Mega Man 9
The most important thing you need to realize about Mega Man 9 is that if you don’t like the style, then you’re a terrible person. 8-bit has returned straight from the NES and onto your next-gen console, that very same one hooked up to that fancy HDTV. It’s also complete with synthesized music and sound effects that are indistinguishable from the originals. Honestly, though, if you can’t get over the style, then the game most likely isn’t for you as you’re sorta missing the point; while I understand some people wanted the Bionic Commando: Rearmed treatment for the Blue Bomber, Capcom took a big chance and decided to try something different, proving their innovation once again in the digital download front.
Now, if you’ve ever played any of the classic titles in the series, you’ll know what to expect. Sort of. All the pre-playing of Mega Man and Mega Man 2 didn’t prepare me for the onslaught of MM9’s difficulty. The levels can be insanely difficult and frustrating, and at times you’ll want to snap your controller in half. Just make sure you take a break and come back later, perhaps with a different approach, and you’ll more likely than not overcome any of the challenges presented before you. There will still be some people that might not ever beat this game, and I personally think it ranks right up there with the original Mega Man as one of the hardest in terms of level design brutality. The bosses themselves, while not easy, seem a bit more relaxed compared to the task of actually getting to them. However, I do see a lot of E Tanks in most players’ futures for those last few levels after beating all eight of them.
Speaking of the bosses, we have some interesting Robot Masters this time around, and a lot of attention is being put on Splash Woman, the first ever woman Robot Master in the original Mega Man series. The designs seem very familiar to the first three games, and many of the old baddies have returned in addition to some new creations. Brought over from the newer games is the shop, where you can purchase items in exchange for bolts you collect throughout the levels. It’s fairly easy to accumulate bolts by using old tricks, giving less-experienced players a better chance at succeeding if they know what to do. Also worth noting is the awesome stage music that will surely be remixed for quite some time, as some of the tunes are as timeless as the ones from MM2.
To make this package even nicer, Capcom has included a number of challenges to complete, which are the equivalent of Trophies and Achievements on on the PS3 and 360; all three console versions support these in-game, though, by hitting select. There’s also something I’ve wanted in a Mega Man game for a long time included, which is an online ranking system, complete with separate time trial and complete run leaderboards. MM9 also supports DLC, which will include the ability to play as Proto Man, harder difficulty levels, and a survival mode, though it feels like somewhat of a copout that this game doesn’t have any of that included in the first place, especially when the game is being released at a $10 price point.
While certainly a good game in its own right, Mega Man 9 does feel somewhat weaker compared to the original games it was based on, which mainly stems from the inability to really just run through the game freely at a more relaxed pace like that of MM2 or MM3. You need to concentrate on what you’re doing, as this game can really be relentless and nitpicky as to where you move Mega Man: one tiny mistake with that jump button while riding those spinning platforms on Tornado Man’s stage and you’re gonna fall right down to your doom. It’s hard to really criticize the game too harshly for being too hard, as most fans of the series do enjoy a challenge, but really it’s not going to appeal to the faint of heart, and it’s a shame Capcom didn’t just include a normal and expert mode instead; the more insane part is the fact that the DLC difficulty levels will only make the game harder! If you can look past the difficulty and dig the new (old) style, then by all means download this sadistic game that will no doubt have you hooked, regardless of how bad you are.