There are many games that we played back in our childhood that made growing up awesome. I grew up playing games like Contra, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a whole lot of other games on an NES clone (an actual NES back in the day was quite expensive). In my years of playing on it, I liked the platformers the best, because they had the most replayability, and were especially fun if you had friends over, each one desperately awaiting for their turn to play. That was how I came across Mega Man, or if you follow the manga, Rock Man. I played the first two games, with everyone taking turns to play till one could actually manage to defeat the boss – it was a blast. Megaman has come a long way since then, with tons of sequels as well as spinoffs. How good is Megaman 11 as a sequel? Let’s find out!
Megaman 11 is a platformer developed and published by CAPCOM. The game released on October 2,2018 for the Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the PC.
The game is playable only in singleplayer mode. This feels like a huge letdown, as a coop brawling mode where players brawl out with any of the several Megaman powers till one player survives, would have been a really good addition to the game, and extend replayability by quite a bit.
Story and Narrative
Megaman returns in this sequel to protect the world from the cunning Dr. Wily and one of his newfangled inventions – the Double Gear system. Eight specialized robots are taken over during a routine maintenance session in Dr. Light’s Lab by Dr. Wily, who decides to take revenge on him for opposing the use of the Double Gear system. That’s when Megaman comes into the scene, decides to defeat Dr. Wily and stop him from whatever crazy new idea of world domination he has. The story and the progression in the game seem oddly similar to the previous games, and does very little to add something extra for innovation. You go through a number of ‘Robot Masters’, unique robots with special abilities, and then get through to Dr. Wily in his palace before destroying him and his research forever (or just long enough for another sequel to be made).
The Double Gear system
Wily’s Double Gear system is the big addition to the game, which changes gameplay dramatically. The Double Gear system enables you to go become super powerful, or super fast with the Power Gear and the Speed Gear respectively. Throughout the game, you’ll find the Speed Gear a huge boon, as it slows down all the objects in the world for a limited period of time, allowing to get through tough sections easily which would otherwise have taken quite a while till the perfect hand-eye coordination allows you to get through. Too many enemies on a screen? Blast them with powered shots after enabling the Power Gear! Dr Wily’s new invention may put too much stress on a robot’s circuits, but it sure helps the players get through levels (A real player would make it through without using the gears, though, ‘git gud, noob!’) without having to worry about getting stuck at any point. The introduction of the Double Gear system reduces the learning curve, making it more accessible.
The levels are uniquely designed to test you in numerous ways, and this is even more apparent due to the addition of the Double Gear system. Making your way through some sections can take the perfect timing (including a well timed activation of the Speed Gear). While the levels don’t feel as difficult as any of the previous Mega Man titles, that is solely because of the introduction of the Double Gear system which takes down the difficulty by a notch. The robot master levels are designed based on the special power of the robot man in question – hence some preparations, like equipping Spike Boots in the level for Tundra Man, always goes handy. Some sections, like the construction ramparts in the stage for Impact Man, where you have to dodge moving drilloids, a moving assembly in the stage for Block Man where you find your way through crevices and walls, away from a spinning wall of death, and a dark, unlit camping area where the only source of light is from robotic moths – destroy them, and the entire screen goes dark.
There will be occasional stages which are relatively easy to traverse, which feel quite boring after making your way through a section with the perfect timing. They provide the much needed break before you take on your next challenge – which might be a puzzle, a mini-boss, or the boss itself!
You need to make your way through all the robot masters before going for Wily’s castle where Wily’s waiting for you. The robot masters are highly specialized in their functions, as are the environments you encounter on your way to defeating all of them. All bosses have a particular pattern of attack, which needs to be avoided while you attack them with beams of supercharged energy. Needless to say the gears make this much easier than they seem, since the Speed Gear allows you to move out of the way of projectiles, and the Power Gear allows you to send powered shots that drain their health bar faster. Some bosses are easier to defeat than others, and even easier when you acquire some of the special powers. I personally see this as a deterrent, as it actually makes the game unfun (nothing like a good grind to finish off the boss and actually bag some bragging rights). A point of fair warning, be ready for some button mashing in Wily’s castle, since the bosses there are tougher than the robot masters.
On your way to the boss, you’ll come across a few mini bosses, designed to suit in with the theme of the level. The mini bosses are pretty easy to beat, and even more so with the Power Gear and the special powers acquired from defeated robot masters.
If we’re talking about the weapons, then some weapons seem better optimized than others especially in certain situations. On the other hand, some weapons are better designed overall, as compared to others. My favorites were the Scrambling Thunder, which sends shockwaves through the surface, destroying every enemy on the surface, the Tundra Storm, which generates a snowstorm vertically, destroying everything possible (which is even more powerful if the Power Gear is activated, wiping all enemies on the screen) and the Block Dropper, which lets you drop a number of bricks, making traversal much easier.
In order to get a weapon, Megaman needs to defeat one of the robot masters and absorb their abilities. One of the biggest changes is that you can switch powers on the go, and don’t need to change it manually from the menu.
Also, you get to test your weapons to see how they work out! (Yup, Dr. Light’s simulation works wonders).
Dr. Light’s Lab
This deserved a special mention, as this is where you equip all upgrades as well as stock up on consumables like lives, weapon and energy tanks, or Eddie and Beat calls. Yup, Eddie and Beat have the same purpose as they did in the last two Megaman titles – Eddie brings Megaman a random item or powerup when called, while Beat saves Megaman when he falls into a pit, by carrying him out of there. Stocking up on Beat calls is a sensible idea, as there are certain stages where a small misstep means falling into a pit. Eddie calls are not really good investments, particularly because the upgrade given is ‘random’, and not something you have control over. Upgrades provide numerous advantages, so its always wise to invest in them for the long run, particularly before some stages, or before you enter Wily’s castle. In my playthrough, I had purchased all the upgrades, going for them over consumables (except quite a few Beat calls).
The best upgrade would be the Rush Jet, which you acquire after beating any four robot masters. The Rush Jet allows you to reach otherwise unreachable areas in a stage. Note that while the game does not make any mention of it, Rush is available to Megaman from the beginning of the game, allowing the Rush Coil to be used. The Rush Coil also allows you to reach unreachable areas, but sadly does not offer the same flexibility as the Rush Jet does, especially in difficult stages where you can skip puzzles directly. The only other way to skip puzzles is with the Pile Driver power, where Megaman dashes through the air for a short distance, acquired by defeating Impact Man.
Once you complete the story once, you unlock the ‘Challenges’ section, which has a lot of different challenges for you to play through and complete. Completion of a challenge in a set amount of time grants medals. Perhaps the best thing to do after beating the story would be to chase those gold medals, till you get all of them! My favorite challenges were the Balloon Rush and the Dr. Light’s Trials challenges, which seemed oddly innovative enough to extend gameplay for quite some time after you defeat Dr. Wily.
Music and Sounds
The game’s music stands out in sharp contrast to the tunes of the legacy Megaman games, yet surprisingly manages to capture the mind. Perhaps the best tune would be the end-of-level track, which plays when Megaman acquires the power of a robot master. Also, Megaman’s new voice sounds pretty cool!
Graphics and Optimization
When it comes to graphics, the game manages to deliver perfectly. High definition models of enemies looks particularly gorgeous. The environment (and background) design is on point too. It is evident that the game tries to leave its roots as a legacy platformer and implement the flashy, cool stuff to bring in more players.
The game was test on the following specifications :-
CPU : AMD Ryzen R5 2600
GPU : GTX 660
RAM : 16GB DDR4
The game run flawlessly without any frame drops, and there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable bugs and glitches either.
The game’s flashy art style as well an overall decrease in the level of difficulty as compared to the previous games may not go down well with the die-hard fans of Megaman, but it’s the perfect game for anyone wanting to jump into the franchise and explore what Megaman is all about