For Mega Man's 5th home console adventure, a new director, Ichirou Mihara, takes the lead. In Mega Man: Official Complete Works, Inafune claims to have guided Mihara into lowering the difficulty of the game in order to make Mega Man 5 appeal to a more casual audience. Mari Yamaguchi, the sole composer for the game, joins the series; providing some bright, jazzy tunes with a recurring 6-note C#, D# leitmotif.
So, what's the story? An army of robots starts attacking the world, Dr. Light is missing and the leader behind the attacks appears to be... Protoman!? Well obviously something is up, Mega Man leaps into action.
Dr. Cossack is now an ally and created a robot bird called Beat to help Mega Man (Cossack's role as Mega Man's support team is expanded upon in Rockman Complete Works version of Mega Man 5).
The attempts of the development team to lower the game difficulty are noted. While nowhere near as easy as Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3, Mega Man 5 has fewer cheap shots than Mega Man 4. The final stages are perhaps the easiest of the NES days. There are, however, a few trade-offs. This game introduces the "Lose Charge" mechanic; you lose your charged Mega Buster shot if you take damage. Furthermore, Rush Coil was horribly nerfed. Rush Marine was removed to the lamentations of ABSOLUTELY NO ONE ON EARTH.
There are a few more cool toys to make up for that, though. You can cut through some great distances with the Silver Arrow. And Beat (obtained by finding plates that spell out M-E-G-A-M-A-N-5 hidden in the Robot Master stages) makes a joke out of the final boss.
The evil Protoman turns out to be a robotic imposter "Dark Man" created by Dr. Wily leading to a series of battles across a second fortress.
The game makers push the NES to the limits with not only some of the most detailed graphics and animations that the hardware can create, and also have a ball with various set pieces: Gravity Man and Star Man's stages could give Issac Newton a headache and the jet ski chase in Wave Man's stage is a classic moment as well.
I find the Master Weapons of Mega Man 5 to be pretty useless. The only weapon of worth to me was Gyroman’s Gyros. Everything else had either or poor range or was only really good for the corresponding boss battle.
Mega Man 5 is a bit of a step up from 4 for me. It's one of the easier games in the series, so it's pretty accessible to the layman gamer.
From a North American standpoint, Mega Man 5 is a pretty uncommon game. Capcom was slowly starting to short the supply of their NES games and it was not really a hit by any stretch of the imagination.
Mega Man III GB (Originally released 11th, 1992)
A week later, Mega Man GB III (Rockman World 3) was released. Minakuichi Engineering returns to the Rockman World series as the developer, where they would stay for the remainder of the subseries. This one takes bits of Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3.
This time, Dr. Wily is creating mischief on an oil platform with his new machine which is draining energy from the Earth's core. So, if you really wanted to extrapolate, this game has an environmental message. If you're extrapolating.
Mega Man III GB is a major improvement over Mega Man GB II, but about on par with Dr. Wily's Revenge. There were a few tough platforming spots, but nothing extraordinarily unfair.
Stay tuned for the next part where we’ll cover the year of 1993 which includes: Mega Man’s final NES adventure, one of his odder games (Rockboard) and the 4th handheld effort!