It’s not just new games that suffer in the transition from consoles to home computers. Shoddy PC ports have been a thing since the very beginning, as PC-bound Mega Man fans know all too well.
In 1990, three years after the Blue Bomber’s Nintendo Entertainment System debut, Hi-Tech Expressions brought Mega Man to home computers — kind of. While Mega Man’s DOS port looks kind of like the NES original, it’s actually a completely new game. It’s not a great one, either. Hi-Tech Expressions’ take on Mega Man was developed by a single engineer, Steve Rozner, who decided to make a Mega Man port on his own while working as a manager at Capcom.
Rozner rebuilt the game from the ground up (Capcom didn’t give him any of the original code or graphics), and while you can see Mega Man’s influence on Rozner’s loose adaptation, it’s not the same product. It’s ugly, the keyboard-based controls are loose and floaty, the sound sucks, and the game is unrelentingly hard. Rozner’s follow-up, Mega Man 3 (there is no Mega Man 2 on PC) is even weirder: it started life as a totally different game, and only got released because Rozner added a Mega Man skin before publishing.
Officially, Capcom won’t acknowledge Mega Man DOS at all, but despite the lackluster implementation, some players still have a soft spot for it: dedicated fans are currently hard at work on an unofficial remake that brings Mega Man closer to its console brethren. If you’re curious, you can download it on Steam right now.