out most in many minds is the exclusive preview of Mega Man Legends 3. Due to the game's cancellation, Chris Hoffman is one of the few-- perhaps only-- people outside of Capcom to have ever played the game. Following the fall of the axe, he would answer fans' questions about the game for fellow Future production GamesRadar.
And that all brings us to today. There may be a few things we missed or skipped over, but as you can see, there was so much to cover.
We don't know the entire story regarding the fate of the magazine yet, such as when its last issue will be; one would expect that they would have celebrated Mega Man's 25th anniversary in some way, and if they manage to last out the rest of the year, we may yet see that. All the same, it's sad for us as Mega Man fans to see such a staunch supporter finally ride off into the sunset.
And if I may speak on a personal note: I have been a follower of Nintendo Power since the beginning, and have formed a collection of nearly every issue made-- twice now, after an incident which saw many of my old issues callously disposed of late last year (I'm still missing a few issues, unfortunately). To me, the magazine is like a part of the soul of Nintendo, and has long felt like the company's last direct (semi-direct, I suppose, after the Future deal) connection with its fans.
Late last year, I finally got to fulfill a dream by writing for Nintendo Power magazine. For me, the opportunity was a pleasure and an honor, and I hope I will have the opportunity-- the privilege-- to write for it once more before all is said and done.
As you can tell, I'm extremely disappointed to see it go, and hope that something may be worked out for a continued existence online. May the Power live on!
After only a week since its North American and European debut, Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge became the top selling game on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console. It's great news for cautious 3DS owners (like myself) who might have been uncertain about purchasing the title, which originally came out for the Game Boy.
We don't have word on the specific sales figures, but it's still rather impressive, knowing that it managed to replace The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX at the number one spot after its reign of several weeks. That's an accomplishment, especially since LoZ:LA DX is a first party game. It's also just good news fpr Mega Man fans in general to see the Game Boy title from about 20 years ago dominate on the 3DS Virtual Console.
Source: Protodude's Rockman Corner
If you tune in to your 3DS's eShop updates today, you'll find something a little Mega Man themed. According to a Nintendo press release, Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge will be hitting the download shop today for $3.99. It also will be arriving in Europe as well, as we previously reported. Dr. Wily's Revenge is perhaps one of the smallest Mega Man titles ever developed, with only six stages, but I still find it a joy to play through and am particularly fond of its renditions of music. It is a bit tough too but definitely one of the ones you can keep playing over and over, despite how small it is. Also Enker is cool. If you haven't had much of an experience with the game before, I recommend it.
Thanks to Matt for the tip!
Japan has got to enjoy Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge since the 3DS eShop launched back in June, but the rest of us have had to wait. But at least Europeans have some confirmation now. A release schedule from Nintendo of Europe pegs Dr. Wily's Revenge as releasing on the eShop's Virtual Console September 15th. I've yet to find any correlating schedule for a North America release, and I don't think there's any pattern surrounding when Europe gets games compared to other regions. At the very least, though, it was trademarked, so it will be coming at some point.
Thanks for the tip, rockman!
Wow, another month go by already? I thought I was setting a pretty manageable pace with one podcast a month, but I'll tell you, these things creep up on you nevertheless. But hey, we're up to episode 10 now! This month the crew is joined by Daniel "Press Start" Wilson, who you might recall won first place in the MML3 PV contest (good job, sir!) but comes on for a different reason. Before getting to that, though, the gang takes a look at Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge in this month's game club. Hopes were that it would be on the 3DS eShop by recording, but that has yet to come about. Oh eShop, why do you love to disappoint us Mega Man fans? Oh well, we talk about the game nevertheless.
However, it's after the break that the podcast is additionally joined by a late Andy and Ash to get into the real meat of the discussion: Mega Man in Super Smash Bros. A new one has been announced coming down the pipeline at some point on Nintendo's newest hardware. What can fans do this time around to try and assure Mega Man's inclusion in the game? And just how would Mega Man perform in it anyway? We're sure you have all your theories and ideas, but listen to OURS first! Be sure to also check out the promotional site Press has started.
Additionally, we have a musical break featuring work by our own Jesse "mainfinger" Gregory, "Bots of Rage," a song up for voting this week in OC Remix's Grand Robot Master Remix Battle. You can check out the competition's main page to get the whole track plus more.
And that's a month's worth of show! Enjoy!
Many thanks to Kevin X. Nelms for the promo image.
Next week will see the launch of the long-awaited eShop for the Nintendo 3DS, and while Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version has been delayed so that its release no long coincides with that of the online store, that doesn't mean there won't be any Blue Bomber fun to be had on launch day. Or perhaps that should be "Black-and-White Bomber?"
Siliconera reports that the Japanese Nintendo website for the service is now up, listing what gamers can expect to see when it launches on June 7th. And alongside such classics as Super Mario Land and Kirby's Dream Land for the Virtual Console, there is Rockman World, perhaps better known to Western fans as Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge.
These will be available for about 400 Yen each, or approximately $4.95 USD, a price which stings a little in light of the $5 price tag on NES Virtual Console games.
Of course, there is always the possibility of not only a different price in other countries, but a different lineup as well, particularly as it seems unlikely we will be seeing releases of Baseball, Avenging Spirit and Downtown Special: Its Kunio’s Period Piece, Assemble Everyone!! out here. But since Nintendo of America does not tend to reveal what releases will be available ahead of time (as Japan frequently does), we can only guess for now.
Siliconera also notes that there will be two releases for "3DSWare:" Mystery P.I.: The Missing Film and 3D Block Breaker, each for 500 Yen, and a trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, which will likely give many people their first opportunity to see the game in 3D for themselves.
As for 3D Classics, of which a release of Mega Man 2 was hinted at, the only ones available to start are the free (until July 31st, anyway) Excitebike and Xevious. Perhaps the Blue Bomber will get his turn in the coming weeks; we'd really like to see Wood Man's stage in 3D.
Update: Wouldn't you know it? Nintendo of America just issued a press release regarding the North American eShop. And guess what isn't on it...
By installing the free update via a wireless broadband Internet connection, Nintendo 3DS users will have access to an Internet browser and the Nintendo eShop, which contains a variety of new content, including Pokédex™ 3D, an application that lets fans see Pokémon™ characters in 3D. To celebrate the grand opening of the Nintendo eShop, Nintendo is offering the NES™ game Excitebike™ re-mastered in 3D as a free download until July 7 for anyone who installs the system update. Upcoming Virtual Console™ content available in the Nintendo eShop includes Game Boy™ games Super Mario Land™, Alleyway™ and Radar Mission™. New content will be added to the Nintendo eShop on Thursdays.
Incidentally, no price is given for these releases.
Update 2: Although Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge may not be a launch title, it is appearing in the ESRB database (albeit currently has no individual entry yet). So you can be assured it's coming. Simply search "mega man" and set the filter to Nintendo 3DS games only.
Of course, those aren't the only things those magazines were packed with. Naturally, the majority of those magazines featured advertisements, and just as one might expect, given the nature of their very theme, many of those ads were for video games.
In fact, in North America, those were by and large the only advertising one would see for Mega Man titles the vast majority of the time, with only a few odd exceptions (namely Mega Man 3, Legends, and the infamous "Blue! Blue! Blue!" set). While not every game received a televised commercial, it seems the vast majority received their spotlight in print.
And today, we bring you a bit of nostalgia with one such advertisement.
Courtesy of Retro Gaming Life comes the following magazine advertisement for the Blue Bomber's first on-the-go Game Boy adventure, Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge:
As you can see, the ad itself is fairly basic, yet effective enough. While it lacks the original artwork seen in ads for other titles such as Mega Man X3, there would certainly be no mistaking what you are looking for as you pore over the shelves of your local retailer in search of this latest release.
Finally, they do an interesting job of enticing those who are already familiar with the Nintendo Entertainment System games into checking it out; the Game Boy games are mostly known for recycling the same enemies and Robot Masters from previous titles found on the big screen (with even the image of Mega Man on the box taken from Mega Man 3, whose characters would not appear on Game Boy until the next installment), but they still tease the appearance of the original Mega Man Killer, Enker.
For any long-time Mega Man fans reading this, have any of you ever been enticed into picking up this, or any of the other games in the series from a print advertisement? Tell us about it in the comments.
"Who are the Mega Man Killers?" That is a question that no doubt some people are asking upon seeing the bosses for the three downloadable (semantics aside) Special Stages Capcom is releasing across all platforms for Mega Man 10. Odds are, as a fan, you might know who they are in passing; you've seen people talking about them on message boards, or perhaps you obtained their corresponding data discs in Mega Man & Bass. Or you might have even seen their entries on our very own wiki.
But fewer people have actually had the pleasure of getting to fight these Blue Bomber assassins, as until now, the original Game Boy had exclusively been their domain. What's more, they typically did not rear their head until the challenging later portions of their respective titles, making them lesser-known enemies among Mega Man fans.
If you are among those who know of the Mega Man Killers, but don't know them particularly well, then our friends over at Press the Buttons have created just the video for you. Mind, there are spoilers here, particularly for the fourth Mega Man Game Boy title:
With this, you should now have a better idea of what you will encounter at the end of each Mega Man 10 special stage, as well as your reward for conquering some of Mega Man's most dedicated foes, those determined enough to be labeled his Killer.