Review: Mega Man 5 (Wii U eShop / NES)

Proto Man problems

Over a year ago, the first four Mega Man games were released on Wii U Virtual Console in quick succession. We don't know exactly what took so long for the remainder, but the fifth entry is finally here. As you might expect, Mega Man 5 is quite similar to the four games before it; eight new Robot Masters have appeared, and it's up to Mega Man to stop them and their leader, who appears to be Proto Man.

As before, you have to go to each of the eight Robot Master stages in order to beat them, before you can access the last stages and fight the final boss; naturally the game has the usual stage select screen, which allows you to tackle them in any order you want.

After beating one of the bosses, you'll receive their weapon to use yourself, which just so happens to be another one's weakness - if you can figure out the right order, they become a whole lot easier to beat. Some of the weapons can also be quite handy during the levels themselves, such as Star Man's Star Crash, the signature shield weapon that will protect you from small enemies and projectiles.

While the last few games introduced new basic features like Rush, a slide, and a charge shot, which are still available here, there are no new moves introduced this time. Thankfully this means that the game controls just as smoothly as ever — just watch out for that knockback when getting hit!

As in Mega Man 4, however, there is also a special "tool" to be found — each stage has a Letter Plate hidden in it, which is basically just a big circle with a letter on it, and collecting all of them (spelling out MEGAMANV) will reward you with a secret helper that can be quite handy in certain stages.

Of course, the new stages have some cool new features, such as gravity switching in Gravity Man's stage, and a vehicle section in Wave Man's stage. The levels are also quite nicely detailed, and as usual, come with their own catchy theme songs. A case of more Mega Man goodness, ultimately.

As with every other NES title released on the Wii U Virtual Console, Mega Man 5 benefits from the introduction of save states — which make some of the more punishing sections of the game a little more manageable — and it also looks great when played on the GamePad screen as opposed to the television.

Conclusion

When people ask about the best Mega Man game on the NES, Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 tend to be the most common answers. Mega Man 5 should not be disregarded, however — it doesn't quite reach the highs of those two, but manages to come quite close and offers another solid Blue Bomber experience.