Last week’s set of releases was a mixed bag, with some releases worth checking out and others you could take or leave, and the DSiWare having the most releases. This week’s batch looks to be more of the same. First up, a familiar blue mascot who’s been quite prolific in terms of games he’s starred in…
D.J. Tatsujin: In my experience, a lot of people seem to like to trash Mega Man 4, typically pointing it out as the origin of the series’ downfall on the NES. When it comes to my personal opinion, though, Mega Man 4 is my second-favorite NES Mega Man, only behind part two. The fourth installment brought challenge back to the game as I thought Mega Man 3 was painfully easy, seeing as it was the only Mega Man title I was ever able to beat within one two-day rental as a child (you can kill the final boss with one hit for crying out loud). Mega Man 4 also offered more robust firepower with the Mega Buster, secret items, new villains and this entry started introducing some of the more cheesy robot masters, which always makes me smile. The level design and massive castle-based bosses were extremely well done and every aspect of the game’s technical design was as top-notch as one would expect from Capcom at the time.
Of course, yes, by the fourth installment, many elements in the game were definitely old hat and most items began to seem like they were just borrowed from other games. If you’re a fan of Mega Man, though, sometimes you just can’t get enough of a good thing. Five bucks is a steal for any Mega Man title if you don’t already have the cart and you’ll get plenty of solid platforming gameplay and challenge for the price. On the other hand, if you already have a Mega Man title and weren’t sold on the premise, Mega Man 4 is more of the same and won’t satisfy you.
Sean Madson: As much as I enjoyed the game, Mega Man 4 is where the series begins its downhill journey. Sure, it introduces the chargeable Mega Buster which has been used in practically every Mega Man game since then. But outside of this one small innovation, the rest of the development just seems a bit derivative and lazy. I mean, Pharoah Man? Really?
This is still an excellent game though, and if you’ve been collecting all of the Mega Man titles on the Virtual Console, there’s no reason to stop now. However, if you still have a Gamecube controller in your home, like a Wavebird for example, it may be more cost effective to pick up the Mega Man Anniversary Collection. You get Mega Man 1-8 as well as two arcade ports and you could probably find it online or at Gamestop for less than $20.
It was another single release week on the WiiWare service with Bang Attack for 500 Wii points/$5, which is a version of the old “match same objects to make them disappear” puzzle game that entails hitting objects with a hammer so that the remaining objects fall into place and disappear. At $5 I’m not sure I can give it a hearty recommendation since you could probably find similar games online for free, but if you’ve got the points to burn, you could do worse.
The DSiWare service saw more activity with five releases (including three more Game & Watch games), all except one priced at 200 DSi points/$2. myPostcards is an application that lets you take pictures and customize them into postcards, which doesn’t seem particularly useful (especially considering the quality of the DSi’s camera), but if that’s your thing then it at least won’t impact your wallet much. Game & Watch: Flagman is basically a game of memory wherein you watch which flags are raised, then raise them in the same order. Game & Watch: Ball involves juggling balls by moving the juggler’s arms to catch them before they fall. Game & Watch: Donkey Kong Jr. is likely the most recognizable of the bunch wherein you guide Donkey Kong Jr. to the key for the cage his father is being held in while avoiding hazards along the way. Lastly, SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL, a game first released on mobile phones and allows you to vicariously live the life of a high school boy trying to become popular and woo his girl of choice. It’s also the outlier in terms of price at 800 DSi points/$8. Considering this can be had on mobiles for a fraction of the price ($2.99), you should probably stick to your cell phone if you want to play this.
There you have it for this week: one VC release, a simple puzzle game on the Wiiware service, and another trip down memory lane with Game & Watch along with an application with limited utility and a game more cheaply obtainable on mobiles on the DSiWare. Happy downloading, and tune in next week for our rundown of another group of Nintendo downloadables.