Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/22/08 | Genre: Platform
Capcom has revived one of gaming's most legendary warriors in their latest multiplatform release: Mega Man 9. Decades ago the gameplay of the series had been honed to perfection and the tough robotic bosses and challenging stages ensured that you would sweat just as much playing the latest Mega Man title indoors as you would playing baseball outside. Those kids (myself included) have changed and are all grown up, but fortunately, this latest entry into the fabled franchise hasn't.
Mega Man 9 is a nostalgic punch in the face. Capcom went back, way back, to the series' roots and built the game from the ground up to look like a game from the late 80's, to sound like a game from the late 80's, to glitch like a game from the late 80's and most importantly, to play like a Mega Man game from the late 80's. And oh how they have succeeded.
Long time fans of the series will immediately feel right at home when playing Mega Man 9. The game opens with the world just beginning to enjoy a time of peace when suddenly robots go berserk and start attacking! This time though, the robots gone awry are Dr. Light's creations, not Dr. Wily's. Our old pal Wily then appears on television and tries to convince the world that he can stop Dr. Light if only he can raise the money needed to finish his own robots. Of course, this is bologna and it's up to Mega Man to get out there and take care of business.
In typical Blue Bomber fashion, you begin with a total of eight robot masters you need to destroy. You can choose the order in which you play the stages and tackle the robots, but make no mistake, there is definitely a right and a wrong way to go about it. When you defeat a robot master, you gain his (or her!) ability and can use it to greatly ease future showdowns. Once you have cleared all the initial bosses it's off to Wily World where you must clear more challenging areas before facing the classic villain himself.
The gameplay consists of 2D scrolling action with plenty of shooting and perhaps even more platforming. You begin with the standard three lives and a health meter that drops by varying amounts when hit with different enemy attacks. When enemies are destroyed, they will sometimes leave behind little gifts such as health power ups, extra lives or energy power ups that replenish your special weapons. You will also come across screws that are used as currency in the game and can be traded for special power ups, extra energy or other items in the game's shop.
One thing you won't find in the shop or indeed any where in the game is an easy mode. Mega Man 9 is hard. Brutally hard. I guess Capcom wanted to show gamers how soft we've become because this game will break you. It will have you swearing at the top of your lungs, punching your controller and ultimately weeping for mercy. Did that sound like a complaint? It's not; not really. The gameplay is so fun and addicting that fans will not hesitate to come back over and over again, even if they need to take a five minute timeout. Admittedly, if you've never played the old games the difficulty might be too much, but it all comes down to precision timing, perfect jumping and a whole lot of patience.
The development team at Capcom accomplished what they set out to do with Mega Man 9. They've revived a classic franchise in classic fashion and old fans of the series will go bonkers for this game.