Mega Man 6 was released towards the end of the NES’s developmental lifespan. The Mega Man series was coming to an end of an era, with future releases taking a different direction (Mega Man X, for example). There were cohesive follow-ups to this line of the series, but Mega Man was never quite the same once it left the NES platform.
Mega Man 6 was essentially an extension of its predecessors, especially Mega Man 5. The overall gameplay experience was familiar, except with new levels and bosses (even in that respect it’s somewhat familiar). The game was equally as challenging as any in the series, and if anything it was harder than Mega Man 5. Those who shelled out their hard-earned cash to buy this game were treated to a game packed to its rafters. Beating the 8 Robot Masters was only half the battle, with many fortress battles to follow.
In essence, that’s why the game is so challenging. Some of the Robot Master stages contain alternate routes, and depending on which route you take you can obtain BEAT parts. Beat isn’t especially useful in my opinion, but if you’re obsessive about getting everything in the game then you need to take the harder route to the boss. Once you rub out the Robot Masters, the fortress battles begin. There are two stages to the fortress battles, each containing 4 – 5 stages and encounters. The last level involves knocking out each of the Robot Masters again so you don’t want to be caught short on energy tanks or you could have a really tough time. It’s a good idea to remember what weapon is most effective against each Robot Master (because you gain each of their abilities when you first defeat them). If you’re like me and you can’t be bothered with such things, then either write it down or print out a walkthrough in advance.
One of the things that seemed a bit unnecessary was the Rush and Mega Man fusion sequence. Every time you went to use one of the Rush powers (which was frequent, I might add), there was a little auto-sequence that depicted the fusion. Fortunately the sequence was skip-able, but it still seemed redundant to play it over and over.
The gameplay is simple and classic; one button for jumping and one button for shooting. The B button can be held to charge up your shot, and you can dash (slide) by holding down the down button on the D-pad while pushing the A button. This is nothing new to seasoned Mega Man players, but these abilities were not available to the player in the original Mega Man. Capcom usually made some attempt at gameplay innovation with each release, but there isn’t really anything new to speak of in Mega Man 6. The game does have a fair bit of content, however, and the Plant Man (the springs), Flame Man (the oil) and Centaur Man (the inverted wave pool) stages are formidable attempts at innovation and are fun to play.
Mega Man 6 looks fairly impressive for a NES game, although it should be noted that the SNES was already out by the time this game was released. Mega Man 6 is an otherwise ordinary 8-bit NES game.
Sound & Music
Although the primitive beeps-and-bloops may be less than appealing, Mega Man was a series with consistently good music, and Mega Man 6 was no exception. Sadly there aren’t any memorable themes, but the music still shines and helps to create a fun gaming experience.
The sound effects are classic Mega Man, and for the sake of familiarity there would be no point in changing them. That’s what I think, at least. Regardless, the sound effects are adequate auditory cues for the player.
For me this was a fun game to play in my spare time. The Blizzard Man and Plant Man stages did cause me some grief, and some of the fortress levels were also challenging, but not impossible. The re-encounter with the 8 Robot Masters towards the end of the game was classic Mega Man, and seemed fitting (if difficult) for the last in the NES series. The game was essentially a rehash of the previous 5 Mega Man games, but that doesn’t mean that it was any less satisfying. It’s definitely worth a play.