Daily View Review: Mega Man 5 (Wii)  Image of Daily View Review: Mega Man 5 (Wii)
Image Credit: Capcom

Though few gamers consider Mega Man 5 to be the best game in the long-running Mega Man franchise, it’s a solid entry in the action-platformer series. In fact, this fifth game–first released by Capcom for the NES in 1992–is probably the most accessible for newcomers to Mega Man, and has definite charms even for seasoned players. 

Mega Man 5 for Wii is a direct port, via the Virtual Console, of the NES game. In it, the usually good Proto Man leads a group of marauding robots in attempting to destroy the world. Proto Man also kidnaps his and Mega Man’s creator, Dr Light, and so Mega Man sets forth to save the day. Along the way, our hero will battle eight of Proto Man’s robot minions, gaining weapons as he goes.

8-Bit

Mega Man 5 is classic 8-bit gaming, but it’s got some of the nicest-looking levels and characters from the NES era. Though the graphics are obviously not new and cutting-edge in any way, they hold up surprisingly well, as does the chiptune soundtrack. This is retro gaming at its finest. Even the controls have translated well to the Wii, though a classic controller is probably going to make the experience better than holding the Wii remote sideways. The bosses in this game must have been a ton of fun to design–characters like Napalm Man and Gravity Man are certainly pure fun to battle.

A nice feature of this game is that, while each level is linear, with the usual running, jumping and shooting, you don’t have to play all the levels in a set order. It pays to figure out what each boss’s weakness is, though, as the job of defeating them is made much easier–and more fun–if you first figure out the best weapon to use. And beating each boss gains you their signature weapon, which will turn out to be the most effective one to use against another boss. Though those weapons sadly aren’t much use through most of the game–the Mega Buster is the best as a general-purpose gun–they are perfect for defeating other bosses.

Rush

Mega Man is not alone is his battle against the robotic minions; his old pal Rush the robot dog is along to help, giving him some bonus abilities like Rush Coil (which functions somewhat like double-jump in other games), and Rush Jet (lets you progress quickly through difficult areas). There is also an unlockable robot bird, gained by finding hidden letters through the levels and spelling MEGAMANV. It’s not necessary to get this to finish the game, but it sure is helpful in the final battle.

Unlike Mega Man, though, you will have to play this game alone. Unless you’re one of those people who forces their friends to watch them play single-player games. If you were hoping for some multiplayer action here, you won’t find it. Like the original game, it’s one player only.

Jump In

Mega Man 5 is such a nicely put-together game–OK, there are a few dull spots–that that alone should make it attractive to newcomers to the series. But for some reason, Capcom decided not to make the fifth installment quite as difficult as the others–and it’s a franchise known to be, shall we say, challenging. For this reason, if you’ve heard about the high difficulty level of the Mega Man games, don’t let that put you off; this one is a little easier, but no less fun.

And that’s not to say it’s easy, though hardcore Mega Man fans will play through it quickly. There’s a nice balance of moderately challenging and pure fun that seems to be missing from a lot of games, before and since. So if you haven’t tried playing as the little blue robot yet, fire up your Wii, choose the Virtual Console, and try out this classic. If you already know and love the series, well then, I guess you don’t need to be told: while Mega Man 5 is not ground-breaking, it is creative and enjoyable.