Mega Man 9 review
A modified Mega Man 2, with some more modern twists.

The good:

Challenging yet simple gameplay actually makes a return without one overdoing the other.
Graphics look amazing.
Soundtrack is catchy as all hell.
Controls quite well.

The bad:

Some of the challenges are way too bloody hard!
Having to download extra difficulties is not cool.


It's been 12 years since Mega Man has starred in his original series and over 15 years since he's been in an actual good game. Since Mega Man X, he's been in average at best and poor at worst games. X2-X8 weren't too bad, but we all inferior to X1. The Zero and ZX series were both decent. But honestly, who the hell keeps buying the Battle Network series? NONE of those games are even decent or fun to play! I have yet to find a reason to play beyond the second game outside of "oh the graphics are better". Because of all these games, Capcom decided "hey why don't we go back to our roots". They do indeed go back to their roots by making this game just like they did with the NES games, from the overall hard difficulty often present in them, to the simplistic story, to the simple 2D graphics seen in Mega Man 2, even right down to the box art!

The basic story is that Dr Wily acts like a good guy for the umpteenth time and his colleague, Dr Light, creates 8 new robots. These 8 robots cause trouble around the world and Dr Wily makes a speech on national television about how Dr Light uses the robots to do what he tried to do for many years (when it clearly isn't the case). It's up to Mega Man to expose Wily for the lying bastard he truly is. I'd normally never spoil the ending, but we all know what happens, right? Dr Wily turns out to be the bad guy and Mega Man destroys him. It's a simple story, but it works quite well. Doesn't need complicated cutscenes or anything of that nature. It's all good!

I know what everyone is going to think - It's 2008, get with the times! If you're thinking this, you don't get what Mega Man 9 was trying to do. Capcom was trying to make this game like the older Mega Man games (mostly Mega Man 2, which is a damn good Mega Man game), but have a laugh about it at the same time, so now we're laughing with them, and not at them (basically, the less we talk about most of Mega Man 4's robot masters, the better).

In Mega Man 9, you control Mega Man through 9 different levels (you can only go to 8 at first, but once you finish the 8, you can go to the 9th and final level), shooting robots, jumping across platforms and overcoming obstacles. Seems simple enough, but it's easier said than done. The levels are quite challenging and require memorization, plus some enemies pop up at the worst places to kill you.

However, like in NES games, the only way you learn the way of the game is by (mistakenly) dying. There are no crappy tutorials to help you, there are no moments where the game holds you by the hand - you had to learn everything on your own. The minute you press start, you had to be ready for anything the game throws at you. You get to a new room, you're given a puzzle, you had to learn how to do it, then in the next room or so, you had to apply what you learned 2 seconds ago to a much harder version of it that include spikes, mines, enemies and other fatal things. Sounds harsh, but it's supposed to be challenging like the good old days...not that the games are really hard or anything, but challenging still.

Now, for those who have played Mega Man 3-8 and think they're going to be shooting charged beams and sliding, you're out of luck! The control scheme and physics (and damn near everything else) are all taken from Mega Man 2. If you've ever considered yourself a veteran of Mega Man 2, or even only played it once in your lifetime, you'll feel right at home here. If not...I still suggest giving this a go. This isn't as hard as Mega Man 1 is, which should be alright. To be honest, I wouldn't be too surprised if this was many newer gamers' first REAL Mega Man game (as in a part of the original series).

As far as robot master selection goes, it's...well, not too bad. It still has the feeling of Capcom running out of ideas, but at least they're trying harder than they usually do. Some of them are pretty cool like Magma Man and Tornado Man, some are kind of goofy like Plug Man (whose name reminds me a LOT of Hard Man's, but not as sexual - Hard Man looks like a *bleep* while Plug Man looks like an electrical plug), and one is just look-a-likes who do around about the same thing like Concrete Man (copying Guts Man's appearance and attack, but with concrete blocks instead of rocks). The one major difference between this roster and every other robot master roster is Splash Woman, who is the first female robot master in the Mega Man series to be included (cue erotic deviantart pictures). Each of them have their own levels, and these levels have the same theme to them that their name would imply. Whatever the case, you need to navigate your way through the many, many obstacles through the levels until you get to the end of the level, where the robot master awaits.

Mega Man can attack by firing his blaster via the B button. The multitudes of enemies will close in on you. To save you from reading a novel, I won't go on about specific enemies because they're basically the same, just that some fly, some take more damage and some are just plain annoying. But anyway, unlike a lot of games, killing enemies is not required, but it'd be a good idea since they all swarm towards you like a pack of hornets and will damage you badly until you explode.

Your only defense is the blaster (or one of the robot master weapons if you've defeated at least one robot master). You can't charge this though, so just go rapid fire on them. When you kill an enemy, they'll either randomly give you more health, more weapon energy (which allows you to fire with the robot masters' weapons), an extra life (gives you an extra life), some screws (currency in the in-game shop) or nothing.

Then there's the other element of Mega Man 9 (or the entire Mega Man series really). Obstacles. An example of such are these blocks that appear then disappear, and you have to time your jumps to get to the next one because you smash your head on the bottom of the appearing platform. Eventually, you get the pattern (after a few minutes of memorizing + a few deaths if they're over pits), you can finally do it and think you're free, right? WRONG! They just don't let up until you're fully finished! But trust me when I say that none of these are as hard as the last one on Heat Man's stage in Mega Man 2 - I spent days on that puzzle alone!

Along the way, you can collect these tanks called Energy Tanks or E Tanks. If you have some of these and you're about one hit from dying, just use one of these! It's just like having another life! If you want to be cheap and you have lots of screws, just go and buy a lot of E Tanks!

At the end of the level is the robot master. Basically, you have to shoot them either with your default cannon or one of the weapons you have after completing some levels. Dealing with Magma Man? Use Tornado Man's weapon! Concrete Man giving you any trouble? Blast his brains out with Splash Woman's weapon. But how do you get these weapons in the first place? You have to defeat the robot masters. Defeating Jewel Man gives you his jewel defensive weapon. Defeating Galaxy Man gives you his black hole blaster. And so on and so forth.

Now here's the thing Mega Man has been famous for - there is an order that it's best to do the first 8 levels in. Should you go for Concrete Man first, or are you better off going for Hornet Man first? Do you have the necessary weapon to blast the crap out of Tornado Man without taking too long or getting hit too much? This isn't a required order and not going in this order is not as punishing as you might think. Not going in the order will make things harder, but it's still doable (which I can't quite say about an NES game that tries this - 8Eyes, anyone? Screw up that order, you may as well turn off the NES).

Once you've defeated and gained the weapons of the robot masters, you can move on to the last level - Dr Wily's Castle! There are a grand total of four parts - 3 level-like parts, and the last part being a rehash of all the bosses before having to fight Dr Wily himself. Alright, a rehash...Well, it's been about 15 years since the last good Mega Man game, give it a break! I have to say though - DR WILY IS A HARDASS! This is the one time where Mega Man 9 actually proves to be harder than Mega Man 1, but it's only the last boss fight. Everything else isn't quite as hard up until this point.

Actually, the entire castle is quite a hard level. Much harder than the robot master levels, but that's expected. But holy crap...The third and fourth parts of Wily's Castle is hard as all hell! It borders on Mega Man 2's version of Wily's Castle's last part, which was pretty damn hard too. Imagine trying to get through the 11th level of Ninja Gaiden 2 (360) on Master Ninja difficulty, but with about 1.5 times the difficulty, mostly because it can get quite chaotic with the enemies, spikes, flying jerks dragging you to spikes and anti-gravity rooms, among other things. It's like a really hard test to see if you're worthy of facing Wily.. Oh Christ...

Now here's what many people have been saying - man, it's too hard! Well, it is hard, but you just need to practice more. Besides, it's fun hard! Accomplishingly fun hard! The sort of fun where you want to keep playing over and over to better yourself at everything, because guess what? Most of the time when you die, it's your fault. There might be a few times where it's not exactly your fault, but that's like in the last level. Other than that, it's not the game's fault you died. You just didn't play hard enough! Oh yeah...you start with 3 lives, and if you lose them all, you have to start the level all over again. If you die in the middle of a level, you restart at a check point.

If you're having a lot of trouble, or you just feel like it, you can kill yourself until you can head back to the level select screen so you can head over to the shop in said screen. Here, you can buy items with your screws. Items like E Tanks, extra lives, a book of hairstyles (which is used to complete a certain challenge) and other things that either help or are just used for challenges.

Even when you finish the game, there's still stuff to do. They call them challenges. There are some challenges which are easy as crap such as just finishing the game once or beating the game in 120 minutes or 2 hours, but there are some real buggers out there too. Beat the game without getting hit? Beat all the bosses with just one pixel of health left? If you fancy yourself a Mega Man veteran and/or you just want try these, go for it, but I got other games to play and not enough time for most of those challenges.

This game hosts some downloadable content, like the ability to control Mega Man's brother Proto Man, extra game modes and harder difficulty levels. I can seriously understand why Proto Man and the game modes are purely optional, but why the harder difficulty levels? They should be in the game from the start, just like with Mega Man 2 with its Normal and Difficult modes at the start up screen. Actually, it's more Normal, Hard (or Hero mode) and Difficult (or Superhero mode) than just Normal and Difficult. But seriously, they should've been available from the start. I guess the same could go for control of Proto Man (who is basically Mega Man, but he can slide and charge his blaster, though he takes twice the amount of damage Mega Man does and you can't do challenges with him) since it'd add a bit more variety. I don't exactly care for the other downloadable content, I find them to just be extra modes to keep you from getting bored, but the game is fun enough already.

So after 15 years of disappointments, we're finally given an exceptionally great Mega Man game. I wouldn't say it's as good as Mega Man 2, but close enough. In summary:

Gameplay: 4.5
It's old school action with a whole lot of challenge, though it's not so hard that you'll break your controller or Wiimote over it. I have to say that it's quite entertaining and will not bore you after a while. The only problem is that the last level can really get hard and kind of cheap, but when weighed up with the rest of the game, who cares? A combination of practice and memorization is good.

Control: 5
It's smooth, it's responsive and it's well thought out. It controls like the old school Mega Man games, but with a more sort of complicated controller than the 4 buttoned NES controller (Start, Select, A and B). There are no complaints here.

Story: 5
Quite simple, but as it's modeled after an NES game, what can you expect? I actually didn't expect some of the stuff that happened at the beginning, but of course, we all the ending is that Mega Man (or Proto Man) kills Wily. Yay!

Graphics: 5
Not only does it feel like we're playing an 8-bit Mega Man title, but it even looks like an 8-bit Mega Man title! There isn't too much to say, other than the fact that everything looks amazing, fairly detailed and...Well, 8-bit! Capcom purposely added the option to have all the graphical slowdowns and flicker, which I think is stupid but then again, it's to add to the experience of playing an 8-bit game, plus you can just turn them off in the options menu.

Sound: 5
It remains faithful to the 8-bit titles by even making it sound like we're playing Mega Man 2 or something like that. The tunes are some of the catchiest ones you'll hear, and they're done very well. Problem - Mega Man 2's soundtrack is superior.

Lifespan: 5
With the hard difficulty in the overall game forcing you to practice and better yourself plus the challenges you can complete, you won't be leaving your seat for much outside of going to the toilet after holding it all in for an entire playthrough. Not much else to say really, other than the fact that it's addicting as all hell!

Funfactor: 5
One of the funnest PSWii60 games I've played in...A month and a half, though this is way funner than Lair (PS3). It may not be too fun for people who aren't down with retro games or willing to practice and get parts right, but for everyone else who is determined to finish the game, it's one of the funnest experiences you'll have on the Wii.

Bottom line:
Mega Man 9 is a return to form by being one of the best Mega Man games...ever. I'd actually rank this as the second best (obviously Mega Man 2 is the best, though it's harder too). But either way, it's worth spending 1000 Wii Points (which equals $10) on.

This gets a near-perfect revival gets a score of 4.5 out of 5.0.

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