Mega Man Mobile review: How to ruin a classic

When Capcom announced it was going to bring all six classic Mega Man games to iOS and Android at two bucks a pop in 2017, we thought: “hey, what's the worst that could happen (apart from touch controls being bad)?” Well, a whole lot apparently.

Seeing the screenshots for the first time, we wouldn't blame you if you thought Mega Man looked crisp on your smartphone's screen. We wouldn't even blame you if you got a tad excited to step into the boots of the Blue Bomber for some side-scrolling adventuring, even if incited by nostalgia alone. However, once you see the games in motion, you'll immediately know that this is not the Mega Man you love and remember. No, these six “classic” titles starring one of the most beloved 8-bit video game characters are not 1:1 ports of the NES games, they are not remakes or anything of the sort. Instead, they are a shameless, flat out offensive cash-grab on part of Capcom, who, at this point, just seem to be trying to bury the franchise.

We just can't wrap our heads around it. It was just six years ago when the excellent Mega Man 9 and 10 came out. What happened? How did Capcom screw up so badly? What were they even thinking?

The games are incredibly slow and choppy, the controls are horrid, there are graphical assets missing, and the audio occasionally screws up. And that's 8-bit NES games running on hardware multitudes more powerful than Nintendo's humble console. It's actually somewhat amusing how much Capcom screwed with these “ports.”

No, there is nothing wrong on your end. That's just how Mega Man runs on modern smartphones

And this is (approximately) how the games should have performed. But hey, apparently that's too much for modern smartphones!

Furthermore, apart from all the technical problems, Mega Man 1 through 6 simply feel off on mobile. It's not due to the terrible touch controls either. Each game has two speed settings – default and fast. The default setting is unbearably choppy, while the fast one is marginally better in some respects, but it's still way off from emulating how the old games ran on the NES.

Otherwise, the stages seem to have made the 30 year jump untouched in terms of level design. That's good, we guess? Unfortunately, all the courses, which were pretty challenging to begin with, have been made tenfold harder by the atrocious speed of the games and the overall unresponsive and cumbersome control scheme.

It's not that hard to get an 8-bit game up and running on a smartphone with a few gigabytes of RAM and a processor fast enough to emulate PlayStation 2 games. NES emulators ran better on Nokia Symbian phones 10 years ago, than those games perform on the iPhone 7 and the Google Pixel. I bet I could dig out my old PowerPC iMac G4 and still get those titles running better on it. You get the idea.

What happened, Capcom? Between canceling Mega Man Legends 3 in 2010 and releasing these horrible, horrible ports of classic titles 7 years later with noting in between, we can't help but wonder, why do you hate the Blue Bomber so much?

Bottom line is, save your money and forget about these games.

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1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Mega Man Mobile review: How to ruin a classic" The title already hints that you seem to have a personal grudge against Capcom or that you simply hate the Mega Man game, Milen Y.? I get that the game sucks, but you could have used a more friendly title... I mean one which doesn't ring the hatred bell.

2. Milen_Y

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

Hate Mega Man? Quite the contrary, in fact. I grew up playing the NES and still love Mega Man games. Have a personal grudge against Capcom? Hardly. I've just been growing increasingly disappointed with them in the last 5 years or so. These "ports" of classic Mega Men titles are atrocious, borderline unplayable cash grabs by Capcom, in my opinion. If you grew up with these games, I'm sure you'll at least partially agree with me on that. Otherwise, feel free to try them out for yourself. I'm not really trying to stop you (nor can I).

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Alright... I get your point now, and I agree with it "partially", anyways. Sorry for the inconvenience.

6. mr.reckless562

Posts: 162; Member since: Dec 22, 2016

Now THIS is an article!!!! take note PA, This is how ALL your articles should be. w/ that said, ouch. im not a mobile gamer, but damn, that bad huh?

8. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Lol so much hate! You did care to mention the Legends series but didn't care to expound the X series which bought Megaman further into the best platforming game. With GBA spinoffs like Battle Network didn't do Megaman some justice. Also do some research, when Keiji Inafune left Capcom, he cant bring Megaman with him so it was probably Megaman going down the drain with Capcom as no further development has made. Capcom made the Megaman Legacy collection on the 3DS and got good reception. Its just that all retro games are not compatible with touch screens. Even SMB is cumbersome on touch.

4. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1324; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

"Bottom line is, save your money and forget about these games.” Better yet, get an emulator and all the ROMS and have a far better experience then these official ports.

7. mr.reckless562

Posts: 162; Member since: Dec 22, 2016

do u need to root to use emulators? or are some root free?

11. Valdomero

Posts: 677; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

On Android, you just need to download the best rating emulator in the play store. Download the game ROM from the internet (Google it) and that's pretty much it.

5. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

I don't know why these companies screw up ports? Even emulators do a better job than these companies.

9. yonith

Posts: 228; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

Miles, I was very sceptical of your critique until I watched that YouTube video. Your disgust is equally felt here. This cash grab is pathetic beyond mention. Very sad indeed that this could potentially turn off an entire generation of youngsters from ever knowing and enjoying Mega Man.

10. dirtydirty00

Posts: 428; Member since: Jan 21, 2011

This is why if you have android you just play Megaman (or any snes, nes etc games) with emulators. For free.

12. Valdomero

Posts: 677; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

I have all NES Megaman games in my phone for free, I don't need Crapcom's crappy port. I tried Megaman X, but hell, the touchscreen controls are a pain :(

13. Humphrey.One

Posts: 33; Member since: Nov 14, 2013

I'm wondering what kind of devs those people hire. They could've just googled how to run MegaMan on Android, follow the how-to and then stick a price tag to it. There are multiple NES emulators for this platform, plus most of the games from back in the day are easy to come by and that includes MegaMan. You can look up "mega man android NES emulator" on youtube and you'll find people running it at 60 frames per second, no lag. You can look up a tutorial and do it yourself. They must've brainstormed for a long time in their cubicles to come up with an idea how to mess this up that much. Games this old are simple enough to just have them re-written from scratch for a new platform, providing that you have the source code and some documentation. Which they should have since they own the game. You can sit a college kid in their dorm room, give them a laptop, the files with the graphics, a NES and a telly, ask them to code the same game by looking at the original, provide a supply of redbulls and ramen and when you let them out after a couple of months, you'll have a Unity-based version, a UE4 version running on all platforms, same thing recoded in Swift and C# for iOS and in Kotlin for Android. And that's all keeping in mind that this kid wouldn't code most of the time but rather play dota, comment on PhoneArena and watch porn, then code only from time to time. I guess they paid some hard cash for some highly-advertised off-shore dev team with five html5 scrolls of references and those guys took the money, sat for a year playing Tibia, then coded for a week, then called the first version that didn't crash the final product. If they did this kind of 1:1 scaling NES:Android, this game would boot up instantly and keep maxing out the display fps at all times, they'd probably have to add some artificial limits to make the game feel retro in its performance. If they made this app just virtualised, meaning that it'd consist of an emulator tailored just for this game and the game itself in its original, untouched NES form, I think that modern smartphones would still be capable of maxing out the fps running the emulator and then the game on top of it. Apart from the sarcastic version above I have no clue how they managed to make this that bad. Or maybe they actually did rewrite it and the performance limits are there on purpose to make it feel even more retro than a NES itself? Or maybe they cooked up some brand-spankning-new framework just for resurrecting apps like this or rolled out some super new prototype emulator and it's just an early stage of something beautifully optimised, high-performance and easy to use? Who knows, right? Maybe crappy devs are actually coding gods whose methods we should not question?

14. Humphrey.One

Posts: 33; Member since: Nov 14, 2013

..insert potato here..

15. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Now Super Mario Run at $10 doesn't look so bad... would be even better at $5 tho

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