Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mega Man 7 (1995)

Genre: Platformer | Players: 1 | Developer: Capcom

This is pretty much going to cement that I have a hard-on for SNES-era Mega Man. No, I’m not counting Soccer -_-  When the classic series FINALLY debuted in the 16-bit arena, the Blue Bomber hit it out of the park with his first and (sadly) last at bat (in the NA region).

The sprites grew to monstrous sizes, the backgrounds vividly brought each level to life, and a greater emphasis was placed on searching for upgrades and secrets. Sure, you could buy all of them in the shop, but why spend bolts on things you can get for free if you’re a thorough enough player? You can save your money for the extra lives needed to tackle Wily IMMEDIATELY after the boss rush. I don’t much appreciate marathon battles (I’m looking at you 1) but I persevered here because I just like this entry THAT much.

There are a few elemental bosses, but one has a neat design, one’s a transformer, and one is an incredibly cool customer with an involved pattern you will love to chase him through once you’ve figured it out. Beyond that we’ve got a vampire, an improvised munitions specialist, Wolverine and.....a pile of junk and a walking spring.....

Shut up, they’re cool.

A new antagonist and his dog debut here and are able to combine just as you were in 6. To counter this, you again don Rush as armor allowing flight and rocket punching action. Honestly, ancillary Mega Man characters outside of Protoman don’t do much for me, but he’s here too so who am I to complain? He’s even got a special upgrade for you.

It sucks pretty hard that this was the only classic game on the SNES (in NA) and even more that both series lost a lot aesthetically and gameplay-wise for me when they jumped into the Playstation era. As such, for me, this stands alone as a special entry that feels packed to the brim with great ideas and a satisfying sense of completeness.

Buyer's Guide: Originally on the SNES, but don't you dare spend over $100 to get the cart. Mega Man Anniversary Collection: PS2, PS4, Xbox, Xbox One, GameCube, Switch, you know the drill by now~

4 Energy Tanks are Barely Enough out of 5

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mega Man X3 (1996)

Genre: Platformer | Players: 1 | Developer: Capcom/ Minakuchi Engineering

We’re going to springboard from the few pros to the associated cons. Ikuze.

Some of the Maverick choices are clever (specifically crawfish and seahorse), but we all knew a hercules beetle was inevitable after Kuwanger. Their arsenal isn’t overly inspired or effectively utilized in the requisite collect-a-thon, though. There’s much more to discover than in the first two games, but accessing most of it isn’t very satisfying. The one fully useful upgrade shows where everything is located and this would be great if you were challenged once you found the right areas. Instead, you’re often left drilling walls or busting them open with the new, summonable ride armors. Worst, too many of the items are just sitting in the open  -_-

There are three extra Mavericks that can be run off or completely destroyed for different outcomes, and while the challenge rooms for two of them are directly in the main path of each level this isn’t as inconvenient as it could be. If you fail enough, they’ll sometimes not show up, out of mercy. While that dick move was side-stepped, there are about 3 blind jumps into spikes. Thanks guys. 

The game’s ultimate weapon hinges on how you handle that third maverick. Sadly, this weapon is almost mandatory given the hitbox of the final boss. This brings up a large contention with this series moving forward: upgrades can now actively hinder you. With the buster upgrade, you fire two charged shots and they can combine. However, 99% of the time you want to fire normal, fully charged shots, on the fly. This upgrade makes it so your first shot is smaller and slower. Further, the upward dash is a great idea, but is often picky on which input it wants to follow in the heat of the moment. You want to go horizontal? You might go up, and vice versa.

As a final quibble, the music has discrete looping points where it actually stops momentarily. This has gotten me hurt because I associate the ceasing of the music with the defeat of an enemy. Think the mini-boss is dead? Nope, someone just utterly failed at Looping 101.

This game still has the trappings of the first game (it even has stage changes based on the order you defeat Mavericks!) and is playable, but it's ultimately dominated by problems that would only grow worse as the series went on.

Buyer's Guide: Originally available on SNES and later the PS1, Saturn, and PC. The 32-bit iterations have additional animated cutscenes and it is this version that was ported to the PC and included in the Mega Man X Collection on PS2, PS4, Game Cube, and Switch. Don't go looking for the original cart. It's obscenely expensive.

2 Cheese Pizzas Hidden by Assholes out of 5