Pros: Solid level design and a good incorporation of RPG elements with
the cyber elf system.
Cons: Slight changes to the formula don't hide the fact that it's
another Rockman title.
Capcom's intelligent mix of Mega Man gameplay with RPG infused elements
led to the birth of the Rockman Zero series. Staring Capcom's other
robotic hero, Rockman Zero games are that reminds gamers of the good old
SNES days. Continuing in it's fourth game Zero escapes the clutches of
Dr. Vile in a caravan with his operator Ciel. The dream of Neo Arcadia
is no more, the city once a utopia to humans is now in Dr. Vile's hands.
His first mission, protect his caravan from Vile's attack.
controls just like he did in past games. You can jump by pressing A,
dash by pressing L and attack with your equipped weapon by pressing by
B. Zero has three different weapons to choose from where two can be used
at any time. To quickly switch between your main weapon and your
secondary one, just hold R while pressing B. A smart control scheme that
lets Zero snipe enemies from a distance with his gun and lets him shred
enemies with his Z-Saber. The Z-Saber has a three hit combo and if you
hold down the B button you can unleash a heavy blow. The gun is Zero's
other main weapon, which can unleash a strong charge shot or up to three
shots on screen.
If you've played any of the Mega Man Zero games you may be asking
what happened to past weapons like the spear or shield? They're in the
game, but you don't have direct access to them. New to Mega Man Zero 4
is the Z-Knuckle. This interesting weapon allows you to steal enemy
attacks at will. If Zero uses the Z-Knuckle to dispatch a flame throwing
plant he'll gain a powerful flame blast. Or if he happens to use it to
kill one a shield bearing enemy he'll gain a deflector shield. The
Z-Knuckle system is a great idea to add into gameplay. Levels are
cleverly designed to reward gamers that intelligently pick up enemy
weapons. In one area there are a bunch of aerial turrets, that can't be
hit by the gun. An astute player can pick up a near by turret that can
fire in an upward direction to easily clear the area. If you're not into
playing the Z-Knuckle you can avoid the whole system, but it will make
some areas more difficult.
To keep the game interesting and delineate it from other Mega Man
titles there is a weather system implemented. Levels can be sunny,
cloudy, rainy or snow filled. The weather conditions can have a
significant impact on some areas. If there is large set of spikes to
clear, take on that level when it's snowing so the snow covers the
spikes. A rainy day may lead to slippery platforms, which could spell
bottomless pit disasters. The weather system is a good idea to increase
replay value and when used correctly you can find hidden secrets. The
game's EX skills are probably the ultimate secret to obtain from the
weather system. If you're not in the right element bosses won't use EX
skills, which means Zero won't get them. So if you want Zero to wield an
Ice Lance or stop time pay close attention to what the weather is.
While not unique, the chip system allows you to customize Zero's
armor. Chips aren't just found, but created from enemy parts. Here's
where a language barrier can come in for early importers. You'll need to
select the correct parts (in katakana) to build chips for
your armor. If you want to get all of the chips you'll have to do a lot
of part searching. The benefit of the chip system is an enhanced Zero,
but it is far from necessary to get chips to beat the game. A simpler to
use and more critical system is upgrading your cyber elf. By feeding the
glowing energy ball e-crystals you can enhance Zero's abilities in three
areas. Power up nurse skills to increase Zero's HP or increase animal
skills to have your elf shoot elemental shots. You can equip up to three
different cyber elf skills to give Zero added power.
As a sprite based action game Rockman Zero 4 looks amazing. Levels
look completely different in each weather system. No matter which system
you're in the levels look great. Sunny levels have rays of sunshine,
while cloudy levels wash the palette grey. The game is fairly well
animated too. Zero has a bunch of fluid animations. Watching him slice
things in half with the Z-saber looks pretty cool too, especially for a
GBA title. Something that all Mega Man fans dread is slowdown. Rockman
Zero 4 is fairly fluid, but bouts of slowdown can exist. If you have too
many things firing shots slowdown occurs. It's rare, but still there.
Rockman Zero 4 can be beat in a couple of hours even if you're not a
Mega Man expert. While the hour count is deceivingly low there are a
bunch of mini games hidden inside. To unlock Wood Chopping you need to
achieve the hard to get S-rank for all levels. Hammer Harvest requires
gamers to complete the entire game in under an hour. Plus the weather
system can lead to different experiences, making the game worth a couple
of playthroughs. Rockman Zero 4 isn't going to score huge on the
originality scale or alter anyone's mind about the state of Mega Man
games. Yet, it's probably the best portable action oriented Mega Man
title to date.
Missing out on the story due to language issues isn't much to fret
about. What can pose a problem is the item creation system. Knowledge of
katakana or a really good FAQ is required if you want to synthesize new
While not announced by Capcom, it should be coming over to the US.
There are enough differences to delineate from being just another Mega
Man game, but it still follows the same formula. If you're into the Mega
Man series pick it up, Rockman Zero 4 exemplifies the GBA series.