Fan Thoughts

The Perfect Crossover

The crossover, who doesn't love to see some of their beloved heroes (or villains!) team up and otherwise interact with one another? I know I love to see this kind of stuff personally! I've always been a big fan of Sonic, and within the past six years or so I've come to love Mega Man too, so when the comic crossover between them, Worlds Collide, occurred, I was extremely hyped. I wasn't the only one either! Plenty of people across both fandoms created all sorts of videos and reviews, and for good reason, the crossover was fantastically crafted! Of course, with writing and storylines this excellent, people began theorizing about what a videogame crossover between these characters could be like. However, when looking at the level designs for each character, it becomes quite apparent that a conventional crossover wouldn't be very effective. Sonic's gameplay relies heavily on slopes and curves to show off his speed and to allow players to effectively gain momentum, while the Mega Man series, particularly the classic series, doesn't even have slants in its platforming design! It is completely comprised of blocks! Completely different takes on boss battles, enemy design, and even the most basic of platforming challenges mean there is very little gameplay synchronization between the franchises, regardless of how well the characters and scenarios bounce off of eachother. This doesn't totally dash the dreams of there ever being a videogame for these two characters of course, but it would probably be more in the vain of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games than anything resembling their normal platforming adventures.

This got me thinking though, what videogame characters do have complimentary level designs? The answer hit me immediately, Kirby X Mega Man! Kirby's levels also have a similarly blocky layout to Mega Man. Sure, slopes do exist within the series, but they're hardly a core element to the gameplay. A Kirby game could go without even a single slope and unless the Stone ability was present, it's unlikely even a single person would notice! Also complimentary is both characters' focus on copying abilities. Kirby copies enemy abilities and is limited by only having one ability onhand at a time and by losing his ability from taking damage. Mega Man copies boss abilities and is limited by his ammunition. Kirby generally has easy levels due to his flight, doing collision damage to his enemies, and the power of his multi-function copy abilities, but his bosses tend to be quite tough. A major element the bosses are tough is because unless Kirby has an ability onhand, which remember he loses if he gets hit, Kirby has to wait for the boss to attack first before he can counterattack by using a star. Mega Man typically has tough stages due to large amounts of instant death and needing to save weapon ammo for the boss at the end, which if you have the appropriate weakness just about any boss will fall without issue. Due to the way both characters play, they could go through the same levels and bosses and still carry these paradigms, disappearing block puzzles with spike pits are still as hard as they've always been for Mega Man, while Kirby flies over them. Meanwhile, fighting projectile-heavy bosses without an ability is still tough for Kirby while for Mega Man all he needs to do is use the appropriate weapon.

Of course, everything falls apart if the series tones don't go together well, but fortunately I'd say they combine quite effectively! Classic Mega Man in particular has dealt with alien threats quite a few times throughout his adventures. The Stardroids of Mega Man V and Duo of Mega Man 8 are the most major examples, but there are a few others too. The Classic series tends to keep things pretty lighthearted, like a cartoon show, which combines perfectly with Kirby's tone. Both series tend to be pretty light on plot overall, a cutscene at the start, a cutscene at the end, maybe a cutscene in the middle somewhere, but otherwise the majority of the games are spend blasting through level after level. Plus, Mega Man and Kirby are fairly similar individuals. They aren't particularly special, Rock wasn't the only robot around when his brothers were altered, Roll could've stood up, or maybe even Proto Man, but it was Rock who decided to save the day. Similarly, Kirby is pretty clearly part of a species, and he's not the only empowered individual in Dreamland otherwise, but he's the one who decided to put his foot down when Dedede stole Dreamland's food, and ever since their initial incidents, the two became the dedicated heroes of their worlds, saving the day because, hey, who else was gonna do the job?

So the level and boss designs seem to match up well, the different types of difficulty can be tied to each of the characters' controls and abilities rather than on the level design alone, and the tones of the series seem to match, this seems like a combo that could reasonably work! The only thing left to consider is the length. Mega Man has a very strict formula, start with 8 robot masters you can face in any order, then go on to 4-10 endgame stages. Kirby has had a decent number of level formulas over the years, he like to switch things up a lot, but typically his adventures take on a linear progression with somewhere around 7 or 8 worlds with anywhere from 3-6 levels each, having a boss at the end of the world. These are pretty different level setups, but it seems like a combination of these could work out. At the beginning of the game, whatever is threatening the galaxy (maybe Dark Matter or some offshoot?) could end up on Mega Man's world, Kirby comes down and the two team up. The player then goes through 8 robot master stages and some final fortress stages as usual, Dr. Wily probably using the threatening force to power his latest robot masters. Then, after Wily is defeated, Kirby begins to fly off to the next threatened planet. Mega Man learns the threat is an intergalactic one and joins Kirby on his space adventure. At this point, level progression takes a more Kirby approach with Mega Man already having a full 8 weapons at his disposal. Maybe each world boss can still give the blue bomber a new weapon, but he can only have 8 equipped at a time, needing to potentially swap some out between levels.

A Kirby/Mega Man crossover seems like a really solid fit. It really feels like all the pieces fall together perfectly. So, why haven't we seen one at this point? Probably because the markets for the series are very different. Kirby is classically an easy platformer series for new gamers, Mega Man is exactly the opposite being one of the more difficult platforming adventures out there. I certainly see merit in Kirby being an "easy" mode for the game while Mega Man is more of the "hard" mode, potentially bringing in both audiences, but it isn't surprising that this wouldn't particularly occur.

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Last Updated - July 17th, 2017