Mega Man 4 was the first Mega Man that my brother and I bought together. We played the game extensively and could beat the game easily. Years later, I still enjoy the game but was looking for something new too – enter Mega Man 4 Minus Inifity – possibly the most extensive NES rom hack ever created! This game made Mega Man games feel new again. Apart from the bosses (in name only) and in the themes of the level, everything else has been changed dramatically! Everything old is new again!
In terms of story – the game follows the story of the original Mega Man 4. Robots have emerged and are destroying the world on behalf of Dr. Cossack. Later the story reveals that Dr. Willy is of course the one behind the chaos, and Mega Man must battle him ultimately to beat the game.
In terms of game design, this is a 2D action platformer similar to all the other core Mega Man games. Mega Man has 8 levels to get through, with a robot boss at the end of each stage. After defeating a boss, Mega Man gains their power which can be used to destroy other bosses – the key in finding out which boss is weak to which weapon. There wasn’t really an overall shift in game design from Mega Man 4 to Mega Man 4 Minus Infinity, although it felt a lot harder, and were a tone of gameplay additions to levels, bosses, and powers!
Tons of the gameplay has been augmented – many of which are level dependent. For instance, in Bright Man’s stage (see video at bottom of review) you can only partially see what is on screen – but this band of visibility moves with you (even when you jump). By moving in different spots, secrets can be unlocked and you can identify enemies to dodge – this specific addition was a lot of fun! Other examples include beams from Flash Man in Mega Man 2 into Ring Man’s level – but this time with ricocheting lasers! The developer also put some great and channeling Rush segments into the game where riding him is forced but well executed (e.g., riding him like a overboard in the Dive and Toad levels).
In terms of overall level design, I also noticed that many levels seemed like they were inspired by other Mega Man levels, which culminated the bets possible level with quite unique section that each had their own challenges. For instance, in the Toad stage, you initially are pushed around by water and battle giant mechanical frogs, then get caught in an infinite loop that much be broken out from, then a section of the level is akin to Gemini from Mega Man 3 with bubbles that must be both destroyed and jumped on, followed by a windy jumping section, and finally a Rush skateboard section with a huge jump at the end. I absolutely adored the sheet variety that each level brought.
All of the bosses are back as well – including a bunch of mini-bosses too! Starting with the mini-bosses, the developers created some new ones and brought back Shadow Man from Mega Man 3 who must be battled 3-4 times throughout the game. What makes his battles interesting is that his patterns of attack chance multiple times throughout a battle!
These changes also apply to all of the original 8 bosses – their attack patterns change dramatically as they get closet and closer to death. It look me a couple game overs to finally defeat my first boss (Toad Man) both because his patterns changed, but also because their powers are so different this time around. Toad Man for instance changes everything to Toads with his power (instead of the lame acid rain from the previous game). Dust Man can actually inhale enemies and steals your health, and Dive Man shoots a powerful jet of water. Each of the powers felt dramatically different and also ended up creating an new order for defeating the bosses too! TIP – use Toad on Dust Man as all the dust will turn to frogs and he will end up eating them instead!
The graphics of this game are unparalleled compared to all other Mega Man games on NES. There are so many crazy graphics effects that make it look so cool. There is little slowdown too which really surprised. The levels also looks extremely aesthetically diverse and fun to explore (with lots of secrets)! The music is one aspect of the game I preferred from the original. This time around, the developers adopted some songs from other 8-bit NES games and put them into the game instead. There were some really nice selections, but the Music from Mega Man 4 was already totally awesome.
In summary, this is the best Mega Man mod people can currently find on the NES. Its a spectacular game that will make Mega Man feel new again – even if you are a hardcore veteran. The new gameplay additions, awesome weapons, and cool level designs make it a pure joy to play. Overall, I give this game a final score of 9/10.
Final Score: 9/10