Review – Mega Man (3DS Virtual Console)

Title: Mega Man

Platform: 3DS (Virtual Console – NES)

Publisher: Capcom

Developer: Capcom

Price: £4.49 / €4.99

Release: Out Now!

In today’s era, video games are a lot more accessible than they used to be. For example, there are games tailored for the more inexperienced gamer, and there are those, on the flipside, that cater for the ‘hardcore’ gamers. But, back when gaming was first spreading its wings, there was only one class of game: difficult.

The games of the late 80s and early 90s were some of the most difficult games out there, and if you didn’t like it, they didn’t care. “Oh you died on this level? So what, try again” it would seem to say. “Hey don’t blame me if you mistimed your jump and landed one millimetre in front of that goomba, I’m not the one with the controller!” it would argue. Games were seemingly relentless in their difficulty, but many, including myself, would argue that they are the perfect examples of what gaming should be.

The games weren’t difficult, they were challenging, and though they were tough at first, with practice you got better and eventually defeated the game with ease. Mega Man on the NES is one of the best games at demonstrating this. The layers of this game are actually quite complex and, although to the passing eye it may look like a standard platformer, there is surprisingly a lot of depth to be had.

For instance, after you turn the game on and get started, you’re treated to a stage select screen. How nice, I get to choose the order I complete them before having to fight the infamous Dr Wily. So you select a stage and start playing, but this is the first layer of Mega Man’s depth. The levels are each structured to be as difficult as each other, both in their design and their enemy lay-out. So, upon selecting any level, it would seem very difficult to get to the end without dying, and, if you ever run out of lives, you would go right back to the start of the stage, even if you were at the end of level boss.

As I say though, this game isn’t difficult, it’s challenging. It beats you into submission and pushes you to try harder. In a way it makes you a better gamer, and by playing through the levels again and again, you’ll become an expert at the stage and deal with its challenges accordingly. It’s as if each level is a boot camp obstacle course. You can’t expect to get anywhere on your first try, but if you keep going and beat that boss at the end, the victory feels earned and not bought.

Here is the second layer of Mega Man’s complexity. Because it relies on the player playing through the level multiple times, it in turn adds replay-ability to the game, making it last longer and giving it more value. Make no mistake, this is no passing pick-up-and-play game, this game requires some serious man-hours to overcome, and if you’re confident enough, you can play through the whole thing in one go. There are no passwords here, you beat it in a single sitting or you give up. It’s that simple.

So that’s already a lot of depth. The game is challenging and requires you to hone your skills and also has multiple ways of playing, be it a single quick play or a full fledged start to finish speed-run. But believe it or not, there is a third layer. This is probably the most notable as it is the very foundation of all Mega Man games, both old and new.

The game is based around a rock-paper-scissors mechanic. In other words, every time you beat the Robot Master boss at the end of each stage, you take their ability and are able to use it against future Robot Masters to beat them a little more easily. So although the game offers you a stage select screen, there is in fact a correct order in which to play through the stages to make life easier for yourself. I’m not going to spoil the order for you though; you’ll have to uncover it yourselves through trial, error and experience.

Of course, even if you did cheat and look up the order online, it all bottles down to your own skill. If you’re still not good enough to make it through the level, even with the right weapons, the game will punish you. This is where the true beauty of Mega Man comes in.

The game balances the boundaries between skill and luck perfectly. It is never unfair, and in the end it relies entirely on your own ability to beat the level. There are tricks and tactics to help bypass certain trials, but the true joy comes in discovering these for yourself. Yes, nowadays you could just look online, but would you rather beat a boss and feel like you earned your victory or would you rather cheat and feel nothing?

This is why Mega Man is a brilliant example of what gaming should be. Games should develop the player, not keep them on a set level; they should challenge and push them, not hold their hands or offer them an easy way out. Many other NES games bare the same note as this, but Mega Man, as a series, has the most infamous record for its drill-sergeant-esque way of doing things.

There are some drawbacks however. Because of the games ruthless nature, it may put a lot of people off playing through it, but if you’re willing to persevere it will be worth it. Also, as far as Mega Man games go, this is the beta and it may seem very devoid when compared to its successors. Not only that but people today might be expecting something special at the end if they beat the game, but this isn’t the case; after the credits roll all you will have is the knowledge that you beat the game.

One final downside, now that the game is available on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console – and this depends on your own personal outlook – is that the game allows you to save by simply tapping the touch screen. This drains a lot of difficulty and challenge from the game, but it will be very helpful for those struggling to handle themselves at first.


Mega Man is most definitely worth picking up. Its difficulty may be tricky but with enough time and practice it will turn any player into a pro, and there is a lot of replay-ability to be had too. It’s been on the Wii Virtual Console for a while already, but now that it’s available on the 3DS’ eShop as well, you can take it anywhere. If you have a spare fiver lying around, I’d recommend it, but be warned: this game will test your utmost skill.

Final Verdict:



One Response to “Review – Mega Man (3DS Virtual Console)”
  1. Sofy says:

    LOL, i am a pro at this game i have the skull face hat, i have a jacket and i am umaefo23 i don’t remember, but i can easily beat you and your opponent.


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