Megaman and Bass


posted 5/9/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
Platforms: GBA
Since its incarnation the GBA has allowed for a rebirth of the classics. Great titles, such as the older Mario Games, have seen new life and have been reaching an entirely new audience. Looking to capitalize on this Capcom has been bringing a few of their older titles over to the GBA as well. This time around it’s a direct-port of its Japan-only Super Famicon title Mega Man and Bass.

This game is strange because it takes the focus off of Mega Man and places most of it on his sidekick, Bass. Mega Man has most of his trademark moves, the blaster which can be charged for more damage, a slide maneuver that helps him avoid tight situations and of course that loveable blue sheen that has been stealing our hearts for the past 15 years. Then there’s Bass, an arrogant newcomer who feels that he is the greatest robot to ever walk the planet. Equipped with a rapid-fire blaster, double-jump capabilities and a dash maneuver, he’s looking to add some weight to his claims.

Structurally Mega Man and Bass differs from the other games in the series. Instead of having the gamer complete one set of stages and then throwing another set at them, the game opts to go for a sort of branching system that unlocks more levels as one is completed. It’s actually a pretty nice system that helps guide you through which weapons should be used to take out a particular boss. Most of the guesswork with Mega Man games is trying to find out the proper weapon to use to defeat the next boss, this game takes that guesswork and gives you a 50/50 chance of stumbling upon it.

If you’ve played a Mega Man game you’ll feel right at home here. All of the basic gameplay elements comprise the majority of the game and with the exception of Bass’ varied maneuvers; this is your basic 2D Mega Man game. You know the drill, play through a stage, defeat the mid-stage mini-boss, take out the main boss, gain his weapon and then head to the next stage. It’s a pretty basic formula but it’s one that still works.

Prepare to be frustrated by this game. In fact this is probably one of the most difficult Mega Man titles in recent history. All of the levels are laid out in such a way that they’re challenging and even borderline impossible. Newbies will no doubt want to use Bass; his double jump abilities will help get you through, and even bypass, most of the game’s obstacles. With the aid of the double jump the game is still insanely difficult. Even when you’re able to tackle a boss with the crippling weapon you can still bet you’ll be in for one hell of a time. Not to say that this is a bad thing though, it’s about time that someone bitchslapped some respect into the new wave of gamers.

This game looked great on the SNES and it translates into an excellent GBA title as well. Both Bass and Mega Man animate with some amazing fluidity. It’s obvious that a ton of work went into ensuring that the game would be pleasing to the eyes, even on the small screen. Special effects are pretty impressive as well as they wow the eyes without detracting too much from the gameplay.

Keeping in tune with the graphics, the audio is excellent as well. In terms of GBA music and sound I’d say that this ranks amongst the best of what the handheld has to offer. Don’t come here expecting those tinny and forgettable sounds that populate the majority of today’s GBA games because you’ll be sorely disappointed. You’ll get some of the best upbeat background music that the GBA has to offer and accompanied by some great sound effects. This is probably one of the few games that makes untangling my headphones worth the while.

If you manage to get through the game you’ll be happy to know that the adventure isn’t over. You can go back and play through the game as the other character for a rather unique and varied experience. Also adding to the replay value are CDs scattered about the environment that contain data on various characters in the Mega Man universe. Data can only be viewed in a gallery-like setting but it’s still a nice afterthought for any of us who love searching through every nook and cranny for hidden goodies.

There’s a lot of fun to be had here, barring that you can stomach the game’s insane difficulty. Next to the Castlevanias and Marios of the GBA this is the best platforming experience available. If you want more of that old school goodness to go along with that shiny new GBA SP then you can’t go wrong with Mega Man and Bass.

The title says MegaMan in it but you'll probably spend more time with its secondary character, Bass. Not that this is a bad thing mind you, being able to completely bypass those lame disappearing block puzzles rocks the body that rocked the party.

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