|System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 1, 2010||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 Steve Haske
January 15, 2010 - Out of all the mainstay Japanese video game developers, Capcom is one of the few that really knows the value of intellectual property. Characters from fan-favorite IPs have made cameos and guest appearances in everything from Dead Rising to the Vs. series to Gunbird. Classic games get healthy re-releases and homages, as seen in games like the Capcom Classics Collections and Maximo, among others. Games like Resident Evil are remade and re-visited, with some franchises (Strider and Bionic Commando spring to mind) even getting long-lost sequels after years of just collecting dust.
Mega Man 9 was one of the best of Capcom's surprise revivals to come out of the last couple of years. Not only was it a new Mega Man, it was one that retained its old-school roots down to the last pixel. To put it mildly, this 8-bit game made no concessions for younger gamers that never experienced the excruciating pain of some the toughest NES titles; it was damn near impossible, just as it should have been. Mega Man 10 is Mega Man 9 all over again, minus a few changes. I had a chance to try the game first hand recently, at Capcom's CES showcase last week. Believe me, the obscene level of difficulty that made MM9 so polarizing has made it into Mega Man's next adventure completely intact.
The changes that have been made are a little surprising, however. Taking a cue from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, this time around Capcom has actually given Mega Man 10 an easy mode. Not only does this change difficulty-related variables you would expect, like the enemy placement or the amount of damage they cause, but even goes as far as to, say, put platforms over spikes, letting less patient players experience the retro aesthetic and gameplay of a classic Mega Man game without the debilitating difficulty. The game also gives you the option to play through the game as Proto Man from the get-go, unlike his DLC-based last playable appearance in Mega Man 9.
Graphically and aurally, Mega Man 10 is pretty much identical to its digital download predecessor, which is to be expected from a NES-era sequel. The gameplay was also pretty much identical, using the classic Mega Man two-button run-and-jump control scheme fans have come to know and love over the years. The left shoulder button also switched between Mega Man's standard Mega Buster and his Rush suit, another holdover from Mega Man 9 and previous installments. There was no trace of Dr. Wily to be found, at least not in the game's opening cutscene. But, the premise was pretty much the same: rather than Dr. Light's robots going nuts and trying to take over the world (why would a bunch of robots want political power, anyway?) all things mechanical develop a virus (called Robotenza, no less) that-you guessed it-makes the robots go crazy and try to take over the world. Oh, Capcom.
The sports-themed stadium level Capcom was showing had robots lobbing baseballs at the blue bomber, and a mid-level sub-boss that ricocheted soccer balls around an enclosed an arena. The strategy to beat the enemy was easy: avoid the soccer balls, jump on the robot's metal fists after they come crashing down, shoot the enemy in the head as the fists rise back up, but the bouncing balls and paralyzing effect of the boss's hands made progressing past the robot hard, however.
Later in the level there were other robots spitting out bouncing footballs and spiked soccer balls at Mega Man that would temporarily fly up when shot, creating a path to run under. The demo concluded with another encounter by the same kind of sub-boss, only this time the corners of the room were electrified and would send Mega Man flying off the robot's fists when touched. Although this was the end of the demo, I died too many times to see it. The level's actual boss, Strike Man, did not make an appearance.
All in all, the demo wasn't as scarring as Mega Man 9's, but it was only a small taste of the sadistic level design that's sure to be found in the final game, which is being designed in part by Mega Man series creator Keiji Inafune. Although Inafune only helped design a couple of bosses in Mega Man 9, his creative input for the sequel should make for a better Mega Man game. Personally, I'm excited to see Mega Man 10 in development, particularly alongside the 8-bit de-make prequel Dark Void Zero and another as-of-yet unannounced retro project Capcom is working on (if you're reading this, Capcom, please, please, please revisit Resident Evil 4 in 8-bits)-it's not very often a company is so willing to embrace the past. In any case, Mega Man 10 hits this Spring.
CCC Freelance Writer