23 September 2008 @ 15:52Mega Man 9 Review

Mega Man 9

Release Dates: Wiiware: Sept 22, 2008, PSN: Sept 25, 2008, XBLA: Oct 1, 2008

The first original series Mega Man title in eleven years was released yesterday via download on Nintendo’s Wiiware channel. PSN and XBLA versions are to follow later this week and next week. 

A friend of mine downloaded this as I knew he would. We’re both diehard fans of Capcom games, Mega Man and Street Fighter series. I walked in to find him playing something that looked straight out of an old NES game. The newest game in the series stays true to its roots by going back to using the NES sprites. This look was featured on entries 1-6 and though the series graphics improved, it’s difficult to tell one game apart from another.

The music, graphics, enemies and level design are all reminiscent of the first two games in the series. Mega Man has been stripped of abilities that appeared in the third and fourth games (slide and charge shot). Another series staple since Mega Man 2, the password system is gone, in favor of the now-common save file system.

The gameplay difficulty in Mega Man 9 is gruesome. It definitely recalls the first game’s unforgiving tendencies to knock you off of ledges from enemy fire and few save points throughout. There are the familiar disappearing block puzzles, larger-than-life mini-bosses, flashy robot masters and insanely hard spike jumping. This game doesn’t give you a break in the beginning. It’s as hard as anything you’ve played in the series and it never lets up. 

Of the initial 8 stages that are available, I was only able to get through and beat Galaxy Man’s stage. In my defense, I only played for about 30 minutes, but that was all I needed to know about the game’s attitude. I have to say that I loved it, despite its difficulty. It’s not a run-and-gun kind of game. It has more of a puzzle quality and memorization feel to it. It is all-action, all the time but you actually have to think to get through this game. That aspect made Mega Man 9 much more enjoyable than it probably should have been.

There is downloadable content coming (even to the Wii version surprisingly), in the form of another playable character (I won’t spoil it), and different playing modes in case the game isn’t difficult enough (and it is).

I want to recommend this to any old-school or hardcore video gamers and as a tribute from Capcom, look at the boxart for this game. It’s a throwback to the terrible artwork from the series first two games. I got a good laugh from it.

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