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  • See, what did I tell ya? Like clockwork, there’s a sequel. However, this being a very late

  • arcade release, I am to understand about five of these machines were available for play.

  • And that’s unfortunate, because it takes the stripped-down, essentials-only gameplay

  • of The Power Battles, adds that hulking whatchamajig Duo from Mega Man 8, and adds some semblance

  • of story, new robot masters, cleaner mechanics, more voice acting... they went all out, man.

  • Heck, there’s even a HUGE piece of story in this game - known to few and seen by fewer

  • before its re-release as part of the Anniversary Collection - that ties together the original

  • and X storylines. That’s pretty impressive. Doesn’t hurt that the game’s awesome,

  • too.

  • After choosing your Power Fighter, youre given a choice of three scenarios: either

  • hunt down Wily directly, search for the now-missing Roll, or try to recover the parts stolen from

  • Dr. Light. Each story has its own half-dozen bosses, drawn from all over the Mega Man canon

  • (though there are more than a few combatants returning from Power Battles). Rather than

  • choosing a stage blindly as in the predecessor, the full roster is here for you to contemplate,

  • with commentary and hints from Dr. Light. Even if said hint consists ofUSE THE THING

  • THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.” The UI has changed drastically - youve now got a fighting-game-style

  • health bar at the top of the screen, with your current weapon energy underneath. Also,

  • health and weapon restoratives can and will drop throughout the course of the fight, so

  • keep your eyes peeled. That armless wonder Eddie might even show up and give you access

  • to a backup NPC character, providing extra firepower for Mega Man & Bass, or a Beat shield

  • for Duo & Proto Man. As usual, once these six bosses fall, it’s mid-boss time, followed

  • by Dr. Wily himself.

  • From the graphics to the sound to the layout design, this game keeps a couple steps ahead

  • of Power Battles at all times. And despite the occasional pandering self-advertisement

  • (just shy of backmaskingPLAY MEGA MAN EIGHTin the audio), it’s one of the

  • best Mega Man experiences I’ve ever played. Rescued from the depths of almost criminal

  • obscurity, The Power Fighters is the series boiled down to its most pure, and dished out

  • in 25-cent chunks. It shows you just how good the series is, that even when you take out

  • the pixel-perfect platforming - one of its hallmarks in the NES days - there’s still

  • enough to keep you engaged. Even if youre just wondering how they managed to make Pharaoh

  • Man even MORE badass.

See, what did I tell ya? Like clockwork, there’s a sequel. However, this being a very late

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