Mega Man 8 was the first mainline Mega Man game and second Mega Man game overall to be released in CD format. This would become the biggest & most updated Mega Man game in the original series until 2006; featuring animated cutscenes, CD quality music, enhanced graphics and sprites, and HQ audio. Has the game held up after all these years? Let’s take a look.
The story of Mega Man 8 starts in space, where two robots both end up damaging each other to the point were both start falling toward the earth, one of which crashing on a remote Island. Happening at the same time at this event, Mega Man is fighting Bass, Wilys new Mega Man like clone who was introduced in the previous game. After blasting Bass into a building and leaving, Dr.Light tells Mega Man and roll there is an energy signature emitting from an island not found on any map. It is soon discovered it’s an island owned by Dr.Wily. After destroying a security robot, Mega Man finds the remains of one of the space robots, as Wily takes a new type of energy from it called evil energy. It is later discovered the robots name is Duo after he is repaired and that Evil Energy was alien, extremely powerful, and could cause someone to become insane. He asks Mega Man to defeat his robots, whom are generating a force field preventing entry to Wily’s base of operations. The race is one once again for Mega Man to save the day,
Gameplay has changed the most from other Mega Man games, while also borrowing a few tricks from other games and refining them. The item shop is back, instead of Pchips from Mega Man Gameboy V or finding almost limitless bolts in Mega Man 7, in this game bolts are a bit more rare, often hidden and requiring you coming back to stages with new weapons or items to get them. These bolts can be used to purchase things from different Mega Buster charge effects, climbing a ladder faster, auto recover, auto fire, no knock back when getting hit, and many other upgrades. In the SAT version, two of the bolts are guarded by bonus boss fights with Wood Man and Cut Man.
Weapons are more varied, from a exploding soccer-like ball, a tornado, grenades, a electric wire, a flaming sword, Meteors, etc. The weapons in this game have 3 need tricks:
- They are often used to explore levels or get to secret items. The soccer-like weapon can be used to bounce higher, the tornado can carry you up, the electric wire can be used to swing over bits, grenades, and meteors can be used to break paths etc.
- They can all be used on the screen at the same time. You can for example just shoot weapons (using start to pause time makes this easier) as much as possible. Sometimes, if using the right combination, can be helpful instead of just a novelty.
- You can combine them. Try using for example, the soccer bounce jump from the top of the tornado.
The stage select uses the same formula as Mega Man 7. The first 4 bosses are visible, along with being able to go to the shop. After the first 4 are defeated, a mini boss shows up. Then the other 4 show up, followed by castle stages. Stages can be revisited at anytime.
One issue I have with this game is it’s way to easy outside a couple trips ups at the final boss. The game does remedy this by having you revisit new areas in stages, and encourages exploration. The stages are usually not too long and without much irritating obstacles, making going through stages fun and rewarding.
MUSIC AND AUDIO
The music in Mega Man 8 is some of the best the series had to offer. However over 5-% of the soundtrack is way to short and it almost sounds like have the music are 50 second loops. Mostly because they almost are. Capcom was a bit conservative with how much space the music used up, but would later learn they can do much more with their later games in the time period.
The sounds for weapons are fine, however many sounds seem out of place. Robots don’t sound squishy when they land from a jump for example. Voice acting is funny but clearly not the intention of the director. Lines are a few times flubbed but they keep rolling with it, which would lose many points if this was not a video game.
Mega Man 8 has some of the best gameplay in the series, the best music in the series, and among the most variety in the series. In terms of gameplay variety no future Mega Man game in the original series will ever reach this, as future games start to go backwards from here. It’s a real treat for fans with some flaws here and there and horrifyingly easy difficulty.
“Mega Man 8 is a great game with tons of variety, choices, secrets, and great stage ideas. It falls back a bit due to odd audio choices, extremely easy difficulty, and dropping certain elements fast (The Bass boss fight is very short and very easy) after introducing them.” -Verzu Chase