Top 100 NES/Famicom Games List: #8
Arguably the most beloved console of all time, the Nintendo Entertainment System, commonly abbreviated as NES, is now well over 25 years old. With over two thousand games produced worldwide for the legendary hardware, the NES, despite it’s age, has an eternal staying power. As retro gaming continues to grow in popularity, more and more gamers flock to Nintendo’s first home console to get their gaming fix.
Welcome to the final top 10 countdown for my personal picks of the greatest games to grace the NES and Famicom. I will be posting one update per day on my march towards the number one position. This has been a long time coming, and I want to thank you, my readers, for all of your support.
No then, as before, I am ranking every game on its overall difficulty using a simple scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is brain dead easy and 10 is….well, Battletoads. A 5 on this scale means it’s average difficulty with perhaps some challenging elements, but nothing the average gamer should get stuck on for too long.
I’m also including many links to videos and other online information sources. Links are indicated by orange words. Please open these links in a new tab/window so you don’t have to navigate away from this article.
So without further ado, here is entry #8!
It is the year 2013. Dr. Wily has been defeated once again and is living in hiding, bringing the world once again to peace. Proven innocent of wrongdoing, Russian scientist Dr. Cossack now lives in Japan and works alongside with Dr. Light in his efforts to better mankind through the development of robotics.
A few months later, the peace is shattered when suddenly Protoman, Megaman’s mysterious elusive brother appears to be giving commands to several robots attacking the city as Wily bots have done in the past! Protoman has always lived by his own rules, but neither Dr. Light or Megaman could imagine Protoman doing something like this for no reason.
Just before he could send Megaman into action to investigate, Protoman appears at the lab and kidnaps Dr. Light! Clutching his brother’s signature yellow scarf left behind, Megaman insists on stepping into the fray once again to save the city, rescue Dr. Light and discover the mystery behind Protoman’s actions.
Taking the unusual choice of sticking to the NES rather than jumping ship to the SNES, Capcom once again were defying popular expectations that Megaman would make its 16-bit arrival by 1992. Many were skeptical of Megaman 5 right from the get-go since Megaman 4 had been relatively mediocre compared to the first three games. Would Capcom be able to pull a rabbit out of their hat and produce a game that surpassed even Megaman 3? Many felt it was unlikely.
Boy were they wrong. Megaman 5, as it turned out, is an incredible refinement of the previous games and stands as a strong example that not only had Capcom not lost its mojo, but also that the NES still wasn’t a dead system.
Everything that was great about the earlier Megaman titles is back. The visuals are lush with great color pallet choices, detailed animated sprites and more of the varied locales the Megaman series is known for. The music is once again typical Megaman level excellence and the boss designs are once again unique and interesting, unlike some of Megaman 4’s. Dustman, anyone?
The level designs are all all extremely memorable in Megaman 5. In one stage you’ll be inverting your gravity like in Metal Storm. In another stage you’ll be floating upwards on giant bubbles and then riding some kind of jet ski, or running along a speeding train on your way to the engine car. Even the somewhat average stages throw in some interesting twists. For example, Gyroman’s stage ends with an elevator that forces careful dodging of spikes, and Starman’s stage takes advantage of low gravity to allow you to jump nearly the entire height of the screen. The team really had pulled off what I consider to be some of the strongest level designs the NES ever saw.
Although at first glace it may not seem to play any differently from the older titles, the change of the charge shot from a narrow beam to a huge blast is one of the biggest improvements Megaman 5 has going for it. You now fire roughly a 4×4 tile blast that destroys most enemies in a single hit, and it can also deal major damage to nearly every boss. You could argue that overuse of the charge shot Mega Buster makes the game overly easy and ruins the fun of switching to the robot master weapons for situational use, but on the other hand, the charge shot feels so damn good in Megaman 5 that you won’t even care about such things as game balance.
Even without abusing the awesome charge shot, the game still falls towards the easy end of the spectrum. That isn’t to say Megaman 5 isn’t challenging or devoid of replay value though. On the contrary, I feel Megaman 5 is one of the blue bomber’s best outings, not only on the NES but on any console. It’s a bit less common than the other NES Megaman titles and as such, you’ll probably pay a premium for it, but if you enjoy classic Capcom at their best, you can’t go wrong with Megaman 5.
The basic plot for the 1994 American produced Ruby Spears Megaman cartoon series is based roughly on Megaman 5. In the show, the secondary antagonist to Dr. Wily is Protoman, who seems to side with Wily on his own accord rather than being misunderstood or framed. Of the many inconsistencies with the games, the Protoman issue is probably the most pronounced. It’s very likely that the writers of the show had never played through Megaman 5 and thus didn’t know that, spoilers, Protoman is suppose to be a good guy. The show’s influence was such that many casual fans came to assume Protoman was the bad guy and were often confused by his future appearances aiding Megaman.
Finally, take a look at the North American box art for Megaman 5. For whatever reason, I’ve always loved this box art. Megaman has this smug look on his face like he appears to run on air and shooting something, all the while ignoring Gravityman, even going as far to absorb Gravityman’s attack with is hand. I picture Megaman saying “Bitch, please. Don’t you know who you’re dealing with? I’m goddamn Megaman!”
Awesome Japanese commercial for Rockman 5.
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