Unranked: Mega Man V

Mega Man V
Nintendo Entertainment System

I did not actually play Mega Man V until the Legacy Collection came out. As I have discussed before, Mega Man III left me with a bad taste in my mouth, I now like the game a lot more, so I quickly lost interest in newer Mega Man games. I would see IV and V in stores and think to myself, “oh, they are still making those games?” I did not even really know Mega Man VI existed until the late nineties.

Mega Man V has a couple of interesting ideas in it in various levels like upside down platforming and implementing watercraft. However, in general a lot of this does not work very well. The game is very laggy, has imperfect play control, and some poor game design choices.

So, the plot of Mega Man V goes something like this: Proto Man, definitely Proto Man, definitely not an impostor, seriously this is an obvious a fake as that time Barry Windham tried to impersonate Sting, kidnaps Dr. Light. Mega Man sets out to find out what is going on, and it turns out that the fake Proto Man is one of Dr Wily’s new robot masters. Mega Man defeats Dr. Wily with Proto Man saving him at the end before leaving again.

This is like a Speed Racer and Racer X thing at this point. Proto Man even looks like Racer X in a way.

Okay it might be a stretch.

The January 1993 issue of Nintendo Power covered Mega Man V. It was not on the cover, which was reserved for a Mickey Mouse game. Nintendo Power does their normally exhaustive coverage of each Robot Master and their level plus sections of Dr. Wily’s stage. This is definitely during the transitional time as focus shifts to the Super Nintendo, so it is a bit shorter than it would have been for, say, Mega Man II, but still pretty detailed. I referenced the magazine a few times while playing the game.

An interesting note about Mega Man V is that a contest was held in conjunction with Nintendo Power to name the Robot Masters in the game. The names are okay, but the concept is starting to see some pretty repeated concepts from earlier games, which would continue in Mega Man VI. Gravity Man is pretty cool for sure. I like Napalm Man because he reminds of the English hardcore band Napalm Death. Their “Scum” album is essential listening material.

In general, the music in Mega Man V is not that great but there are a few standout tracks.

I played Mega Man V via the Legacy Collection on the PS4. As I said earlier, I am not a huge fan of this game. There are a few interesting concepts Mega Man V tries out, but generally I am not into it.

I keep mentioning this about different games, but a key difference I am seeing in NES games is how jumping mechanics are implemented. Jumps in Mega Man V are very, very, heavy. This becomes a problem throughout the game.

Individually, a few levels stand out. Mostly this is expressed in negative ways. Star Man reminds me a lot of Bubble Man, which is cool. I love the challenge of trying to jump accurately in very tight stops with spikes. I do think this is a bit repetitive, but a difficult boss fight makes the level pretty satisfying. This was supposed to be the “easy stage,” according to the guide I was using. Uh, not really.

I think the most interesting level in the game is, by far, Gravity Man. I love being able to, once I got the hang of it, walk upside down through the level. I wish this idea were utilized more often in side scrolling platformers. The green background does block out some of the arrows needed to traverse the level, which is frustrating.

The most frustrating level in the game for me was Wave Man. This is a poorly designed level. It is hard to even move through some parts because of how enemies are placed. No matter what I do, I ended up with very little health left around the middle part of this level because there is no way to avoid them. That is not “difficult,” it is just something that makes the game not fun. The boat Mega Man has to use is an interesting idea, but it does not jump well. Maybe it is the emulation on the Mega Man Collection, but enemies seem to move a lot faster over the water than it is possible to react.

In general, this is not that great of a game. I can see why I skipped it back then. The levels frustrate me and, eventually, I just gave up.


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