Mega Man Unlimited(2)

Genre: Platformer
Year: 2013
Developed by: MegaPhilX
Published by: MegaPhilX
Platforms: PC
Feeling Like: Hulk Smash

I don’t usually play fan made games. I think I’ve only completed two – the Brave New World Mod for Final Fantasy 6, and Mega Man Unlimited. The only way I’ll consider approaching a project like this is if I’m absolutely in love with the original concept, and if I’m encouraged by the general fan base. What can I say, I’m not a natural explorer.

Mega Man Unlimited is an incredible example of what passionate fans can make. The creator of this terrific unofficial game is named MegaPhilX. Thanks to him and a handful of others, it’s pixel perfect. A professional  homage to old school Mega Man games, complete with robot masters, unique levels, choosing which order you want to tackle the stages, absorbing powers from defeated bosses and a sublime 8-bit soundtrack. It’s awesome.

MegaPhilX, and a handful of others, can go fuck themselves.

I have never, in my entire life, been this angry at a video game. Ever. I’ve slammed my headset in DOTA 2, I’ve tossed my controller during all forms of Smash Brother matches, I’ve received noise complaints at Mount Allison due to missing a putt in Mario GolfToadstool Tour. Despite a few blemishes such as these, I usually manage to keep my emotions in check.

Not so with Mega Man Unlimited. 

Mega Man Unlimited(3)
This is what I wanted to do with my own arm

I’ll get to the good stuff eventually, I promise. But you have to know that I outright broke a controller playing it. Take Mega Man, an already difficult game, and ramp up the challenge to 11 on the bullshit meter. If a level isn’t too long, it’s too hard. Deaths are swift, and common. Checkpoint systems are outright unfair. Bosses are more unpredictable than ever. Environmental hazards are a storm of instant death. The final areas are insanely brutal. Rainbow Man’s stage, and music, took an express elevator from hell to punish me personally.

It was exhausting to play. I’m getting nightmare flashbacks just thinking about it. Every pore would start sweating when I’d clear a difficult area, only to be met with an even more difficult area. Video Games should not be this mentally taxing, or infuriating.

I’m retroactively embarrassed at how loud I shouted, how much I swore and the peripherals destroyed while I played Mega Man Unlimited. It’s my absolute limit in terms of difficulty – I can’t go any further without giving up.

Mega Man Unlimited(1)
Every detail is perfect, especially Mega Man’s perturbed look

Now that I think about it, I don’t recall if I stubbornly stuck to the Normal mode, or relinquished and switched to easy mode. Regardless, that’s about my only complaint about Mega Man Unlimited. The rest is as classic as the original Blue Bomber himself. Sliding is here, but charging the Mega Buster isn’t. That’s fine, I can live with Mega Man 3 controls.

It looks exactly like a NES game, though I’m confident a few tweaks were made a la Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 to ensure that the “feel” and “look” of an original Nintendo game is here without the actual technological limitations. All is forgiven – jumping, climbing, shooting and sliding are perfect here. It may as well be called Mega Man 9.5 as far as I’m concerned.

Mega Man Unlimited(4)

Aside from a few tracks that made me want to rip my ears off, Mega Man Unlimited’s soundtrack is incredible. Everything sounds like it’s taken directly out of a Capcom made Mega Man, with a few standouts being among the greatest chiptunes ever created. I’m constantly reminding myself that this isn’t a “real” Mega Man game, but the melodies and technical quality of the music often gave me pause.

Yo-Yo Man’s Stage, for one.

Jet Man’s Stage is a personal favorite.

These are a but a sample of the breadth of quality that you’ll hear while dying a billion times, and it’s the top reason why I’ve put the game as high as I have on the 500.

A few other details and nods work well too. The trademark Wily sign signalling a Robot Boss’ room has been blasted out. Shopping for items can give you a merciful boost to your arsenal. Many of the bosses in the last area are exquisitely designed.

Mega Man Unlimited(5)
Enemy design, background graphics, the UI…it’s all here.

I just can’t get past the difficulty. I never want to play this game again, and that’s about the only Mega Man game I’d make that claim. I immediately uninstalled the files after I saw the end credits and was still full of rage for a while afterward. Once I let my emotions subside, I realize that when a level, or boss was finally (FINALLY) completed, I got the same rush, and sense of achievement as I did in any other Mega Man game. Bravo to all involved, but also a big middle finger to all involved.

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