One day, Capcom decided that it was high-time to endorse a fan-project, and release it as an official Mega Man release for free on the PC.
Wait, what? That’s all sorts of crazy, right? Well, it happened, and here’s how it went.
Street Fighter X Mega Man looks and plays just like a classic Mega Man title (and 9/10, of course). You’re still fighting eight [robot] masters, utilizing weaknesses and your trusty Mega Buster, and going through a series of Wily-like levels.
Stages range from laughably easy (and unfinished, to be honest), to unique. Viper’s stage for instance, introduces some awesome concepts (controllable elevators) that basically haven’t been seen before in Classic Mega Man.
Levels like Blanka’s are incredibly generic, and Dhalsim is a combination of the two — it just feels rushed. No Sagat in the final stage set is also head scratching, as it’s clearly going for a Street Fighter II finale theme.
There’s also no ability to call or use Rush (outside of one scripted event in Rose’s level), leaving you at the mercy of the T. Hazzard weapon (which functions like Mega Man 8‘s Mega Ball). It takes away from the characterization of the game a bit, considering Mega Man hasn’t been without Rush since Mega Man 2 (and even then, he had similar functioning items).
There are a number of oversights that keep this from being as polished as past games. First off, there’s absolutely no save system — not even a password system. Also, E-Tanks don’t respawn — in one particular area, this is beyond frustrating.
For every frustrating element though, there’s something new that rears its head and makes the game that much more endearing. The secret boss, the ability to get a “PERFECT” during boss fights (which is a nice nod), Dan’s assistance in demonstrating special abilities; they all help contribute to a game that feels decidedly old and new.
Gameplay wise, SF X Mega Man basically runs just how you’d expect it to. It plays like a retro game, and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary aside from the tweaked Charged Buster.
There are going to be pinpoint jumps, intense boss battles, and basically everything you’re accustomed to in a Mega Man game. SF X Mega Man does have controller support, and it’s extremely easy to set up (just plug it in beforehand, and you can map your controls to just about any gamepad available).
Speaking of the boss fights, they’re the absolute highlight of the package. With the exception of two, all of them feel lighting fast, and incredibly satisfying. The bosses themselves will take some getting used to, as they’re nearly all aggressive — Vega stands out in particular as one of the best Mega Man boss battles of all time, in fact.
Boss animations are also plentiful, and well done. Even though the game’s levels could have used some tweaking, I wouldn’t do much to change the boss encounters in the slightest — they’re that good. After each death, all weapon power is returned, which should make more casual fans pretty happy.
As we all know, music is a huge part of a Mega Man game, and this package partially delivers. A number of the themes are mixed tunes featuring classic Mega Man games and Street Fighter themes, but only a portion of them are recognizable.
While the weaker half of the soundtrack isn’t bad, per se, I kind of wish it was as pronounced as the other half, as there could have been something truly special here — perhaps some more effort on Capcom’s part would have produced a more memorable soundtrack.
All in all, Street Fighter X Mega Man is a noble effort. Although a number of levels could use a lot of tweaks, and it feels unpolished at times, you really can’t go wrong with playing it, as it has a ton of heart. I wouldn’t put it above the contemporary classic Mega Man 9, but it’s a much more solid effort than the soulless Mega Man 10.
With a few upgrades and an XBLA/PSN release, this could be something truly special.
This review is based on a digital copy of Street Fighter X Mega Man for the PC.