It’s kind of surprising that there’s still a vast community out there that’s into retro games. I mean, not like the retro games you can enjoy on new systems, but I mean companies that continue to release older games in physical forms, like on the Sega Genesis and Nintendo Entertainment System..
8-Bit Legit is one of those companies, producing a Mega Man-esque shoot-em-up called Trophy for play on the classic NES. While it may not be an official Nintendo game (since they’re working on more “here and now” stuff on the Switch), it’s still something that a lot of completionists should add to their library. For those that aren’t invested in classic games that way, there’s always the Xbox One/Xbox Series S/X version to consider.
Developed by the team at Gradual Games, Trophy isn’t afraid to show off its inspirations. It’s clearly in love with the formula that made the classic Mega Man games from Capcom work so well. There’s a scientist named Dr. Jared Sword (no, that’s his actual name) who finds himself going up against a colleague named Dr. Xela Quine. Dr. Xela Quine has gone insane and programmed a number of his robotic cohorts to become evil. As a result, Sword uses the planetary resources of the world of Gearus 9 to build a robot to fight back – Trophy!
The story’s just the framework for the action, which does feel like Mega Man through and through. Granted, there’s more than enough originality to calm the fears of a potential lawsuit from the big C, as this is more of an homage than a straight-up copy. Not to mention, it follows the blueprint pretty nicely, right down to the sides of the screen being shrunken down NES-style, and a fair amount of challenge.
While not the most original game on the block, Trophy is certainly very inspired. The level designs are straight out of the old-school textbook, from a classic underwater level (with spiked ceilings, duh) to fun platforming segments that will test your skills, including ones laden with traps. With only so many lives and health points to use, you’ll want to conserve every move you have, lest it is your last. (Fortunately, extra lives and health boosts are located throughout each stage, so you’re not entirely screwed.)
As hard as the game can be at times, it’s still good fun; and the bosses you go up against are creative with their patterns. There’s even a hint of slowdown here and there, probably deliberate, that ties in with this little homage. The controls, thankfully, are easy to get into, even if the game is a monster to beat. You’ll just have to keep coming back for more, we suppose.
On top of that, the graphics, despite the flickering here and there (and limited side-screen stuff), are great to look at and the music is a lot of fun, taking a page out of the old-school synthesizing book. While it is not on the same level as, say, Mega Man 2, come on, what is?
Deserving of an Award
While Trophy won’t bring the house down in terms of a spellbinding story or painstakingly over-the-top design, it does exactly what it sets out to do – pays tribute to the Mega Man games in its own special way. With 8-bit visuals and sound that replicate the era right down to the wire, along with controls that click and inspired levels of challenge, it’s a fun treat for those seeking a stroll down nostalgia way. If the Mega Man Legacy Collections don’t quite get the job done for you, this one’s well worth adding to your library.
Oh, and if the team at 8-Bit Legit wants to try their hand at an old-school brawler, we certainly won’t stop them.
VIBE Rating: 3.5/5