Mega Man 9 Review
The Blue Bomber is back! And thanks to Capcom, he’s back in glorious 8-bit. This may seem like a rash move in this age of bloom and particle effects, but the creators really thought it was time for a trip down memory lane while suffering a nostalgia trip. Those who have played Mega Man 2 will know exactly what’s in store for them when they boot the game up. Imaginative levels and an insane difficulty.
Dr. Light has been accused by his arch-nemesis Dr. Wiley of falling to the dark side and creating a group of robots intent on causing havoc across the city. Of course, being the faithful creation he is, Mega Man makes it his quest to clear his creator’s name of these wrong doings. The story isn’t so important, it just sets things up so you can go out and track down the 8 robot masters.
As I just mentioned, there are 8 robot masters, each one with their own specific level. You can choose any robot master in any order and play through their level in an attempt to destroy them at the end. To reach the boss, you need to run, jump and shoot your way to the end through a variety of enemies and hazards. You then proceed to kill the boss and take their weapon, which can then be used against one certain boss. There are no fancy charge shots or slides here; just running, shooting and jumping. Simple as that. But is it so simple?
Of course not, it’s a Mega Man game, which are known for being so controller breaking and frustratingly hard. This is what I love about this game, it provides a real challenge to the player. Instead of holding your hand all the way through, it pushes you into the deep end and then gives you a steak dinner if you get out. It’s nasty, yet it’s so rewarding. For instance, there is a jump that looks very uncomplicated, then as you jump a UFO flies out of nowhere and knocks you back into the hole. You die, but then you learn what will happen and you clear the jump and kill the UFO. A rush of excitement then makes it’s way through you. You will die a lot throughout the game, but you learn from each experience and the sense of accomplishment after beating a certain section is a feeling that can’t be described.
There are only two checkpoints throughout each level: one halfway through and another just before the boss, yet this isn’t a flaw in the game. Instead it adds to it, because if there were checkpoints every few minutes you would completely forget the skill you’d just learnt to pass a certain area. If you’re forced to replay a certain area over and over again, until you get it right, it heightens the feeling of accomplishment as well as burning the level into your brain, becoming an expert in no time, which is needed for the final few levels.
Although the game only has the 8 robot masters, and some additional levels at the end, it still has a lot of longevity. Not only will you end up playing levels over and over again, there are also challenges scattered throughout the game, ranging from finish the game without dying to defeat your first boss. Getting all the challenges will be as tough as the game, but to a battle-hardened gamer it’s something to aim for.
The thing that really stands out about the game is the feel of it. It doesn’t contain fancy graphics or a sweeping orchestral score, instead it takes you right back to the glorious NES days of 8-bit sprites and amazingly catchy MIDI tunes. It’s design is simple yet very effective, and makes Mega Man 9 feel as exciting as it was back in its heyday.
Mega Man 9 was probably created for retro-freaks like me, however any gamer who loves a challenge will feel right at home with Mega Man 9. The casual gamer best overlook this because it is painstakingly brutal and unforgiving, but if you can stick with it, it will be the most rewarding game you’ll play this Autumn…unless they make a game that gives you £50 every time you kill an enemy.