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by Angelo M. D’Argenio
Mega Man is back! Well, not really. Mega Man’s creator, Keiji Inafune, is back at least, and he’s making a new IP… a new IP about a robot… a blue robot… who has to fight other robots… eight other robots…and who uses an arm cannon… and who steals their powers by defeating them… and who has a blonde-haired sister in red armor and a robot dog--IT’S MEGA MAN, OK!? KEIJI INAFUNE IS MAKING ANOTHER MEGA MAN GAME WITH MODERN-DAY GRAPHICS AND A SLIGHLTY DIFFERENT NAME SO AS TO NOT GET SUED BY CAPCOM! Yes, this is the story of Mighty No. 9, Inafune’s current Kickstarter venture, which, in only three days, raised over 1.6 million dollars, well over his original $900,000 goal.
So the game is definitely going to be made, but what is it going to play like? Well, Mighty No. 9 stars Beck, the ninth in a line of adaptive robots designed for a variety of everyday tasks. When Beck turns out to be immune to a mysterious computer virus that causes Mighties 1-8 to go berserk, it’s up to him to defeat his predecessors and put a stop to the carnage they are causing. Blah blah blah--eight robot masters--blah blah.
Yes, the game will control pretty much the same way Mega Man does. You’ll choose your robot master to fight, play through a platforming level, and then take on a boss in the hopes of claiming his weapon as your own. However, Beck isn’t a straight Mega Man clone. He’s far more adaptive. Unlike the Blue Bomber, Beck can actually change his entire body, not just his arm cannon. This means that Beck won’t only steal weapons from bosses he defeats, but new methods of movement as well.
For example, if Beck defeats a magnet boss, he will get a magnet-themed weapon. However, he will also be able to use magnets to stick to walls, Mega Man X style. Defeating a Guts Man-style enemy would not only give him the ability to pick up and throw objects, but would also turn his feet into treads, which would reduce his speed, but make him invulnerable to instant-death spikes! By defeating a spring-themed enemy, Beck would not only gain a long-range spring punch, but would also gain the ability to use his springy arms as a grappling hook, grabbing distant items and swinging from grapple points. He also might gain a springy jump!
Beck can earn weapons in ways besides just defeating bosses. He gains a resource called “Xel” from normal enemies that he defeats. Xel can be used to activate special “Mighty Skills” which you can equip to Beck in a custom loadout. Examples for Mighty Skills include speed boosts, double jumps, short-range attacks, screen clearing “Giga Crush”-style attacks, defense boosts, attack boosts, and more. One of the pictures on the Kickstarter page even shows a Mighty Skill that appears to be an old-school Mega Buster charge.
By combining these Mighty Skills with the special abilities Beck gets from defeating bosses, you can create numerous interesting combinations. You can add double jump to your magnetic wall-jump or spring jump for example!
However, Xel is only gained when Beck defeats an enemy by exploiting its weakness. This could be by hitting an enemy in a weak point or by using a specific boss weapon against the enemy. Yes, even normal enemies have weapons they are weak to. To make the most out of Beck’s abilities, you will have to frequently switch up the weapons that you use, even in the normal platforming stages.
A few bosses have been revealed so far. The first boss, Mighty No. 2, appears to be a water-themed boss. Not only does he have the springy grapple arms that we mentioned earlier, but he also has the ability to jack into reservoirs and spray water at you. Mighty No. 6 is an air-themed boss with a propeller on his head. Not only can he drop bombs from his legs, but also the propeller itself can be tucked back into what appears to be a combination of a ponytail and a sword. Finally Mighty No. 5 is a heavy arms robot, which Inafune showed us the design for from conception to completion. The robot has missiles, chain guns, and a grenade launcher for a head! If you can believe the rest of the design documents, we will likely see a magnet-themed boss as well as a few other elemental bosses.
Currently, Mighty No. 9 is coming out for the PC, but if it manages to make its 2,200,000-dollar stretch goal, the game will be put out on the PS3, Wii U, and Xbox 360 as well. Trust us, there is no way in robot hell that the project won’t reach that goal: not if 1.6 million dollars in three days has anything to say about it. Many of the donation rewards include game boxes, print manuals, and swanky stuff, such as the ability to design enemies or special abilities for high rollers. However, a mere 20 dollars will get you a copy of the game when it releases. So if you are a Mega Man fan and want to see what Beck and his trusty partner Call have to offer, head on over to the official Kickstarter page and drop a few bucks. As for us, we will give you more information on the development of Mighty No. 9 as it happens.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: September 6, 2013