Review: Street Fighter x Mega Man


Street Fighter x Mega Man came out of nowhere, but it’s nice to see the Blue Bomber getting some recognition on his 25th anniversary.

Let’s be honest: Mega Man has pretty much died. Capcom has run the franchise into the ground, even though it continues to have a ton of fan support to this day. Mega Man Legends 3 notmegamanbit the dust last year, leaving Mega Man 10 as the most recent game in the series — and that was a retro-style title released all the way back in 2010. It’s been a sad spiral for a character that has appeared in more than 100 titles dating back to 1987. (Hell, it got to the point where it seemed like Capcom was trolling its own fans, giving Zero a Mega Man costume in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and putting the wonky, fat, box art version into Street Fighter x Tekken.)

At the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary tournament a couple weekends ago, there was a surprise announcement in the middle of the event: Street Fighter x Mega Man. Best of all, the game was announced to be free, thanks to its roots as a fan-developed title. The game features all the old-school platforming mechanics of Mega Man, but with the added twist of Street Fighter characters taking the place of the usual boss robots.

Even more interestingly, those bosses mimic how the characters perform in Street Fighter IV — so Rose activates Soul Satellite (her Ultra 2 in SFIV) to create orbs around her, then rushes in while she’s covered. Dhalsim jumps around with Yoga Flames, teleports and his usual stretching limb attacks. If you’ve played a Street Fighter game before, you’ll have a leg up on fighting the bosses in SFxMM, even if you’re still learning which attack is strong against which boss.

So how does it all hold up? I’m glad you asked.

The game plays like classic Mega Man, which means all the platforming elements feel just right. The usual tricks are here from the start: a charged beam, a slide, etc. Along the way, our hero steals the powers of the bosses he defeats, which in this game is crazy stuff like Uriel’s shield and Blanka’s watermelons. After he beats the original eight, there’s another handful of stages afterward (which I won’t spoil here) where the difficulty is even higher.

Like a lot of old-school games, SFxMM is pretty difficult. Mega Man veterans will probably find the game to be challenging, but not ridiculous; people who are rusty (like me, who hasn’t beaten a MM game since 4) or have never played before will probably die a lot. This is especially true in a few unforgiving stage sections where one touch kills you, like a section of C. Viper’s stage. street_fighter_x_mega_manBut the level design is intelligent, and determined players will find the patterns and spacing they need to get through even the toughest parts.

The graphics and soundtrack are where SFxMM really shines. The sprites have been lovingly created, even for characters who were created 22 years after the NES was first released. The game combines a familiar Mega Man look with the occasional use of fonts or sound effects from SFIV. And the soundtrack is exactly what you might expect: 8-bit versions of character themes from Street Fighter for the stages, the familiar Mega Man theme for starting a level, the SFII character select screen when picking which boss to challenge. The production level is good enough that it seems like Capcom produced the game itself, but it also shows those bits of loving detail that a megafan of the series would strive for.

There are those who would argue that Mega Man should have gotten something more for its 25th anniversary. Like, say, a new game finally. Or maybe a neat collection like Street Fighter got for its own 25th earlier in the year. I can’t disagree with that. There are others who say that Capcom is insulting fans by putting out a fan-made game, however, and that’s where I don’t understand the criticism. We got a free game to download with great balancing and a clever idea that Capcom itself admitted it hadn’t thought of (and remember, Capcom has crossed over with damn near everything over the years).

The Mega Man series may still be struggling right now, but if you’ve ever been a fan or if you’ve ever wondered why the older games are so revered, head over to the website now and download Street Fighter x Mega Man. Again, it’s free — no risk. It just came out earlier today, so even you hipsters can jump in now while the game is fresh. If nothing else, the game is a strong reminder of why the Blue Bomber was once the coolest kid on the block.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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