Rumor once had it that the Mega Man series was going to end at 3 with the seemingly death of Dr. Wily whom you may have remembered got crushed by a block at the end of Mega Man 3. However, things had gone so well that Capcom decided to go on to create Mega Man 4, known in Japan as Rockman 4: Aratanaru Yabou!! which translates to Rockman 4: A New Ambition!! You now have a new scientist to take on and his name is Dr. Cossack and he has created eight new robots for you to take on.
The game's eight bosses are (in order of creation):
Bright Man – He got a light bulb on his head. His attacks are buster shots n' a bright flash of light that freezes you. He also tries to jump on you.
Pharaoh Man – Robot dressed like a true pharaoh. He shoots small Pharaoh Shots and hops around. When he stands still and lifts a finger, he is charging up his Big Pharaoh Shot, which is the size of Megaman.
Drill Man – Has a drill on his head. He likes to burrow a lot. When he goes underground, do not stand still. Move around and he'll pop up hopefully not underneath you. He'll also attack with Drill Bombs that explode on contact with something solid.
Ring Man – His forehead has a small ring. He follows a pattern. He will shoot a Ring Boomerang from the ground and jump to catch it then throw one in the air and charge at you while he catches that Ring Boomerang.
Toad Man – The easiest robot of the bunch with a simple AI. Stay close to him and all he'll do is try to jump on you. Do not give him a chance to use his Rain Flush. It will hit you no matter what. When he raises his hands and shakes his hips, he'll use it.
Dust Man – Looks like a human vacuum cleaner. Dust Man throws trash at you that splits into 4 then tries to suck you in.
Dive Man – In a manner similar to Dust Man, he looks a human submarine. Dive Man likes to charge a lot and send missiles that home in on you.
Skull Man – What's with the skeleton costume pal? He has the best theme music in this game. He'll shoot normal shots at you then activate his Skull Barrier. When he lets his shield down, he will charge you. At the start of the fight, stand still and he will do the same so you can take a bathroom break before the fight.
Graphics - A+
As usual, the graphics are in tip top shape with even more added features such as the floors in Ring Man's stage that cycles through colors then when step on, they slowly vanish then reappear back in place. Then there is the use of rain inside of Toad Man's stage with some added head wind to go with it for added effect. The same stage also adds the use of a waterfall. Skull Man's stage adds a feature towards the end where it goes from day till dawn and even the fossils in the background and the ones that made the stage are beautifully drawn. Bright Man's stage goes dark when you kill the enemies that look like light bulbs then turn back on when killing the green enemies that light up the stage.
Controls - A
Controls stay the same with an added new feature for Mega Man 4. Mega Man 3 introduced the slide. Mega Man 4 introduced the Charge Shot for the regular gun but it was already introduced in Mega Man 2 in conjunction with the Atomic Fire from Heat Man. You can also utilize a couple other weapons for extra effects. With the Pharaoh Shot you can hold the fire button down to form an overhead shot and release the button to throw it but if you continue to hold down the button, most enemies will die upon touching the overhead orb those who are not defeated in one hit will make it disappear but you can still throw a fully charged Pharaoh Shot upon releasing the fire button. The other weapon with a special use is the Drill Bomb. You can press the fire button while it is in flight to make it explode manually. This tactic will come into play towards the end of the game.
Gameplay - A+
Each robot is weak to another's weapon. The rock-paper-scissors concept is back intact. That means one enemy weakness per boss. In addition to the 8 weapons, you can get three Rush items to use for traveling purposes. Rush Coil (have this from the start) lets you jump to higher places out of reach. Rush Jet (obtained from Drill Man) lets you fly across extremely long pits and spikes and from this game on, Rush can only move forward by himself but you control him vertically. Rush Marine (obtained from Toad Man) is like the Rush Jet but used underwater but it's mostly useless and can only be summoned if in the water or if Rush lands in the water or it'll go back up. You also now have extra adapter items. Balloon Adapter lets you get to places out of reach similar to Item-1 from Mega Man 2. Wire Adapter lets you cling a wire to the ceiling and pull yourself up. This also makes way for a unique Mega Man sprite where he can look up.
Here is a small guide to the weaknesses of the bosses in order to their creation:
Bright Man (weak to Rain Flush)
Pharoah Man (weak to Flash Stopper)
Drill Man (weak to Dive Missile)
Ring Man (weak to Pharaoh Shot)
Toad Man (weak to Drill Bomb)
Dust Man (weak to Ring Boomerang)
Dive Man (weak to Skull Barrier)
Skull Man (weak to Dust Crusher)
Once you do away with all eight robots, for the first time in the Mega Man series you will now fight through two castles (one by the suspected enemy and the other by Dr. Wily when he is revealed to be the true mastermind.) The concept would later on be abandoned after Mega Man 6. The first castle consists of four stages and the second castle has four also. In Cossack Castle, you got to deal with a lot of frustrating jumps and careful climbing. The first Cossack boss is Mothraya who is weak to the Ring Boomerang. This fight you may say is more of a timed one as it has the ability to knock out pieces of the floor and you risk the chance of falling into the pit to your death. The second boss called Square Machine will split into three parts that move at various speeds. You can defeat it using Drill Bombs and Dust Crusher once it becomes one solid piece and hit it in the orb. You'll know if is going to solidify when it slows down. The third boss fight actually consists of two bosses called Cockroach Twins. The hardest part about this fight is staying on top because one wrong step and you will fall to your death in the spike pit. The Pharaoh Shot is the weapon of choice as you can form the orb above and hit the boss then throw another for extra damage. Once you defeat the first one, the other one comes out and goes crazy. Defeat it as before and you are off to face Dr. Cossack. Avoid being directly below him at all costs. He'll grab you and slam you for damage. Avoid his bullets and use the Charge Shot or Dust Crusher to defeat him. After the fight, Protoman will appear with a girl named Kalinka. Kalinka will beg Megaman not to hurt her father anymore because she explains that Wily took her hostage to make Cossack fight you. Cossack will come down and ask you for your forgiveness. Wily enters and reprimands Protoman for his betrayal and vows to break you. Watching to much Rocky IV there, Wily?
So Wily is revealed to be the culprit behind it all. You fight through a whole new castle and in one of those stages you deal with the Yoku blocks. Rush Jet will not be much help this time as you can't control his forward progress, only his vertical progress. The Wire on the other hand can be a bit of help. The first Wily boss is the Metall Daddy. You all remember the Mommy in Mega Man 3 in the revisited Needle Man stage. He falls with Dust Crusher or Ring Boomerang. His stomps can freeze you in place and makes Metalls fall. The second Wily boss is Octopus Furnace who is weak to the Ring Boomerang (that seems to be the obvious choice for the orbs don't it?) It acts like a giant version of the Gachappon. The third stage has the boss refights and a fight against Dr. Wily. Stay next to the machine to avoid it shots and just plug it full of Charge Shots. The next phase is tough. Throw a Drill Bomb and make it explode manually on the orb to damage it. There is a glitch where you can "kill" Wily by using the Rain Flush after defeating his second phase but it leaves you stuck there until you reset the game. The final fight features the first time Wily will vanish in and out of the playing field. Use your Pharaoh Shot once you see where he is because he will flash momentarily before he disappears. That is where he will be for you to blast him with the Pharaoh Shot. Once he is defeated, the lab will explode and you and Wily make an escape as Mega Man rides back to his home with a good ol' honey I'm home jump at the end.
Difficulty - 3
While this game is not eactly too hard, you will run into some frustration in some levels. Getting the Ballon and the Wire are optional but they make things a whole lot easier for you. You can find the Balloon Adapter by hopping over the pit in Pharaoh Man's stage and gathering it from there. You can get the Wire from Dive Man's stage. Kill the second whale and jump into the pit and avoid the spikes as you go down then gather it once you reach the bottom. The hardest part if anything is the second phase of the first Wily fight as some people won't have sense to do the Drill Bomb trick. They don't think they could jump that high but they can. The shots are hard to avoid.
Sound/Music - B
The soundtrack is okay but I've heard better. Skull Man has one of the best soundtracks for the Robot Masters that I've heard and other Robot Masters in the game whose music I liked were Dive Man, Ring Man, and Pharaoh Man. The ending song is also a good song to listen to. The music I was not a fan of were the castle theme. It was not so catchy like the rest of the music in the game.
Replay Value - B
Replayability is not to much keen as it was before except for a few Wily bosses having secondary weaknesses that you want to discover. The password feature no longer keeps track of how many E-Tanks you've obtained. The game has a lot of depth within it especially with the introduction of two castles in the game which carries on to Mega Man 5 and 6.
Overall - A
Rumor had it that Mega Man 3 was meant to be the final game before Mega Man 4 was made but if it was then it would have went out with a bang. Dr. Wily seemed to have died at the end but when you go through the list of created robots by Dr. Light ending with Proto Man being Mega Man's brother, you will see Dr. Wily's capsule land in a tree. Mega Man 4 showed that there was no overstauration of the series as it was still an enjoyable game to play.