Mega Man Soccer Review

Chances are good you thought Mario was the first one to capitalize on sticking non-sports characters into a sports game. Think again. (Well, unless you count Mario Kart, but it’s not quite a sports game.)

Mega Man Soccer was, by far, one of the strangest ideas I’d seen in a video game. I was used to seeing Mega Man dashing through levels full of electronic baddies and blowing them up one by one, not passing a soccer ball to them while zipping up a field of green. I’m not sure which intellectual guru at Capcom first proposed this game, but I’d like to sit down and have a little conversation with them nevertheless.

Even more surprising is the fact that, for what it is, Mega Man Soccer actually isn’t that bad. It’s not AMAZING, but with two players it can turn into quite a fun little game.

The premise in the single player game is pretty simple, and similar to a Mega Man game. With a team full of Mega Men you need to trounce eight other teams, each composed of a Robot Master from past Mega Man games. Each time you beat one, you’ll get them on your team – something of a throwback to the normal games in the series. After beating eight of them you take on Dr. Wily’s team, and if you manage to beat him (which is probably harder than beating Wily in the normal games – that old guy’s good on the field!) you, well, win. Beyond that there’s also tournament and exhibition play, neither of which take quite as long.

The game play is what you’d expect of soccer. You have two teams of players and you need to score on the other team by firing your ball in their net. Thing is, your teams are composed of Robot Masters in this game, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are good as forwards, others as goalies, others as defense. Depending on the mode you’re in you can mix and match a team of your favorite players and go to town with the enemy.

There actually isn’t that much in Mega Man Soccer in terms of game play to differentiate it from other soccer games, though your robots do have two boons: sliding and power shots. Taking a cue from Mega Man the Robot Masters can all slide across the field in an effort to steal the ball. Once they have that ball they can attempt to score by unleashing a power shot which will generally knock the goalie aside and result in a point, as well as demolish any players who get in the way. More often than not these power shots are the easiest way to score, as the goalies are otherwise way too good at their job to bypass with normal shots.

Mega Man Soccer controls quite nicely, considering it was a fairly experimental title for Capcom. The players will all do as they’re told, and the game will switch you around the various players so you’re always close to the ball. The computer AI is pretty competent, so you’ll only have to worry about your own performance – which can be a pain at times, since passing to your own team is something of a hit-and-miss affair. Paying close attention to the radar when making a pass is essential, as the play screen isn’t as big as it could be and you don’t always know where your buddies are.

Mega Man Soccer looks pretty nice. There are TONS of Robot Masters to choose as players, and though some are virtually identical skill-wise the diversity is appreciated. Of less interests are the fields, which though varied in nature aren’t visually overwhelming. (Can’t expect too much, I guess – this is soccer we’re talking about). I was less enamoured of the music, which though of Mega Man style was a bit more repetitive than usual, and generally not as interesting.

Make no mistake, you will be a bit weirded out when you first play Mega Man Soccer. It was a strange choice on Capcom’s part to stick their icon in a soccer match. Keep with it, though, and you’ll probably enjoy what you find – if for no other reason that you get to play as the various robots you’d formerly blown to pieces.