It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Retromags post, so today for your viewing pleasure let’s all gawk at old gaming mag pages from some recently archived Electronic Gaming Monthly issues.
Let’s start off with a little appetizer: a preview of the Japanese work-in-progress title Rockman World 2.
Screens have many slight differences from the final, but the meatiest morsel is probably that stage select screen image in the middle. The mugshots shown in the magazine (while of poor grainy quality) are clearly different than the ones that appear in the final game, which were heavily based around the ones that appeared in the NES/FC version of Rockman 2. Let’s do a side by side comparison.
Let’s move on to the main course: two previewing an early build of Rockman 6. Complete with partial stage maps and the demo stage select screen!
There is so much going on in these pages that I need to break it down to digest it. First let’s look at the demo stage select screen.
We can see that Blizzard Man, Wind Man, and Flame Man’s stages are selectable, while the rest are blocked off as under construction. Looks like Capcom used the same “met & cone” sprites for this game that were used in the demos for Mega Man 4 and 5, and will be used again in Mega Man Legacy Collection for challenges yet to be unlocked.
Now let’s take a look at these beta build stages, starting with Wind Man!
Compared here with stage maps of the final game found on GameFAQs, we can see that quite a few details were changed including enemy placement and terrain. The player had to make the jump to the first ladder from a count bomb platform in the demo, while the following floors of the tower held four stacked breakable blocks to destroy with the Power suit instead of the final’s mere one. If broken, Rock would need to use the Jet suit to reach the platform with the ladder.
This demo actually starts players off with both the Jet and the Power Rush adapters. Accordingly, the stages seem geared more towards encouraging players to use and experiment with them. Many of these layouts wouldn’t work as well in the final game where the adapters are earned by clearing certain bosses instead of starting with them, and players could wind up easily stuck and frustrated early on.
In the next horizontal section the swinging platform traps are placed far less forgivingly, making it easy to die the first time you jump on one if you don’t anticipate its movement. There’s also a low-hanging wall that makes for a tricky jump at the end of the path just before the ladder.
Aside from some changes to the background masonry, Flame Man’s stage has one major interesting difference: Instead of having ground you can walk on just below the resting oil level, the demo has a bottomless pit. One can only cross this section by either flying across using the Jet adapter or by hitting the enemy with the charge shot and using its body as a flotation device.
The entire submarine was redesigned in Blizzard Man’s stage between the demo and final. The colors, the graphics, and the layout are all changed. There are nearly no spikes along the ceiling save a few key places in the demo, rather mostly smooth blocks which can still cause instant death if Rock gets smushed from the rising sub underneath. The count bombs at the end of the stage are also placed differently, and the stage appears to continue further onward before reaching the ladder.
There’s one more treat to be had on these pages that I’ve been saving for dessert, and that’s the Mega Man X preview in the upper right corner. The screenshots we may have already seen, but replace “Robo-Police” with “Maverick Hunters” and the text is surprisingly accurate… Until we get to the bottom that is, and read about the “Robo-Junkers,” described as “humans who were altered to robotic form!”
Even so, it’s still miles ahead in accuracy than this overview of “Super Mega Man” from the book we started with, EGM #43.
It only appeared just after Capcom announced that there would be a Mega Man game for Super Nintendo, and even though nobody knew then what that would mean they still had to write up some kind of blurb about it or risk getting scooped by the competition. Here they made what seemed like a safe assumption (“Wiley” is at it again!) while using classic series art as a stand-in, including this piece you might remember from Capcom’s 1992 Rockman software lineup promo card.
Once again I hope you enjoyed this excursion down the annuls of gaming history. If this wasn’t enough to tide you over, there’s always more where that came from over at Retromags! (I always come back for second helpings.)