Reliving Blue Bomber, Vol. 5 -- "Mega Man 5"

With "Mega Man 9" dropping next week, we're not going to make it through the entire old school "Mega Man" games before the new sequel drops.

But at least we're ending on a high note. "Mega Man 5" is the best in the series after "Mega Man" and "Mega Man 2." It's also the most challenging.

Part of that comes from subtle tributes paid to those games in the design of "Mega Man 5." Part of it because it's just a really good platformer.

Maybe it's just because I've played the "Mega Man" series so many times, but I don't usually die when I'm making my way through the stages themselves. Barring the occasional missed jump, the enemies aren't usually tough enough to take the blue bomber out. That's not true in "Mega Man 5," as I found myself dying multiple times before getting a crack at the robot boss!

Much of "Mega Man 5"'s difficulty stems from its ambitious level design. Whereas previous sequels seemed to channel the NES hardware towards more detailed visuals, "Mega Man 5" uses it to great effect in creating crazier levels to play in. Charge Man, who's modeled after a train, actually has his stage take place on a train. As you move through it, the screen moves up and down, as though the train is bumping along.

Sure, we've come a long way since then, but for an NES game, that's pretty cool.

This is also the first "Mega Man" title with a real incentive to play through old stages again, as Capcom littered the letters making up MEGAMANV throughout the game. Collecting all of them gives you access to the enemy-attacking Beat Adaptor. You don't need the Beat Adaptor to beat "Mega Man 5," but it's useful towards the end.

"Mega Man 5" is my favorite "Mega Man" since "Mega Man 2." In fact, here's my official ranking, five games in:

1. "Mega Man 2"

2. "Mega Man"

3. "Mega Man 5"

4. "Mega Man 3"

5. "Mega Man 4"

What's your list look like?

[Image Credit: Games Radar / Wikipedia]

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