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Mega Man & Bass

Review By:  Tikerman

Developer:  Capcom
Publisher:  Capcom
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Action
ESRB:  Everyone
Accessories:  N/A
Date Posted:  8-12-03

When I wrote the preview for preview for Mega Man & Bass, back in February, I expressed two basic feelings; one, excitement over the long-awaited arrival of Mega Man & Bass (previously known as Rockman & Forte) in America, and secondly one of slight pessimism over the probability of updates and upgrades from the Super Nintendo version that came out (only in Japan) in 1998. Well, much to my surprise, Capcom did indeed subtly upgrade Mega Man & Bass for its new GBA release. Of course, this only matters to those who have played the Japanese SNES version.

For those who have not played it, Mega Man & Bass plays, expectantly, like the many other Mega Man games. However, Capcom has not completely rehashed the old formula once again, and Mega Man & Bass is in many fresh and new. The first and most obvious thing long-time Blue Bomber fans will notice that is different from the previous games is the availability of a new character, Bass. Bass (that’s pronounced “base” like the guitar), who arrived on the Mega Man scene in Mega Man 7 (SNES), is actually the arch-nemesis of our beloved hero Mega Man. But Bass is out to prove himself as Mega Man's better, and to defeat King, his master Dr. Wily’s latest creation.

Two other fun and interesting additions to the formula are bolts and CDs. While bolts first appeared in Mega Man 7, they make a triumphant comeback in Mega Man & Bass. Collecting bolts from defeated enemies gives you a currency with which to purchase a plethora of upgrade and gizmos to enhance Mega Man and Bass’ abilities. From shock absorbers to armor, from energy boosts to super-useful sidekick pets, Auto the robot is always willing to power you up, as long as you’ve got the bolts. Also, there are 100 CDs hidden throughout the many levels, each containing a card of a character from Mega Man games. They feature an artist rendition, a cheesy bio, a cheesy quote, and cheesy info on each.

As Mega Man games so often do, Mega Man & Bass offers a large variety of fun and challenging areas. The addition of a new character adds a new level to the various enemies and their lairs. While Mega Man’s Mega Buster can charge up to unleash a powerful blast, Bass=s issues rapid fire. While Mega Man’s goes through walls and terrain, Bass’ can be directed up and diagonal. And, while Bass can dash to go faster and length to his jumps, Mega Man can slide into tight spots. Bass can also do a double jump, to increase his reach.

While it seems Bass’ abilities are superior to Mega Man’s, it can be surprising who has the advantage in the various levels. In many cases, Mega Man will have an easier time. It is very interesting to see which character can be better. And, although after selecting a player at the beginning of the game, one must keep with that character throughout, playing them side-by-side on two separate files can be an interesting experience. There are also other less obvious or well-noted differences that even the playing field. For example, Mega Man can run while shooting, whereas Bass must stand still while shooting.

As an overall, action is definitely a plus. You must guide Mega Man or Bass through the side-scrolling platform levels, destroying enemies with your plasma buster (or any of the special weapons you may have acquired). The expansive levels can be difficult, or very easy, with a wide range. Players must battle 8 bosses, in any order of their choosing (among bosses available at any given time), and capture the power of that boss. As with any Mega Man game, there is a certain strategy in deciphering the proper order of bosses such that upon gaining a weapon, you move on to the boss that is most vulnerable to that weapon.

Music is also a plus. Capcom is well renowned for the musical selections that accompany the Mega Man games, most notably wicked lixx that play during each boss’ intro preceding each level. The music works well with the setting of each level, and is always a delight to listen to. The graphics that accompany are also positive. While not stretching the boundaries of the GBA’s graphical ability, like perhaps Golden Sun 2, Mega Man & Bass offers standard SNES quality graphics that make Mega Man & Bass a pleasure to look at.

There are also a few negatives. Plot and dialogue are almost nonexistent, although any Mega Man fan should be well used to it. Despite the few new items, Mega Man & Bass still subscribes to the same old formula utilized in the...how many is it now? Bajillion? We’ll just say, many previous Mega Man games. However, these things aside, Mega Man & Bass is definitely worthy of purchase.

Highs:

  • Great action
  • Double trouble: Mega Man and Bass both playable
  • CDs offer fun and challenging treasure hunt
  • Music is good

Lows:

  • Originality
  • Plot

Final Verdict:

Although Mega Man & Bass doesn’t break any molds, or move worlds with ingenuity, it is definitely a solid, fun game. It offers a considerable times worth of fun and challenge, and is definitely worth a buy for Mega Man fans, worth consideration for the average, but probably not for you if you’re totally burnt out on Mega Man and can’t stand another facsimile.

Overall Score: 7.5

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