Harder isn't always better
Mega Man 4 is the fourth entry in the Mega Man series. As the first 3 were all incredibly good and fun games, the expectations for Mega Man 4 were high.
What is really noticeable is that the graphics got a total overhaul. The backgrounds looks more detailed as ever, and the enemies looks more metallic than they did in the first 3 games. Mega Man himself hasn't changed at all, but he didn't really need to.
You also get a decent intro with cool graphics. I like that Capcom did put some effort in the storyline for the first time, as you don't fight Dr Wily, but another mad scientist Dr Cossak this time, and there is a major plot twist toward the end of the game.
A nice element is the addition of the mega-buster, you can hold the B button to charge an attack and release a powerful plasma shot. A good addition is that they added a few secrets, there is an alternate path at one point late in the game and two hidden weapons.
The bad news is that Capcom just didn't make the cut to the high expectations for this game. As good as the first 3 games were, you can't go right on every try, and Capcom just screwed up this game.
Almost all robot master's stages are simply very annoying and very hard to pass, full of annoying enemies and stupid one-hit-death traps. Most enemies attack you in a very stupid and very annoying pattern. When you got hurt in the first 3 games only a few dashes went off (you get 28 dashes so that leaves you with about 7-14 hits depending on the enemies). Now enemies can kill you in 4-6 hits, AND they'll be very hard to avoid. Hopefully you can get lucky and they'll often drop energy when their dead.
Not only that, but enemies also takes a lot more hits to be defeated, probably Capcom assumed you used your Mega Buster a lot but it's slow to charge up and makes an annoying sound effect.
I forgot to mention that the games tends to slow down and flicker A LOT much more than any other Mega Man before. Okay 3 slows down and flickers a lot when two of those "track mettaurs" were around, but for Mega Man 4 it just does that a lot more frequently when there is lot of enemies on the screen which happens often.
Another annoyance is bosses. In Mega Man 1-3 you could beat them in pretty much any order if you're skilled enough you didn't need their weakness to defeat them. Okay, I admit Elec Man from MM1 and Shadow Man from MM3 are very hard to beat without their respective weakness, I couldn't do it. But overall you were free to chose the order in which you beat bosses.
For MM4, you can go in Toad Man's stage which is beatable and beat him which is really easy. But then you're pretty much screwed up : You have to go and try all other robot master's stages which are all very hard to bass by and try many times until you make it alive to a boss' room. When you enter you figure out how ridiculously fast and unpredictable they are, and some of them can removes up to 7 dashes per hit, effectively killing you in 4 hits !! It's not likely you can hit him with more than about 2 shots before they kill you, but... they take 28 shots to die.
So if you are going to fight a boss, you just have to try all weapons you have (initially only Toad Man's since it's the only easy boss) and see if it takes a lot of damage to them then it's their weakness so you have a little chance to beat them. But if you're not that skilled you may fail and you won't have any mana left for the next try so you'll just have to commit suicide until you try again.
So you see the picture, you basically have to beat Toad Man, go trough the trouble of going trough all stages until you can find who is weak again the rain flush, be defeated by him a lot of times and go trough his stage a lot of times until you can eventually beat him, then repeat the story to find who is weak against your new weapon... This is very annoying after a while.
Now when it comes to the final stages they are just ridiculously hard, without abusing emulator save states you'd have to be VERY skilled to beat the bosses. The last boss is the most ridiculous one, the screen is entirely black, and you don't see it so good luck without cheating.
For the worst point of the game it's without a doubt it's music. As awesome as Mega Man 1, 2 and 3 music was it can be surprising, but Mega Man 4's music is so annoying, it almost sounds like the composer did enters any random numbers in the computers and played them as music. Okay, Skull Man's theme is decent but that's only ONE song, and the others are really horrible. The music on the password screen is so bad it makes me wants to kill myself.
Last but not least, unlike Mega Man 1&2, but like Mega Man 3, the weapons that the Robot masters drops aren't very useful and doesn't help you much except for bosses.
The Bottom Line
The first 3 Mega Man are absolutely incredible with amazing upbeat music, fantastic gameplay, cool weapons and perfect difficulty (okay MM2 is a bit easy but there is a hard more available).
Too bad Mega Man 4 completely breaks this trend. Yes it has better graphics, and added the Mega Buster and some secrets. But its bad music, annoying enemies and instant death traps, long stages and ridiculously high difficulty will turn down even the fans.
Without a doubt it's the worst MM game of the original "classic" series, probably the hardest too. Now it's not *that* bad compared to any random NES platformer out there, it's just really lame compared to other Mega Mans. Thanks god Capcom learns from errors and will correct the shot for future Mega Man games.