“POW! POW! POW! BRRRREEEEM! FWASH!!” Do you hear that? No, of course you don’t. Print doesn’t make sounds. But if it did, these sounds would be music to long-time Capcom fans’ ears. These are a sample of the sound effects heard in Mega Man & Bass, the latest Mega Man game for the Game Boy Advance.
Not since the early days of Play Station 1 have we seen the original Mega Man (a.k.a. The Blue Bomber) in a side-scrolling adventure. So why the sudden reversion from the 3D Mega Man Legends games to the old 2D look? Because this year marks The Blue Bomber’s 15th anniversary. A decade and a half ago, Capcom released a primitive, side-scrolling adventure simply titled Mega Man (Rock Man in Japan). It starred an impy robot who blasted his way through various stages with the help of his now patented Mega Buster and eventually met up with intimidating robot bosses, whose names would become increasingly weirder over the years.
First off, let me say that with the exception of collectable art gallery CDs and the option to play as Bass (who has slightly different abilities than Mega Man), Mega Man & Bass presents absolutely nothing that devoted fans haven’t already seen a million times.
The evil Dr. Wily is nowhere to be found and the world is peaceful…again. But before long, an evil robot called the Robot King comes along and steals Dr. Wily’s robot creation data in hopes of creating a supreme race of robots that will rule the world. Of course, it’s up to robot rivals Mega Man and Bass to save the day.
Mega Man and Bass is actually a port of Rock Man & Forte, a game that was released way back when on the Super Famicom (Japanese Super Nintendo) and never made it stateside. As such, the visuals and sound of Mega Man and Bass greatly resemble that of Mega Man 7, the last Blue Bomber game released for Super Nintendo in the U.S. It’s also not just a coincidence that an old-school Mega Man game would be released during his 15th anniversary. When Mega Man & Bass was originally released, the rock-paper-scissors-style gameplay was still being incorporated.
If you’re the type of Mega Man fan who has played every single installment so far, watched the horrible cartoon show and sleeps in Roll pajamas, you’ll be in a state of bliss the moment you pop the cartridge into your Game Boy Advance. Mega Man & Bass’s formulaic gameplay translates to pure, old-school fun for you. For casual Mega Man fans, Mega Man & Bass’s monotony and “been there, done that” feel will understandably bore you to death. It just goes to show you how some videogames evolve very little even as they spawn dozens of sequels.