Thoughts on “Street Fighter X Mega Man”

Street-Fighter-X-Mega-ManBecause most people have already played Street Fighter X Mega Man, I thought I might as well give a few comments about the game myself. Released for free download on Capcom-Unity’s web-site on December 17, this fan-game had the full blessing from Capcom and is simultaneously a 25th anniversary title for the Street Fighter and Mega Man franchises. The game is essentially an 8-bit style Mega Man game with characters from Street Fighter titles serving as level bosses instead of Robot Masters.

Because it’s a fan-game, I didn’t really want to give it a full review, because comparing it to other full-fledged Mega Man games really wouldn’t be fair. I also haven’t finished the game (just gotten up to Vega’s stage) and I’m not planning on picking up the game again until I get a gamepad  to play the game with. Anyway, here’s my general thoughts on most aspects and lastly, five reasons you might want or not want to try it out…

  • Gameplay: Ignoring the fact that you’re playing on a keyboard, I’m really happy with the gameplay which not only includes the slide but something I think Mega Man 9 and 10 should have also had, the frickin’ Super Shot!!
  • Graphics & Animation: Pretty darn good. They definitely found that classic NES vibe with levels modeled after Street Fighter arenas. The animation work is also appropriately Mega Man-esque. However, some of the enemies, especially in Blanka, Dhalsim and Rose’s levels don’t look very Mega Man-ish which slightly breaks the style. Over-all though, it’s great stuff.
  • Music: Pretty kick-ass. They’ve sort of mixed the character stage themes with classic Mega Man themes, but the feeling is mostly like Street Fighter themes turned into 8-bit, which sounds awesome.
  • Selection of Street Fighter characters: Speaking mainly of the initial eight characters, they at least broadly covered the main instalments 1-4 as well as the Alpha series with Rose and Rolento. However, the cast is clearly dominated by SF2 characters with Chun Li, Dhalsim and Blanka being some of the initial 8 (and I know for sure Balrog, Vega and Bison to be at the end of the game). By comparison SF1, 3 and 4 are severely under-represented with Ryu being the only SF1 character (and not even exclusive), Urien for SF3 and Viper for SF4 (I don’t even know what her stage theme is supposed to be, though it’s pretty nice). If I could make only one change it would be to drop Urien in favour of Elena for SF3, but at least his stage theme actually fits Mega Man like a glove.
  • Difficulty: It’s pretty erratic, shifting from ridiculously easy (Chun Li) to normal (Ryu) to challenging (Rolento) to mildly annoying (Urien) to flat-out frustrating (Vega). However, many of the levels become easier once you get some master weapons but I hate that for instance Viper’s level is completely impossible to beat without them.

Over-all, I feel this is a game worth playing and it did certain things better than Mega Man 9 or 10, although I would still have preferred a full-on Mega Man title (instead of another 8-bit rehash).

5 Reasons to Play This Game

  1. Excellent and Original Level Designs – I love it that the designers of SFxMM were unafraid to break Mega Man traditions. I especially love Dhalsim’s swirly level which goes all around before finally reaching the exit. The levels show a lot creativity and excellent designs. This is an awesome game to try out.
  2. Master Weapons are actually useful – One thing old-school Mega Man fans like to murmur angrily about is how the Master Weapons have gotten less and less useful with each Mega Man instalment. Here, I would say that using Master Weapons isn’t only required, but actually fun. Many of the levels become a whole lot easier thanks to the Master Weapons, it’s like Mega Man 2 and 3 all over again.
  3. Bosses are challenging but (mostly) fair – All the bosses have fairly consistent patterns which means that you still have a fighting chance even with just your Mega Buster (and a couple of E-Tanks). Some of them can get a little hectic with the keyboard controls (especially Urien), but mostly they are fair.
  4. Nice little touches of NES nostalgia – On top of having some nifty designs, the developers of SFxMM were able to throw in nice nostalgic touches from two completely new designs of Sniper Joe (Red Laser and Samurai) as well as an 8-bit version of the propeller-shooter Mets from Mega Man 7, to something more subtle like the Scrooge McDuck bounce sound-effect used when Rolento bounces around on his night-stick.
  5. Weapon energy fills up on death – One thing you won’t have to worry about in this game is fucking up a boss fight and running out of the Master Weapon s/he’s weak against. This might be a glitch or an intentional design choice (ala Mega Man 8), but I certainly appreciate it.

5 Reasons to Not Play This game

EDIT (Jan 20): Version 2.0 has added a Password System! They’ve also put a warning pop-up to fix the Escape-problem.

  1. There’s no Save or Password feature – This game is the first in the franchise since Mega Man 1 that you’ll have to beat as a single-sitter. I find this to be a rather questionably poor design choice. Okay, maybe a Save Feature was asking a bit too much of a fan game, but no Password system either? Beating the 8 first levels alone takes quite a while, but it’s the later levels where you would really need the practice. What the fuck!?!
  2. Some Levels are too Easy & Later levels are Hell! – Some of the levels are absolute doddles because the game is a little too generous with the power-ups. Best example would be Chun Li’s level, which I beat on one life while trying to intentionally run into enemies to kill myself: I just ran past the whole stage and beat the boss with less than full health. By comparison, the later levels really turn the shit-switch up, especially Vega.
  3. No Rush Items – Sadly, this game goes the Mega Man 8 route by limiting your use of the Rush Jet to one flight segment at the start of Rose’s level. Not that you need it, but I do miss having the Rush Coil at the start of the game.
  4. Going back and forth between screens is inconsistent – SFxMM’s designers couldn’t seem to make up their mind about how they would let Mega Man move between screens, but generally this is how it’s gone down: A.) When the screen auto-scrolls from left to right (or vice versa), you don’t ever go back B.) When the screen scrolls vertically (on a ladder) you can go back. This is the mechanic I’m used to and I get very confused with this game when sometime’s I slide backwards to avoid an enemy and end up auto-scrolling back to the previous screen.
  5. Escape Exits the Game! – Not a bad choice to devote quitting the game to just one button, but the programmers should have included a warning pop-up or something. More than once, I’ve accidentally quit the game by hitting Esc when I actually just wanted to get to the Menu screen (once when I finally got to the Balrog stage). I’ve found that I have to put a piece of paper over the Esc-button, just so I don’t accidentally hit it without thinking.