Sept. 25, 2008
[rating: 4/5]

It would have been easy for Capcom to release yet another reboot of the Mega Man series. Instead, Mega Man 9 is a frustrating, pixelated adventure that looks like it’s been sitting in out game collection for the past 15 years.

It’s everything Mega Man should be.

Available for download from the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live and Wii-Ware, Mega Man 9 is a retro treat that brings us back to a time seemingly forgotten by the industry. Everything you remember from the classic Mega Man games is here, from the blaster to the series trademarks disappearing blocks. Somehow though, after all these years, the series still holds up, not just to nostalgia buffs — but as genuine, satisfying game experience.

Borrowing mostly from the original Mega Man and it’s sequel than any of the more recent titles (ie, no charge shot or power slide), MM9 stays true to the game’s true origins though the story does take a radical turn. After yet another robot rampage, Mega Man’s arch nemesis Dr. Wily presents a video of famed scientist and Mega Man’s creator Dr. Light claiming responsibility and plotting world domination. It’s up to Mega Man to not only defeat clear his mentor’s name, but stop yet another robot revolution.

The formula stays the same here –‚ battle your way through a slew of eight themed robo-bosses in any order, obtaining a new signature weapon after defeating each. There-in lies the secret; planning out your course to use your weapons effectively on each boss. While there is no‚ definite‚ right answer, finding a winning combination can prove to be quite taxing. What it comes down to — in most cases, is mere trial and error, very very frustrating trial and error.

Yes, Mega Man 9 is difficult, in fact, at times certain stages will seem damn near impossible.You’ll die often, and odds are you’re going to go through quite a lot of controllers in fits of rage as the game doesn’t forgive failure very easy. Each of the eight stages only features two checkpoints — one around the stage’s halfway point, and the other at the very end boss battle. Luckily, as in previous games in the series, the masochistic difficulty never seems to deter one from playing — it’s a good, frustrating challenge that if you’re willing to stick with, feels incredibly rewarding when finished.

Undoubtedly, playing Mega Man 9 on the Wii feels the most comfortable. Gamers familiar with the series will feel right at home with the sideways Wii remote control scheme (used frequently for other NES era games ported to the Wii), while the PS3 and Xbox 360 version do their best to map out the control’s in a‚ similarly easy‚ way, but it just plain doesn’t feel right, and the Xbox’s clunky and unresponsive d-pad will only add to the frustration.

Mega Man 9 plays like a love letter to not only the world‚ Keiji Inafune created so many years ago, but to the golden age of gaming in general. Proof that even today, games don’t need hi-def graphics and cinematics to be a worthwhile experience — gamers of all ages should pick up Mega Man 9 — if you can take the frustration.

About The Author

Joe Sinicki is Blast's Executive Editor. He has an unhealthy obsession with Back to the Future and wears cheese on his head. Follow him on Twitter @BrewCityJoe

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