Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mega Man 9 is terrible

I know my video game blogs are the least read, but I actually do have people asking me to review them from time to time. I just think its good to talk about a variety of topics so that people know I can have a life beyond politics.

I have a long history with Mega Man, it was one of my favorite game series as a child. Mega Man, alongside Zelda, Final Fantasy and Castlevania ate up much of my spare time in my youth, but Mega Man 8 ruined the franchise. In addition to the terrible voice overs the levels were often nightmarishly hard and what was worse they strayed away from the series usual on foot exploration with near impossible rocket sledding which required you to jump and slide at ridiculous speeds while fighting enemies at the same time without super tight controls rendering your button inputs unresponsive. Then Mega Man and Bass came out. I only beat one of the bosses before giving up, it was that hard.

Mega Man 9 was supposed to fix all this by going back to a Mega Man 2 style. Well, mega Man went back to the Mega Man 2 style, however the bad guys didn’t get the memo. Mega Man has been stripped of his sliding ability and the super awesome mega buster both of which are necessary to compete in this game fairly.

You see enemies attack as aggressively as they do in the most recent sequels, but now you have only the walk jump and shoot (slowly) to deal with this. As recently as Mega Man 8 (which sucked for different reasons) you had the ability to slide under attacks, charge up and release a power shot, you could even upgrade your normal weapon to fire faster, and even got a shot gun like spread to fire as many as 5 pellets at once. Fighting baddies was not the primary problem Mega Man 8 faced, but rather its absurd rocket board levels and poor designs behind the “robot masters” you fight. (Come on, clown man? Seriously?) Everything about Mega Man 9 sucks.

The level design is uninspired and literally oversaturated with spikes. It’s as if they got a 14 year old as their chief designer whose core design philosophy was, “and then, for the next big surprise, we’ll put spikes on the wall!”
Dodging is next to impossible with mega man walking, not running, and now unable to slide beneath attacking enemies. You feel especially crippled when attacked by a mutant rock in Jewel man’s stage. The enemies are harder to fell without being able to deliver a power shot and the worst part is that there seems to be a halfway decent story for the first time in the series… that is if progress in the game were possible at all.

To make it all worse they couldn’t have even been bothered to at least make this game look as good as Mega Man 8 (if 8 can be called good). To date Mega Man 8 remains the best looking game of the series, and given that this entry to the series came out in the late 90s making a comparable 2D side-scroller comparable to its predecessor could have been done on the cheap as well. It would not have been much more of an investment for Capcom to put some real effort into this game beyond spikes… and more spikes, and still more spikes…. Oh and did I mention spikes? In fact why don’t they just do a Spike Man robot mater at this point and get it over with?

At this point someone will have to tell me if they fixed these problems for Mega Man 10 because I have a rule, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Mega Man 8 and 9 were utter disasters. I don’t think I can stomach the idea of laying down any more money for what has become a series only enjoyable to sadomasochists. Mega Man 9 defines deep hurting and should be avoided even by longtime fans of the series.

1 star out of 5

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