Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mega Man 8 for PlayStation and Saturn (1997)

Mega Man 8 literature
Original ad published in the March 1997 issue of GamePro (no. 102).
Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

A return to form in the middle of the 3-D era

Mega Man 8 is a contrasting game that made its way to both the Saturn and the PlayStation consoles in 1997. At the time, critics and fans noted the dated gameplay and graphics and very much forgot it until 2008, when the original Mega Man series was revived for modern consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360. This has led to a recent revaluation of Mega Man 8 by both retro and long-time fans of the series (like the chap below).

Around the time this game was released, 3-D graphics were all the rage. The print material you see above was obtained from an issue of GamePro magazine, possibly the most mainstream video game magazine you could buy at the time. About nine tenths of the magazine is dedicated to some form or another of 3-D games. What's striking about this is the tremendous contrast in graphical quality that gamers experienced between the decline of the SNES--with its colourful and defined sprites--and the early onslaught of the first 3-D games. Time has been much more forgiving with the first group of games. By today's standards, the first Saturn and PlayStation products are practically unplayable. 

And that's precisely why Mega Man 8 has become a retro favourite. This was the first time the blue bomber moved in a full 32-bit world. The visual "weight" of the characters is clearly there. Sprites "feel" great, as with most 2-D Mega Man games, in contrast to the floaty 3-D controls of most games of the end of the 90s. This game standa well against Mega Man X (1994) and Mega Man 4 (1992), but is still far in reaching the magnificence of Mega Man 3 (1990) and of course Mega Man 2 (1988). 


Gamers should take note that Capcom saw the enormous potential of the series and began to divide Mega Man--some would say dilute--into different timelines and backgrounds. Besides the original series the company created the aforementioned "X" line of games,  as well as the "Zero", "ZX", "Legends", "Battle Network" and "StarForce". Check out this MegaMan knowledge base for some eye-opening facts about the game. 

Now the printed ad in itself is superb. Following the excellent print ads of the previous games, this material focuses your attention on its the best elements. See that spiral background printed in greyish colours? That's completely intentional, not some trippy PS effect. The spirals close where the brightest point in the ad show Mega Man's famous "charging blast". That's one level of visual reading. 

The next one is the traditional "Z" pattern featured in most professional ads and marketing material. Your start where the first "M" of the title is placed. Scientific tests have long established that your eyes will naturally flow from that initial point to the end of the "Z" if you place your visual landmarks correctly. In this case, you see the buster blast after the title, followed by the famous blue character and finally the screen shots of the game, which almost everybody knew well at the time of release. At the very end you see the copy of the game, which, like most video games, is completely superfluous. All in all, "rockman" solid stuff ;]

Mega Man 8 print ad copy

Mega Man
Mega Myth
Mega Legend

The Blue Bomber's back.

Mega Man 8 Anniversary Collector's Edition

brings you brand new Mega features and classic Mega moves. The whole cast has returned with devious new enemies, smooth animation, and endless customizing upgrades. Plus, the best Japanese anime battle intros available on any platform today! In honor of the Legends 10th anniversary, we've also included a gift with every package. It's a full color collector's anthology booklet of Mega Man artwork previously unreleased in the US.

Welcome back, Mega Man!


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