Mega Man 9
After praising the last two iterations of Mega Man games (7 and 8, which were on the SNES and PlayStation respectively) the ninth game in the traditional series takes us way back to Mega Man 1 and 2 visuals and gameplay… sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
A digital-only release and the first in the main series since Mega Man 8 on the Sony PlayStation in 1998, Mega Man 9 is a weird duck of the bunch. Rather than progressing the series, it felt like more of a throwback to the day of old, where, once again, Capcom had not lost their sense of sick humor to torture gamers.
Let me be firm in saying:
This game is stupid hard with all sorts of cheap killing mechanics littered throughout.
Rush reappears to help get through some difficult areas, but gone are the ability to charge up the “mega buster” or slide. You can, however, play with Proto Man too and he does have those abilities… for whatever reason that may be.
Some of the weapons are especially cheesy, as are the bosses you face to acquire them. Concrete Man leaves you with the “concrete shot” which creates a concrete block.
The “Hornet Chaser” is another reach in the series, as Mega Man shoots hornets which sting enemies or retrieves items.
You’ll likely settle on two or three special weapons you’ll use throughout the game, if that, and the rest will be long forgotten – showing how long in the tooth the series was at this point, even with a ten-year hiatus.
Some additions to the series are achievements tacked on and a save menu (in lieu of the password system). There’s also another Mega Man first: a female robot master!
Overall it’s a good look back at how these games began, but I really wish they would’ve stuck with the cartoon/anime style they used on the PSX, which feels like a far superior experience rather than going way back to some boring and drab 8-bit styles.
At least the storyline has a few surprises worthy of Mega Man fans playing through the end of the game as well. Otherwise, casual gamers may be more prone to avoid this like many of the original titles in this series as it offers more in the sake of nostalgia than anything truly “new” (and that despite there being nearly a decade between main series releases!)