Mega Man: The Wily Wars is a collection of Mega Man 1-3 released for the Genesis. Unfortunately, this game was only released on Sega Channel in North America, so it is quite rare. With its inclusion on the Genesis Mini, it’s readily available to all for the first time.
The Wily Wars is somewhat akin to Super Mario All-Stars in that it is a 16-bit remake of several 8-bit games. All three included games are quite faithful to the originals, but with upgraded graphics that use more colors, nicer backgrounds, parallax scrolling, and other new effects. The music is also arguably worse due to the Genesis’s sound hardware. The games have been modified in various minor ways, and do appear to be tuned slightly harder than the original versions. The easier difficulty for Mega Man 2 has been entirely removed as well.
While the first three Mega Man games are all good in their own right, The Wily Wars also features some new content. If you complete all three games (made somewhat easier by a battery save, which replaces the passwords in the latter two games), you unlock Wily Tower. This section consists of three Journey to the West-themed stages followed by a new set of Dr. Wily levels. While the new bosses offer no new powers for Mega Man, you are able to freely choose any 8 weapons and any 3 special items from among the three games when tackling these levels. This offers a huge amount of variety, and may be the most fun part of the game. None of the new stages or bosses are particularly inspired, but they do feature an interesting mix of enemies from multiple games and a variety of side paths that often require you to bring along the correct weapon to access. There’s a lot to play with here.
The one serious downside to the Wily Wars is that the games suffer from input lag. I assumed this was an artifact of the Genesis Mini, but I understand this was true of the original game as well. This can cause a lot of frustration when you need to perform difficult platforming feats. This issue is assuaged somewhat by the fact that the game smoothed out some of the unfair difficulty spikes of the original. The overall difficulty of the games remains similar to the originals as a result.
The Wily Wars may not be enough to justify a Genesis Mini purchase, but if you’re at all interested in that device, this is a nice incentive. I’m very glad Sega and Capcom worked to make this game available to us. I wouldn’t say it’s a must for any Mega Man fan, but it’s an enjoyable addition to the series.