Developer: Seow Zong Hui / Publisher: Capcom / Played on: PC / Price: FREE / ESRB: Not Rated
After a quarter century of Street Fighter and Mega Man games, Capcom has finally combined its two flagship franchises in a fan-made downloadable PC game, Street Fighter x Mega Man. Borrowing elements from each cherished and respected franchise, SFxMM is perhaps the most unique entry into either series’ storied history. Serving as the official 25th anniversary celebration for both franchises, SFxMM delivers exactly what it sets out to do: pay homage to the last 25 years of Capcom’s biggest franchises and please the fans.
This is a Mega Man game first and foremost, so expect gameplay more akin to the jump-and-shoot action of the Blue Bomber rather than complex button inputs and combos reminiscent of the Street Fighter series. More specifically, it plays very similar to Mega Man IV on the NES. Mega Man has can perform his slide ability first debuted in MM3 as well as being able to charge the Mega Buster a la MM4. SFxMM follows the same formula the Mega Man series has perfected: defeat eight bosses, copy their special powers, and trudge through an intense barrage of levels en route of destroying the final boss. Like I said, it’s a Mega Man game.
The obvious twist here is the connection to Street Fighter. Gone are the Robot Masters and in their place are characters from all of SF’s past: Ryu, Dhalsim, Chun-Li, Blanka, Rolento, Rose, Urien, and C. Viper. Naturally, Dr. Wily is also absent, and in his place (again, naturally) is M. Bison. The game has all the trimmings of being a standard Mega Man game with Street Fighter flair, but there are subtle changes that stray away from the standard Mega Man affair.
Ryu, Chun-Li, and the rest of the boss characters fight as they would in a SF game, meaning Ryu will throw Hadoukens, Chun-Li unleashes her Spinning Bird Kicks, and Dhalsim’s Yoga Fire and teleporting can be devastating. There’s even an Ultra meter that builds up as they take damage, and when it’s full they can perform a signature Ultra combo, complete with close-up shot of the Street Fighter and a flashy background should you die from the subsequent hit. Unlike every other Mega Man game however, these bosses do not follow a specific and set pattern.
The allure to past MM games was the puzzle-like nature of the Robot Masters: once you learned their patterns you could more easily defeat them. That’s not so in SFxMM, but that’s not an entirely terrible thing. I personally enjoyed how the Street Fighter characters moved and played like their standard versions, albeit in an 8-bit fashion. Mega Man purists will scoff at this seemingly miniscule difference, but you have to remember that this is a game celebrating both franchises, so the proper play style of the Street Fighters is a good decision.
There aren’t any problems with the overall game, but there are some aspects from which you can draw complaint. For starters, the levels are fairly short by Mega Man standards. I ran through the entire game in less than an hour, barely dying on my way to battling M. Bison. Even with some tricky boss fights, the game is on the easy side. For every complaint nice touches deliver a ton of charm if you’re a fan of both Street Fighter and Mega Man: a secret boss fight with Akuma, the remixed chiptune soundtrack, and the joy of seeing your favorite Street Fighter character in the Mega Man mold just to name a few.
Oh, and if you were wondering:
Ryu > Chun-LI > C. Viper > Dhalsim > Blanka > Rose > Rolento > Urien
The biggest issue that I have with the game is the standard control setup: it’s downright awful. As a PC game, the default setup has you playing with the keyboard, and this play style is not befitting of either franchise. Performing the somewhat precise movements needed to navigate successfully each level is near impossible while moving with the WASD keys and firing/jumping with L and K keys.
I strongly suggest playing on a gamepad controller. Key configuring is simple and so long as your controller works on your PC it is the definitive way to play the game. Overall the game doesn’t feel quite as tight as the NES Mega Man games, but seeing as it’s not nearly as difficult as those games it doesn’t mar the experience.
Visuals & Sound
Street Fighter x Mega Man beautifully blends the two source worlds. The stages draw inspiration from the Street Fighter characters they house as a boss: Ryu’s stage has you battling on top of Japanese buildings, while Blanka’s stage has you travelling through a lush tropical environment. If you’ve played any past Street Fighter game you can’t help but chuckle when you see familiar locations recreated in 8-bit, like Rolento’s elevator shaft with billboard in the background, or the final fight with M. Bison unfolding in a field of tall grass during twilight.
I particularly liked the screen revealed after defeating a boss and acquiring their power: Mega Man equips the new power and tests it out on, whom else, Dan Hibiki. Visually the game nails the retro/Street Fighter look. The soundtrack is comprised of chiptune versions of classic Street Fighter themes and Mega Man songs mixed together to create something fresh and unique. Some songs are better than others, like Ryu’s theme and the main title theme, but as a whole the soundtrack should please any Street Fighter fan.
Street Fighter x Mega Man is made by the fans, for the fans. As a celebration of 25 years of games from both Mega Man and Street Fighter, SFxMM whets your appetite for everything that made both franchises so memorable and successful.
While some may feel disappointed by a free PC download in lieu of a brand new game for either series, SFxMM still comes off as a greatly enjoyable game that fans of both series’ will find a lot to love. Though it’s short and strays away a bit from traditional Mega Man games, Street Fighter x Mega Man is a great play that you honestly have little reason not to experience.