Mega Man is ten years old. It's hard to believe the series has been around that long. It's even harder to believe that it's stayed true to the original formula. The names of Dr. Wily's robots have changed, but the game remains the same.
For those that have been hiding under their beds since 1987, I'll describe the Mega Man premise. Dr. Wily, mad scientist-type-guy that he is, has made a bunch of crazy robots with different weapons. Our hero, Mega Man, starts out with his wimpy laser-cannon and has to take on the bad robots one at a time. After defeating one of Wily's minions, Mega gains the weapon of his fallen foe. For example, after beating Aqua Man, Mega has the ability shoot water balloons at enemies. These additional weapons are mainly used against other boss robots, but since certain weapons may work well against one boss, but be completely ineffective against another, the true secret to the game is attacking the bosses in the proper order. After defeating the enemy 'bots, Mega Man goes after Dr. Wily, who is holed up in his multi-level castle. Defeat the bad doctor, and you'll get to watch him beg for mercy and generally act like a nice guy - until the next sequel.
Graphically, Mega Man 8 maintains the cartoon-like look of the series. The only major additions are focused in the animation department, which looks fantastic. Everything looks bright and colorful, and there's always a lot of stuff happening on the screen. The sound is above average when it comes to the effects and music, but the voice acting is incredibly wooden. The pathetic voice talent does, however, lead to some occasional humor.
Playing Mega Man 8 evokes two very different responses. The first is immediate relaxation as you realize the surroundings are still familiar after ten years. The second (and more dangerous) response is raw frustration, which occurs quite frequently. Whenever you get all the way to the end of a level, only to lose miserably because you don't have the right tools for the job, controllers will start flying. In fact, half of the VideoGameSpot staff still isn't talking to me because of the, well, colorful language I've been spouting while playing.
The only real problem with Mega Man 8 is the deja vu that sets in almost immediately. Even the robots seem to be clones of enemies from earlier MM titles. However, if you've skipped most of the series or still long for the ability to attach weird weapons to your arm, Mega Man 8 won't disappoint.