|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: Sep. 22, 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|
Mega Man 9 plays like an 8-bit game in every imaginable way. Mega Man can move left and right, jump, shoot in a horizontal line, and climb ladders. The controls are very simplistic, relying on just the D-pad and two buttons. While the controls will instantly take you back to older titles, it is the game's insane difficulty that will remind players just how hard older games actually were.
To challenge a boss, players will need to make their way through their level. These levels' themes are fairly varied but also contain the obligatory underwater, fiery, and plant-filled locales. While every level plays a little differently, each one is incredibly challenging. Players will need to heavily rely on their ability to time jumps, fire quickly and accurately, and recognize patterns. Pattern recognition was extremely important in 8-bit games, and Mega Man 9 is no exception. Every enemy in the game, including its bosses, moves and acts in their own unique way, making closely observing their actions an absolute necessity. Once you've figured out their patterns, it is just down to exploiting their weaknesses, which can also be exceptionally challenging at times, especially with the game's bosses.
Some players may find this kind of gameplay tedious, but many old school players will likely find it refreshing. The game also includes a store, where players can spend the screws they pick up from downed enemies on items that will help take some of the edge off this game's difficulty. Here you'll be able to buy everything from life energy and weapon refills to power ups such as one that will allow Mega Man to take half of the normal damage throughout an entire level. Being able to turn the odds in your favor by spending a few screws definitely makes the game more approachable to newcomers and can also be completely ignored by players looking for a much more challenging experience.
Taking Mega Man back to his 8-bit roots may seem like a step backward for the series, but I think it was the right move. Giving players a new experience that evokes the fond memories they had with the character in years past will go a long way to reinvigorating the franchise. That and having a new 8-bit-styled full game available for ten dollars is quite a bargain, considering how much it would have cost twenty or so years ago. Here's hoping this title will be successful, perhaps leading to more companies releasing new retro installments to beloved franchises.
CCC Staff Contributor