|Retro remakes are all the rage at the moment. With the recent Bionic Commando; Rearmed setting a very high standard for a retooled NES game can Mega Man 9 deliver in the same fashion?
The Mega Man franchise has in recent years become more famous for the way Capcom have milked the series over the years. Many old school fans of the series have become disillusioned as numerous spin offs have been born and the story has become more and more convoluted. Each of these new additions to the series seem to have added another layer or take on gameplay that simply wasn't needed. This however is a return to the principles the series built itself upon and is more like a direct sequel to Mega Man 2. It shares everything with it right down the same graphics, gloriously reimagined for todays consoles. No HD visuals, no hand drawn art style just plain old good 8 bit NES graphics. It would be incredible if someone could find a way to dump a ROM of this onto a NES cart and play it on the machine. (not that Gaming Corner condones piracy, this kind of experiment would purely be for fun!)
It can't be helped that there is this niggling feeling that this game could have used the kind of face lift that we recently saw in Bionic Commando. That helped the game to come kicking and screaming into the 21st Century world of HD. Purists will love the retro throwback whilst people will find the looks jarring and it may even make the game unplayable for those who don't wish to return to the days of old.
It is not only graphically where this title could be accused of coming up short. Whilst the music is fantastically retro and 8 bit it is not as memorable as the tunes from both Mega Man 1 and 2. There is something missing and none of the tracks are quite as catchy. Retro remixes of the old tunes may have been more preferable but would not have been in fitting with the graphics.
This all sounds very negative so far, but where the title really excels is the core gameplay. The basic premise is the same, work your way through 8 levels and beat the bosses. The clever part this system is you can tackle the bosses in order you wish, reach the end of their level and beat them and you will be rewarded with a power up that will help your adventure. Certain power ups help beat certain bosses, working out this order is an important part of the game. The platforming is as sweet as ever and those looking for a challenge will certainly be pleased. The level design is definitly up there as some of the best out there and is leagues above the most recent Mega Man games. The normal game is also supplemented with a smattering of current gen features such as in game achievements which help to increase the longevity of the title.
So which is the best version? Well purists would say that the Wii version is the best as it uses the classic patented D-Pad design that was present back in the NES days. Microsoft fans would argue that the inclusion of Xbox Achievements sets their version a cut above the rest, however the 360 controller does have D-Pad issues. Whereas the PS3 version with its own direction pad perhaps offers the best controlling HD smoothed version. Whatever the case if you are old school Mega Man fan you will find that whatever version you get this game will satisfy your need. There is set to be DLC for the game but so far it has only 100% been confirmed for Wii.
Mega Man is a NES game through and through it comes with a smattering of modern features yet it is clearly a product of the original era that the franchise was born during. Fans of the series will welcome the return a simplier day whereas casual gamers will be turned off by the decidedly ancient looking visuals and the difficult gameplay. One things for sure Mega Man has returned and is back to his best.
Labels: PS3, Reviews, Wii, Xbox 360