XBLA Review: Mega Man 9

Will the 9th game in this series be just as Mega as the first?

The original 2-D classic Mega Man returns in Mega Man 9 for Xbox LIVE® Arcade! This latest Mega Man title brings the series back to its old-school roots with retro action platforming gameplay and classic 8-bit graphics and sound. Relive the Mega Man experience with classically inspired bosses, each with their own unique weapons and weaknesses.

Set after the events of Mega Man 8, multiple riots have sprung up all over the world. While many people suspect that this is another plot from Dr. Wily, Dr. Light is stunned to recognize that some of the robots rioting on the TV screen are his own creations. Even more stunning, Dr. Wily appears on television to proclaim that Dr. Light is the evil mastermind behind these latest catastrophic incidents and it’s up to Mega Man to clear his creator’s name!

  • Classic Mega Man: The fun and addictive Mega Man graphics and gameplay are focused around defeating bosses and acquiring a diverse arsenal of weapons.
  • Challenging stages: With more than a dozen challenging levels to tackle and more than 50 new enemy and bosses to battle, you’ll need to be at the top of your game.
  • Acclaimed developer: The character designs were directed by Keiji Inafune, the original character designer of Mega Man.
  • Online extras: With the Xbox LIVE leaderboard ranking system, track your score and time with other Mega Man 9 players. Plus, look for downloadable content in the future!I can’t admit to having a huge history with Mega Man. I did recently download Mega Man 1+2 on the Wii VC and enjoyed them, but that’s as far as I’ve got. Games 3-8 and all the 3D outings have eluded me thus far, so can someone who isn’t a fan of the series enjoy Mega Man 9?

    I found that I did, even if it did make me want to scratch my eyes out. I’m not talking about the fact that the game doesn’t cover the whole screen or that it’s not in true HD or that it doesn’t have smoother textures, I’m talking about the insane difficulty that Mega Man 9 has. The formula hasn’t changed; you pick a stage based on the robot layout in the first screenshot and complete it, beat the boss and get its ability to use in later stages.

    Mega Man 9 has a nostalgic feeling of the older days of gaming, where it was nearly impossible to beat unless you dedicated hours of time trying to learn each enemies’ pattern and know the specific time when to jump and shoot. If there’s one thing that can be certain about Mega Man 9, it’s that you will die, over and over and over and over. Sometimes because an enemy gets the best of you, you miss an easy or hard jump and perhaps the most annoying, getting knocked off a level by an enemy who comes up the same area as you jump.

    Boss fights are pretty difficult at first, but once you have some abilities…you can end some fights in a matter of seconds, it’s just very hard to do the first part. Some gamers will persist and dedicate days trying to beat the game, some will breeze through it if they have played past games…while most will become increasingly frustrated with it and maybe stop playing it altogether.

    It would have been nice if the difficulty during each stage was a little more lenient to newbies, perhaps add in a difficulty meter or something. Not all gamers grew up with Mega Man, I know I didn’t. I can just imagine that younger gamers won’t touch it with a barge pole, just because of its difficulty. I can appreciate what a great game it is, but I know that it can be off-putting at the same time. It’s hardly perfect, sometimes you can die through no fault of your own…in fact, that’s usually the case.

    The game does have some downloadable content now, but I think its fair to say that it could have been included with the game…not held back a short while and then added on after, seems a little unfair to me. Also, the game has perhaps the toughest achievements I can imagine for a game like this. I can say that its highly unlikely that I or most will get the full 200 points here.

    The Verdict

    Mega Man 9 is a lot of things…it’s great, it’s fun and it’s annoyingly difficult. It hasn’t had the Bionic Commando Rearmed treatment, so it looks pretty bad for an XBLA title. Having said that, it retains its classic look by doing so. All in all, Mega Man 9 is a solid game and one you should try, just don’t expect it to be easy.