Following the amazing Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 games, Capcom had a tough pitch with Mega Man 4. Even as they would not make a game as good as those instant classics were, they still would end up making a fantastic game — and, unlike with Mega Man 5, the passion in the making of Mega Man 4 is palpable.
I believe there is a reason I recall the entirety of Mega Man 4, from my childhood days, fondly; contrarily, the one thing I always remember instantly of Mega Man 5 is the fantastic gravity-flip stage of Gravity Man. Maybe it\’s unfair to compare one Mega Man game to another, but how can\’t you when they are all so similar? It is the truth, that the few things that distinguish Mega Man 4 from Mega Man 5 are the things that make it better; slightly more responsive controls, better designed Mega Buster charge controls, and more evocative level design and, especially, music, makes Mega Man 4 stand out over its later brothers in the franchise.
As mentioned, the music in Mega Man 4 is very special. Even as Mega Man 2 and 3 had amazing tunes, and Mega Man 3 had a few evocative melodies, Mega Man 4 has practically nothing but evocative melodies. Every song seems to have an emotional undertone to it, when the music of Mega Man 2 and 3 seemed to mostly just \”kick ass\”. It\’s hard for me to explain, but I believe anyone that has played Mega Man 2 or 3, and Mega Man 4, can agree — the music of the latter resonates for at the personal level than the music of the earlier games. This is important, because none of the later Mega Man games would receive such a loving treatment.
In fact, I believe it is fair to say that, in general, no Mega Man game would be made with as much love and passion as Mega Man 4, until Mega Man X. Mega Man 5 and 6 were both fine specimens, and they stand proudly as members of the Mega Man family, but they certainly would not have the same lasting impact that Mega Man 2, 3, 4, and only later, Mega Man X, would have on gamers.
Having given all due praise, Mega Man 4 still needs to be compared to the previous games, for those that haven\’t played any of them and want to get at least one. To these people, I will say: get 2 and 3. I\’m sorry for being one more person to give such a cliché answer, but the truth is unavoidable; Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 are the epitome of the franchise, at least in terms of challenge and pacing. Mega Man 4 provides a fantastic follow up to those classics, and very likely is the third best in the NES Mega Man series (even when counting the doppelgangers Mega Man 9 and 10), but it still feels wrong to recommend it above the first games in the series.
To those games looking to get their first, or second game in the Mega Man series; make sure you have Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 first, before you get Mega Man 4. By the time you get MEga Man 4, anyway, you will be hooked into the series and will most likely end up getting all of them.