Megaman is one of my favorite video game franchises of all time and is one of the games that got me into video games in general when I was a kid. Over the past couple decades, there have been several spin-offs to the franchise but few of them hold a candle to the original games.
The original series came back into the spot light a couple years ago when Capcom released Megaman 9 for download on the three major consoles. It was a hit as it went back to the old 8-bit style of gaming and brought lots of fresh new level designs to the series along with lots of new features.
Megaman 10 continued this but sadly wasn’t nearly as good as MM9. Capcom has since canned ideas for future Megaman games such as a Megaman MMO and Megaman Legends 3 much to the disappointment of fans. But Megaman still makes cameos in games such as Project X Zone and the upcoming Super Smash Bros 4. Many die-hard fans have taken things into their own hands by making ROM hacks and original Megaman games of their own. The internet is filled with fan-made Megaman games.
One that got a lot of attention was Street Fighter X Megaman which was actually licensed by Capcom for download in honor of the Megaman and Street Fighter 25th anniversary. I even did a review for it but I have found a fan-made title that far surpasses SSXMM. Enter Megaman Unlimited: a completely original title from the team at megaphilx.com. This game is what Megaman 10 should have been, is one of the best Megaman games I’ve played since Megaman 3, and is a title that deserved to get noticed.
STORY & GAMEPLAY:
After a couple years of peace, some robots made by Dr. Wily suddenly attack the city. Dr. Wily is confronted by Dr. Light and Megaman but he claims that this is not his doing and asks to aid Light in finding out what is causing them to run amuck, because nothing can go wrong with trusting your oldest enemy. While trying to figure out what is going on, Dr. Wily is suddenly kidnapped. Can Megaman to save Dr. Wily from a mysterious enemy?
Yeah… Megaman games have never really been known for excelling at story. If you’ve ever played a Megaman game before, you pretty much know what’s coming and won’t really be surprised by the plot. The only real surprise might be the last boss but I’ll get to that later. The story is average as far as Megaman games but on par with MM9 and 10. However, if you’re playing classic style Megaman games for the story, you’re doing it wrong.
The gameplay is and has always been the heart of these games and what makes them great. This is where Unlimited rocks.
First it should be noted that the all the levels, enemies, and music is original. There a couple returning enemies from the original games in this but they all have nice new twists. The game is in the classic 8-bit style and plays much like NES titles did. The game controls like Megaman 3 as in there is no charge shot but you can slide. Also I highly recommend playing this game with an actual controller. Playing with the keyboard is an option but games like this require precise and quick reflexes that a keyboard just can’t give you.
The controls are tight and easy to master. Any MM veteran will feel right at home. The one controller issue I have is how sliding his handled. Traditionally, you press down and the jump button to slide, however, on occasion I found myself jumping inside of sliding when I pressed this combination. This can lead to some sticky situations. There is the option to dedicate a button solely to sliding but I prefer the old fashioned way.
The level designs and robot masters are awesome.
The levels are well designed, challenging, and a lot of fun to play through. They all have their own gimmicks and themes that make each stage feel unique such as the glue floors on Glue Man’s stage or the space station setting of Comet Woman’s stage. Some of the levels are longer than seen in previous NES titles as this game is not bound by a cartridge. This did cause some problems with stage check points being stretched too far, making dying late in the stage very punishing considering how far back you’d have to restart but with the newest version of the game, that has been fixed for the most part. There are four letters that are hidden in four of the robot master’s stages that spell out YOKU. When you collect all four, you unlock the ninth robot master: Yoku Man! If you’re a fan of the disappearing block gimmick present in most Megaman titles then you’ll just LOVE this stage (obvious sarcasm). The very last boss might be disappointing to some as it’s not a true boss fight. I won’t spoil who it is but I’ll just say that you can’t win.
The game features a save system instead of passwords making it easy to pick up where you left off and you will be needing to save often. However, the only way to save during the fortress stages is to run out of lives. It would be nice to be able to save after completing a level rather than having to die. Megaman Unlimited is a very challenging game and is definitely made with Megaman veterans in mind. If you’re a causal gamer or have never played a Megaman game before, you’re in for some frustration. The game does have an easy mode for those who find the original game too difficult. It helps a lot to those who might be new to old school platformers. It does make some parts maybe a little too easy but still retains a good amount of challenge over all. For those who are true masochists, there is the insta-death mode where one hit will kill you! Yeah, no thanks. While this can be a very difficult game, it is also learnable. The old school way of try and try again method is present in this game and I’m glad.
GRAPHICS & SOUND:
Unlimited is presented with classic 8-bit graphics like the NES titles and it looks great. The levels are all beautifully colored and have fully animated backgrounds. I really like the neon lights of the runway and city of Jet Man’s stage and the flashing colors of Rainbow Man’s stage. The robot master’s themselves look awesome as well, with the exception of Glue Man who is kind of plan looking. Most of the enemies are of original design and are nicely detailed and creative.
The music is just amazing. Megaman games have been well known for having amazing soundtracks, even back in the 8-bit days, and Unlimited is no exception.
The MegaPhilX team did a great job in making catchy and remember-able tunes for this game. I really liked Trinitro Man and Jet Man’s themes. I think I will be downloading the soundtrack actually. I’d love to hear some covers and remixes of these songs in the near future.
Overall, Megaman Unlimited is probably the best fan made Megaman game I have ever played. It stands tall with the original Capcom games. I would love to see Capcom look into this title and maybe look into making it downloadable for consoles. Doubt it would happen but a neat idea. Oh by the way, the game is completely free. Its degree of difficulty makes it hard to recommend for gamers who are inexperienced at old school games but this is a must play for hardcore Megaman fans. Thanks for reading and feel free to check out MegaPhilX.com to download the game. Feel free to donate a little money their way for the hard work they put into this title. They deserve it.
- Great original level design, bosses, and enemies
- Excellent gameplay, graphics, and music
- Being able to save after completing Wily levels would be nice
- Sliding messes up from time to time
- Difficulty doesn’t make this for everyone