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SummaryA short, difficult, but okay start to a Game Boy career.
The GoodThe level design rewards usage of different weapons. The audio stays true to the NES original with good music. A simple password system makes it easy to resume playthroughs at other times.
The BadThe difficulty level can be frustrating at the start. There is a lack of story elements.
The Bottom LineMega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge is a side-scrolling action/platform game released in 1990 for the original Game Boy. The game is not a port of any of the classic Mega Man games. However, it does borrow heavily from the original Mega Man and Mega Man 2.
There is no story... At least, that’s what the game makes you believe due to there not being an intro. Back in the old days of gaming, there were some titles that only had their plots detailed in the manual. This was not a big deal if you happened to get a new copy, but it hurt the experience if you got your copy second-hand. Essentially, it’s the same story you can find in most of the Classic series installments. After the events of the original Mega Man, Dr. Wily returns to try to take over the world again. To do this, he brings back a number of robot masters from Mega Man and Mega Man 2. However, he has also built a new robot named Enker in order to destroy Mega Man. Unfortunately, there isn’t much character development when it comes to Enker. He just appears as an extra boss during a boss gauntlet at the end of the game.
This game almost comes across as an abridged version of the original Mega Man. Rather than fighting all six of the robot masters, you only fight four of them (Cut Man, Ice Man, Fire Man, and Elec Man). While their stage layouts do resemble their NES counterparts, the levels integrate elements from Mega Man 2. For instance, the cloud platform enemy from Air Man’s stage makes an appearance in Elec Man’s stage. Cut Man’s stage has moving conveyor belts similar to those in Metal Man’s stage. However, what is arguably the most noticeable deviation from the standard Mega Man formula is the boss gauntlet. Up until now, the boss gauntlets towards the end of the games have consisted of rematches with all of the Robot Masters you’ve already fought in their respective games. This game changes it up a bit by having you take on four of the Mega Man 2 bosses, each of which provides you with a weapon when defeated. It can be a bit irritating to have to learn new strategies, but the design choice does help prevent the battles from feeling redundant. Also, there’s one last complete stage after the gauntlet that allows for you to take advantage of the new abilities. The levels in this game have a dose of old-school difficulty mixed in, so this game is more for hardcore players and may not appeal to people looking for casual gameplay. There are jumps in which you have to clear a pit but also avoid hitting a platform that’s directly above you. Health pick-ups are limited and there are no energy tanks. A few stages feature a number of sections with disappearing blocks and sometimes air currents on top of that. Depending on which stage you start with, this game can seem brutal at first with the amount of enemies and hazards thrown at you simultaneously in conjunction with the shortage of health pick-ups. However, it’s when you start testing the special weapons in different scenarios that things become much more reasonable. A robot is jumping towards you intermittently with seemingly no way to dodge it? Use one of the weapons at the right time and it becomes a non-issue. A gun turret is too low to the ground to hit with your default blaster? Switch to a weapon that damages adversaries on the ground. The levels are designed in such a way that changing up your use of abilities is often rewarded. As per Mega Man tradition, there is a password system and it’s easy to use. A grid will be shown with certain spaces filled in by a circle. There are only five “coordinates” (ie. A1, A2, etc.) per password, so jotting them down is simple.
The soundtrack for this game is mostly good. The music in the Robot Master stages is faithfully recreated from its NES counterpart and is still pleasant to hear despite the reduced audio quality. The original tracks aren’t anything to write home about, but they’re not bad, either.
The graphics are passable. Mega Man’s and enemies’ sprites look like they do in the NES games (minus the color). Stages have sufficient backgrounds and textures for determining if you’re in a base, an arctic cave, a tower, etc. Fire Man’s stage has an alternating color effect with a fire texture to give the illusion of flowing lava. Some sprite flickering occurs when certain weapons are used, but it doesn’t detract from the game much.
There isn’t that much to encourage repeated playthroughs for this game. You can change the order in which you tackle the Robot Master stages, but there are no collectibles to find or secrets to uncover. Personally, there was nothing that compelled me to play the game again after I cleared it once.
In terms of Mega Man’s first outing on a handheld system, this game is alright. The level design encourages use of various special weapons. It is consistently tough, but short enough (six stages) to not overstay its welcome. At the same time, though, there isn’t quite enough original content to really set it apart from other entries in the Classic saga. Most of it comes across as a combination of the first two NES titles. If there was a somewhat more fleshed out story for Enker, it may have helped make things interesting. Unfortunately, there is no intro or cutscenes to allow for that. Therefore, I would say that this game is an above average start to Mega Man’s Game Boy career, but not something you should go out of your way to buy.