Mega Man 64 (N64) – MetaCritic, You Got It Wrong

Critic Score: 59 / User Score: 8.0

Mega Man 64 is the N64 version of the game many people know as Mega Man Legends. As we all know Legends is one of the Mega Man spin of games that has a bit of cult following, as plenty of people love the universe and characters from the game. The latest from the series was the tragic cancellation of Megaman Legends 3, which saw plenty of hopeful Legends fans write off Capcom due to the troubled development

Mega Man 64 is an odd addition to the Legends series, as it came after the acclaimed PS1 game and VERY late into the N64’s life cycle when most gamers had moved on from Nintendo’s flagship console. So with that, not many people have even played 64 before. It’s not quite specified on why the N64 port was made and who exactly had asked for it, but even with the late release, is it as bad as the Meta Critic score seems to indicate?

Legends currently holds a decent rating among critics and fans alike, whereas, for a good deal of gamers, 64 is pushed to the side and even denounced as a bad version of the classic tale of Volnutt. But why is that exactly? Is there some sort of awful terrible gameplay that makes it unplayable? Are the graphics eye bleeding? What is it exactly? Are the current ratings for Mega Man 64 correct and it is as bad as everyone says?

We’re going to look at that notion today and see if the fans critics, got it wrong!

Story

So… there is A LOT to the story of Mega Man 64. It’s a bit complicated, so we’ll do our best to summerize so you get a basic idea of what to expect in the game without over explaining the narrative, since there is a bunch of complicated stuff happening in the Mega Man 64 story. 64 takes place on earth, but it’s been flooded to high heck and back, leaving only a few islands around the world with life and energy sources and basic minerals are rare and in high demand as machines are needed to traverse the earth.

Airships and the like use this needed energy, and everyone is on the hunt for the magical MacGuffin known as the Mother Lode. An infinite source of energy that’ll see whoever has it never have to scavenge the earth for energy sources ever again. A group of people is dedicated to finding the Motherlode, these people are known as Diggers. And our story puts us in the shoes of Mega Man Volnutt, a digger living on an island with his friend Roll and a whole cast of colourful characters.

It’s up to Mega Man to find the mother lode, and there is a crazy adventure that follows that quest! While a bit complicated at times, it’s enjoyable and fun to experience the game with these characters as people like Roll and Mega Man are a riot to watch have wacky adventures. The game even features full voice acting that still holds up to this day and should leave you with a smile as the VA team clearly had a lot of fun working on the game.

There is also no difference to be found in terms of the story between 64 and Legends, so Critics and fans have little to argue about in that aspect as both are pretty much the same experience! Overall, Story checks out as a solid aspect of Megam Man 64!

Gameplay

Fans of Ocarina of Time will feel right at home with Mega Man 64. It’s an open world action adventure game, well… there is a bit of linear hand holding in parts, but for the most part, you get to play as Mega Man exploring the world, meeting new characters, fighting through dungeons, and collecting new items to progress the story. It might be one of the reasons the game was ported over to the Nintendo 64, due to how similar it was to Ocarina of Time.

The controls are easy enough to grasp but different from the usual Mega Man formula. You aren’t doing any side scrolling this time around, it’s a purely 3D action setting that sees Mega Man able to leap, shoot his Mega Buster in a 3D environment and more. But it works incredibly well, and is quite fun! The animations aren’t as fluid as say something like… Mario 64, but the game also isn’t stiff by any means and a wide range of emotions can be seen in the character models and how they move.

The camera does play an element here in the differences between 64 and Legends. The one in 64 seems to be a bit lacking in the tracking and overall control, whereas Legends players have had little complaint. Which is strange considering 64 came afterward, but maybe it was a feature they couldn’t alter and the game was possibly in development for the N64 longer than the PS1 version and they just wanted to get it out of the door. However it is not a game breaker, the camera can be… maybe a tiny bit frustrating, but hardly enough to take some marks off of an already impressive experience.

Graphics

Megaman 64 has this great anime style and cel shading that gives it a bit of a timeless feel, as the characters all have these great level of expressions, and there are enough polygons on screen to display wide ranges of motions with the character models and it’s easy enough to make most small details like books, soda cans, and more. Nothing is wasted here graphics wise and while some things with the textures show age, it’s overall a pleasant game to look at.

On the Right Mega Man Legends. Left is Mega Man 64.

Now, graphics wise it’s a bit of a personal opinion here. 64 arguably looks better as the Nintendo 64 is a 64-bit console. (That’s why it has the name!) Where as the PlayStation is a 32-bit console, so the models in Legends actually look rougher than Mega Man 64. It’s a bit of a personal taste thing of which you prefer there, as the sharpness on the PlayStation version is quite clear, whereas if you hook your N64 to a modern TV, those character models start looking quite a bit blurry.

So it’s a bit of an odd one, but it’s clear the graphics don’t deserve nearly the level of distaste they’ve been getting recently. It ranks solidly in graphics.

Sound

Full English Voice acting. Back in the day, this was something of a novelty, as even the most epic of RPGs and Action Adventure games didn’t feature full voice acting. It costs money to get the casts together, especially if you care enough about making sure the cast is good. Video game voice acting back in the early 2000s was a pretty unrespected form of work. People like Matt Mercer and Troy Baker have shown how the work can be taken seriously, but back then it was not respected whatsoever.

The music was fantastic too, a few noteable tracks that had plenty of high energy during boss battles and bigger fights, with fun town music and the like. Sound effects were solid too, considering the systems they had to work with, Capcom did a fantastic job with the sound design for the game. The only issue is that for Mega Man 64, the sound is a bit… tinny? It’s not as clear as Legends, and even is missing a few key tracks.

Sound design is solid, but you will get a better experience with Legends when it comes to sound. Point to Mega Man Legends.

Summary

So Mega Man 64. The N64 port of Mega Man Legends. Is it as bad as MetaCritic seems to make it out to be? No way. They got it wrong 100%. Mega Man 64 is nowhere near as bad as critics and critical fans make it out to be! Sporting some fantastic visuals with a few things missing, it’s a solid choice if you like the N64. It won’t leave you thinking the series is awful if you decide to start with it, no no.

Mega Man 64 is nothing short of fun, same as the game it’s based on, Mega Man Legends. Barring a few differences, they are the same game. Simple as, and Mega Man 64 is a perfectly acceptable version to buy and enjoy! Meta Critic, you got it wrong this time!

Did you enjoy Mega Man 64? Or are you not a fan? Let us know in the comments!

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