Mega Man & Bass (SNES)

Capcom released this Super Famicom game on April 24, 1998
Capcom’s Super Nintendo swan song (April 24, 1998)

Even to this day, a part of me can’t believe this game ever actually happened. Known as Rockman & Forte, Capcom released it on April 24, 1998, well after the SNES was essentially dead. I guess there was a big enough Japanese market still for them to do this. Whatever the case may be, I’m damn glad they did. Because it’s one hell of a Mega Man entry, and a nice bow on the original series.

This is my personal boxed copy
This is my personal boxed copy

The original Japanese version is perfectly playable, but there is a bit of Japanese dialogue. Especially for the item shop and the character bios, it sure helps to be able to read it. Crazed and dedicated fans felt the same way as they worked on an English translation. As a result of that, we have been graced by Mega Man & Bass.

Alternate cover I seen elsewhere
Alternate cover I seen elsewhere
Alternate cover #2
Alternate cover #2

Bass and Treble made their series debut in Mega Man 7. Treble is a wolf and is basically to Bass as Rush is to Mega Man. But for those who don’t want to backtrack to the Mega Man 7 review, here is a quick summary…

mm7-92

mm7-93

mm7-94

mm7-95

roforofob

 

 

 

 

 

Prophetic words indeed from the Blue Bomber. The duo did get their own game and surprisingly it was on the Super Famicom (April 1998). After releasing Mega Man 8 for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn in December of 1996, Capcom wanted to create a new Mega Man game specifically for loyal SNES fans who hadn’t yet made the jump to 32-bit. Further proof that Capcom was the best back in the ’90s.

Capcom felt bad this wasn't on SNES?
Mega Man 8 is GORGEOUS
The sprite work was simply amazing
The sprite work was simply amazing
Apology accepted, Capcom!
Apology accepted, Capcom!

MEET THE GOOD GUYS

rofogood

rofogood2

SAY HELLO TO THE BAD GUY(S)

rofobad

rofobad2

rofobad3

rofobad4

rofobad5
Look familiar? They were bosses in Mega Man 8

MEGA MAN OR BASS?

rofocom2rofocom2b

 

 

 

 

 

Players get the choice to play as either the good old Blue Bomber or the relative newcomer, Bass. Similar to Zero from Mega Man X³, this adds greater longevity to the game as both characters play vastly different. It’s also a blast trying to beat the game with both Mega Man and Bass.

rofocomrofocomb

 

 

 

 

 

Differences range from small to big. Cosmetically, it’s cool to see the health refills and what not are in the character’s respective color. It’s a nice little touch that I appreciate, even if it’s completely minor.

rofocom5rofocom5b

 

 

 

 

 

However, Mega Man as you know has his classic shot. He can only shoot straight ahead. Bass, on the other hand, can shoot in all directions except for straight down. If you’ve ever played a Mega Man game and thought to yourself, “Man, I wish he could shoot up or diagonally…” then you will appreciate Mega Man & Bass. Or at least, Bass anyhow. To compensate for Bass’ shooting ability, he can’t move while he’s shooting (bummer) and his shot isn’t very strong.

rofocom3rofocom3b

 

 

 

 

 

Another difference: their personality and disposition. Mega Man is more compassionate and an all-around goody two shoes.

rofocom4rofocom4b

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Bass is a bit more “robotic” [har har -Ed.] and edgy. Hey, he is technically a bad guy. He’s only teaming up on the “good side” temporarily to knock off King.

rofo2rofo2b

 

 

 

 

 

Checking in with Bass later — for now let’s use good ol’ Megs.

rofo3rofo3b

 

 

 

 

 

There’s something strange happening at the Robot Museum. Mega Man sets off to figure out what’s going on. I like how the READY sign is big and blue — it reminds me of Mega Man 8.

rofo4rofo4b

 

 

 

 

 

Museum serves as the standard Mega Man introductory first level you must beat before getting to select from the robot masters. Right away you can see while it’s no Mega Man 8 in terms of visuals (duh), it’s damn impressive for a 16-bit console.

rofo5rofo5b

 

 

 

 

 

WHEW!! With the whipping rain and wind pushing against you, you manage to barely clear the jump. Make sure you jump at the very edge there.

rofo6rofo6b

 

 

 

 

 

rofo6crofo6d

 

 

 

 

 

Proto Man attempts to slay KING — the game’s big bad — but to no avail. OUCH!

rofo7rofo7b

 

 

 

 

 

Remember the Green Devil from Mega Man 8? He’s back. It’s a different version of the Yellow Devil which appeared in the very first Mega Man title back in 1987.

rofo8rofo8b

 

 

 

 

 

Reminds me of the bubble boss from Gradius III in that you have to blast away until you expose its core.

rofo9rofo9b

 

 

 

 

 

Simple, satisfying introductory boss battle that will wet your appetite for the main game coming up. By the way, isn’t it the best feeling in the world to beat a boss with only a health bar or two remaining? Always provides a nice little rush!

rofo10rofo10b

 

 

 

 

 

WHOA, IT SAVES?!? Yes, it does. It’s the first and only Super Nintendo Mega Man game that uses a save system over passwords.

rofo11rofo11b

 

 

 

 

 

Purists were a little disappointed when they found out in Mega Man 7 you could only select from four robot masters first instead of all eight. You only get a paltry three here. Once you beat those three, the other five open up. Let’s pay Cold Man a visit first.

rofo12rofo12b

 

 

 

 

 

Gotta love the animation of Mega Man as he’s zapped magically to the beginning of a stage. It somehow reminds me a bit of Astro Boy. See that CD over there? Throughout the game you’ll find CD’s lying around. Collecting them gives you a character bio card. It’s fun to collect and read (at least if you’re playing a fan translation or if you can read Japanese). Right now you can’t collect that CD since that ice block is, er, blocking your path. But maybe if you beat Burner Man a bit later on and use his Web Burner… hmmm…

rofo13rofo13b

 

 

 

 

 

Other CD’s are more instantly accessible. They’re not necessary to collect but of course it’s fun to try and collect all 100.

rofo14rofo14b

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas [TOYS IN EVERY STORE -Ed.]. No, I mean it’s almost December. That and this gigantic snowman mid boss [Oh, ahem, I knew that… -Ed.]

rofo15rofo15b

 

 

 

 

 

Slightly tricky bit where you have to time your jump correctly to catch a ride.

rofo16rofo16b

 

 

 

 

 

Cakewalk city with Cold Man. Jump over his Ice Wall and blast him with your Mega Buster.

rofo17rofo17b

 

 

 

 

 

Beware of his Sub Zero-esque ice puddle attack, however. He also sends forth an annoying cloud that can really bog you down and leave you ripe for the taking. Best to shoot it down early to avoid that possibility altogether.

rofo18rofo18b

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh, what’s better than getting the last shot in and seeing the boss explode with that sweet visual and sound effect? It never gets old, I tells ya!

rofo19rofo19b

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of never getting old, I also like seeing how Mega Man earns the boss’ weapon. Just sit back and enjoy.

rofo20rofo20b

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, we got Ice Wall! But, um, what does it do, exactly?

rofo21rofo21b

 

 

 

 

 

WHOA!! This game actually gives you a demo preview of each new weapon you steal! Why Capcom didn’t think of this a long time ago remains a mystery.

rofo22

 

 

 

 

 

Ground Man, huh? To Capcom’s defense, after NINE titles you would be running out of ideas too [Oh yeah watch this! Er, um, Cup Man! Hmm, OK, I’ll cut Capcom some slack -Ed.]

rofo23rofo23b

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a ton of sand everywhere here. You’ll be wondering if there’s an instant death pit or a helpful item hiding in the sand. Find out for yourself…

rofo24rofo24b

 

 

 

 

 

Creepy robotic worms fall from a pod located up top. Meanwhile, don’t stand still for too long as you’ll sink to your death.

rofo25rofo25b

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll quickly discover you can’t kill it. So hold onto that ladder there and wait for it to pass by. The ladder doesn’t take you to a new screen. It’s just there for you to safely wait it out. Well isn’t that thoughtful of Ground Man? Helping out the good guys. Just don’t let King know about this…

rofo26rofo26b

 

 

 

 

 

Better high tail it as the nasty critter quickly reappears. Whew, just barely slid home safe here, eh?

rofo27rofo27b

 

 

 

 

 

MAJOR FAIL on the first pic there. You can’t run back to a previous screen so get ready to eat some damage. Second pic, the race is on! Who will get to the ladder first? Oh the tension…

rofo28rofo28b

 

 

 

 

 

Although not the same creature (it would be cool if it was), it’s definitely related. Tough mid boss. Its pattern is somewhat erratic so it’s a bit of a pain to deal with. Close call there, Mega Man!

rofo29rofo29b

 

 

 

 

 

OUCH. I bet that stings like a you know what. Look at the attention to detail. When your health is low, Mega Man is visibly injured. Nice, Capcom. Nice.

rofo30rofo30b

 

 

 

 

 

Watch out for its little babies. You can only kill them with the Mega Buster since they’re so small. Gotta love the classic flashing.

rofo31rofo31b

 

 

 

 

 

SAFE!! Silky smooth, that Mega Man.

rofo32rofo32b

 

 

 

 

 

Shots sail harmlessly off Sniper Joe’s shield. I’ve always liked the detail of the shots flying backwards. Sniper Joe likes to launch grenades. Give him a taste of your Mega Buster to put him down for the count.

rofo33rofo33b

 

 

 

 

 

rofo33crofo33d

 

 

 

 

 

Puzzle time! Each pillar destroyed causes the spikes to fall one more notch. It starts out simple but…

rofo34rofo34b

 

 

 

 

 

rofo34crofo34d

 

 

 

 

 

Doesn’t take long before it gets a tad trickier. Sorry about that, Mega Man.

rofo35rofo35b

 

 

 

 

 

ProTip: Not all treasure chests are helpful. A little RPG-esque here, eh? By the way, see that match there? See what happens when you revisit this level later on with the Web Burner in tow…

rofo36rofo36b

 

 

 

 

 

rofo36crofo36d

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of boss weapons, here’s Mega Man riding the Ice Wall to victory. Sick.

rofo43rofo43b

 

 

 

 

 

Astro Man, no relation to Astro Guy from King of the Monsters, is next. If he looks familiar to you it’s because he was a boss from Mega Man 8.

rofo44rofo44b

 

 

 

 

 

Cursory glance and I might believe you if you told me this were a PlayStation or Saturn Mega Man title. It speaks volumes about how gorgeous this game looks and how silky smooth it is.

rofo45rofo45b

 

 

 

 

 

Meggers giving it the old college try.

rofo46rofo46b

 

 

 

 

 

Bonjour, Joe. That CD taunts you but after you get your hands on Burner Man’s Web Burner, you’ll be the one who gets the last laugh.

rofo47rofo47b

 

 

 

 

 

Strange birds and creatures fly out of that inter-dimensional portal screen. Part of me almost expects to see Shredder and Krang!

rofo48rofo48b

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting bit: study the light pattern and repeat it. If done so correctly, the door magically opens. If not, well, you can figure out what those guns might do…

rofo49rofo49b

 

 

 

 

 

Tricky bit with the elevating platforms. Keep moving along, Megs!

rofo50rofo50b

 

 

 

 

 

D’OH!! OK, let’s switch over to Bass now.

rofo37rofo37b

 

 

 

 

 

Firing off rapid plasma shots for a little “purple rain” action.

rofo38rofo38b

 

 

 

 

 

Double jump like a ninja. Bass can’t slide, but this is decent compensation.

rofo39rofo39b

 

 

 

 

 

Shooting diagonally in a Mega Man game? I’m so there.

rofo40rofo40b

 

 

 

 

 

Reminiscent of Mega Man X, Bass can also dash. It’s fun playing this on a cold rainy December night.

rofo41rofo41b

 

 

 

 

 

Green Devil is definitely an easier boss when using Mega Man. C’mon Bass!

rofo42rofo42b

 

 

 

 

 

“THIS IS SPARTA!” Bass battles Green Devil to the very bitter end.

SHOP ‘TIL YA DROP

rofoshoprofoshop2

 

 

 

 

 

Remember Auto from Mega Man 7? He’s back. He’s sometimes known as Rightot. Whatever you want to call him, call him helpful. He runs this shop where he creates useful items in exchange of bolts (the game’s currency). Throughout the levels you will find small and big bolts. Collect them to buy power-ups. There are lots of items; they range from extra lives to auto charge (!) on the Mega Buster shot. Selecting the right power-up for the right stage is all part of the strategy.

GOTTA COLLECT THEM ALL!

rofodiscbrofodisc

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the game there are a total of 100 CD’s strewn about the stages waiting to be collected. These open up character bios. This is where playing an English translation pays off. I mean, it’s nothing fancy but it’s certainly fun to be able to read the silly little text. It’s a nice piece of Mega Man history, you know?

rofodisc2rofodisc2b

 

 

 

 

 

rofodisc3rofodisc3b

 

 

 

 

 

rofodisc4rofodisc4b

 

 

 

 

 

rofodisc5rofodisc5b

 

 

 

 

 

Character bios span the entire previous Mega Man universe. Knight Man from Mega Man 6, Freeze Man from Mega Man 7, Frost Man from Mega Man 8, and yes even Saturn from Game Boy Mega Man V! Impressive. True diehards will definitely make it a point to collect all 100. By the way, Saturn hates video games? BOO!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Mega Man & Bass, er, Rockman & Forte, rocks
Mega Man & Bass, er, Rockman & Forte, rocks

I remember when I first found out about Rockman & Forte being a real thing. It was during the mid 2000s and I was thinking, “Seriously? Capcom released this great looking Mega Man game on the Super Famicom in 19-freaking-98?!” That they did. Whatever the reasons were, I’m damn glad they did. It’s easily the Super Nintendo’s second best Mega Man game, only trailing the epochal Mega Man X. Being able to use Bass, with his double jumping and diagonal shooting, brings a whole new dimension to the table. The items present a bevy of strategies one could take and the game presents a fairly decent challenge. The 100 CD’s are fun to collect and read — it’s basically a little Mega Man compendium. Oh and perhaps best of all, you can now save. What a fantastic swan song for the Super Nintendo from the fine folks at Capcom. If it weren’t for 1999’s Sutte Hakkun, I’d say this is easily the last great Super Nintendo game ever crafted.

In a flash, Capcom bids farewell
In a flash, Capcom bids farewell

Stunning visuals, classic Capcom audio and vintage Mega Man gameplay cements Rockman & Forte (or Mega Man & Bass) as one of the best Super Famicom games to never appear in North America. Thank you Capcom for giving us loyal SNES fans one last bang. Capcom’s SNES swan song turns out to be one of the Blue Bomber’s finest 16-bit outings.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 7

Award4Overall: 9.0
Gold Award 

 

Quit monkeying around and play this!
Quit monkeying around. Play it!

2 thoughts on “Mega Man & Bass (SNES)”

  1. Good review =) I never played Capcom’s Nintendo 16-bit swansong, but I have played Mega Man 8 on the Mega Man Anniversary Collection years ago and honestly find that game to be underrated fun

    I don’t know where it’ll rank in my Mega Man favorites list when I do play it (my favorite in the original series is III, but overall Mega Man X is the epitome of the franchise for me on account of it being not just incredible to play and explore with the different power-ups you’re accorded but also because it was the first game in the franchise that I beat, and this was years before I began to appreciate Mega Man as a whole); though given Rockman and Forte/Mega Man & Bass is a spiritual follow-up to the 32-bit entry of sorts given the Blue Bomber’s sprites and animation I think I might enjoy it when I play it (either in its native SFC format or through repro cart, I’m okay with either option); at least I hope so anyway.

    Keep up the good work, my RVGFriend =D

    1. I recommend going with the English translation. It’s nice being able to read the character bios as well as item upgrades. Have fun whenever you get around to it! I know Mega Man & Bass divides the fan base a lot (people either really like it or really dislike it) but I personally think it’s awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>