Version Reviewed: 1.0
Graphics / Sound [rating:3.5/5]
Game Controls [rating:2/5]
iPhone Integration [rating:2/5]
User Interface [rating:2/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:3/5]
Mega Man is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic figures in video game history. The series has lost its luster recently with some sad Mega Man sequels (did anyone but me play the dreadful Mega Man 64?), but everyone still remembers the original games that were oh so good. Before the amazing classic game library on the Wii came out, I knew people who bought classic systems just to play old Mega Man games. Seeing this game on the iPhone instantly brings me back to the glory days of using Game Genie and still having a hard time with the game (was I that bad when I was little?). My fondest memory of the game is the sheer difficulty of the levels. It would take me countless continues just to clear a stage, and each one was oh so gratifying.
My biggest fear when picking up Mega Man was definitely the controls. I figured that they would be passable, but the sheer difficulty of the game made me think that passable wouldn't be good enough. Oddly enough, the difficulty of the game is a problem only because the game is too easy. Where on the Game Boy Metal Man's stage is frustratingly hard, on the iPhone it's a piece of cake. I'd say that I am somewhat of a skilled game player, but Mega Man on the iPhone makes me feel like a gaming god. On try #1, and this isn't an exaggeration, I beat all eight levels and got to Dr. Wily's castle, which normally required a day of tears and at least 5 minutes deciding on whether or not to use my Game Genie. The iPhone version of this game was so easy, and this is sad, that I beat all 8 bosses without changing my gun once... no power-ups were used at all until Wily's castle where I had to use Item 3 to get over a big rock.
On top of the fact that the game is easy, the controls are indeed extremely problematic. The problem with the controls stem from the fact that the game is played in vertical mode, not landscape, which makes the joystick and buttons very close to one another. The joystick is placed in a way that when I move to the right, which is the primary direction in the game, I can't hit the shoot button. After many failed attempts at trying new ways to position my hands, I came to the conclusion that the best way to solve the problem was to just stop, shoot, and get hit a bunch (maybe the game is incredibly easy to make up for the fact that you can't run and shoot at the same time). An easy way for Capcom to solve this would be to implement a landscape mode, which would give your thumb plenty of room to wonder around the joystick. Hopefully an update will come in the near future.
[caption id="attachment_7501" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Dr. Wily\'s castle in under an hour... is that some kind of record?"]
[/caption]Another weird issue I ran into was that the levels all seemed short. Maybe my memory is serving me poorly, but I had some expectation that each and every level was a long, grueling, but satisfying experience. Getting to the bosses lair in every level should feel like the last mile of a marathon, not the finish line of a 100 yd. dash. I have a feeling, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that Capcom cut the levels short to play into the apparent ADD nature of iPhone gamers. I wish developers would realize that the iPhone has the potential to be a legitimate gaming platform, and that there are iPhone gamers out there longing for a 20-30 hour Final Fantasy type game. Sorry about the rant, I just felt that someone had to say it.
The problem I have with giving Mega Man a bad review is that it is Mega Man. The core of the game is still the same old Mega Man that you grew up with, only the game is much easier, the controls are tough, and the levels seem much shorter. Even with all of the shortcomings, this flawed Mega Man game still provided me with more enjoyment than I got with the majority (but not all!) of my free games, but at $4.99, recommending it is a stretch. My honest advise would be to pass on this one unless you are just a classic gaming junky who will want the game out of principle. For an average Joe, or Joe the Plumber if you will, the game just isn't good enough to spend money on. Wait for a few updates... my guess is that they will come in the extremely near future. Hopefully the problems will be fixed before they decide to port Mega Man 3, which is definitely my favorite game in the series.