If you've been avoiding Capcom's long-running Mega Man series because you're afraid of the game's legendary difficulty, then Mega Man 10 might be the game for you. In addition to a slew of new bosses to battle and pixel-perfect jumps to make, the upcoming 2D platformer will feature an easy mode that should be a good fit for those who lack the skills normally required by the blue bomber. Of course, "easy" by Mega Man standards can still mean a great deal of challenge as we found out during a hands-on session with the game at today's Nintendo press summit in San Francisco.
Easy mode seems like a reaction to the additional difficulty levels that were piled on top of 2008's Mega Man 9, which itself was a rebirth of the Mega Man franchise--what with its 8-bit style and simple controls gameplay. As with its predecessor, Mega Man 10 is also an 8-bit game with simple controls and enough difficulty to please hardcore fans. The assistance easy mode gives in a level can be widespread--for example, a jump on normal mode might have a platform in its place in easy mode.
Different enemies will appear in different difficulty levels and the sub-boss fights can be noticeably easier. For example, in one level we played, we were facing a giant robot whose fists would slam to the ground and then rise upward toward his head. To beat him, we had to jump on those elevating fists and then blast him in the face once at the top. This was a relatively simple prospect in easy mode, but it was made all the more difficult in normal mode by a random metal object that bounded around the level, causing mayhem and damage every time it struck us. In addition to changes to level difficulty, Mega Man's weapons are slightly more powerful in easy mode and fire at a quicker rate.
Controls in the game are simple as can be: You hold the Wii Remote horizontally and use the D pad to move. You use the 1 and 2 buttons to fire and jump. As in previous Mega Man games, you'll gain access to new weapons and powers as you beat the game's robot master bosses. For instance, after beating the strike man boss, you'll earn a bouncing purple shot that is effective at taking out enemies from cover. By pressing the B button on the Wii Remote, you can access your different powers, including calling in the robotic dog rush, which Mega Man can vault off of to reach higher platforms.
One other treat in Mega Man 10 is Proto Man, who will be a playable character from the beginning of the game. He'll give you access to his unique powers--including the ability to use a shield when jumping and a slide move.
Will easy mode bring new fans to the long-running platforming series? We'll find out when the game is released via WiiWare on March 1.