Arrow keys to move. Space bar to fire and hold space bar for a big shot.
Megaman begins – The rise of a gaming classic
If you were a fan of the fun-loving Mario Brothers series or enjoyed whizzing around the confusing upside down courses of Sonic the Hedgehog, then chances are good that you were also a fan of the exciting laser blasting Megaman game, also known as Rockman to Japanese gamers. This gem of a game follows on in the classic style of the other 2-D platform genre games of the time with its engaging storyline, action packed puzzle ridden levels, platform jumping madness and difficult end of level boss fights. So what set Megaman apart from the others and why was it such a hit?
If you’re not familiar with the Megaman series, it is possibly the Capcom companies most successful titles, released onto the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. There have since been a total of 10 follow on series 6 in the original 2-D style and 4 other 3-D transitions all released on multiple consoles, with the last title put out not long ago in 2010. As it was in direct competition with great platform games like the Mario Brothers, which had very unique and interesting game-play that tended to change with each level, the developers of Megaman knew that they had to create something special that would hook a gamers’ interest.
In a nut shell, the Megaman character is a robot created as a lab helper by Dr Light was part of a team of doctor’s producing cutting edge technology to help humans.
Unfortunately the evil Dr Wiley, decides to use his creations to destroy the world, hence Megaman’s circuits are altered to protect the world. The game play involves lots of side scrolling and jumping from platform to platform in an attempt to dodge enemy fire while also solving challenging puzzles in order to continue on. What makes this game so unique is the player’s ability to choose which boss they want to destroy first, making the game-play less straight-lined which is something no other game of that time really offered. On-top of that, each time Megaman successfully beats a level boss he takes its special weapon and is able to use it in the following levels.
A brief history of platform games
The platform game genre can be called one of the most popular forms of arcade game and at the height of its popularity it dominated the whole gaming market on a global scale with thousands of different titles lining the shop shelves. The first platform games started to trickle onto the games consoles at the beginning of the 80’s and though it’s difficult to pinpoint what the first release of this kind was a few of the titles that helped to push the genre along include Donkey Kong, Crazy Climber, space panic and Mario Bros.
Due to the limited technology and software available at the time, games developers started off using single screen backgrounds, such as the first Mario Bros game built around several platforms in an underground sewer or he Donkey Kong iron scaffolding scene. It was between 1982 and 1984 that scrolling screen graphics were implemented allowing players to move horizontally and vertically while the background changed with them allowing more interesting and colorful game-play. This pinnacle change opened the gates for the inevitable progression towards the now popular 3-D game standard and ultimately the demise of platform games as they were once known.
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