The Blue Bomber Is Back In Style, Baby: A Review of Mega Man 9.

I'm a self-professed old-school Mega Man fan. I loved the series, every single game that I got my hands on was fun to play. I just acquired the latest installment, Mega Man 9...

And DAMN, I can't realize how much I've missed this. Mega Man 9 has been done in a retro style: the whole game is a monumental dedication to the past games. And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. I've had the good fortune to play the Zero/Battle Network series for the Game Boy Advance, but while they were fun, they're more within their own universe, and have their own mentality. They are their own games: one can wonder at times as to why the Blue Bomber is even a part of them. Thankfully, 9 embraces everything that was a part of the old Mega Man games, and then some.

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Prepare for a massive nostalgia bomb when playing this game.

The controls are an excellent example of this. The team that made this installment stripped it down to the core gameplay. There are three things you'll use the whole game: the shoot button, the jump button, and the directional pad. Anything that could complicate the game was removed: you can't even slide or charge blasts. You could hand this to a person who had never played a video game before in his life, and he'd figure it out in two seconds: an admirale feat. Games these days are insanely complicated, and that's driven off some of the earliest generation. I should know: my dad constantly complains about how he won't play new games anymore due to them being too hard to learn. When I told him about this, he looked like he was actually somewhat interested in playing it... and you can trust me when I say that's an accomplishment in and of itself.

The formula of the game is standard Mega Man fare. There's 8 robot masters run amok: you run through a stage filled with traps and enemies to get to them. When you do, you fight them to the death, and if you win, you get their power to use as your own. Each master is weak against a specific weapon, sort of like a mechanical version of rock-paper-scissors, so if you want to make things easy on yourself you'll go in a specific order. Each stage is well-done, and filled with lots of surprises. Bottomless pits and one-hit-death spikes are back with a vengeance too: the name of the game is caution here, and you can't just blaze through the levels if you expect to survive. After you clear a stage, you can also buy things off of your companions (like extra lives and energy tanks) with screws that enemies will drop when you kill them. These extra items aren't really necessary to beat the game: you can make do without them, but they certainly do a lot to make some stages easier.

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A amusing depiction of how each boss has a weapon that beats another.

The story behind Mega Man 9 is interesting: Dr. Wily, your nemesis from the earlier games, seems to have given up his evil ways when these new robot masters strike. Problem is, they're not Wily's bots: they're the creations of your maker/father figure Dr. Light. Wily gets people to start donating to a fund of his so that he can build some bots of his own to fight the new threat: and Mega Man smells a rat. Light gets locked up, and Mega Man is thrust back into action after lord-knows-how long to take down the renegade robos. It's even thrown in as a joke for the fans that there hasn't been a game in the series for quite some time, as one of the characters says: "Be careful out there: you haven't done this in awhile!" The plot works, but I wish that there were more of it. Granted, Mega Man never really needed a whole load of plot, but you can't tell me that they couldn't have tried to bring a little more story into the game.

The stages and robot masters are all wonderfully unique, and have good music accompanying them. The AI's for each of the masters are varied: some are insanely aggressive (Plug/Magma Man), while others are fairly formulaic and require timing more than skill to beat (Galaxy/Concrete Man). Some of the designs for the masters are a bit bizarre: Galaxy Man especially, and the stages are a classic example of Malevolent Architecture, but I was easily able to suspend disbelief about the whole thing and just enjoy playing. It's wonderfully unrealistic, and after spending all my time the last few weeks on grittier, more realistic games like inFamous and Red Faction: Guerilla, I had fun basking in the simple innocence that Mega Man 9 exudes.

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I want to hug him for some reason... and then blow him up.

There's also extra challenges that function as in-game achievements. Some of these are a fun reason to play through the game again, but others are frankly ridiculous. Beating the game without missing a single shot? You have to be kidding me, right? Anyway, most of them are a nice addition and will have folks having some more fun once they've managed to beat the game itself. Which will take a while.

You see, this game is hard with a capital H. You will scream at your TV, you will throw controllers around, and you will tear your hair out. But you never do this feeling that the game is fundamentally unfair: odds are that you'll feel it was your mistake that got you killed, and you'll pick up the controller again. That's the beauty of the old-school games, and it works wonderfully here at turning any man into a gaming masochist. Sure, the game will beat you up, take your lunch money, and sleep with your girlfriend, but you'll crawl back to it: you're trapped the second you lay hands on the controller in a brutal relationship with an entity that will show you no mercy, but you'll love it regardless of how evil it is to you.

All in all, I'd say that Mega Man 9 is a must-buy for any fans of the 8-bit era, or anyone looking to experiment with the older style games out there. Instead of a concluding paragraph though, I offer you this video I found when roaming Youtube for some gameplay footage. Enjoy!

Editor's Notes:

I had a lot of fun writing this. I know that it isn't Jade Empire, but this one wrote itself for some reason in about 15 minutes. Jade Empire will be next: thankfully people shut up about Left 4 Dead, so I'll be able to (AT FREAKING LAST) wrap up that JE review. And then there's all sorts of goodies lined up to write about: I beat inFamous (as a good guy) and got most of the way through a friend's copy of Red Faction: Guerilla, so those will be done soon.

I'll also be doing reviews more frequently than I have. I've recently been absorbed with a freaking awesome RP, so do forgive me for not being as quick as I was before with pumping these things out.

Also, do leave something behind after you've read this review: a "nice job" or some constructive criticism really brightens up my day, and makes me feel like people actually read this as opposed to just stumbling in here by accident.

Well this is a nice diversion from the rest of horrible reviews that came out today. As usual, this was a great review.

I never played any of the old Mega Man games, but I eally want to play this one. I've heard great things about, it. Glad you liked it.

CountFenring:
Well this is a nice diversion from the rest of horrible reviews that came out today. As usual, this was a great review.

I never played any of the old Mega Man games, but I eally want to play this one. I've heard great things about, it. Glad you liked it.

What, did I miss something? Was there a swarm of bad stuff today?

But yeah, it's some good ol' fun. Glad you enjoyed the read.

Great review. I don't care for this game at all though, as games that are both this hard and simple just turn me off.

scotth266:

CountFenring:
Well this is a nice diversion from the rest of horrible reviews that came out today. As usual, this was a great review.

I never played any of the old Mega Man games, but I eally want to play this one. I've heard great things about, it. Glad you liked it.

What, did I miss something? Was there a swarm of bad stuff today?

But yeah, it's some good ol' fun. Glad you enjoyed the read.

There was a Halo Wars one which was pretty bad and a pros and cons thing in the reviews forum, it wasn't bad, it just didn't belong. And a really weird one.

CountFenring:

There was a Halo Wars one which was pretty bad and a pros and cons thing in the reviews forum, it wasn't bad, it just didn't belong. And a really weird one.

Yeeeah, I saw all three of those. I thought that you were referring to something like that plague of ME reviews that weren't all that great. Thank goodness that wasn't the case.

scotth266:
Yeeeah, I saw all three of those. I thought that you were referring to something like that plague of ME reviews that weren't all that great. Thank goodness that wasn't the case.

No, nothing like that, Thunderhitler passed through again, but I figure you already heard about that.

Liked the review, I loved the picture of the bosses. I'd have to agree with Fenring, this was a much more pleasant read then those others mentioned. And I look forward to your Red Faction review.
I might consider buying this, I've been wanting a lighter game after all the grit I've been playing.

CountFenring:

No, nothing like that, Thunderhitler passed through again, but I figure you already heard about that.

Really? *Looks again* Ooooh. I see him now. Yeesh. This makes how many times now? I recently stumbled into an old thread that he had posted in... oh dear lord the HUMANITY!

But if the biggest thing to occur (besides NewClassic writing a good review of a arcade game) recently in the review section was this, I feel pretty proud with myself.

NoMoreSanity:
Great review. I don't care for this game at all though, as games that are both this hard and simple just turn me off.

I can understand that. Sometimes the difficulty gets to me too: the only boss I can beat without using the special weapons at all times is Galaxy Man. And that's cause he is a total nooblet :D

ShotgunShaman:
Liked the review, I loved the picture of the bosses. I'd have to agree with Fenring, this was a much more pleasant read then those others mentioned. And I look forward to your Red Faction review.
I might consider buying this, I've been wanting a lighter game after all the grit I've been playing.

Thanks for the compliment! The Red Faction review will be a while depending on how often I get a crack at it, but since I beat most of the game already I'll give a quick opinion: it's good, solid fun, but you might want to rent before you buy, just to see if the grinding will get to you.

Best. Review. EVER.

scotth266:

Thanks for the compliment! The Red Faction review will be a while depending on how often I get a crack at it, but since I beat most of the game already I'll give a quick opinion: it's good, solid fun, but you might want to rent before you buy, just to see if the grinding will get to you.

Too late. Purchased it the day after it came out, and have currently been having a total blast (pun unintended). But I always enjoy seeing if I agree with game reviews.
So far our opinions on it seem pretty similar.

Ashbax:
Best. Review. EVER.

Oh stop it. You'll make me blush!

ShotgunShaman:

Too late. Purchased it the day after it came out, and have currently been having a total blast (pun unintended). But I always enjoy seeing if I agree with game reviews.
So far our opinions on it seem pretty similar.

Curiousity has struck: what weapon set do you use? I went with the rocket launcer, the explosive packs you get at the start, and the basic MG for most of the game, though now I use that new Pulse Rifle the enemies started carrying instead. I got the Nano rifle + upgrades, but never used it :D

scotth266:

Curiousity has struck: what weapon set do you use? I went with the rocket launcer, the explosive packs you get at the start, and the basic MG for most of the game, though now I use that new Pulse Rifle the enemies started carrying instead. I got the Nano rifle + upgrades, but never used it :D

I'm currently on the second mission of Badlands, and for most of the game I've been rolling Hammer/Demolition Mines/Arc Welder/Rocket launcher. Its really pretty handy, the arc welder by itself is shit, but AMAZING with the hammer to back it up. My strategy for pretty much every raid sort of deal is mines on vehicle, vehicle into middle of base, shoot stuff with rockets, then mop up by stunning guys and then smackin them. Works pretty well. You can pretty easily get around 5 EDF in one hit :)

I didn;t find this hard. No, really. Yeah, it had it's moments, but, honestly, I found MM2 to be harder. Of course, in 2, the controls were not yet perfect, and you slid a little bit every time you stopped running, instead of just stopping, which made it really hard to be prescise.

I actually bought this the day it came out, and had it beaten that same day. Soon after, I beat it again, an again. No, the only MM games I have left to beat from the original series are 7 and 8. 7 because the last boss is freakin hard, and 8 because I was playing them in order until 9 came out.

Anyway, that was a really good review, though I must say, your reviews are much more fun when you enjoy the game without reservation (or almost without reservation). Which makes sense. I just stated the obvious.

I bet that your Jade Empire review will be the worst thing ever.Even worse than Halo rants disguised as reviews. Thats how bad is going to be.

Anyway..hmm..not much to complain...I bet I can find something to complain...hmmmm...crap!

Good job!

Oh, cool, the guy who always comments on me did a review on a game I can help him with.

Freeware game, MegaMari:

I never got around to reviewing it because it's insanely hard. The guy in that video is doin a speed run, so he's got the thing memorized like the back of his hand.

It's a pretty freakin' awesome Megaman game, though, with the special boss powerups and whatnot.

No more let him sleep.

Splendid read my good man, splendid read! It's refreshening to see a game I hold so dear in memory (of course I am talking about Megaman 2) not being raped for once.

One point of criticism (not on your style or anything, it was really nice to read), it remains unclear to me what platform this game is out on. You wrote this: "I've had the good fortune to play the Zero/Battle Network series for the Game Boy Advance". Perhaps that is enough of a clue for most, but I can only assume that this game is released on the same platform. Some sort of verification would have been appreciated.

Say Anything:
Snip.

If I remember correctly, which I'm probably not, but whatever, this is a TouHou (Tohou?) game, which is why the characters are all girls and the music tends to be completely awesome.

S.H.A.R.P.:
Splendid read my good man, splendid read! It's refreshening to see a game I hold so dear in memory (of course I am talking about Megaman 2) not being raped for once.

One point of criticism (not on your style or anything, it was really nice to read), it remains unclear to me what platform this game is out on. You wrote this: "I've had the good fortune to play the Zero/Battle Network series for the Game Boy Advance". Perhaps that is enough of a clue for most, but I can only assume that this game is released on the same platform. Some sort of verification would have been appreciated.

Both games series are for the Game Boy Advance (hence his wording "...For the Game Boy Advance,") and they both eventually made their way to the DS, both with direct sequels, and than games that can only be considered somewhat clones/inspired by (Battle Network evolved into Star Force (as I believe it's called), and Megaman Zero became Megaman ZX (again, as I believe it's called). Yeah, sorry about my being unsure).

I apologize if I was rude, as it was not intended.

oliveira8:
I bet that your Jade Empire review will be the worst thing ever.Even worse than Halo rants disguised as reviews. Thats how bad is going to be.

Anyway..hmm..not much to complain...I bet I can find something to complain...hmmmm...crap!

Good job!

Think of it this way: I know you've been waiting very patiently for it, so I'm gonna make it good :D

And I'm glad you liked it.

Mstrswrd:

Anyway, that was a really good review, though I must say, your reviews are much more fun when you enjoy the game without reservation (or almost without reservation). Which makes sense. I just stated the obvious.

The difficulty deserved a special mention only due to the fact that Mega Man games are harder than most and then some. I'm actually very good at them (I beat Galaxy Man's stage AND him without losing a life), but I realize that the majority of players would not be that good at the game. I've seen lots of others play this, and they were bitchslapped around constantly... but still had a fun time (hence the abusive relationship joke).

And I never enjoy things without reservation. If a game has a flaw, I will mention it: even the tiniest imperfections on a otherwise fantastic game must be brought up. The reason? They're what keeps the game from being 100% perfect. I'm a man who must see the flaws.

Raregolddragon:
No more let him sleep.

? I will sleep regardless if people comment on the review (I will get back to them eventually) but your concern for my well-being is appreciated! Also, did you enjoy the read?

Say Anything:
Oh, cool, the guy who always comments on me did a review on a game I can help him with.

Freeware game, MegaMari:

Snip.

That looks fun. Seems like someone threw a bullet hell game and Mega Man in a blender. The result is probably masochistic levels of death.

S.H.A.R.P.:
Splendid read my good man, splendid read! It's refreshening to see a game I hold so dear in memory (of course I am talking about Megaman 2) not being raped for once.

One point of criticism (not on your style or anything, it was really nice to read), it remains unclear to me what platform this game is out on. You wrote this: "I've had the good fortune to play the Zero/Battle Network series for the Game Boy Advance". Perhaps that is enough of a clue for most, but I can only assume that this game is released on the same platform. Some sort of verification would have been appreciated.

The game is available for download on WiiWare, PSN, and Xbox Live. That was my mistake: I was trying to make a point about how while I appreciate the other Mega Man series, they weren't enough to slake my thirst for a true Blue Bomber game.

Oh, snickerdoodles: I forgot to stick in a link to the Malevolent Architecture trope! Silly me. Hopefully people will get the joke now that it's fixed :D

 

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