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Game Info:

Alphaman
Developed By: Heartfelt Games LLC
Published By: Heartfelt Games LLC
Released: November 19, 2019
Available On: Microsoft Windows
Genre: Side-Scroller Action
ESRB Rating: None specified
Number of Players: Singleplayer
Price: $4.99

I'd like to thank Heartfelt Games LLC for the review key for this review.

A good homage to anything must make you feel it's a nigh identical replacement for the original, but not to the point where they could get sued for copyright infringement. Alphaman attempts to do just this for the classic Megaman games, to a successful though not perfect extreme.

The story is that in the year 20XX, androids are now used to do many jobs and have brought prosperity to mankind. Unfortunately, some rogue androids called the Red Bombers have turned some androids violent and seek to corrupt many more, and thus your hero Alphaman must stop them.

Classic Megaman fans should already be getting deja vu, and the gameplay is just as familiar. In a side-scrolling 8-bit world, one must jump over hazards, fire at rampaging machines with a chargeable blaster, defeat bosses to acquire their abilities for yourself, and beat all the levels until you've beaten the game.

Alphaman
Highlights:

Strong Points: About as close as you can get to being the classic Megaman games without being the real thing
Weak Points: Short; odd control timings for wall jumping
Moral Warnings: Violence against robots; a once-off albeit oblique reference to a "love hotel"

The game is coded in the Godot Engine, one of the first games made in that engine I've played as of the time of this writing, and I have to say the programmers did a passable job simulating the classic Megaman games in terms of style. Some unique quirks include a wall jump ability taken from the Megaman X games (with some odd timing that takes some practice to use). The "charged shot" can allow free use of an earlier acquired boss weapon, though using the boss weapon on its own (which is faster) will drain its specific meter, which can be extended with collectible powerups. Curiously, there are no life bar extension powerups or reusable energy refill tanks of some sort like the games Alphaman is trying to emulate.

Graphically, the art is a proud emulation of the 8-bit NES Megaman style, down to the last detail. In general, this means they follow a cartoony pixel art sci-fi theme, which is dead-on in terms of homaging the Megaman games. The music and sound effects are in a similar vein, with chiptunes and 8-bit blips and bleeps that will again give classic Megaman fans some severe deja vu, as they nailed the sci-fi platformer motif well, though none of the themes stand out to the point I could hum them from memory.

The game's Steam page mentions full controller support, and while it seems to emulate the NES style gamepad, for the most part, controls were geared for the keyboard first apparently (though the gamepad is perfectly acceptable as an alternative). These are remappable to whatever the player prefers, though the default setup proved comfortable enough. The keyboard controls don't take too long to get used to, but I recommend a bit of practice with features like wall jumping, as the timing is a bit unusual.

Alphaman
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 91%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 9/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Stability is generally good, this is not a highly demanding game, even a fairly competent integrated GPU would be more than adequate to play this title. The difficulty tends towards the hard, with quick reflexes being a constant difference between stage victory or defeat. Thankfully, this game has no limit on extra lives/continues, and the levels also have auto-saved checkpoints at certain points, so you can always try, try again. In a nice concession to modern gaming, overall progress is saved to a save file after you beat each level, so no annoying manual passwords you have to fill in or memorize like the games this is paying homage to.

Morally, this game is pretty clean save for a few minor points of contention. Violence is limited to shooting malevolent robots and nothing more, with no grisly details or remains. Sexual content is absent generally save for one oblique joke in one stage referencing a "love hotel". This is vague enough it's likely to sail over the head of a young child, but still worth noting.

One level does reference a church where an android meant to assist in church services has gone rogue, though this is not considered positive and it's explicitly mentioned making something that was supposed to serve a church evil is wrong and you are going to put a stop to it. In general, this is not a game of any ethical or moral concerns, as you are restoring civil order and putting an end to android criminals spreading chaos.

This is not an overly long game, so its $5 USD price tag is more than suitable, and in general, this is not inappropriate for an older child or up. I'd recommend this for those wanting some nostalgia for the classic Megaman games, it's certainly as close as you can get to the originals without getting sued.

About the Author

Daniel Cullen

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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