Mega Man 9 (XBLA)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sound: 10.00
Gameplay: 10.00
Replays: 8.00
Gamelength: 6.00

The latest game in eternally famous series, “Mega Man 9” is finally here and it’s just about as perfect as any Mega Man purist could ever ask for.

NOTE: Graphics are NOT being scored in this review because it’s a bit on the unfair side. This game is intentionally oldschool and because of that, I will not rate the graphics against other things on the market at this time.

In a throwback to the 8-bit days, “Mega Man 9” presents a perfect blend of new and old for both long-time fans and newcomers alike. The game has been completely designed with an 8-bit engine, even going so far as to have a full 8-bit soundtrack and 8-bit “effect” emulation. Series veterans may have a heart attack when they see that this game also has the first female boss ever to appear in the Mega Man series. That said, this is a game for the true oldschool gamers out there, so join me for a trip into the outrageous world of “Mega Man 9”.

I need to point out right now that this game is designed to have the appearance of the 8-bit genre, which means that it looks like it was created in the 1980s. “Mega Man 9” looks and feels exactly like an original NES title, which really revives that nostalgia I had when I was a kid. When I look at this game, all of those feelings of anticipation and child-like excitement come rushing over me and I just can’t get enough of that. If not for anything else, the 8-bit style alone is lacking me into this title.

As the tradition goes, every game in the Mega Man series has had amazing music that tends to stink fans of the series into the game. In light of that tradition, “Mega Man 9” is true to the series in every way. The entire soundtrack is amazing and it gets stuck in my head extremely easy. As for the sound effects, well, let’s just say that they’re true to the original NES games. The sound effects are completely spot-on and while they’re certainly dated, they fit the overall 8-bit package perfectly.

The 8-bit trend continues through and through in this tidy little package and hits root in the extremely nostalgic gameplay. The concept is very simple. Players pick one of eight stages, where the goal is to jump, shoot and survive your way to the boss, who must be destroyed. Upon the death of the boss, Mega Man is given a variant of the defeated bosses weapon. Ultimately, the goal is to complete all 8 stages, then survive the long trek through Wily’s fortress and bring the mad doctor down. All told, there are a good dozen or so stages, as is standard practice with the original Megaman series titles. Short as the game may seem, there’s a good amount of replay value for hardcore players, thanks to the challenges that can be attempted at any time, not to mention how insanely difficult this game is. Most players will have trouble even lasting long enough to get through a single stage, much less complete the entire game, so this is not a game for the casual gamers out there. There’s also a shop, which allows players to spend collected bolts on various items, such as extra lives and even a “No helmet” hairstyle. And if that’s not enough to fill your Megaman craving, downloadable content is scheduled for the extremely die-hard fans of the franchise in the form of a playable Protoman character unlockable and new Hero and Superhero difficulty modes for the masochist in all of us. Oh, and one more thing to note: The charged shot and slide abilities have been completely removed from Megaman’s arsenal, although Protoman is supposed to have the charged shot. I found that quite weird, but it makes for some rather challenging gameplay. This is a wonderful little game that’s well-worth the money for those who can tolerate the immense difficulty.

Overall, I think this is one of the best Megaman titles ever released, which is an extremely bold statement, as far as I’m concerned. Absolutely terrific job, guys!

Pros:
-100% authentic 8-bit design and gameplay.
-Top quality 8-bit “Megaman style” soundtrack.
-Plenty of replay value in the form of challenges.
-Downloadable content is quite promising.
-Has the first female Megaman boss ever.
-It’s Megaman.

Cons:
-May be too difficult for most players.
-Charged shots have been removed from Megaman’s arsenal.
-Slide has been removed from Megaman’s skill set.

Bottom Line:
This is Mega Man. You either love it or hate it. You’ll never know until you try and what have you got to lose? Download the trial. If you like that, you’ll like the full version.

Overall Rating: 9.50

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