Capcom seems to be regressing with their latest batch of original series games, removing features that were in previous games. While the games are still fun, I sometimes wonder why certain aspects are being removed entirely. The following are some of the things which have been removed that I think is for the worst.
Update: As of this writing, Capcom’s most recent original series game, Mega Man 9, actually contained all of the following items. So, it seems they have turned things around—for which I’m pleased. I have left this commentary here as was originally written for posterity’s sake.
Lack of Rush
I never thought Rush was a significant addition when he was first introduced, but now that they’ve taken him away I’ve been finding myself wishing for him. Sure, I don’t use Rush Jet much in games where he does exist, but it’s nice to have him as backup. Right now, players of the later games have no choice but to bang their heads on a section of a stage that they simply can’t conquer, until finally they give up in frustration and return the game. Admittedly, much of the problem is increasingly lousy level design (such as in Mega Man & Bass where stage designers evidently based their work on Bass and apparently completely forgot that Mega Man might have to navigate those same stages as well). Sure, you might call using Rush a cop-out, but the Mega Man games appeal to people of all skill levels and a game that does nothing but frustrate defeats its primary purpose: enjoyment.
Lack of Energy Tanks
This basically causes many of the same problems as discussed above. How many times has someone fought through a frustrating stage, only to get to the end with 0 lives and then die with the boss at 2 units of life remaining? Again, games are about having fun; having to redo everything we just spent the last 15 minutes doing just because we were 2 units short of victory isn’t fun, it’s irritating.
Lack of Eight Bosses
One of the most interesting and entertaining aspects of the Mega Man games was being able to do the stages in absolutely any order. Just look at how many different ways a person could go through Mega Man 2, for example, while at the same time still having decent-enough weapons to defeat each boss when he was reached. One advantage to this free-form design is if a player has troubles with one stage or boss, he can try another, and another, until he finds one he can defeat. Having only four stages (or less!) available to begin with severely limits the player’s choices and increases the chances of him being unable to defeat any of the initial stages and never picking up the game again as a result. I didn’t mind this feature in the Game Boy games since they are of a different style, but it doesn’t belong in the main series.
Update: It would still be nice though, just for the sake of variety, if multiple weapons were effective against each Robot Master, rather than there being exactly one usable weapon. Compare Mega Man 2 with Mega Man 9, for example. In Mega Man 9, there is exactly one weapon you can use to any great effect on each Robot Master. In Mega Man 2, there are about two or three weapons per Robot Master that are effective, which gives players more freedom to be creative. (Ironically, when it comes to fortress bosses, these two games are reversed regarding effective weapons to use...)