Review: Mega Man 9

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Review: Mega Man 9

Newer isn't always better, but Mega Man 9 might be taking retro gaming a little too literally.

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An NES game, I spot a grammatical error.

"Recommendation: If you want to save $10, an NES emulator and a couple ROMs will probably get you where you want to go."

Wait a minute. Piracy, Jordan?

zoozilla:
"Recommendation: If you want to save $10, an NES emulator and a couple ROMs will probably get you where you want to go."

Wait a minute. Piracy, Jordan?

It's abandonware I believe.

Aries_Split:
It's abandonware I believe.

But if Capcom is offering the other Mega Man games on the Wii Virtual Console, those games wouldn't be considered abandonware.

zoozilla:

Aries_Split:
It's abandonware I believe.

But if Capcom is offering the other Mega Man games on the Wii Virtual Console, those games wouldn't be considered abandonware.

Are they manufacturing NES cartidges with the original ROM on them? Then it's abandonware.

Aries_Split:

zoozilla:

Aries_Split:
It's abandonware I believe.

But if Capcom is offering the other Mega Man games on the Wii Virtual Console, those games wouldn't be considered abandonware.

Are they manufacturing NES cartidges with the original ROM on them? Then it's abandonware.

It is NOT abandonware if they are still releasing the games. Just because a certain media FORMAT of the game isn't used anymore, it doesn't mean the CONTENT is abandonware. The entire Megaman series was released a few years ago on the PS2, GC, and Xbox, if I'm not mistaken.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware

It's all about the software, not the media format.

OuroborosChoked:

Aries_Split:

zoozilla:

Aries_Split:
It's abandonware I believe.

But if Capcom is offering the other Mega Man games on the Wii Virtual Console, those games wouldn't be considered abandonware.

Are they manufacturing NES cartidges with the original ROM on them? Then it's abandonware.

It is NOT abandonware if they are still releasing the games. Just because a certain media FORMAT of the game isn't used anymore, it doesn't mean the CONTENT is abandonware. The entire Megaman series was released a few years ago on the PS2, GC, and Xbox, if I'm not mistaken.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware

It's all about the software, not the media format.

The original Megaman 9 software is no longer being produced. The Virtual Console and PSN and Arcade versions have other things in them the originals don't therefore, by the definition of Abandware, Megaman 9, is abandware.

Aries_Split:
The original Megaman 9 software is no longer being produced. The Virtual Console and PSN and Arcade versions have other things in them the originals don't therefore, by the definition of Abandware, Megaman 9, is abandware.

What are you talking about? Megaman 9 is original to 2008. The development software is also new to the development of the modern game, too. It's all brand new stuff. It's not abandoned. Read the definitions of what abandonware is. None of them apply to Megaman 9, or any of the other games, for that matter. They're all current and supported, the company is still in business, and the copyrights are all still active. Ergo, not abandoned.

EDIT: Further (and this is from the DMCA), the following is an exemption from the DMCA. It states that software that is currently inaccessible (due to format obsolesence) is to be considered exempt from the DMCA:

Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and that require the original media or hardware as a condition of access, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

Since NES games and systems are still quite ubiquitous in used game stores and Ebay, the hardware cannot be considered obsolete, even though it is no longer manufactured. Regardless, this doesn't even apply to Megaman 9 which, as stated earlier, is unique to 2008. Even the development tools had to be recreated, as they no longer existed.

Hmmm ... guess the legality of this issue wasn't as clear-cut as I thought. I certainly didn't mean to advocate piracy - I just assumed that since Mega Man 2 was no longer being produced, it was somehow up for grabs. And then I noticed that it's up on the Wii's Virtual Console, so not even that argument holds up.

I'll just quietly retract my recommendation and offer a new one: Don't steal!

Jordan Deam:

Don't steal!

...And let that be a lesson to you kids.

Good review though, nice to see you didn't just get choked up with nostalgia.

Jordan Deam:
Hmmm ... guess the legality of this issue wasn't as clear-cut as I thought. I certainly didn't mean to advocate piracy - I just assumed that since Mega Man 2 was no longer being produced, it was somehow up for grabs. And then I noticed that it's up on the Wii's Virtual Console, so not even that argument holds up.

I'll just quietly retract my recommendation and offer a new one: Don't steal!

It WAS up for grabs until the accursed Wii and it's Nintendo Market. >:|

Jordan has not, nor has he ever, advocated piracy or been a pirate. I know this to be true because on casual Fridays he routinely dons a black face mask, a Naruto headband, and carries a katana while mumbling something about ninjas and Hattori Hanzo.

No, as much as some in the office would like him to be a pirate, he is most certainly a ninja.

TsunamiWombat:

Jordan Deam:
Hmmm ... guess the legality of this issue wasn't as clear-cut as I thought. I certainly didn't mean to advocate piracy - I just assumed that since Mega Man 2 was no longer being produced, it was somehow up for grabs. And then I noticed that it's up on the Wii's Virtual Console, so not even that argument holds up.

I'll just quietly retract my recommendation and offer a new one: Don't steal!

It WAS up for grabs until the accursed Wii and it's Nintendo Market. >:|

No, it wasn't.

The entire Megaman series was released a few years ago on the PS2, GC, and Xbox. Not to mention the DMCA exemption not applying. The Megaman series was NEVER up for grabs!

I've already said this...

OuroborosChoked:

TsunamiWombat:

Jordan Deam:
Hmmm ... guess the legality of this issue wasn't as clear-cut as I thought. I certainly didn't mean to advocate piracy - I just assumed that since Mega Man 2 was no longer being produced, it was somehow up for grabs. And then I noticed that it's up on the Wii's Virtual Console, so not even that argument holds up.

I'll just quietly retract my recommendation and offer a new one: Don't steal!

It WAS up for grabs until the accursed Wii and it's Nintendo Market. >:|

No, it wasn't.

The entire Megaman series was released a few years ago on the PS2, GC, and Xbox. Not to mention the DMCA exemption not applying. The Megaman series was NEVER up for grabs!

I've already said this...

Well exscuse me for being a dirty thief and not wanting to spend money to play a 20 year old game.

tendo82:
Jordan has not, nor has he ever, advocated piracy or been a pirate. I know this to be true because on casual Fridays he routinely dons a black face mask, a Naruto headband, and carries a katana while mumbling something about ninjas and Hattori Hanzo.

No, as much as some in the office would like him to be a pirate, he is most certainly a ninja.

Where is the Escapist located?

Narnia?

Aries_Split:

tendo82:
Jordan has not, nor has he ever, advocated piracy or been a pirate. I know this to be true because on casual Fridays he routinely dons a black face mask, a Naruto headband, and carries a katana while mumbling something about ninjas and Hattori Hanzo.

No, as much as some in the office would like him to be a pirate, he is most certainly a ninja.

Where is the Escapist located?

Narnia?

That dude with the goat legs keeps stealing their mail.

TsunamiWombat:

Aries_Split:

tendo82:
Jordan has not, nor has he ever, advocated piracy or been a pirate. I know this to be true because on casual Fridays he routinely dons a black face mask, a Naruto headband, and carries a katana while mumbling something about ninjas and Hattori Hanzo.

No, as much as some in the office would like him to be a pirate, he is most certainly a ninja.

Where is the Escapist located?

Narnia?

That dude with the goat legs keeps stealing their mail.

Damn him!

Aries_Split, you can spoutthe word abandonware as much as you want, it's a concpet that is notrecognized legally. Plus, as Capcom indeed still sell their old MM games, they don't fall in that category.

That being said, I'm kinda surprised by the review associating MM's gameplay conventions (no checkpoint save, no saves in the final fortress, pause to change powers, the jumping mechanic, the overall difficulty) specifically with the old games because they've actually never been abandoned and are still commonplace in games like 2007's Mega Man ZXA on DS.

"Case in point: the jumping mechanic, which adjusts the height of your leaps according to how long you hold down the A button. It's a direct holdover from the original NES controller, which lacked the pressure sensitive buttons that have become standard on modern gamepads."

Umm, what? If we have gamepads now that handle pressure sensitivity like that with any kind of usefulness, I want one.

I'm not saying anything about the review (don't really give a damn about the game) but are you suggesting that using how far the trigger button (say on a xbox 360 controller) is a useful value for determining height of jump? If there's some trick people have been using in games to give variable jumping height using pressure sensitivity, I want in on it. But however I look at it I just don't see a way either the trigger buttons of the analog sticks can provide the kind of pixel perfect jump accuracy that Megaman's (and for that matter, Super Mario Brothers) control scheme provides.

Arguments on emulator legality aside, this was a good review. I figured that they would keep the usual unfair difficulty intact. The old Megaman games -are- a lot of fun, and in spite of getting insanely angry at times, killing a boss in these games often feels more satisfying than in newer games simply because it's harder. The "failing at leisure" line made me grin, because it's completely true.

I think they should have let some of the archaic mechanics go though, like having to pause to swap/refill weapons and being unable to save within a level. It even sounds like a bit of a regression from some of the later NES Megaman entries, since you (from my understanding) can't charge your weapon or slide/dash.

Anyway, I'll probably pick this one up if I ever get the chance, if anything for old time's sake. I've played some of the old NES Megaman games recently, and I still can't figure out how I beat these things as a kid. I got to Wily Stage 1 in Megaman 2 a little while back and, like you, gave up after several game overs on that damn Mechanical Dragon boss. My friend thought it was pretty funny how after dying I'd say "oh God, screw this game," yet end up trying again.

I have to wonder who these games are being made for. The original gamers who used to play this have become used to easier games, and in any case don't have the time and patience to retry levels a hundred times in order to make progress.

Not to mention that younger gamers are not used to punishing difficulty, and would probably ascribe it to "bad design" rather than "intentional difficulty".

So that leaves the few people used to play games back when you played anything (because you only had 3 cartridges dammit) and who also have time on their hands (due to the financial crisis). Only they probably aren't likely to appreciate being kicked some more while they're down.

So, if it wasn't for the fact that this game was programmed on such tight a budget that they only used recycled characters and a 16 colour tileset (discounted down from 256, offer must end soon), I would doubt it would turn any sort of a profit.

Yes, the demo did rip off both my arms and hit me repeatedly on the head with them. How could you tell?

I just want to say that technically no game, as long as it is still copyrighted is not abandonware. Even if the company no longer manufactures or sells the game, it is not abandonware and legal to download for free as long as the games copyright is still valid. Even the issue with ROMs is vague, because even if you own the original cartridge or disc, it can still be considered stealing since the copy you've downloaded is not a backup copy of the version you have, it's a ripped version of the game downloaded in a different format. The only time I believe it would be legal to have a version of a game you didn't pay for would be if it wasn't copyrighted, or the copyright has expired. You can use any argument you want to justify it, but technically it's still illegal.

Still, Megaman 9 is a fun game, and worth the price of admission, although the jumping can be damn frustrating.

It seems to me the reivewer failed to notice the shop where you can buy items that let you exit levels immediately or replenish the weapon with the lowest energy without you having to switch to that weapon before picking up the capsules.

I personally think those two functions should've been active right away, but they are still there if you want them... Having Wily's fortress be one big level is a bit sadistic...

domicius:
I have to wonder who these games are being made for. The original gamers who used to play this have become used to easier games, and in any case don't have the time and patience to retry levels a hundred times in order to make progress.

I thought it'd kinda be this way at first, but from reading a variety of forums a bit everywhere the reaction seems to actually be that it's easy to get back into the old groove, and I agree with that. It's notably because as noted in my previous post the game actually isn't among the harder Mega Man platformers, even considering just the recent ones. The GBA Mega Man Zero series was much more punishing, and I think the ZX series ranks above it too. Even compared to the NES games it's more on the level of Mega Man 2, which actually was lowest in the classic MM difficulty scale.

Regarding profit, the original goal of the project was indeed to make a game for a lesser budget. As noted in numerous interviews the series producer doesn't believe a 15 million dollars (apparently the standard Capcom game budget at the beginning of this gen) MM game released through retail would turn any profit. It seems the production ended up being more expensive than planned though, because they didn't have much data left from the original games and took great care in reverse-engineering a lot of small details (like reproducing the old sprite glitches as allowed in the options). Another goal was to have a much smaller but tighter team, but that's more of a production side aspect.

th15:
"Case in point: the jumping mechanic, which adjusts the height of your leaps according to how long you hold down the A button. It's a direct holdover from the original NES controller, which lacked the pressure sensitive buttons that have become standard on modern gamepads."

Umm, what? If we have gamepads now that handle pressure sensitivity like that with any kind of usefulness, I want one.

I'm not saying anything about the review (don't really give a damn about the game) but are you suggesting that using how far the trigger button (say on a xbox 360 controller) is a useful value for determining height of jump? If there's some trick people have been using in games to give variable jumping height using pressure sensitivity, I want in on it. But however I look at it I just don't see a way either the trigger buttons of the analog sticks can provide the kind of pixel perfect jump accuracy that Megaman's (and for that matter, Super Mario Brothers) control scheme provides.

You played Metal Gear Solid 4? Thats a near perfect example of how pressure sensitive controls work and how they can be instituted effectively into gameplay.

As you seem to be commenting in relation to the Wii, I couldn't say what games have/haven't used it as I have never played one myself.

Oh, it's easy, the button used to jump on the wii MM9 isn't pressure sensitive. Since that was the primary version, it makes sense they'd aim for a control style consistent for all platforms (not to mention with the dozens of previous games). Plus frankly, I can't think of a single platform game that uses pressure instead of holding down the jump button, it's the proven standard.

I'm too young to get nostalgic over Megaman (though I did beat MM2 on a Java NES emulator about a year before this) but I absolutely love this game. The challenge comes from timing/knowledge of the levels and I get immense satisfaction from that. I like hard games that are 'simple' if that makes sense. For example, I don't like RTS all that much because it's hard and complex, but Megaman has about 3 moves to start off with. It's the simple input but complex process that gives me the great feeling of achievement.
Also, it isn't that hard, I'm up to Wily now so it's not impossible, and you can't have your 'next gen controllers can do this' argument, because the Wii doesn't have pressure sensitive buttons, nor enough buttons to ammo swap with ease. The pause screen lets you swap in the heat of battle without taking damage while you do so. It's not game killing, it's actually a welcome mechanic in my book. I do agree with the ammo thing though.
Overall, Megaman delivered on what it promised, don't criticize something because it isn't what you wanted.

Wow, this reads like an overly and unnecessarily hostile review. It smacks of the opinion that somehow the devs took a lazy approach to designing this game, when as a fan of the series nothing could be clearer to me than that they studied long and hard the design of classic Mega Man games and went to great pains to lovingly recreate it.

I wanted to beat Mega Man 9, but couldn't. There are few things more disheartening than failing at leisure.

...It's suddenly bad game design to make a game hard enough that somebody can't beat it? I mean, it's not like nobody can beat it, there are plenty of folks out there who have beaten MM9 now. (I am not one of them, but I'll get there.) But is there some rule that every game should be beatable without practice, without improving one's skills in a game? I enjoy a good mindless romp through an undemanding game as much as the next guy, but how depressing to think that anything requiring more out of a player should be regarded as antiquated. The steady progression towards easier games that anyone can eventually beat is not universally regarded as good, you know.

And they did make plenty of design updates to the NES formula that could not, in fact, be had by getting an emulator and some ROMs (which, as others have noted, you should really edit out of the review, since all MM games are still readily available for purchase). The multiple save states are great, but more than that the longevity added by the achievement list and downloadable content (Endless Attack mode is something truly new, a randomly generated "play as long as you can survive" mode that still feels like classic MM levels) adds up to a rather phenomenal value considering the low asking price. Granted, if you don't even like the base game you obviously won't want more, but for the many people enjoying it, it's a great deal.

domicius:
I have to wonder who these games are being made for. The original gamers who used to play this have become used to easier games, and in any case don't have the time and patience to retry levels a hundred times in order to make progress.

Hell with that, I say they made it for me. ;) I am one of those original gamers, and I absolutely love getting kicked until I redevelop some of the skills I used to have. The satisfaction of beating a Mega Man 9 stage is far greater than, say, that of beating a Mario Galaxy level, lovely though Galaxy's levels are. Reward requires effort. [Something that was noted in the review, it just didn't seem to be emphasized as anything special, but I think it is.]

And if (when) I get frustrated with it, I just save, walk away, and come back later. It's not like you need to beat it in one go (Wily's castle notwithstanding, but Wily's castle being an unrepentant torture is a series standby).

Honestly, I think it's a fantastic title. Aesthetically they achieved exactly what they set out to do, delivering a game that feels like it could have come out of the NES even though it technically couldn't have. The gameplay is extremely solid, and yes, demanding, but not unfair. For $10 I think it's a no-brainer.

And ...

The original Megaman 9 software is no longer being produced. The Virtual Console and PSN and Arcade versions have other things in them the originals don't therefore, by the definition of Abandware, Megaman 9, is abandware.

Seriously? I'm a little shocked there's somebody who reads The Escapist who didn't know this was a brand spaking new game.

Ravenlock80:

...It's suddenly bad game design to make a game hard enough that somebody can't beat it? I mean, it's not like nobody can beat it, there are plenty of folks out there who have beaten MM9 now. (I am not one of them, but I'll get there.) But is there some rule that every game should be beatable without practice, without improving one's skills in a game?

You make a well phrased point - one should of course be able to beat a game with practice. And of course there are people who do relish this kind of game - where incremental improvement leads to incremental progress.

My contention, though, is that these gamers are in the minority. Not only do most gamers want to actually get past the first five screens of the demo after an hour of play (curse you, ball-blowing elephant!!!!*); if they don't they'll go over and play The Force Unleashed demo where their brains will be seared to ashes by the sheer lack of originality therein.

And that's just irresponsible game design from the Mega Man 9 crew.

Just to sum up my point - some people like this game, and I'm just bitter because I got stomped on.

*Yes, it sounds dodgy, but it's just an elephant with a big deadly ball.

Curse that ball blowing elephant and curse that damned hairball spitting cat from MM3.

Aaaahhhh old 2d goodness. In the time, where every game weren't piss easy. If only the video game industry would listen. Well they did for Devil May cry 3, but they had to re-release, because people complained about the difficulty. (wimps, can't take the heat?)

New gamers will have a feeling of the old days.

The thing that Mega Man forgets is that games aren't meant to be hard, they are meant to be fun.

Xvito:
The thing that Mega Man forgets is that games aren't meant to be hard, they are meant to be fun.

Something you're forgetting is that people have different skills and different tastes. I, for one, had more fun with this and BC:R than with any hold-your-hand game of recent times.

Dectilon:

Xvito:
The thing that Mega Man forgets is that games aren't meant to be hard, they are meant to be fun.

Something you're forgetting is that people have different skills and different tastes. I, for one, had more fun with this and BC:R than with any hold-your-hand game of recent times.

Don't get me wrong, I like a challenge, but when you do what Mega Man does it just starts to get annoying.
Edit: Oh and let us not turn this into some kind of battle as to which one of us is the better gamer.
Cause I would just win(irony).

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