Since the World Cup is happening right now, I felt like it would be best to review a soccer game, and there are few series I’m more familiar with on Games Growing Up than Mega Man, so today we’ll be looking at Mega Man Soccer. Mega Man Soccer was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo, and is often overlooked. Is this eclectic sports game a diamond in the rough or just another game that came and went?
Mega Man Soccer is actually canon in the Mega Man universe. The game takes place between Mega Man 4 and 5, and has to do with Dr. Wily taking over a soccer tournament. That’s about it, the game doesn’t really have a conclusion. The story doesn’t really matter though, it’s a sports game.
Mega Man Soccer is essentially just a standard soccer game; the object is score more goals than the other team, but there are several characters, including a ton of robot masters from the past. In the tournament mode, you face Eight Robot Masters, which are Needle Man, Dust Man, Skull Man, Pharoah Man, Elec Man, Cut Man, Fire Man, and Wood Man, along with boss characters Enker, Dr. Wily, and Proto Man. You can have a team of all Mega Man, which is the standard, but in tournament Mode, once you beat a team, you can use that master or boss on your team. This is a really cool concept, and I like seeing the variety on my team when along with the sense of progression as I go through tournament mode. Each different character has a super move, which can be done twice per match by team. These super moves all look different but they all serve the same purpose: when the ball is kicked and it makes contact with another player on the field, the player the ball comes in contact with is temporarily removed from play and the ball passes through them. Super moves are obviously mainly used on goalies, giving you an instant goal, but beware, these moves don’t work on the later bosses. If scores are tied at the end of a match, the teams face off in a shoot out, with one kicker and one goalie. The first person to score five penalty kicks or the first person to fail to score after both have reached five wins. The gameplay is fine for the most part, but the collision detection is off. There are times where I constantly slide into an opponent, but I go right through them, while when an opponent slides into me, I always lose the ball. Also, when I’m trying to hit the ball with my head, the ball goes right through me sometimes. Besides the collision detection, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the gameplay, but the game isn’t overly fun, either. I’d be lying if I said I was the biggest fan of soccer in real life, and while the game makes it a little more entertaining to me, it’s still not grabbing me completely. Each match takes over ten minutes as well, meaning this game can take longer than most main series Mega Man games. The gameplay isn’t horrible, but isn’t great either.
The controls in this game are god awful. There are times when I’m trying to pass the ball and it goes to the wrong person, when I’m trying to slide into an opponent and I jump instead, since these options are mapped to the same button, and since there are so many players you have to control, depending on where the ball is on the field, you’ll just randomly stop moving one and start moving the other. It’s very confusing and frustrating, and I find that the opposing team has the ball a lot more than I do, since a computer is controlling it instead of me and knows how to deal with this issue. Since a computer controls the teammates you also don’t, it’s frustrating when they don’t help you at all, and instead just run around and miss the ball. The controls in Mega Man soccer just suck.
The graphics and music are honestly fine. The game looks like a combination of Mega Man 7 and The Wily Wars, which isn’t a bad thing, but I feel like the game doesn’t look as good as Mega Man’s other SNES outings. The graphics have certainly aged a bit, but not terribly. The music is good, but nothing special. It doesn’t really sound like Mega Man music, though, instead going for a generic SNES Sports feel, which is a shame, since Mega Man themed sports music sounds amazing on paper. Both the music and graphics are very mundane, but not bad.
Mega Man Soccer is a game that is simply a product of its time: a generic sports game with a gimmick tacked on. The game isn’t special by any regards, and most Mega Man fans I’ve spoken to try to pretend like this game doesn’t exist. Mega Man Soccer has not aged well.