Out of all the ideas flowing out of Capcom lately, I still think the best one was to take everyone’s favorite blue-bomber back to his 8-bit roots. Mega Man 9 was easily one of the best ten bucks I spent in 2008 and it re-energized my love for this classic franchise. Now Capcom has returned to continue the legacy of one of gaming’s most beloved characters. Mega Man 10 is exactly what you would expect with yet another eight master robots to defeat, a far-fetched and ridiculous story and of course difficulty that will make most gamers cry. The appeal of the Mega Man franchise continues to live on thanks to the fans and of course the team that pours their dedication into it.
As you can imagine there is a story behind this latest band of robot action. Apparently Dr. Wily is not behind this latest threat, or so the game tells you. Instead there is a virus that is spreading across the world called Roboenza. This virus is infecting robots and thus Mega Man sets out to stop them before they destroy the world and so on and so forth. Sure it isn’t going to win an Academy Award for its performance, but per usual it sets a nice backdrop to whoop some robot tail.
At its core Mega Man 10 is exactly what you would expect from the tenth entry of any franchise; more of the same formula. This game involves moving side-to-side, shooting down enemies and completing some of the most punishing stages in history. Yes MM10 is extremely challenging. Even more so than almost any other game in the series, but that is also what makes it more appealing to its fan base. You see MM fans strive from being challenged to repeat the same meticulous jumps over and over again, and no series does it better than Capcom’s blue bomber. It is awesome to see that in this day and age gamers can still make a difference and that companies such as Capcom are willing to take a chance and give us what we want.
Speaking of bosses this is what really makes the Mega Man games stick out most of all. The concept of defeating each boss and obtaining their weapon is a timeless tradition. The fun comes in figuring out which weapon is most effective against the other bosses. The strategy of learning the level layouts and boss patterns is a practice in repetition, so it is important that if you are not a fan of the original games that you understand Mega Man is not for everyone. The game relies heavily on trial-and-error as well as precise jumping and shooting with minimal control. Our little friend can of course only shoot in one direction.
The 8-bit graphics and punishing difficulty are definitely throwbacks to the original NES games, but that doesn’t mean the team didn’t add a few new things to make this game feel like it was moving forward. The time attack mode from the previous offering makes a return and allows gamers to show off their skills via in-game leaderboards. Now not only can you brag to your friends about how fast you completed Sheep Man’s level, you can prove it. Of course this also means you actually have to post the time as opposed to just claiming it, yeah I am looking at you friends I knew from grade school claiming to have mastered Flash Man’s stage. This opens up tons of replayability for fans as mastering the stages can now allow you to show off to your friends.
Another returning feature is everyone’s favorite sibling Proto Man. Instead of offering him up as DLC (don’t fret though Capcom has plenty of that planned) you can play as Proto Man right out of the gate. Again his style compliments MM’s by adding the slide, but he also takes more damage making him a much more challenging character to play as in my opinion. You may also remember the challenges from the first game that would offer up things like killing a certain number of enemies or completing ridiculous feats such as beating the game without dying. Well those return but are more fleshed out in the challenge rooms. Not all of them are unlocked from the beginning and there are nearly 90 of them to complete. All of this should keep you busy well beyond your ten dollars worth.
As far as the visuals are concerned if you took one look at the screenshots and cringed, this game is obviously not for you. The intention was to recreate the original look and feel of the 8-bit games, and to that effect they work. Sure seeing these crude animations may seem archaic to some, but to gamers such as myself they are a work of beauty. I am not the biggest fan of the distracting side bars the game displays on an HD set (why the game still isn’t being rendered in widescreen I am not sure) but you get used to it. The music on the other hand is quite disappointing. Soundtracks from MM2 and 3 were stellar, still recognized to this day, and even part nine had an amazing collection of tunes that people fell in love with. This time around the tracks fall more in line with bland and boring as opposed to catchy and addictive. It really is a shame as the Mega Man music is still one of the best in videogames.
Mega Man 10 is definitely aimed at fans of the original 8-bit games, and to be honest if you didn’t know that already then there was likely never an interest in this review in the first place. Fans of the series should not even question a purchase. The game is one of the hardest in the series, the bosses are still awesome and the old-school challenges will keep you pulling your hair out for months. The face that we are getting sequels to this classic franchise at a fraction of the cost they were back in the day is a blessing for fans. Perhaps we will see the return of some other favorites if this trend continues.
Review copy provided by publisher.