|System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom Ltd.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 1, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Mega Man has had a rough time over the past decade or so. It seemed like there was a new Mega Man game coming out every few months, and many met with very limited success, if any. Because of this deluge of titles, some fans began to become jaded to Mega Man games altogether. Luckily, everybody's favorite blue bomber is back in a game that takes the franchise back to its roots by prescribing to the old marriage adage. Mega Man 9 contains something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue (of course).
Fans of the Mega Man series on the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) will immediately recognize this game's something old. What I'm referring to is Mega Man 9's retro-styled graphics. The entirety of this new game is presented in a glorious 8-bit style not seen from the franchise for a very long time. Every character, enemy, object, and level in Mega Man 9 has been given a classic old school look. While it won't win any graphical awards, the game looks fantastic for an 8-bit title and feels very authentic to an NES experience, down to the ability to turn sprite flicker on and off.
Although the game may look like older Mega Man titles due to its graphics, it is still a completely new experience rather than just being a remade, retro-looking game. Dr. Wily is once again up to his world domination schemes. This time he is quite underhanded, blaming Dr. Light for the appearance of the new robots wreaking havoc on the world, even going as far as to ask for funding to help stop them. Somehow this ploy is successful, leaving Dr. Light in trouble with the law and Mega Man tasked with uncovering Dr. Wily's scheme, saving Dr. Light, and setting things right.
To be successful, Mega Man must seek out and destroy the eight new mysterious robots that have been unleashed. As in previous game's in the franchise, all these robots have a special power that can be used once you have defeated them. These range from Tornado Man's ability to summon tiny tornados from the bottom of the screen to Magma Man's three-way flaming projectiles. Adding another notch to the something new category is Splash Woman, the first female boss in a Mega Man game. She dwells in an underwater world and has the ability to summon attacking fish and can also fire electric bolts from her trident.
While you can tackle these bosses in any order, certain abilities you attain will greatly aid you in these confrontations. For example, Magma Man is a very formidable foe but is made much easier to defeat if you use the ability gained from defeating Tornado Man. This will do significantly more damage to Magma Man than your standard Mega Buster, and it also makes his projectiles much smaller and easier to avoid. Although the best order to dispatch of these robots isn't really made clear to the player, finding the optimal path gives players a reason to play through the game multiple times.
This brings me to what Mega Man 9 has borrowed, which is quite a bit. While the game is a new entry in the series, it borrows heavily from its previous titles. Everything from its look to its design is somewhat taken from previous installments. This isn't a bad thing, as it makes the game feel incredibly natural and even nostalgic for Mega Man fans. Perhaps the best thing that Mega Man 9 borrows from previous games is its gameplay.