Mega Man Battle & Fighters just surprise-launched on Switch and it's a pretty fun throwback so charge your buster and let's get to it.
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What exactly is this?
If you're a Mega Man fan like me then you're probably aware of the arcade games Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters which are fighting games that act like a sort of boss rush mode. Recently, both of these fighters became available as part of Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium so definitely check that out if you're curious. Anyway, Mega Man Battle & Fighters is a portable adaptation of these arcade games which released exclusively in Japan for NeoGeo Pocket Color back in 2000 and this Switch release actually marks the first time it's available officially in the west. Of course, the NeoGeo Pocket Color can't emulate mid-'90s arcade games so this plays and looks more like the NES titles than the arcade releases but that actually gives it more charm as well as a boost of nostalgia. v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium Review
Classic Robot Masters
The best part about Mega Man Battle & Fighters is that you can battle 36 Robot Masters from Mega Man 1 through 7. Not only is battling them in one convenient collection a lot of fun, they're also different enough from the original games that you'll always be in for a surprise whether it's from a new special attack or an unpredictable movement pattern. In this sense, I'd consider these boss fights to be remixes of the classics. Overall, the blend of familiarity and novelty is excellent for long-time Mega Man fans. 😊
Mega Man has his own special moves, too. In fact, you can play as a few other characters including Proto Man, Bass, and Duo with the latter only available in The Power Fighters. You only use 2 buttons as you play which correspond to jump and shoot but you can also leap off walls for a strategic advantage, charge your shot, roll to recover when you're knocked down, and perform character-specific moves such as a slide, air dash, and Duo's Giga Tackle. The Power Fighters also includes a special move per character and my favourite is Mega Man's uppercut because it looks awesome. Eddie will even arrive sometimes who lets certain other characters aid you in battle.
As you defeat Robot Masters, you'll unlock their special weapons which is great although the weapon select menu is super-annoying as you have to pause the action then tap A on some Japanese text to cycle through your arsenal. Considering this is on Switch, why not let players use the L and R buttons mid-game instead? That would have been a fantastic modernization. 🥺
Just like the fact that Mega Man Battle & Fighters' selection of bosses is remixed, the music is as well. As you play, you'll be treated to a handful of familiar Mega Man tunes that have been slightly altered to make them sound as fresh as they are nostalgic. Thankfully, they're still chiptunes although they don't always match the boss that you're fighting which feels a bit odd. 🎵
Nuts and bolts
Finally, let's discuss some odds and ends. As you claim victory in your battles against the Robot Masters, you'll unlock their entries in a database which is a nice replay incentive. However, the menus can be confusing to navigate since they're mostly in Japanese with only some of the text being in English so you have to consult the in-game manual to know what's what. I even accidentally cleared my save data once! Also, I should stress that although Mega Man Battle & Fighters is a very fun game, the boss fights aren't quite as enjoyable as they are in their NES and arcade counterparts. In fact, most bosses are quite the pushovers here so you may want to up the difficulty.
Mega Man Battle & Fighters is a highly entertaining portable interpretation of 2 arcade treasures that are themselves nifty compilations of classic Mega Man boss fights. So, if you're a fan of the Blue Bomber then definitely play this.
- + Features a wide selection of classic Mega Man bosses to fight
- + Gameplay has some nifty extra mechanics
- + Awesome familiar soundtrack
- - Menus are confusing and untranslated
- - Isn't quite as fun as the originals
- - Swapping weapons is annoying