Megaman & Bass was a game Capcom released (only in Japan) in 1998 to celebrate Megaman\'s 10th Anniversary as Rockman & Forte. Curiously, it was released for the Super Nintendo. In 2003, they re-released the game here as Megaman & Bass for GameBoy Advance, and I\'m sure glad they did. This game is currently the last game in the Megaman Classic storyline; it takes place after Megaman 8. A very powerful robot named King shows up on the scene, and by stealing all of the robot plans from the robot museum, hopes to create an all-powerful robot army and rule the world. Megaman and Bass come to the rescue!

Ok, I know about Megaman. Who is this Bass guy?

Bass (pronounced like base) first appeared on the scene in Megaman 7, with an appearance in Megaman 8 as well. He is a robot created by Dr. Wily to be a more powerful clone of Megaman. Dr. Wily succeeded, and Bass is Megaman\'s newest ongoing rival. However, for some reason inexplicable to Bass, he can never defeat Megaman, even though that\'s what he was created for. However in this game, they do not fight, but both have a common goal - to take out this \'King of Robots.\'

What is the game play like?

Megaman & Bass is a more or less typical 2D platformer. You can choose three different levels to start, which unlocks one or two more, and after clearing all eight, you can finally take on the final levels and their bosses. Also, each character has a default Buster weapon (basically a gun mounted in their arm) as well as one they can receive from each boss. A few unique elements in this game is that you choose which character to play at the beginning of the game, and you stick with that character for the entire game, similar to Megaman X4 for the PlayStation. Also each character has unique elements to his power. Megaman is similar to previous installments; he can jump, shoot his blaster (one shot per button press), and shoot a powerful charged shot. He can also slide. Bass can double jump (similar to Zero in the X series), dash (not slide), and most uniquely, shoot in all seven directions (not straight down). While shooting, he cannot walk at all, though he can jump. Also, his buster has no charged shot - it is a constant rapid fire weapon by holding down the button. Needless to say, against regular level enemies, Bass does really well. On boss battles, however, Megaman is no slouch... especially the last bosses. One unique element to this game that is special from the 10th anniversary of its original release is the collectable CD system. There are 100 CDs embedded in various levels, which if you find them, you get to see a bio of each robot every created by Dr. Light or Dr. Wily. This includes every classic Megaman game for the NES, GameBoy, SNES, PlayStation, and just about every other classic Megaman robot master you can think of. It\'s pretty extensive. Also, if you, like me, like to collect all of them, you will be in for quite a challenge. Many can only be collected my Megaman, and some only by Bass. Fortunately, the CD database is stored per cartridge - not per save, so you can have a save with each character and collect all 100, like I did. One other important element to point out is the challenge. I personally enjoy challenging games, and this has to be one of the most difficult Megaman games I have ever played. I also find it one of the best. However, if you are frustrated easily by difficult games, think about it before looking into this one.

How are the graphics?

I found that the graphics, for a GBA/SNES Megaman game, are really excellent. They are really nearly on par with Megaman 8 for the PlayStation (without the 3D effects of the PlayStation of course.) Considering how highly I enjoyed the graphics on that game, I consider that to be quite a complement. It\'s not amazing 3D graphics or anything, but it\'s certainly very well done 2D, nearly cartoon style graphics. Each weapon effect is fairly well done, though not exceptional. Good job!

How are the sounds and music?

The sound effects are very typical Megaman - they get the point across, and don\'t dissappoint. The music, on the other hand, is really lots of fun. :) I admit that I like video game music in general, and Megaman music is always at the top of the pack. This game is no exception. I found myself having several of the tunes stuck in my head, and enjoying every minute of it. Also in the final levels, the difficulty was very high and I had to replay them many times, but I always enjoyed the music so much that I didn\'t mind so much coming back for more. That\'s a testament to the great music quality.

How appropriate is this game?

This game contains cartoon violence. As a robot, you destroy other robots to protect humans, though you don\'t see any humans you are protecting anywhere, it\'s just alluded to in the storyline. It\'s rated E by the ESRB. It\'s safe for most audiences. Worth mentioning is that Bass, being created by the evil Dr. Wily, has a few traits that you would expect from such a maker, namely an incredibly inflated ego. It\'s not really bad in an inappropriate way; I found it somewhat humorous. It\'s also only an issue during the plot driven scenes, basically in the intro and near and in the ending. Overall, this is a pretty safe game.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed Megaman & Bass. I beat the game first as Megaman, and went back and beat it again as Bass. I also collected all 100 CDs, a quite tedious process I promise you. I enjoyed the whole process, though a few of those CDs had me quite frustrated! All in all, if you have enjoyed a lot of Megaman games, especially of the classic series, I highly recommend this game. It\'s a great complement to the Megaman Anniversary Collection. It\'s also pretty neat to have a complete database of every robot master ever made - including all the ones in the aforementioned collection . Though you may want to avoid this if you aren\'t up to a good challenge, I have seen this priced less than $15, and often less than $20. For that price, it\'s a really great deal! If you enjoy Megaman, seriously consider picking this game up for your GameBoy Advance.

Final Ratings

Game Play A Sound A Graphics A Interface A Appropriate B+

Overall 96%