When I reviewed Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile, I found a game that had, considering the wide array of complex actions it let you perform, superb controls. Unfortunately the levels were all boring and nothing ever began to approach being fun as I all too easily plowed my way through it. Now I know IGN liked that game, so I have to wonder if I was being too hard on it. Was I overly spoiled by having my earliest Cell Phone gaming experiences include Hudson's very good original title Bonk's Return and Sega's respectable port (considering the platform) of Sonic the Hedgehog from the Sega Genesis? After I tried Mega Man II for the Cell phone on IGN's recommendation, I have to say that it's definitely not me with a problem. Their cell phone game reviewer is in fact quite insane.
||System: Cellphone||Released: 2007
|Developer: Capcom Mobile||Publisher: Capcom Mobile
|Genre: Platformer||Players: 1
|Airtime Requirements: No||Reviewer: Clovis Dye
(NOTE: The following review was done with a Samsung A870 Cell phone, but the game is available for a wide range of models.)
When I at first turned on this game all seemed well, little did I know that I had already stepped into the middle of a trap worthy of the Vietnam conflict. Sure it started out all roses and fond memories, the classic intro sequence and song started playing, relaying to me the story so far, in perfect nostalgic fashion. Shortly there after I was at the title screen with Mega Man standing dramatically on the building as the famous theme song dramatically blared forth. Then I started the game, choosing the easy setting, and immediately as the bullets began to whiz by overhead it quickly became very clear that I was not where I thought I was.
I had stepped into this battle field expecting controls that took some accustoming to, but what I got were a series of lazy illogical choices far worse than imaginable (all of which I know can, and have, been done better on other cell phone titles). You have the obvious ability to go left and right with both the left and right on the direction pad and the 4 and 6 keys as well as the ability to fire Mega Man's gun with the 5 and okay key. This is what I expected, this part works. What I was not expecting at all, in comparison to my previous cell phone platforming game experiences, was how the rest of the controls worked.
Pushing 1, 2, and 3 all function as the jump option. However, the duration you hold the button has no effect at all. Mega Man will always jump the maximum height possible (unless you push down on the directional pad, and this took me a long time to figure out). Push 1 or 3 and Mega Man will execute a perfect rainbow jump to the left or right (a rainbow jump is one where the character jumps as high and as far as possible). Both of these options have little value for you. If you push 2 then Mega Man will jump straight up as high as possible, and you can control his left or right movement while he jumps with the left and right movement controls. Because of this you can easily control how far left or right you jump, but not how high. Sonic the Hedgehog, Bonk's Return, and Ratchet & Clank all determined jump height by how long I held the button. So why must I push down on the directional pad here to stop upward ascension? It's an unnecessary addition to the jumping process that greatly complicates it all.
Just flat out forget defensive jumping to avoid being shot, you are going to get hit repeatedly during this trap you've stepped into thanks to your pathetic jump elevation controls. Yet amazingly, to further my Vietnam trap analogy, despite the fact you've walked into a trap with a gun that doesn't work according to the instruction manual, you'll be doing far better than you might at first expect. See, you're not really in the deadly levels of Mega Man II, but actually a cheap facsimile that only looks like it at first glance. Where as Mega Man II was designed to be a pinnacle of the NES days when making Kitten Rape Simulators was considered an art form (a Kitten Rape Simulator is a video game that prides itself on being extremely difficult as it's key feature), much of this port was programmed incorrectly (possibly to make up for the retarded jump controls). What at first seems to be pixel perfect port (minus frames of enemy animation in some cases) quickly reveals itself to be anything but.
Any background element that was animated in the original game is now static (and I again know it's possible to do otherwise from experience). This includes stuff that was not just visual fluff, but stuff that was actually part of the game. Platforms in Heat-Man's stage are now always on, they no longer fade in and out of existence making the level an unbelievable breeze to go through. The giant dogs in Wood-Man's level can be walked through while you're flickering making them entirely by-passable with just a modicum of damage received and no fighting necessary (and Mega Man sure as hell seems to flicker for a very long time in this port when hurt). The collapsing platforms early on in Bubble-Man's stage don't collapse when you land on them. Further still, the ground in nintendo-Man's stage isn't the least bit slippery. And to top of the destruction of visual nostalgia, the boss doors don't open when you walk up to them (you instead walk through them, as if phasing through them because they never rise, without the famous floating effect).
Worse yet, at least on my cell phone, the screen resolution means that less of the level is visible at a given time than in the original. While this can cause some problems in Quick-Man's stage with the annoying barrier lasers, it's mostly a situation in your favor. The problem is that in the boss rooms, which now have left right scrolling as they no longer fit the entire screen all at once, create a situation where you can get the boss on one extreme side of the room and you on the other. Suddenly the boss, with you out of sight, forgets that you were ever there to begin with and you can now pelt them from afar without fear of reprisal. So apparently while you've stepped into a Vietnam trap with a gun that doesn't work right, you've suddenly realized this isn't a Vietnamese trap as you normally recognize one as what they're throwing at you aren't grenades but rather instead delicious pieces of cake. Odds are, you're actually in an episode of the Twilight Zone that Rod Serling devised while under the influence.
But like all episodes of the Twilight Zone, there is one last bitter bite to everything present. As much as you would logically want it to, compared to other platforming games released on the Cell Phone that have buttons perform intelligent context sensitive double duty, the 2 key does not actually cause Mega Man to climb a ladder. The only way to do that is to press up on the directional pad (thus jumping to a ladder requires a finger on both the number keys and d-pad). Even if Crash-Man is largely regarded to be pathetic, this makes the first two screens of his stage far more potent that they ever were before (as well as some parts of Wily's castle). Oh yes, and the legendary Metal Blade now only goes in four directions making it worthless at protecting you while ladder climbing and platform riding in Crash-Man's aforementioned stage. In this bizarre Cell Phone realm the worthless Crash-Man finally gets the last laugh, or at least until he instantly dies when you shoot him with Air-Man's weapon (some things never change).
And now for me to close out by pouring some salt on the open wound I've already ripped this pathetic port. Although it doesn't matter much since your don't normally need to change weapons very often, the button to bring up the weapon select screen only seems to work when it feels like it. Next, when you go to Wily's Castle you don't get an image map, just a text list of levels (especially odd since the boss selection screen is still around for the first part of the game). Furthermore, while all the songs are present, whoever made the recordings for this game screwed up and instead of having them loop correctly, the recordings have the fade out effect at the end (and then the song loops, resulting in a very jarring effect).
Lastly, in my list of things to pour salt because of, this game first gives you a splash image when you boot it up, just before going to the intro sequence, that lets you know this game is celebrating Mega Man's 20th birthday. I guess Phil Ken Sebben must be leading up Capcom these days because as far as Birthday Gifts go, this is about as respectful as the time he wrongly sent Harvey Birdman to jail for 5 years (when he was 35) as a gag for the 40th birthday party he sprung on him at the end of it all Dante, if this is how Capcom celebrates birthdays, then I hate to tell you this but when you turn 20 the Devil Won't Be Crying (he'll be laughing hysterically at you as you sob in tears as they run you through a wringer far worse than DMC-2).
At this point this review is already far too long, and yet I've only covered half of what's wrong with this game. In all honesty, I'd rather be playing Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile over this.
I have no choice but to give this sin against nature 1 No Longer 8-Directional Metal Blade out of 5.
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Image credits: Capcom Mobile