Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
“An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator—these are not three separate devices. These are one device.” One of the great moments of the 21st century occurred when Steve Jobs stood on a stark stage and said these words, which make so much sense in hindsight. Of course these disparate things would come together effortlessly—beautiful alchemy combining multiple things we love.
The marriage of frantic Capcom commodities Mega Man and Street Fighter feels like a long time coming. Historically, Mega Man journeys through robot lairs, each of which reflects the distinctive and eccentric personalities of its ruler. Street Fighter is full of distinctive and eccentric personalities with a love for fighting mano-a-mano. Thus Street Fighter X Mega Man was born—a free 25th anniversary present that casts Mega Man as said mano and the Street Fighter hooligans as villains.
The elegance with which the two games collide transcends any whiff of a gimmick. The Dhalsim level is as stretched-out and contorted as the yoga master himself. The Blanka boss fight keeps you on your toes avoiding electricity and, strangely enough, watermelons. Meanwhile, you are still Mega Man through and through, gleefully using Chun-Li’s kick move once she is defeated to destroy hordes of helicoptering bad guys. Mega Man still takes on the fighting style of his enemies, and Street Fighter has plenty of fighting styles to go around.
There are moments as unrelenting as any Mega Man game, when bridges collapse beneath your feet and repetition is your only solace. There are moments as giddy as any Street Fighter game, when Urien lays the smack down with a series of flawlessly executed combos. It’s not two separate games. It’s one glorious trip.