I’ve been a fan of the Mega Man franchise since I was young and we’ve seen Capcom do a lot with the Blue Bomber over the years. However it just feels like they’re not doing much as of late. Now I’m not one of those people who get mad and say “so-and-so should be making a new game based on insert-IP-here because the fans demand it”; I tend to be a pretty patient person in those regards, but even for Mega Man’s 25th anniversary Capcom didn’t do a whole lot. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a crossover with Street Fighter (still don’t know why it was called Street Fighter X Mega Man as opposed to Mega Man X Street Fighter since the game was done in the style of Mega Man…but I digress), at least two canceled games, and they’re FINALLY getting the rest of the Game Boy games onto the 3DS’s Virtual Console. Heck, the Wii never even got Mega Man 6.
So what am I getting at with all of this? It seems that over the past couple of years the fans have done more for Mega Man than Capcom has. We’ve seen the release of numerous fan games such as Mega Man Unlimited and Mega Man Rock Force, and even games inspired by the blue bomber such as the flash game Rokko Chan. Recently I had the opportunity to check out an alpha version of a new Mega Man-inspired game called Echoes of Eridu. Since I’m a sucker for anything that resembles Mega Man I decided to give it a go.
As you begin you can choose from two characters: Nina and Ace. After playing with either one for more than a few seconds you’ll notice something very familiar about them: they’re basically X and Zero. Nina uses a blaster but has no charge ability while Ace has a sword similar to Zero’s, plus both characters can dash. You also have a side weapon you can use which resembles and acts like the Cross in the Castlevania games (the number of uses is limited by a blue gauge on the left side of the screen), plus you can go into some sort of hyper mode that will increase your strength for a limited amount of time (notated by the yellow gauge on the screen).
As you begin playing the stage you’re basically fighting your way through enemies and collecting any pickups along the way such as energy refills, nuts (which are the currency in the game similar to bolts in the classic Mega Man games), and even some new items here and there which I’ll get to in a bit. You do have a timer though you really don’t feel rushed as you’re given plenty of time to explore the stage. At the end of the stage you have a boss which, like the Mega Man games, you have a gate to pass through to get into the boss chamber. The boss will typically have a few minions in the room with it, but overly isn’t that tough if you just pay attention. Once the boss is defeated you can move onto the next stage, but not before getting the chance to spend those nuts you’ve been collecting. You can use them to buy either an energy refill or a special item or two.
That’s all there is to the game itself right now. The two stages available will keep looping as long as you stay alive, but even if you die once it’s back to the title screen. Granted there’s not much to the game right now as it’s only in the alpha stages, so I’m not bothered by that; it gives you the chance to try out the other character. As for the items, after you choose your character you can equip them with weapons or items you may have previously found, such as a double jump or an item that will decrease your size to make you a smaller target, but also reducing your health. I’ve noticed though that a lot of items I’ve found don’s show up on the item select screen. My guess is that those items are temporary power-ups for that stage/playthrough only, which makes sense as you would get a bit overpowered if you could keep all of the abilities you find.
While I don’t have anyone to check out multiplayer with me I did fire up the mode to see what it’s like. Essentially you play through the game co-op and it’s not a bad concept. Instead of using a split-screen the screen just widens out as the two characters get further apart. Not a bad idea and I took it to the limit by trying to use one character to clear a stage while the other character remained at the start. I never cleared the stage like that, but that’s probably because the screen was so far zoomed out that I could barely make out the pixel of the character I was using, but I like the concept.
As far as Mega Man-inspired games go I had some fun with this one. While the graphics may not represent the series the music and gameplay highly resemble the Super NES X games. The comparison I thought of while playing Echoes of Eridu was this was to Mega Man X as Mighty No. 9 is to the classic series…okay, maybe not an exact comparison but I did have thoughts of Mighty No. 9 going through my head as I played this. For a game in the alpha stages you get a good idea of just how the game works and its mechanics. If the developers put a lot of time and effort into the game (not saying they haven’t already, it definitely shows that they have), this could be a really good game and I’m looking forward to checking out the full version once it’s complete. The developers started a Kickstarter for the game and it’s been met. I’m planning on backing the game enough to get in on the beta version once it’s out, so hopefully I’ll be able to do a write-up in a couple of months with what’s been updated since the alpha.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.