A pretty good remake with an interesting expansion.
Perhaps one of Capcom’s best known series, Mega Man has graced almost every system. In fact, most major consoles can be guaranteed two things: a few Madden titles, and a few Mega Man games. Even Sega’s platforms have had their own Mega Man games, such as Mega Man for the Game Gear, and The Wily Wars for the Sega Genesis. While the Game Gear title was merely a semi-remake of Mega Man IV for the NES, The Wily War was a compilation of the three best Mega Man games on the NES, and possibly in the entire series. The gameplay follows the formula that many Mega Man games before it have used: you select a level and progress through it, shooting down enemy robots and making tricky jumps, ultimately ending in you fighting the Robot Master of that level one on one and moving on to the next level after having bested him. While it may sound like another run-of-the-mill platformer when put as such, it does have many redeeming features that keep it from drifting into typicality.
For one, beating the Robot Master of a certain level yields you their weapon. Additionally, no one weapon is superior to the rest, as the Robot Masters have cyclical weaknesses, much like a larger scale of rock-paper-scissors. Outside of battle, certain weapons hold an auxiliary use, like Guts Man’s Super Arm being able to lift up rocks (which is how it is used as a weapon to begin with), or Flash Man’s Time Stopper being able to, well, stop time, allowing one to easily blast through the infamously hard laser shaft, where quickly blasting lasers will prevent your advance and kill you on contact. In the later two games, you also get items that can help you advance in ways that you couldn’t on your own, like the jet-like Item 2 of Mega Man 2, and the submarine-esque Rush Marine from its sequel. The game includes arguably the three best Mega Man games: the first three. It also includes Wily Tower, an end-game challenge that has you facing off against 3 Robot Masters inspired by Chinese folklore before, once again, taking down Dr. Wily. You are limited to 8 weapons and 3 items on your trek through Wily’s trial, making strategy and planning of the utmost importance. The level design is also pretty good, making use of many sprites and enemies from the other Mega Man games in a clever and challenging way.
The graphics are good, but don’t take advantage of the Genesis’ hardware to the extent that they could. The levels are vibrant and the animations remain true to the original games they depict. However, the graphics have a bit of inconsistency as to where they have new sprites and where they just update the old sprites. Mega Man has entirely new sprites, which is understandable due to him being the protagonist, but other major characters like Dr. Wily, Gamma, and most noticeable Protoman seem to be trivial updates to the original NES sprites. And adding insult to injury, Rush displays an odd graphical glitch that portrays him as Mega Man blue on the weapon select screen when in series the rest of the series (and on the field in this game) he is shown as crimson red. The game does have some noticeable slowdown, but this actually helps you due to the precision needed for certain bosses, like the Yellow Devil, Quick Man, or Shadow Man. All in all, the graphics are OK, but won’t wow you much compared to other games of the time. Perhaps one of the best improved and most well aged aspects of these old games is the music. Mega Man’s soundtrack was originally intended to be played on more modern instruments than the limited synthesizer that the NES had in 1989, and it shows. The Genesis’s 70’s suited synthesizers give the game a vibrant personality, especially in the psychedelic Gemini Man stage.
Overall, it’s a pretty good compilation that remains true to the original sources with little errors to find. If you find a cartridge of this game lying around on eBay, it would be a great addition to your gaming collection, both in rarity and game quality.