Following the minor coup of Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition jumping from Nintendo exclusivity to the Genesis, Mega Man: The Wily Wars was an “enhanced” port of the first three NES games. I say “enhanced” because the port didn’t exactly happen without incident, with some of the more iconic set pieces of the game (such as the showdown with the robot dragon in Mega Man 2) acquiring so much slowdown that they’re almost unplayable. Some of the background tile sets also lost a lot of the personality in the transition, most notably the greenhouse elements of Top Man’s stage being downplayed to the point where the thorny plants were replaced by generic spikes.
This isn’t to say that the transition to Sega’s console was all bad. The music survived the conversion admirably, even if it picked up a bit of that distinct Genesis sound along the way. Sprites are slightly enhanced versions of the NES originals, mostly picking up some 16-bit color effects but otherwise sticking true to the original proportions (unlike its 16-bit cousin, Mega Man 7, which redid Mega Man’s sprite from scratch).
The one major new feature in The Wily Wars was the inclusion of a new section dubbed “Wily Tower” in which Mega Man must face off against three new robot masters based on the Journey to the West folk tale. In this mode, Mega Man may take up to 8 of any of the robot master weapons from Mega Man 1-3 as well as any combination of the support items (though why you would ever take Item-2 over Rush Jet is beyond me).
Following the new robot masters is the titular Wily Tower of four more stages, incorporating most every minor enemy from Mega Man 1-3 (except for Air Man’s Air Tikki). The music is a bit hit or miss in the new sections, but many of the stages feature a myriad of branching paths accessible only by particular robot master abilities (Guts Arm, Crash Bombs, Hard Knuckle, etc).
Mega Man: The Wily Wars if a fun but inessential entry if the overall series. It would have been a great way to introduce someone weaned on Sega systems to the series too, if not for Sega of America’s decision to make it a Sega Channel exclusive and locking it away from the majority of US players. Well, I guess there’s always emulation.
Article by Scott Lowe
GameSpite Journal 12: Mega Man – The Wily Wars