Originally created 02/05/01

Boy in blue back, but it's just not the same

The Blue Bomber, aka Mega Man, has arrived for the N64. It's an amusing game, but it's not the Mega Man I remember.

In "Mega Man 64," from Capcom, our cerulean hero is looking for a powerful energy source, which lies in ancient ruins buried deep underground. Mega Man's friend, Roll Casket (who thinks up these names?), lost her parents on such a dig, and MM and Roll are following their trail to find out what happened to them - and to locate the long-lost energy cache.

Others in the game you will grow to know and love include the Bonne family, a bunch of pirates who are responsible for setting most of the obstacles in Mega Man's path, and Data, a mechanical monkey who controls the game's Save feature and restores MM's energy level.

Historically, Mega Man has been a platform adventure, with blue boy moving through level after level, picking up weapons to mount on the arms of his sky-blue suit and blasting a creative collection of enemies.

MM64, which is basically a port of a two-year-old PlayStation game, is more of an adventure, with aspects of RPGs thrown in. For instance, the game is divided into Normal and Battle sections.

In Normal areas, the story unfolds as you collect information by talking to people. In Battle areas, you meet and (hopefully) defeat waves of enemies.

One of my favorite Mega Man features has always been the bizarre and creative bosses he must defeat to move on, and MM64 doesn't disappoint. The bosses are big, colorful and tough to kill. Make sure you save the game whenever you can, because you're going to be dead a lot.

Capcom always does a great job designing games, and the latest Mega Man continues that trend. It offers a real challenge, and figuring out how to reach your goal takes concentration, thought and nimble fingers.

Graphics are pretty typical for a Mega Man game, with lots of pastels and limited detail. They didn't make the transition well from the PlayStation version. Give the graphics a B.

Sound is a B, with good voiceovers and clear, sharp effects.

Control gets a C+. Most of Mega Man's actions are easy to summon, but there's one flaw that takes a while to get used to. Using the lock-on aiming feature requires two buttons to operate in addition to the "fire" button. That's a lot of fingers to toast the smaller enemies and it really gets in the way when you're trying to dodge a boss while shooting at the same time.

"Mega Man 64" is not, as you might gather, a perfect game. But if you're a Mega Man fan, and they are legion, give it a try. It's a solid, if not inspired, effort.

"Mega Man 64" is rated E, for all ages.

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