Rumors have been spreading all over the internet the last couple of weeks that the long-rumored Mega Man 9 would finally be released. Scans of a Nintendo Power magazine seemed to confirm that the game was coming, but before things got too crazy, Games Radar stepped in with exclusive details on the (very real) title. Some of what you are about to read may shock you.
First off, the game will be available exclusive for the Wii, or more specifically, its downloadable WiiWare service. It’s a new game, but an old game, see? As you can tell from these screenshots, it’s a decidedly 8-bit affair. Adding to the old-school feel of the game is Keiji Inafune (character designer for Mega Man and producer of Dead Rising) who is producing and has even gotten back into creating new enemies with silly names for you to fight. You know, like Galaxy Man and Plug Man. There’s even a female robot called Splash Woman this time, a first for the series (just pray along with me that it’s not based on some of the sicker Japanese fetishes out there… no one needs a Tub Girl weapon.)
Along with the simplistic graphics they’re even pulling back the gameplay to Mega Man 2 territory. While they’ve kept the shop from Mega Man 7 and 8, allowing you to buy
items such as “an energy balancer (distributes energy to weapons that
need it most), spike shoes (protect against one-hit kills) and new
armor that reduces damage by half.” vets of the series will be missing a few standard moves. Gone will be even the simplest of the Blue Bomber’s abilities, like sliding, or charging your Mega Buster for a powerful shot. Mr. Inafune feels that the later incarnations of the game have strayed too far from the original, and he’s bringing it back to what is generally regarded as the best in the series. Even some of the music will be ripped straight out of the second installment.
My take on all of this? It’s pretty fucking ridiculous. The series has strayed far from the original game? Every Mega Man game has had the exact same format and style. It’s only the Mega Man X series that did some interesting things with power-ups for the character, and even that could easily be mistaken for every other game. I’d much rather have seen a completely new Mega Man title with some new gameplay, and not the same old thing. Hell, we’ve got six 8-bit games in the series already! It would have been preferable to have a remake of 2 hit.
But even having said that, I can’t believe how much I want to play this. I grew up on Mega Man, as did most people my age who were allowed a childhood. The game was a huge innovation in a world where gamers didn’t have a choice but to follow the predetermined paths set for them, and finding the easiest route to take down the enemies was part of the fun. After so many installments the game has lost a whole lot of its charm, but hopefully this can do something to bring back that old feeling of pure enjoyment. And it does appear that they are trying some new things with this one (apparently now you can take off his little blue helmet), but details are still vague.
There’s also (of course) the feeling that this is them testing the waters to see how many people want this kind of game, and if it’s warm enough you can bet we’ll be seeing a whole onslaught of Mega Man titles.
Expect to hear much more on this title in a couple of weeks when E3 hits.