At the end of 1994, Capcom made a small infidelity to Nintendo with its Mega Man saga by offering an exclusive episode to the Mega Drive of SEGA. Heresy?
In 1994, in view of the success of the SEGA Mega Drive (especially in the United States), Capcom granted SEGA players a new episode of Mega Man. A shock for Nintendo players, as the little blue robot seemed doomed to be linked for life with Nintendo since 1987. Good news therefore for SEGA players, who were going to enjoy an unprecedented Mega Man… or almost. Indeed, Mega Man The Wily Wars is in reality a morning compilation of “remake“, exactly as was a certain Super Mario All-Stars the previous year on Super Nintendo.
At the antipodes of the battle of teraflops, 4K and 60 fps, NEO • Classics offers you a return to the origins of video games. 2D title in large pixels at least distant game in the hesitant 3D, this chronic invites you to (re) discover the video-game chip that opened the world to the 10 th art…
A compilation with a full remake background
After six episodes on NES and a sensational Mega Man X on Super Nintendo , Capcom therefore exports its flagship saga to SEGA. The Japanese publisher will also offer various titles exclusive to the 16-bit SEGA console, including Forgotten Worlds, The Punisher or the very successful Mega Twins (Chiki Chiki Boys). To them therefore added this a “new” Mega Man. A Mega Man The Wily Wars which was taken care of by the “mobile” division of Capcom, the one behind the various Game Boy episodes of the saga.
As explained above, this is a compilation, which revisits 16-bit SEGA style the first three episodes launched on NES. And contrary to what one might think, there is a proper reason for this. Indeed, quite irritated by its various failures over the years, the infamous Dr. Wily has gone back in time, to eradicate once and for all Mega Man, and that is why the title offers us to replay ‘old episodes, but in a modernized way. So yes, it’s a bit (a lot) far-fetched, but there is the idea.
No physical version in the United States….
On the distribution side, it launched this Mega Man in Japan (under the name Rockman Mega World) traditionally, with a box, a cartridge, a manual. In the United States, SEGA distributes the game through its new SEGA Channel offering. A “pay to play” online gaming service, then operating through cable television services and via a coaxial cable, which allowed players (against the sum of $15 / month) to download games, demos, etc.
A fairly confidential service therefore, and impractical, since all the data was deleted from the memory of the console once they turned it off… In Europe it launched traditionally the game, under the name Mega Man The Wily Wars. A rare (and therefore expensive) title today, and all US versions available on the market are reproductions.
Graphically, this Mega Man The Wily Wars transposes the first three 8-Bit games into 16-bit versions. Despite everything, everything remains very faithful to the original opus, with obviously more details on the screen, but still this very colorful touch and a rather appreciable little “chubby” side .
Ditto on the audio side, with music that has been re-orchestrated Mega Drive style, and by ear, the whole is rather satisfactory (although many will prefer the original music). One of the glaring novelties concerns the presence here of a backup system, with three slots available. Friendly.
Too bad, however, that, controller in hand, this Mega Man The Wily Wars is a little less “precise” than the NES opuses. Nothing very serious overall, but the playability is clearly less surgical than that offered by the original series, with in particular a micro-freeze a little annoying at the start of the race.
It is also a pity that the game displays such significant drops in frame rate… The fight against Yellow Devil being the must (or rather the ” worst “), with a confrontation which takes place literally in slow motion.
Note also faster movements/slides than on NES, but also slower shots, with a much more limited fire rate than on the NES versions. Ah yes, for information, the game is even more difficult than on NES (in particular Mega Man 2, which does not have any “Normal” mode here).
Three remakes that hide…. a new (mini) game!
Note that once the three games are over, this Mega Man The Wily Wars gives the player the opportunity to enjoy… a new game! Indeed, we then unlock the Wily Tower mode, which allows you to indulge in a new opus, with three new robots to defeat; namely Buster Rod.G, Mega Water and Hyper Storm. Three new robots grouped together in a unit called “Genesis Unit” (Mega Drive… Genesis… you have it?), And which is inspired by the novel Journey to the West.
Before each level, you can define 8 secondary weapons, to choose from among all those offered by the first three games. Once the three bosses are defeated, we access a new tower of the Machiavellian Dr Wily, without forgetting of course yet another last fight. They completed the whole thing in about thirty minutes, but few are those to know (even today) the existence of this Wily Tower mode.
When it was released in Europe, this Mega Man The Wily Wars received mixed reviews from the press. Player One magazine gives it a score of 89%, pointing to its many slowdowns, but also the very appreciable “3 in 1” aspect, as well as the general makeover. Consoles + had awarded the game a score of 76%, despite a “Mega no“, and a “Mega Man who did not deserve that “.
On a purely personal basis, this Mega Drive opus is not necessarily among the favorites of the fervent fan of Mega Man that I am, but I still appreciate relaunching it occasionally, as an “alternative” version to the timeless NES episodes. Despite the ” remake ” side, the game has a very different general feeling, and is sometimes even more like a “copy ” than a “remake“. But you know what it is when you love …
A new episode also…. on SEGA Game Gear!
The following year (in 1995 therefore), Mega Man is back at SEGA, not on Mega Drive this time… but on Game Gear. Indeed, after five excellent opus on Nintendo’s Game Boy portable console, Dr Light’s robotic son is exported to SEGA’s laptop, with an episode called soberly: Mega Man.
An episode supervised (by far) by Capcom, since Freestyle developed the latter, and edited by US Gold. An exclusive title which is also on the American market.
However, as for The Wily Wars, this Mega Man Game Gear is not a “novelty”, since it mixes elements (levels, music…) from different opus on NES. The four robot masters are notably taken from Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 5. A rather confusing melting pot to tell the truth…
A Game Gear opus which allows itself some follies (the noise of the buster….) And which must obviously adapt to the limitations of the console. We are thus limited to two shots simultaneously (against 3 in normal times), but it is especially the general visibility that is a concern here, with a screen really too small (so much so that the developers had to include a vertical scrolling!) and elements that appear late, without forgetting a few “blind” jumps… In short, a Game Gear opus not very inspired, but above all rather poorly done, and which ends in barely forty minutes…
And if you suddenly came to the idea of launching Mega Man The Wily Wars, know that the game is available with the small Mega Drive Mini. For fans, the game will also be reissued, in a collector’s edition at the end of the year, with (and for the first time therefore) a Genesis edition worthy of the name. But you’ve probably already pre-ordered it, right?