Mega Man 6, known in Japan as Rockman 6 Shijō Saidai no Tatakai!! (ロックマン6 史上最大の戦い!!?, lit. "Rockman 6: The Greatest Battle Ever!!"), is a video game developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It is the sixth installment in the original Mega Man series and was originally released in Japan on October 5, 1993 and in North America the following March. It was included in the Mega Man Anniversary Collection released in 2004. It has never been released in the PAL region. The story of Mega Man 6 opens during a competitive robot fighting tournament with entrants from all around the globe. A villainous figure known as "Mr. X" announces he has reprogrammed the eight, powerful contestants with intent to use them for taking over the world. The titular, robotic protagonist Mega Man, who was sent to oversee the tournament, springs into action once again. A standard action-platformer, Mega Man 6 plays nearly identical to its five predecessors with a few added features such as stages with alternate pathways and new Rush adaptors. Mega Man 6 is the first game in the series to receive character design input from fans outside of Japan. This late-era game was also the last in the series released on Nintendo's 8-bit console. Due to the declining support of the NES and the growing presence of the newer and more powerful Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Capcom decided not to publish Mega Man 6 in North America. The North American version of Mega Man 6 was released by Nintendo of America instead. Critical reviews favored the game's comparable presentation and use of the established gameplay model from preceding chapters in the series, though nearly all judged it a redundant sequel.
The premise of Mega Man 6 takes place after the events of Mega Man 5. The first annual "Robot Masters Tournament" is held in order to test the designing capabilities of the world's greatest robotics engineers. The tournament is hosted by a man known only as "Mr. X". Dr. Light, a pacifist, decides not to enter the tournament, but sends Mega Man to supervise the event. Many strong Robot Masters participate. Near the end of the tournament, Mr. X announces that he has reprogrammed the eight finalist robots to do his bidding in taking over the world. Dr. Light immediately orders Mega Man to put an end to the madness. Mega Man defeats the Robot Masters and makes his way to Mr. X's fortress. Mr. X is defeated and quickly removes his disguise, revealing himself as none other than Dr. Wily. The evil scientist flees to a new fortress stronghold where Mega Man pursues and defeats him again. After years of fighting the robotic hero, Dr. Wily is finally brought to justice and sent to prison.
The gameplay in Mega Man 6 is largely similar to its five NES counterparts. The player takes control of Mega Man to complete a series of side-scrolling platform stages littered with smaller robot enemies and occasion larger minibosses. The player's primary method of attack is the Mega Buster, which can be charged for more powerful shots. At the end of each of the initial eight stages is a boss battle with one of Mr. X's Robot Masters. The player inherits that Robot Master's unique weapon if successful. These eight levels can be completed in any order, although all Robot Masters are weak to a specific Master Weapon. The player's health is represented by a gauge that can refilled by picking up energy pellets. Items that refill Master Weapon power, extra lives, and reserve energy tanks can also be found throughout each level. The newly introduced "Energy Balancer" automatically refills the weapon with the lowest energy when picking up Master Weapon power. Other noteworthy additions to the gameplay are two adaptors that combine Mega Man and his dog Rush into special forms. The first, "Jet Mega Man", lets the player fly upward or hover for a brief period of time, but cannot use charge shots. The second, "Power Mega Man", utilizes a powerful, short-range punch attack for destroying large blocks. The player cannot slide when using either adapter. Mega Man 6 also allows for less linear ways to complete the stages than in previous entries in the series. There are two pathways in many of the stages that lead to boss rooms, but the player is often required to use one of the Rush adaptors to begin an alternate route. Although either one will clear the stage, only one of them will give the player a letter circuit board for assembling the helper bird Beat. Collecting all four parts will allow the player to call on Beat to attack enemies.
The Robot Masters featured in some of the Mega Man games preceding the sixth are the result of design contests held in Japan, in which fans of the series would submit their character ideas to Capcom. After the release of Mega Man 5, the magazine Nintendo Power held a similar contest for North America. Two of the robots included in the game (Knight Man and Wind Man) were designed by North American fans who entered the Nintendo Power contest. Mega Man 6 is the last title in the franchise to be released on the 8-bit NES. Capcom chose not to publish the game abroad, most likely due to the prominence of 16-bit consoles at that time. Nintendo of America published it in March 1994, ensuring its relative commercial obscurity among concurrent releases. Mega Man 6 was even showcased alongside the SNES title Mega Man X at the 1994 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.This game was re-released for the PlayStation in 1999 as part of the Rockman Complete Works series exclusive to Japan. A port of this version with fewer extra features was released for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube in 2004 and Xbox in 2005 as part of Mega Man Anniversary Collection. It has also been released on Japanese mobile phones via the i-mode service in 2007.
Reception and legacy
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||6.8 out of 10|
|Nintendo Power||3.65 out of 5|
Mega Man 6 received favorable to mixed reviews during its original release in North America. The graphics, play control, and challenge level were generally praised. However, the game was consistently criticized for lacking originality. GamePro was impressed with some of the newer enemies and larger mid-stage bosses, but was displeased with the game's recycling of Master Weapons seen in previous Mega Man games. Overall, the magazine described the graphics, audio, and level design in Mega Man 6 as standard fare for the franchise and called the game a "rock of reliable NES fun" in a series that is as "predictable as the tide". The four members of the Electronic Gaming Monthly review panel all voiced similar opinions regarding the game's familiar 8-bit presentation and its addition to the already repetitive nature of the series. One reviewer commented, "OK, Mega Man was fun and original back in the days when the letter 'NES' meant something. Now the game is just getting redundant. Oh sure, Mega Man may learn a few new tricks here and there but this series has to end soon." In a 2009 editorial, Destructoid editor Tony Ponce considered Mega Man 6 the best game in the entire series. He argued that the game "was retro before retro was cool" due to Capcom's decision to develop it as a higher profile game on the NES during the era of fourth generation consoles. He also expressed appreciation for its music, introductions for each Robot Master, and the use of branching pathways in each level, among many other reasons. Kaes Delgrego of Joystiq called Mega Man 6 the fourth-best game in the franchise because of its implementation of the Rush adaptors, the Energy Balancer, multiple pathways, and the challenge present in the final levels. Mega Man 6 is listed by IGN as the 58th best game on the NES. The writers summarized, "Mega Man 6 is considered by many to be the last worthwhile NES release in the catalog, and though that's not saying much when looking at the title's contemporaries, Mega Man 6 is still as good as it gets in many respects." GameSpot editors Christian Nutt and Justin Speer labeled Mega Man 6 the "cheesiest" among the NES titles: "If you're looking for mega-laughs, you might want to try this one out." Jeremy Parrish of 1UP.com likewise found that the game's "inane" storyline and bosses outweigh its good soundtrack and interesting power-ups.
- Mega Man 6 at GameFAQs
- Rockman Complete Works: Rockman 6 at GameFAQs
- Official Rockman website (Japanese)