Thursday, 27 December 2012

REVIEW - Street Fighter X Mega Man (PC)

Street Fighter X Mega Man is a fan made game featuring the blue bomber against the cast of Capcom's classic beat-em-up franchise. It was developed by Singapore native Seow Zong Hui, and once the game was spotted by Capcom it was given their official support. Given away as a FREE PC download, the game is a celebration of both the passing Street Fighter anniversary, and the current birthday of Mega Man himself.

Having defeated all the robot masters Mega Man decides he wants to relax and take some time out, but not before Ryu and the gang decide to challenge him to one last battle. With visuals and music in the style of the original NES games, this new adventure sticks closely to the formula of the first 6 Mega Man titles, but with the addition of a selection of Street Fighter characters. The initial bosses you face are Ryu, Dhalsim, Urien, Rolento, Blanka, Rose, C Viper and Chun Li. Each stage is set in that particular character's style, e.g. Chun Li's stage has a traditional Chinese setting and Blanka's has a jungle backdrop, and is accompanied by a chiptune remix of their background music. The boss awaits you at the end of the stage where you must defeat them in order to obtain their particular special move, such as Hadoukens and lightning kicks.

Unfortunately the game is let down by the level design level design, with the stages feeling under developed and quite easy to race through, something the Mega Man series is certainly not known for. The boss fights are a lot more challenging however, and you will need to fight them in the right order to succeed, just as you had to in the original series. As an indie game made by a fan it is impressive how close it comes to be an authentic Mega Man game, but while it may look the part SFXMM just doesn't feel like the classic NES games. It is also not a patch on the truly excellent Mega Man 9 & 10 which were released as (pay for) downloadable titles on XBLA and Wiiware in 2008 and 2012 respectively

Before you ask, yes I am a fan of the Nintendo originals, I have Mega Man 1 – 5 on cartridge and still dust them off for a quick blast now and then. As a fan it saddens me more to see Mega Man given such a half hearted anniversary celebration. He was one of the main Nintendo characters back in the 80's and early 90's and it seems a travesty that his 25 years in the business are celebrated with a fan made game that Capcom have merely associated their name with. Mario, Kirby, and Zelda all receive huge birthday blow-outs for their anniversaries, yet poor Mega Man simply has to make do with a quickly written card and a handshake.

It may sound harsh to complain about something that is free, but everything has to be evaluated on its entertainment value and artistic merits rather than monetary value. As a free Flash game Street Fighter X Mega Man would be a nice little diversion, but as a 25th year celebration of the Blue Bomber's legacy it is a pretty poor show.

While some will say this is Capcom finally showing the Mega Man fans some love, it must be remembered that this game was developed by fans, Capcom merely gave it the official thumbs up so they could release it for free. Still, it is nice that they are embracing a fan made game rather than rushing to the lawyers. To be honest I still haven't forgiven them for their shameless on-disc DLC shenanigans with Street Fighter X Tekken, or the atrocious Resident Evil 6, so giving me a free game made by someone else won't win me over, but it is an entertaining way to spend an hour or so. After all, who wouldn't find it amusing to fight a pixelated 8-bit Blanka as Mega Man?

The game does act as a nice stop gap while we wait for the forthcoming Mega Man 1 – 6 collection that will be appearing on the Nintendo 3DS in 2013. Now that is definitely something to get excited about! But before that materialises, I suggest you dust off your old NES cartridges, or buy the newer Mega Man 9 & 10 chapters if you haven't already.

Street Fighter X Mega Man is out now and can be downloaded free from Capcom's site, here.

The Good:

  • Authentic look and sound of NES Mega Man games
  • Street Fighter characters are implemented well
  • Free

The Bad:

  • Bland level design
  • Game doesn't feel authentic
  • Stages too easy yet bosses extremely hard
  • No more than a novelty Flash style game