Mega Man 5, NES

1992‘s Mega Man 5 on the Famicom/NES starts with a jaunty tune and a comic book style intro, and then after that it’s back to more of the same platform shooting.

This time Mega Man is up against Stone Man, Gravity Man, Crystal Man, Charge Man, Napalm Man, Wave Man, Star Man, and Gyro Man.

Mega Man 5 took some criticism at the time for “not having any kind of innovative gameplay or storytelling”, which is not a fair criticism because Mega Man 5 does contain some radical new ideas in places. Take – for example – Gravity Man’s levels. In which you can reverse gravity and switch between walking on the ceiling and walking on the floor. Nothing like that had been seen in the Mega Man games before. And the new mechanic works really well, although it does make for an extremely tough challenge. There are other surprises and enhancements too. Mega Man‘s gun charges up over more degrees of power this time, with a wider-ranging blast at full power. This ‘full power’ blast is required to get through some sections of the game (when you’re running against the boring machines in the Napalm Man tunnels, for example). There are gas jets; pipes you can travel inside; water flow that pushes you off platforms; there’s even an outer space level with low gravity… All those who said that Mega Man 5 didn’t innovate are just plain wrong.

Mega Man 5 is still an excellent game. It’s challenging, and the graphics and sound are top notch for a Famicom game. The parallax scrolling (different layers moving at different speeds to give the illusion of depth) is particularly good. As are the crystal levels. The only down side is the sprite tearing, but that’s a limitation of the machine not the game. Mega Man 5 has the best presentation out of all the Famicom Mega Man games, in my humble opinion.

Note: this wasn’t the last Mega Man game on the Famicom/NES. That was Mega Man 6.

More: Mega Man 5 on Wikipedia

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