Endearing gameplay, retro graphics, and a fun soundtrack make Mega Man 9 a great blast from the past.
The_Deepblue wrote this review on .
Plot in the Mega Man series has never been stellar. As with other 2D Mega Man shooter/platforming games, the story serves as a launching pad for the game-play. Dr. Light's robots have gone berserk and have began wrecking havoc around the world. Suspecting that the usual culprit Dr. Wily is behind all of the mayhem, Mega Man sets out to first stop Dr. Light's out-of-control creations and then seek out Dr. Wily.
Apparently both Dr. Wily and Dr. Light are obsessed with the number eight. Just as in previous games where Mega Man had to defeat eight of Wily's robotic stewards, Mega Man finds himself having to face eight of his own creator's creations.
At the beginning of the game, Mega Man will only have his buster gun to defeat enemies. Defeating the robot boss at the end of the stage will allow Mega Man to acquire a power-up from that Robot Master. Reaching the end of each of those stages can be an overwhelming challenge to some.
Each robot awaits at the end of one of the eight stages, all of which you may choose at any moment at the Stage Select screen. The stages usually represent the robot that it hosts. Magma Man's stage is filled with lava, flame-throwing minions, and lava blasting cannons. Splash Woman's stage is an underwater stage with mechanical octopuses and robotic fish.
Each stage can be very challenging, especially to gamers who feel rusty in their old-school gaming and players who are not experienced with 2D games with a high caliber of difficulty. There are plenty of instant-death traps strung throughout the game: perfectly timed jumps, inconveniently placed enemies, spikes that kill Mega Man when touched, and numerous other scenarios and circumstances that require close attention and a lot of patience.
There are some nice quirks in some of the stages that help change-up the feel and pace. One stage has little teleportation pockets, a section of a later stage lacks gravity. Though entertaining, these elements do not push the Mega Man series to a different level. Capcom has steadily polished the franchise's game-play over the years, making the series stay somewhat fresh, but forcing it to be confined to one area.
The majority of Mega Man fans seem to agree that taking the series back to eight bit graphics and sound was a great idea. Not to say that the series cannot thrive without the twenty-year old look. Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 8 were quite good games. And the Mega Man X series is perhaps even better proof. Nonetheless, the nostalgia factor in Mega Man 9 make Capcom's decision to rewind to the past a brilliant idea.
Along with the core game, there are some challenges and extra material to keep you coming back. The Challenges are accomplished during the playing of the core game itself. Much of the challenges are not for the faint of heart, and in fact the challenge "Mr. Perfect", which requires you to beat the entire game without dying or even getting hit by a single enemy throughout the game, is a challenge that very few humans can accomplish. For everyone else aching for more, Time Trials for each stage are available, and there is downloadable content for extra difficulties, which can be a nuisance.
To emphasize the game's challenging difficulty, potential buyers must be warned that nostalgia along may not be enough to warrant a purchase. Contrary to even what some critics are complaining (even whining) about, Mega Man 9 is not an unfair game. It is a hard game of trial and error that is definitely possible and rewarding to complete. Anyone desiring to experience Mega Man in his original form, who also wants a great, solid side-scrolling shooter, should consider reuniting yet again with the Blue Bomber.