( / NES)

Mega Man 4 ( / NES)

Game Review

Mega Man 4 Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

A bit weak, but still a good game

With both Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 ranking among the best NES games ever made, many people were quite excited when Capcom announced a fourth entry in the series back in 1991. After all, if they managed to make it even better, it would be pretty much near perfection! Sadly, it didn't quite turn out as people hoped.

Set a year after the events of the third game, Mega Man receives a threat from a new villain, the Russian scientist Dr. Cossack. He's heard of Mega Man's escapades and as such wants to destroy him so that nothing stands in his way to world domination. To this end he takes a lesson from Dr. Wily and designs eight new Robot Masters to fight for him. To call these strange would be an understatement as they're easily the most unusual batch the entire series has to offer.

Although opinions are of course divided on this, most fans think little to none of this game's bosses are truly great; Dive Man, Skull Man and Drill Man come close, but the likes of Toad Man (who will never attack if you keep firing) and Dust Man (who literally "sucks") frequently rank among the top of "Worst Robot Masters Ever Made" lists. There's also Ring Man, Pharaoh Man and Bright Man, who generally seem to fall somewhere in between.

As always, at the beginning of the game, you're presented with a level select screen, where you can choose to tackle any of the game's Robot Masters, each of which has their own stage. For beating one of them, you'll get to use their weapon, which just so happens to be the weakness of a different one – figuring out the entire cycle will let you beat all of them with ease.

From this game onward, Capcom decided to get a little more inventive with the stages – each has at least one unique, defining obstacle. For example, in Dust Man's stage you'll have to deal with a ceiling that falls and rises while blasting through rubble in your way. In Toad Man's stage you'll have to be wary of heavy rain and sewer water that moves you back, and in Ring Man's stage you'll have to traverse platforms that give way shortly after stepping on them. Two of the levels also have secret paths that lead to bonus items – while not necessary to beat the game, they're a nice little extra.

After defeating all Robot Masters, Mega Man is able to advance on Dr. Cossack's citadel, comprised of the usual four final stages. Or are they? After clearing them all, there's a little twist (which isn't exactly an unexpected one), after which you'll have to go through a second castle, containing four more stages. This formula continued for two more games, but has since then mysteriously vanished.

The slide from Mega Man 3 returns, but there's also a new addition to Mega Man's arsenal. This is the first game in which Mega Man has the Mega Buster, rather than his standard arm cannon, allowing him to charge shots and unleash them for more damage than usual. The designers arguably went a bit overboard with this, though – enemies seem to have much more health than those in previous games, which means that you're almost forced to use charged shots, unless you want to set yourself up for a hit trying to nail them with an obscene amount of regular shots.

The graphics are about on par with the rest of the 8-bit series, although some new effects (like Toad Man's rain) look pretty nice. The music is the single most often criticized aspect of the entire game, though; it all sounds really grating, and almost every track seems to use nearly the exact same instruments. There's still a few standout tunes in there (the music for the final Cossack stages rivals the famous Wily stage 1 theme from Mega Man 2 in some people's eyes), but if you're expecting anything near the level of the last two games you might want to prepare for the worst. The sound effects can also be really annoying, with the shot charging sound resonating through your ears and the sound of a boss's life bar filling up completely drowning out the boss music!

Conclusion

Mega Man 4 is easily the most disputed classic Mega Man title. Some claim it to be the absolute worst in the series due to the (mostly) boring bosses, disappointing music, the new Mega Buster and the slightly less simple stages. However, others think it's still a great title, with Keiji Inafune, Mega Man's creator, even considering it one of the best! Let's just keep it at this: if you're simply up for more of the usual Mega Man action, Mega Man 4 offers it, but if you want something to rival the greatness of 2 and 3, you might walk away disappointed.

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User Comments (59)

CorbsAdmin

#1

Corbs said:

I still consider Mega Man 5 my favorite of the 8-bit series, but this one's a close second. Maybe nostalgia plays a role in that, but I still get a kick out of the stage designs of this game.

TheLonelyGamer

#2

TheLonelyGamer said:

I'd have to say MM4 is the toughest NES Mega Man game out of the 6.
Also, MM4 is when the NES Mega Man games went downhill, as the music wasn't as great as the others, the Robot Masters weren't as cool too.
Though, I think the score is a tad low IMO. I would give MM4 a 8/10.

pixelman

#3

pixelman said:

Might give this a whirl when it hits over here. How's the difficulty compared to MM2/MM10 (both on Normal difficulty)?

Edit: Ah, thanks TLG.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#4

Philip_J_Reed said:

This is the last classic series game I played when it was new. I remember liking it...but not really feeling compelled to play it over and over again like I was with 2 (and, to a lesser extent, 1 and 3). Definitely want this, though. And I really hope we get 5, 6 and 7 as well, as I want to give them a proper, non keyboard-based go too.

accc

#5

accc said:

This is worth at least an 8 if not a 9 imo, it may be weak for a Mega Man game but it still beats the crap out of 99% of the NES library!

Donatello

#7

Donatello said:

It's still better than MM5 and MM6(especially)
With me, growing up I've always been devided on MM3 and MM4...In ways I prefer MM4 because of the more colorful and vibrant stages, and seriously, MM3 had some of thee' worse robot masters. Snake, Spark and Shadow may of been great, but the rest were awful. Hard man and Needle man especially.

MM4 does have a few bland stages, Skull, Pharoa, Dust and Drill come to mind, the rest are solid. And music wise, Dr. Kosacks Stage 2 theme, and the Boss theme are fantastic. MM4 is underrated if you ask me, while MM3 is a tad' overrated. MM2 and MM9 are the shniz and nothing hasn't topped them for me thus far :D MM10 is right up there as well, I even prefered it over 3.

This is how I see it regarding the Nes MM games....But i seriously need to play MM5 and MM6 again, it's been a while, but even back then I wasn't a big fan of those 2. They lacked the Mega Man spirit, regarding the Music and overall feel. MM6 especially was so bloody bland and uninspired it was sickening...It easily had the worst set of robot masters, level design and music of the franchise. Although I dug Plant man's stage. But i do have fond memories of playing and beating MM5 and my best friends house back in the day, and there was some good to be had in it, even if it did lack that Mega Man feel. I really liked Gyro man's stage along with Gravity man's

MM1 - 7/10
MM2 - 10/10
MM3 - 7/10
MM4 - 7/10
MM5 - 6/10
MM6- 5/10
MM9 - 10/10
MM10 - 8/10

Megaman256

#8

Megaman256 said:

Megaman 2 is still my favorite followed by 5 and then 3. Megaman 4 is a decent game but a little hard. Overall 7/10 is an accurate score. Hopefully the U.S. will get it Monday.

TKOWL

#9

TKOWL said:

Why does everyone say Mega Man 3 is so great? I find it way too lacking.

pixelman

#10

pixelman said:

I don't like MM3 at all. The stage design was entirely unappealing. MM2 is unsurpassed imo.

vegeta

#11

vegeta said:

MM4 is alright it's not as bad as the fanboys say it is and it is alright for me but I pefer MM5,6,and 10.

Wardy

#12

Wardy said:

I agree that the sound of the charged Mega Buster gets really annoying, but it's not like you have to charge your shot. People put too much emphasis on the bosses rather than the whole game. Some of the levels are quite challenging and the bosses are fairly hard except for Toad Man and Dust Man. Ring, Toad, and Dive Man's stages all had mini bosses which were done nicely. I think every tune in this game is really well done. What gets people upset is that there isn't a password to go straight to Wily in either of last three NES titles.

Gizmo

#14

Gizmo said:

From me MM4 would get a 9/10, it is just another great game of the series.

(Nintendolife still needs the possibility to give user scores =(.)

Donatello

#15

Donatello said:

I agree with Pixel man and Dragoon, MM3's stage design for the most part 'was' unappealing. Needle, Hard, Top, Gemeni and Magnet Man's stages were awful, boring and ugly to look at imo. It didn't help either that most of the robot masters lacked variety and were 'Blue' on the Boss select Screen. I really do have a love it/like it relationship with MM3, The best thing about MM3 was Shadow and Snake man's stages.
As far as the music goes, it was a letdown...Yet I always found myself humming Spark man's tune.

Dare I say it, I even slightly prefer MM1 over MM3...But that may be due to crazy nostalgia and the fact that it was the first MM game I ever played and overall I just loved the hell out of it, it was amazing at it's time. And You gotta love Bomb man's theme :D It's still a great game, yet alittle rough around the edges. Also, playing it now it's actually one of the easiest MM games, I'm still curious as to why people say it's one of the toughest....MM10 and MM9 were much harder.

CanisWolfred

#16

CanisWolfred said:

The header pretty much sums it up. It's okay, but not as great as the previous 3 Mega Mans. It's not as bad as 5, though. That game was downright forgettable.

Digiki

#17

Digiki said:

I agree with Corbie, this is the best Mega Man on the service at this point, and second best in the series.

Although personally I'd say 6 narrowly beats this for supremecy, and 5 is not far back in third.

sykotek

#18

sykotek said:

This was the first Mega Man game that my parents bought for me. I played this game to death. Its been 18 years and I still remember the final password by heart:
A1, A4, B5, E2, F1, F3.
There was still a long way to go from there though.

Tornado_Man

#19

Tornado_Man said:

when I first played the game i didint realize mega man could use the chargeshot intell I was on cossack stage 3 LOL

WesterHive

#20

WesterHive said:

This was my very first Mega Man game so it'll always be great to me. Toad Man did suck, but the others were great!

Donatello

#21

Donatello said:

Mega Man 4 > Mega Man 3

But, I gotta say...I was never a big fan of the charge shot....It just seems so overpowering and not satisfying to use. And It's annoying how in MM4-MM6 that you have to use it on certain enemies

SwerdMurd

#22

SwerdMurd said:

MM4 introduced some great things imo, and had some of the absolute toughest boss design of the bunch (MM3 = Needleman...MM4 = most every boss) and decent music too! Was the first reg. series MM game I ever played (I rented it after buying and loving Megaman X for SNES back in the micromurd days)

Link79

#23

Link79 said:

This is no where near the worst. That title goes to Mega man 6. Rediculous bosses. Boring levels and an overall lack of effort. Mega man 4 is easily one of the best.

Ravage

#24

Ravage said:

I never got the fascination with Mega Man ( Mega Man X is good though, as well as Zero). The sprites were tiny, the bosses were really poor for the most part, there was some good music, but music hardly makes a game (unless it is a music game). All the games are so similar it is ridiculous.

Donatello

#26

Donatello said:

@Link79
Agreed. MM6 is easily the worst....I honestly can't remember one tune from that uninspired, rushed, bland and boring piece of mega poop. Plant man's stage was the only decent thing about it. Being a MM fan, I won't even allow it to be in my collection

And I may be one of the few, but I was never crazy about MM3 either.

Crunc

#28

Crunc said:

Is there any good reason to pick these individual games up instead of buying the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for PS2 (or NGC)? That has MM1-MM8, plus apparently some extra arcade releases that were only available in Japan.

CanisWolfred

#29

CanisWolfred said:

@Crunc

No. No there is not. You get all the games for the price of, like, 2 VC games, and you get a bunch of extras you can't get any other way. The VC games are really only big for the PAL people who never got the collection, or for those who just want one or two of there favorites or just want to test them out. Or fans who just want to keep buying more copies of their favorite games.

Wardy

#30

Wardy said:

@Crunc

The anniversary collections are nice to have as you get to play all of the games, but for me, the button scheme on the GC version ruined it for me. The Xbox version was good but playing the games with the Wii Remote is the closest simulation to playing it on the NES. Those arcade releases are horrible if you haven't played them.

Vinsanity

#32

Vinsanity said:

Mega Man 6 needs to get on the service. That game is underrated; the Rush Power Armor ideas were awesome - it's so cool to see them revisit it with Bass & Treble in Mega Man 10.

Or I could just go back to my old roomate and take back my Mega Man Anniversary Collection:) Damn my laziness!

Donatello

#33

Donatello said:

@Crunc
If you plan on getting the Anniversary Collection, don't get the Gamecube version...I noticed the music and SFX didn't sound right. It had this odd echoey flat tingyness to it, as if the SFX slightly drowned out the music. Also, the emulations look slightly softer compared to clear and crisp Mega Man games on the VC. And finally, the B and A button swap was a horrible idea. Not only does it make playing MM feek akward, but it also makes Jumping and shooting not as quick because of it. The B and A swap alone was a deal breaker for me, and was to many.

If the PS2 or Xbox version have the same problems regarding the SFX and softer graphics I'd stay clear of them as well. The only downside to playing Mega Man 1-4 on the VC, is that the color emulation is darker and less colorful(like every NES VC game), as to why you should crank the color, contrast and brightness up a bit on one of your TV modes just for it :P

Personally, I say get the Mega Man games on the VC....Sure the color emulation isn't right, but you can adjust the PQ to your liking and get somewhat close to what it should look like through component connection. AND you get to use the Wii Remote sideways 'Nes Style' which is THEE' way to play, and cearly beats the crap out of using a crappy PS2, Xbox or GCN Controller....I could never imagine playing ANY MM or Retro SideScroller with those controllers, it's just not right :p

Donatello

#34

Donatello said:

On another note, when is MM4 going to hit North America? Day one Purchase for me. The same goes for MM5 and MM7.

Rensch

#35

Rensch said:

This one is not the greatest Mega Man but still fun. I'll download it whenever I feel like playing a new VC NES game.

Chunky_Droid

#36

Chunky_Droid said:

I think the sound issues on the MM Collection on GC was only present in the first game, I've noticed no real difference in the sound quality on the rest.

The button swap really doesn't bother me at all, it's only as unnatural as using the A button to jump on a SNES pad, and I used to use the Y button to jump on Battletoads SNES too :)

Bass_X0

#37

Bass_X0 said:

Even if the collection was released here, I would still buy the VC games over it. I'd rather use my Classic Controller than the Gamecube pad. Neither the Gamecube's 3D stick or D-Pad is comfortable in playing 2D retro games properly. And with Mega Man, you really need to have perfect control. Bring on 5, 6 and 7! Also, maybe 8 ported to WiiWare just for completions sake.

DiggerandIndy

#38

DiggerandIndy said:

Here's my score:
MM - 7/10
MM2 - 7/10 (a little overrated)
MM3 - 9/10
MM4 - 8/10 (not too bad)
MM5 - 8/10 (bosses and levels are a bit bland)
MM6 - 8/10
MM7 - 9/10 (my personal favorite!)
MM8 - 7/10 (too cartoony)
MM9 - 6/10 (darn that game's too hard!)
MM10 - 9/10
I remember playing 1-5 on the old NES before my dad accidentally fried it. Mega Man 7's my personal favorite because I grew up with the SNES and Genesis, and I think MM4-6 SHOULD'VE been made on the SNES!

Egg_miester

#39

Egg_miester said:

4 is easily better then 3 the only thing that 3 had better was protoman and his theme song

Donatello

#41

Donatello said:

I've always wondered....why in the hell does the Robot Master Health bar charger SFX makes the Boss theme come to a complete akward stop in MM4?....Who's bone head decision was that? Anyways, the Boss theme itself is one of the best MM Boss themes there is

Donatello

#42

Donatello said:

@DiggerandIndy
You seriously thought MM10 was easier than MM9? Yikes, I found it to be the exact opposite. The Robot masters in MM10 are alot tougher...Not to mention the levels themselves are as well if you ask me...And facing off against Nitro, Solar and Blade man kicked my ass many times when I was using just my pea shooter.

Anyways, MM9 was tougher for me when it came to Wily's Castle and the final fight with Dr. Wily which was a big pain in the ass during his 3rd form....MM10's was a letdown in comparison :p

Tasuki

#43

Tasuki said:

I have always loved the Megaman series in fact it ranks up their with the Mario, Zelda, and Sonic series. I started with Megaman 2 back when if first came out after seeing it in my very fist issue of Nintendo Power magazine.

This was a very good review and I have to totally agree with it even the part about the regular run of the mill enemies having more health just so you have to use the charged shot on them. Sadly because of that fact I never was able to finish this one. Also I have to say that I picked this game up on the NES the day it came out because I enjoyed 2 & 3 so much and after playing it for a day I was disappointed in it.

As for the later games in the series I have to agree after 2 & 3, 5 was my favorite. I never got to play MM6 on the NES and had to wait to play it on the Anniversity Collection. I played it once through and that was a while ago and I dont remember much of it lol. as for 7 & 8 I think those were the worst of the series I didnt like the fact how they only had 4 of the robot bosses to select from at a time. Plus I didnt like the kiddy sounding voices and graphics of 8. I still havent played 9 or 10 mainly since I dont know which system I would like to download them on. I am leaning towards the Wii due to the fact of the controller.

Oh yeah and as for the GC controller scheme and the collection yeah that totally bugged me any ideas as to why they did that??

Vinsanity

#44

Vinsanity said:

This is the first NES Mega Man where they seemed to completely redo all the sprite work for the environments. The first three look similar, and the next three look substantially better. At least technically - you can say what you will about art. It always struck me weird then that they never updated the Mega Man sprite to go along with the beefed up, more vivid environments. ESPECIALLY since, it was about this time that Capcom did Mega Man: The Wily Wars on Genesis - which had completely updated art . Far better than the eventual Mega Man 7 on SNES, which made everything look too chubby. The genesis sprite set maintains the level of charm in the NES sprites, but are totally 16 bit and far more vivid. Never understood why Capcom ignored those great Genesis sprites for the rest of the series, and why their NES output started getting so inconsistent here. But it's still a game. The worst Mega Man game is better than most other games;)

Oh, and the GC Mega Man Anniversary Collection isn't bad at all. Sure it's less than ideal, and it's lazy for the developers that you can't flip the buttons, but c'mon! It's two buttons! It takes you 10 minutes to re-program your brain to handle it. It's no big deal:)

@Tatsuki: I think they did it because the 'A' button the GC pad is the "go-to" button on that system. That's why it's bigger, right? So they decided to put the shooting - the thing you do MOST in a Mega Man game - on the bigger button and put the jump on the other button. Even though the fact that the A button is bigger doesn't really cause anyone to have any sort of bias or preference towards it, and in the case of Mega Man especially, it's clearly backwards. But who knows? The studio that did that for Capcom - are they even around anymore? I mean, it's a decent collection. Great emulation (if you're complaining about colors and sfx, you're crazy), decent bonus features, neat interface, etc. But seriously - I don't think they did anything else...

Donatello

#45

Donatello said:

I wasn't complaining about the Color for the Anniversary collection, as it's perfect...I was saying that the games looks slightly softer and the SFX and Music sounded flat and tingy...And to many the A and B swap is a big deal. It doesn't feel right for MM plain and simple. As far as poor color goes, I was talking about VC Nes games.

Roebuck77

#46

Roebuck77 said:

I never played it but I'll download it to round out my MM VC collection, but by the sound of it I shouldn't expect the usual greatness :I

Tasuki

#47

Tasuki said:

Personally I think the PS2 version of the Anniversary Collection music sounded flatter than the GC version plus the coloring was a bit off.

@ Vinsanity that makes sense with the A and B button swap. I just wish they had an option in the game where you can set your buttons to how you want them.

Bass_X0

#48

Bass_X0 said:

as for 7 & 8 I think those were the worst of the series I didnt like the fact how they only had 4 of the robot bosses to select from at a time.

If thats the only reason you didn't like those two games then I don't think its a good reason. I believe they were done like that so you couldn't just see all the levels right at the beginning and you actually had to beat some bosses to see the further levels. It also lessended the frustration of working out which boss is weak against which weapon since there were less options to choose from. I actually prefer it this way. Plus you neglected to mention anything about what aspects of the gameplay itself that made those two "the worst of the series" - I can understand you don't like the voices and the graphics (although Mega Man always sounds 'kiddy' when he talks even in the Legends and X series).

SuperNESter

#49

SuperNESter said:

Looking at all these comments, I have to say that it's downright fascinating how everyone's opinions differ so greatly as to what entries in the series are worst or best. As for my own opinions, I am going to have to say that the first in the series is unarguably the worst, with only six robot masters and wildly uneven difficulty (one robot master flinches from just one shot of your mega-buser while two others can take over a third of your health in one blow), I also believe that MM4 isn't really that bad of a title but gets a lot of flak because it couldn't hold up to it's stronger predecessors. Finally, I really really liked MM5.

SNK

#50

SNK said:

whats with all this Megaman rubbish,theres lots of better games out there than this they could bring to the VC,why bring all these crudy nes game to the VC,cos its nothing but a rip off in my eyes,cos you can download them for free on an EMU for your PC.

Tasuki

#51

Tasuki said:

@ SNK: Cause technically having an emulated version of the game without having an actually hard copy is considered illegal and some people just dont like to cross that line. Also some people may not own a PC.

IMHO if I had to buy a version I would just buy the MM Anniversity Collection on GC for like 20 dollars from a used game store. However if you live in Europe or dont have a gamecube controller or memory card that can be a problem.

@ Bass X0: True Megaman always had a kiddie feel to it but I thought that the voices in 8 sounded like a bunch of five year olds. Also the robot masters did nothing for me come on. Clown man, Turbo man, and Spring man???? Also the feel of 8 felt too much like one of the X series of games and quite frankly I never liked the X series. As for the making it so you only have to tackle 4 bosses at a time to make it easier I guess I am just old school when I say I never had a problem with having 8 bosses at a time. I didnt find it any harder.

But hey no worries to each their own if you like 7 & 8 over 2 & 3 more power too you. I just find that I tend to like older games in the series over the newer ones. I am the guy that perfers Final Fantasy 6 over Final Fantasy 12 and SUper Mario World over Super Mario 64 but thats another subject for another day.

JSX

#52

JSX said:

I disagree with the music rivaling MM2. Sounds like generic 8-bit mega man.

Donatello

#53

Donatello said:

The music in MM4 is alright, but like the reviewer says it's a bit grating. The charge shot also sounds annoying, and the Robot Masters health bar drowns out the boss theme for a few seconds which is just akward.lol

As far as music goes in the MM Nes franchise, MM2 and MM9 are the greatest handsdown.

MasterGraveheart

#54

MasterGraveheart said:

I know Mega Man 2 is the gold standard for many, but everything about Mega Man 3 was epic to me from intro music to the final battle against a giant robot. Mega Man 3 stands unsurpassed to me.

My Rule: Don't finish with the Top Spin.

jazzydude

#55

jazzydude said:

a little better than the fifth and the sixth but still not the blue bomber as we know it 6.7/10

MickeyV

#56

MickeyV said:

Never understood why people are so hard on MM4. Excellent addition to the series. Granted, MM2 and 3 are arguably better, but it still stands out to me. That includes the music.

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#57

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

I agree with the review and the general oppinion. While not a bad game, MM4 never reached the standards set by the original trilogy.

The Mega Buster charging is a design flaw that was luckilly corrected in MM9. Being able to easily destroy anything in your way using your regular weapon made the extraweapons less interesting than ever.

I think Toad Man is among the best designs in the game. Sure he´s easy, but he looks awesome and has a different pattern from the rest of the bosses. Skull Man is the greatest dissappointments, he looks great but his "skull shied" is just a less good version of Woodmans weapon. No creativity there.

Speaking of creativity, the level design is quite mediocre. Horizontal passage - vertical -horizontal then boss. Repeat 8 times.

I love all the stages soundtracks in the first games. This game has a good intro, Skullman is nice and there is a decent part in the Ringman song. The rest never caught on.

MM5 felt like a great game after playing through this, and I´m very pleased that MM9 turned out as good as it did. Have to finish it before trying MM10... it will take a while .

mastersworddude

#58

mastersworddude said:

I like this one, not as good as 3 though.
My favorite MM games:
1: Mega Man 3
2: Mega Man 10
3: Mega Man 4
4: Mega Man 2
5: Mega Man 7
6: Mega Man 9
7: Mega Man 8
8: Mega Man 5
9: Mega Man 1
10: Mega Man 6

Megastar8271

#59

Megastar8271 said:

Here's my opinion. Mega Man 1 - 7/10 Mega Man 2 - 8/10 (Kinda overrated) Mega Man 3 - 7/10 (Also kinda overrated) Mega Man 4 - 9/10 (My favorite!) Mega Man 5 - 6/10 Mega Man 6 - 7/10 Mega Man 7 - 9/10 Mega Man 8 - 6/10 Mega Man 9 - 9/10 Mega Man 10 - 8/10

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