After the vast success of Mega Man 3, it became obvious that Mega Man was here to stay. In 1991, Capcom released Mega Man 4, which is definitely one of the most overlooked Mega Man games in the series. This game is often considered one of the lesser games in the Mega Man series, but how does it hold up today? The general consensus could be accurate, but it’s possible that we have an underrated gem on our hands.
As usual, there are eight new robot masters in this game. We have Bright Man, Toad Man, Pharaoh Man, Ring Man, Dive Man, Dust Man, Skull Man, and Drill Man. This time, it doesn’t appear that Mega Man is going after Dr. Wily, instead taking on a new villain, the Russian Dr. Cossack. After going through the game, facing all of the robot masters and defeating Dr. Cossack, Mega Man finds out that Dr. Cossack was doing the bidding of Dr. Wily, adding a few more stages to the game. Mega Man takes out Dr. Wily, and all is well again. This game also marks the debut of Eddie, a robot that randomly shows up and gives Mega Man an item to help him out. This time around, while the robot masters are kind of interesting, they also feel a bit bland, and the levels are also kind of bland. In my opinion, Mega Man 3 and 4 are the low point of the 8-Bit games. There’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with any part of Mega Man 4’s gameplay, as it just keeps the previous gameplay of 3 and adds on to it, but that doesn’t mean the game is good. If the level design is boring, I’m not going to want to play it. While the level design is quite bland, Mega Man 4 adds something that has become a staple in Mega Man, the charge shot. After firing the mega buster, continuing to hold down the fire button will charge up another shot, which is super powerful and can go through multiple enemies. The charge shot, along with the slide, makes Mega Man the most versatile he’s ever been. The abilities gained from the other robot masters are quite lackluster, with the only power up I really like being the pharaoh shot. The Balloon and Wire upgrades are also in this game, along with Rush. The Balloon Item acts as a platform maker for Mega Man, while the wire lets him grapple to the ceiling. Rush is pretty much the same, while there are a few variances, he serves the same purpose. The controls of Mega Man 4 are the same as always, but the charge shot can make things a bit interesting. Since you can hold a charge shot for as long as you want, platforming while holding down the fire button can be a bit difficult, but you by no means have to hold the shot for that long, so it really isn’t that big of a deal. The gameplay isn’t bad, but also doesn’t hold up today.
The music and graphics of Mega Man 4 are where this game shines. As always, the soundtrack is good, though not as good as 2 or 3. The graphics in this game are top notch. The opening to the game shows a cutscene of the creation of Mega Man, which looks amazing for the NES. The levels are very detailed as well. At the time of release, the SNES was already out, making this one of the later games in the NES library. Being a late game, developers had realized the full potential the power of the system, and could use it to their advantage, making the games look great. The music and graphics still hold up today.
Mega Man 4 is honestly a bland game. While not bad, the game only brings the charge shot, Eddie, wire item, and balloon item to the table. This game is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum when I rank the Mega Man games. Mega Man 4 hasn’t aged badly, but also hasn’t aged well. Mega Man 4 is just okay.