Happy 25th Anniversary, Mega Man! Today is the day, and in honor of the occasion, Capcom has released Street Fighter X Mega Man as a free PC download. Publicly unveiled just over a week ago, the game features an all-new set of Street Fighterinspired levels for Mega Man to fight through, each culminating in a boss battle against one of Street Fighter’s legendary combatants.

The release of Street Fighter X Mega Man is just the first event in what promises to be a year long celebration of the Blue Bomber, and it certainly kicks things off with a bang! To keep the Silver Anniversary festivities chugging along, Capcom has announced that the first six Mega Man games are all coming to the 3DS eShop, with the original Mega Man set to debut next week.

It’s been a rough road for Mega Man these past few years. After both Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe were unceremoniously canned (following Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune’s departure from Capcom), fans began to fear that Capcom had turned its figurative back on the character for good.

It’s fitting, then, that Street Fighter X Mega Man is the game that returns Mega Man to the spotlight. What started as a fan-made project, headed up by lead designer Seow Zong Hui, eventually gained Capcom’s full support, as detailed in the video at the top of this page. The end result is a collaboration between Capcom and Hui, with an excellent, appropriately 8-bit soundtrack by A_Rival that mashes-up classic Mega Man and Street Fighter tunes.

Street Fighter X Mega Man Released

By all appearances, the project is a huge success. Capcom’s servers have been absolutely slammed since the game became available earlier this morning. At just 33.8 MB, Street Fighter X Mega Man is comparatively small file, but demand for the game means it may take a bit longer than normal to download (Capcom is advising players to “be patient”). You can download the game for yourself directly from Capcom Unity’s Mega Man Page.

Based on my own brief hands-on time with Street Fighter X Mega Man, I can report that it is every bit as challenging as the original NES Mega Man games (and that you’ll want to play with a controller if at all possible). 3DS owners who have forgotten just how tough those games can be (or who never played them in the first place) may want to check out the eShop next week. On December 27th, the very first Mega Man will be made available for purchase. Naturally enough, Mega Man 2 follows, though it won’t arrive until February 7, 2013. Look for the rest of the six original Mega Man games to be released at “regular intervals throughout 2013,” according to Capcom Unity.

Ranters, have you downloaded Street Fighter X Mega Man? What do you think of it? Now that the Blue Bomber is officially back in action, how would you like to see Capcom handle future Mega Man games? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Street Fighter X Mega Man is available now as a free PC download directly from Capcom Unity’s Mega Man Page.

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