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Mega Man 9 Review

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Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: September 25, 2008 Also On: PS3, Wii and Xbox 360

The Mega Man series is among the most storied in video games. He may not be as recognizable to non-gamers as Mario, Sonic or even a more recent hero in Master Chief, but for the past twenty years, he has developed a large hardcore following. That following has remained loyal through over ten years of abysmal attempts at bringing Mega Man into the 3D era. That’s why Capcom finally threw in the towel. It was time to start from scratch and take the franchise back to its original roots.

Mega Man 9 is an 8-bit revitalization of this storied franchise. The sprites, music and gameplay will all remind you of what the games were like in the series back in the 1980s on the NES. Capcom could have just as easily made Mega Man 9 with spruced up 2D graphics and used modern-day technology such as voice-overs. Instead, they kept things as basic as they could. Mega Man 9 looks and feels like it was released on the NES.

It also plays like it was on the NES. The gameplay is true to form. Mega Man is limited to running, jumping and shooting. You have an unlimited amount of blaster ammo, but the blaster doesn’t charge and you also can not slide. Also, the game is hard as hell, which is no surprise. You could beat it in less than an hour if you don’t constantly die. Since that won’t be the case for 95% of the people playing Mega Man 9, it will probably take you several hours just to play through each of the levels.

If you are not familiar with Mega Man games, it is unique in that it allows you to choose which level you want to play first. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. It means that there is no difficulty curve between levels, since there is no set level path. This means that they are all roughly equal in difficulty (although a few are clearly more difficult and simple than others). Overall, there are eight relatively short levels with a boss fight at the end of each of them.

Each of the game’s bosses are based off of some kind of object. Concrete Man, Magma Man, Jewel Man, etc. are just a few of the bosses you will face off against in Mega Man 9. The key to beating them is learning their attack pattern, but also attacking them with the right weapon. As you beat bosses, you will earn a new weapon. For instance, by beating Concrete Man you get the concrete gun that turns enemies into blocks of concrete. Each boss has a weakness to a particular weapon. Beating them fast depends on how well you can figure out which order you need to beat the bosses.

In all honesty, I’m not exactly sure how to rate the graphics in Mega Man 9. Do you base it off of what the PS3 hardware is capable of? If so, then it would probably get a 0. Do you base it on how well the developers recreated the NES era graphics? Afterall, that’s what they were aiming at. In that case, it would probably deserve a 10. Since you have two polar opposite measures, there’s really no easy answer. As for the sound, you can’t help but love the midi tunes that get looped throughout the game. Each level has its own soundtrack, as well as the title screen and stage selection.

Mega Man 9 is a testament to how fun old-school gaming is. Sophisticated graphics, advanced A.I. and Hollywood voice actors can’t match the intensity of Mega Man 9’s difficulty and the masterful level design that goes into making a good game. I just wish that more developers would follow Capcom’s lead in returning to gaming’s roots. Mega Man was made for 2D and that’s the way that he should stay. After more than ten years of waiting, Capcom finally realized what everyone else already knew. Better late than never.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8.6
Written by Kyle Review Guide