About Us | Game Reviews | Feature Articles | Podcast | Best Work | Forums | Shop | Review Game

Go Back   GameCritics.com Forums > GameCritics.com Discussion > Community User Submissions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-28-2008, 10:09 PM   #1
frogofdeath
whaler on the moon
 
frogofdeath's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Trashville
Posts: 990
Rep Power: 14 frogofdeath is on a distinguished road
Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

The 8-Bit Blue Bomber is Back!

High: Playing a game that was designed correctly to be a true challenge.
Low: I miss the slide feature of later Mega Man games (and a downloadable character does not count!)
WTF: Finally figuring out how to use the Black Hole Bomb correctly! It took me way too long...

Being a medium for over quarter of a century, and spending almost as much time in the mainstream, it should be no surprise that the videogame industry has been influenced by feelings of nostalgia. It helps decent games sell like hotcakes (see Super Smash Bros. Brawl), allows poor quality games to sell more than they ever should (see any of the 3D Sonic games), and breathes life into franchises well past their expiration date (see any of the Duke Nukem sequels). Nostalgia is good and bad, rarely one or the other. It reminds us of the good, but clouds our judgment and wonít let us see that things may not have been that great. With the release of Mega Man 9, Capcom is hoping to capitalize on the nostalgia of those of us who grew up with the Blue Bomber.

The game starts pulling the heartstrings of older gamers by giving us a back-story that only an 8-bit mother could love. Single frames, cheesy music, and horrendous dialogue let us know what is happening to Mega Man and company in the year 20XX. From there it is nothing but retro gaming. Players must battle their way through eight robot bosses, each with their own themed level, before taking on the diabolical Dr. Wily. Each level is packed full of reappearing enemies, gaps you can just barely jump across, and good old one-hit-kill spikes. While the levels are well designed, players can expect more of the same themes that have long become staples of the series: fire, water, and electricity are just a few examples of familiar locales.

Classic Mega Man sounds make a return as well. While never as memorable as other classic games (like Mario or Zelda) Mega Manís soundtrack is perhaps still the most fitting of any 8-bit game. Older players will be pleased to hear the villain introduction theme makes a return, as do the standard sound effects. Each level has its own variation of the music and the bleeps and bloops add to the robotic setting of the Blue Bomberís universe. While the sound is cheesy it fits the setting of Mega Man better than most videogames could ever hope to achieve. But, if you are looking for high-tech sound effects and Dolby Digital surround sound, you may wish to look elsewhere, as you will not find it in Mega Man 9.

However, most gamers will probably welcome the challenge of a slight learning curve while playing through the main game. Even though I grew up blasting my way past Dr. Wilyís original henchmen, I was surprised at how tough each level was the first time through the game. There is no correct way to defeat the bosses (no matter what the online walkthroughs say), but each boss, and many levels, has a weapon that makes conquering each foe easier than just relying on the standard blaster. Defeating some bosses seems all too easy, but the choice to tackle each level in any order you choose has always been a strong point in the series. Mega Man 9 continues this trend and reminds you of a reason Mega Man was great in the first place. Once you have an idea of what level to tackle when, and what weapon to use at which time, the game becomes fairly easy and some gamers may yawn at the speed at which they can blast through hordes of robot minions. They may also be yawing at the lackluster graphics whizzing by on screen.

Unlike with the earlier revival of another old franchise, Bionic Commando, Capcom has decided to leave the graphics of Mega Man to all his NES glory. Some gamers may love this. Others, especially those who have grown up knowing nothing prior to the PlayStation, may find the graphics unappealing. Plainly put, Mega Man 9ís graphics stink out loud. The artistic reasoning behind Capcom taking this low-grade route with the visuals is definitely to capitalize on the nostalgia of older gamers who grew up with the NES. The blocky character models and many of the stages just do not work for me, and I grew up with the Nintendoís 8-bit box! Two-dimensional side scrolling is always welcome, but give me a smooth, polished appearance. if I wanted to play a game with retro graphics, I would download Mega Man 2.

Even though much of the game seems to be stuck in the late Ď80s, there are some great additions that will keep most gamers busy once they tire of beating the main quest. The game has numerous challenges that will keep the hardcore gamers pleased. I achieved many of these just by playing through the game once, but other challenges will surely test your gaming skills. Some challenges are fairly simple (kill 100 enemies) while others border on the insane (beat the game without taking a hit). Of all the new challenges, I enjoyed the time trials mode most of all.

Now, no matter how far one has progressed in the main storyline, gamers can test their skills at beating each level in the fastest time possible. A timer is displayed on the screen, and it is just you against the clock. All upgraded weapons are at your disposal, however you have a lone life to beat the task. Racing against the clock makes even the easiest stages that much more challenging. Players can also check the leader boards to see how they rank amongst gamers from around the world. Taking a look at the leader boards may be a reality check for some: it was for me! There are some insane times put up in just the first week of release. With these challenges and the promise of downloadable content, including characters, gamers are sure to keep busy with Mega Man long after sending Dr. Wily running for the hills.

So, just how nostalgic are you for games of a bygone era? Your answer will probably be the determining factor in how much you enjoy Mega Man 9. No review score could ever sway those feelings. Score: 7/10

Disclosures: This game was downloaded on Wii-Ware and paid for by the reviewer. About four hours was spent playing Mega Man 9, with most time spent in the standard adventure mode of the game.

Parents: This game is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. There is mild animated violence throughout the game. Enemies and Mega Man explode when they are beat with not a drop of robot blood shed. Parents may want to be cautious having their younger gamers play Mega Man 9 as the young ones may find the learning curve overly frustrating at times.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: While the robotic 8-bit sounds of the Mega Man fit the game universe well, they are not needed to progress through any level. Enemies have visual patterns that can be memorized but none rely on sound cues in any way, shape, or form.

Last edited by frogofdeath; 10-12-2008 at 05:56 PM.
frogofdeath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 08:43 AM   #2
David Stone
One of uuuuuuussss....
 
David Stone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Better than before!
Posts: 3,128
Rep Power: 18 David Stone is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Nice first review! You're absolutely right, in that the feelings one has for the franchises of old will be a huge factor in how well MM9 is received. I doubt many players under age 20 will like it.

I do take issue with your comments of the game's graphics "suck(ing) out loud." This was a deliberate design decision by the team. There are many players out there (including myself) that think that since Mega Man - not X - made the jump from 8-bit to 16-bit (MM7 was meh at best) and 32-bit, the series just hasn't been nearly as good or relevant as it once was. When we've got well over 20 games based on a single character and we're still debating if Mega Man 2 or 3 is the greatest game in the series, you know something's up. Capcom made a decision for us: Mega Man 2 was better. As such, we lose the slide and charge shots, and bring it back to when the creators felt Mega Man was at his prime. When you think about the technical restrictions placed upon the game, MM9 is utterly brilliant. After all these years, there are STILL new mechanics to be found. Galaxy Man's level shows there's still loads of new ideas in the form of the transporters and the helicopter baddies who grab you and force you down the corridor - often to your doom.

The simplified graphics allow the gameplay to shine through, and shine it does. This is a game that requires pattern memorization, and twitch skills I haven't used in 15 years. There was a time I could beat Mega Man 2 in about 27 minutes, no dying, no E tanks. Now, MM9 makes me its bitch, and I'm loving it.
David Stone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 10:47 AM   #3
Brad Gallaway
Demons are defeated
 
Brad Gallaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 3,988
Rep Power: 20 Brad Gallaway is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Good stuff Frog, that was a very well-written piece. It hangs together very well, and you have a good voice.

The only thing i'd call you on is the same thing Dave brought up, the graphics. The obvious connection is that this style of visuals is when Capcom thought the game was best and also when most of MM's hardcore fans have their fondest memories. (myself included) Capcom could have easily updated the visuals and chose not to, and they do have logic behind that.

Other than that, this level of writing could easily have been an "official" GC review. you should think about it. ; )
__________________
Drink Coffeecola. It's good and good for you!
My Blog on Writing and Gaming
Brad Gallaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 10:49 AM   #4
Dale Weir
Site God
 
Dale Weir's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,878
Rep Power: 22 Dale Weir is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122238237801276797.html

Got this piece written by Jamin Brophy-Warren for the Wall Street Journal's Arts & Entertainment section:

Japanese developer Treasure makes hard games. They're so difficult that many players don't last more than 10 seconds in the barrage of bullets and missiles in some of the levels of the company's newest shooter, Bangai-O Spirits, a game about a pair of young pilots controlling an armored robot.

As the audience for videogames grows, some developers worry that games are getting too easy. Games usually go through months of testing to iron out difficulties. But now a number of developers, such as Treasure and Capcom, are taking extra steps to toughen up their titles.

This month, Capcom added some twists to Mega Man 9, the continuation of a two-decade-old action franchise about an android, which is being released this month. The developers replicated the feel of the original Nintendo titles and added features -- like screen flickers and slowed-down gameplay -- that made playing the older versions so demanding. The challenging franchise also features the usual perilous jumps and strong villains. "It's not just difficult for difficulty's sake," says the game's producer Hironobu Takeshita.

Why make a game so hard that only the most skilled and determined players can complete it? The audience for videogames is so varied now "that a developer can make hard games for core gamers," says Yuichi Sugisaki, the producer of Bangai-O Spirits. One of Treasure's previous titles, Ikaruga, re-released in April for Microsoft Xbox's Live Arcade, is so tough that some fans post their best performances on YouTube.

Making games difficult can be very easy. Developers can just make invincible enemies or create impassable obstacles. But there's an art to exasperating people in a way that keeps them interested in the game. Jesper Juul, a videogame researcher at MIT, says that frustration is what makes videogames different from other creative media. "It's about the feeling of inadequacy," he says. "You get stuck somewhere and feel stupid." That can lead to a sense of triumph if one does eventually succeed.

What makes games such as Bangai-O appealing is that glimmer of joy a player gets from even the smallest achievements. (I only squeaked through the tutorial for Bangai-O, so even mastering the accuracy aspect of the game was an accomplishment for me.)

"The thing I love about the classic games' difficulty is there's a satisfaction," says Mr. Sugisaki. "With Treasure games, our fans tell us 'Hey, I beat your game.' It's that feeling of being able to outperform others."
Dale Weir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 04:56 PM   #5
Brad Gallaway
Demons are defeated
 
Brad Gallaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 3,988
Rep Power: 20 Brad Gallaway is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Interesting that Bangai-O was brought up-- When i played MM9, i saw tweaked difficulty. When i played Bangai-O, i saw a fat pile of suck. But then again, i have a very different opinion of Treasure than most do... where some see them as hardcore, what i see is an inability to balance and polish. = P
__________________
Drink Coffeecola. It's good and good for you!
My Blog on Writing and Gaming
Brad Gallaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 05:27 PM   #6
frogofdeath
whaler on the moon
 
frogofdeath's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Trashville
Posts: 990
Rep Power: 14 frogofdeath is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

I figured people would take exception to the my feelings on the graphics (and the fact that they stink, not suck, out loud), but the look just isn't my cup of meat. Oh well, to each his own.

Thanks for the input! I appreciate it.
frogofdeath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 11:34 PM   #7
Mike Bracken
Next-Gen Poster
 
Mike Bracken's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 2,854
Rep Power: 18 Mike Bracken is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Just chiming in--really good review. I have the same feeling as everyone else about the graphics comment (not so much the comment, but more the phrasing), but other than that it's a really solid piece of writing.

I wish I could be that concise, to be honest.
__________________
The Horror Geek.com
http://thehorrorgeek.com
Reviews, Rants, and News from The Horror Geek

My game collection: http://users.ign.com/collection/sadeian
Mike Bracken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 11:43 PM   #8
David Stone
One of uuuuuuussss....
 
David Stone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Better than before!
Posts: 3,128
Rep Power: 18 David Stone is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

I can certainly appreciate "it's my opinion" since that's what a review is for, but I dunno, that graphics thing is still rubbing me the wrong way. Since it's definitely an artistic decision, can you give me more reasons why it ain't your cup of meat?

EDIT: Also, you should see the promo art that Capcom made (and their KICK-ASS PRESS KITS THAT I WOULD GIVE MY LEFT ARM TO HAVE! Sorry, don't know where that one came from...) if you want to see their inspiration for the art style. Your argument of "Many may argue the style is an artistic choice, but I am not buying it" holds absolutely no water, and weakens your overall opinion.

I didn't even think about the brevity; good observation from Mike B, and definitely a great plus compared to the novels on IGN or 1up or Gamespot or...

Last edited by David Stone; 09-29-2008 at 11:47 PM.
David Stone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2008, 05:49 PM   #9
frogofdeath
whaler on the moon
 
frogofdeath's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Trashville
Posts: 990
Rep Power: 14 frogofdeath is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

I feel like Capcom may have shot themselves in the foot when it comes to attracting younger gamers by going with this graphic choice. Many gamers in their teens may miss out on a solid gaming experience because they are turned off by the out-of-date looking graphics. Tis a shame, because many in their teens need to realize that gaming is more than shooting hookers and throwing an electronic pass to a wide receiver (not that there is anything wrong with those games).

I will admit, my comments about the "artistic choice" may have been a bit harsh or too strong. It probably was a very calculated artistic choice on Capcom's part. They knew nostalgia would sell and they wanted to milk that goat. However, I'm not a fan of the graphic choice.

The best analogy I can't think of at this moment is as follows. I love when directors use black and white to convey a mood during part, or all, of a movie. It harkens back to a different time in film and can enhance the story in ways others can't. But when modern day movies use black and white I want it to look like it was shot today, not close to a hundred years ago. I think it should be polished and look good. Same with videogames. I love 2D games, but would rather it didn't look like it was made 20 years ago. Maybe I'm just not that nostalgic.

All that being said, Mega Man 9 is very solid and that has nothing to do with the graphic choice: it's the actual game play that is the substance to Mega Man.

And while none of you have brought it up, in case anyone questions my score (since the score is really the only thing that matters anyways): the score probably would have only been one point higher had the graphics been all shiny and new. So I didn't take off that much for my thoughts on the graphics...

Last edited by frogofdeath; 09-30-2008 at 05:51 PM.
frogofdeath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2008, 09:32 PM   #10
David Stone
One of uuuuuuussss....
 
David Stone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Better than before!
Posts: 3,128
Rep Power: 18 David Stone is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogofdeath View Post
All that being said, Mega Man 9 is very solid and that has nothing to do with the graphic choice: it's the actual game play that is the substance to Mega Man.
I apologize if this at all seems like harping; I'm truly trying to follow your criticism. I think you've got some great ideas in the review.

The thing is, the gameplay is completely derived from the graphical choice. Go ahead and play Mega Man 7, then Mega Man 8, then Mega Man 9 and tell me how different they are. MM9 is extremely tight in its controls. One of my biggest beefs with 8 was how completely loose it was, and platform detection wasn't too hot. MM7 was terrible because of how large they tried to make all the sprites (see Mega Man & Bass on the GBA to see this taken to the extreme), making claustrophobic levels. Also, the retro design affects the gameplay by which MM game they chose to emulate (see my original comments). It's impossible to separate the two, which is the genius behind the choice. I played the Bionic Commando remake, and while it's a solid game, 3D characters on a 2D plane will always feel imprecise - see Dracula X Chronicles or Mega Man Powered Up. Granted BC is waaaaaay tighter than the two latter examples, but I've definitely gotta disagree with you on this one in that the graphics you despise are extremely relevant to that which you praise.

That's why Gamecritics has Second Opinions.
David Stone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2008, 12:12 AM   #11
Brad Gallaway
Demons are defeated
 
Brad Gallaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 3,988
Rep Power: 20 Brad Gallaway is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

It's already been sort of said, but i think it's worth restating...

personally, i think Capcom's art choice was probably the smartest thing they could have done with MM9 in its current form because the game is so damned difficult that nobody who isn't already a MM fan from back in the day is going to play it.

the graphics are a perfect reflection of the difficulty/play expectation, so it's a match that will appeal to the only people who really care about it: the hardcore old-schoolers.

if the game had remained the same play-wise but had updated graphics, it wouldn't have made a whit of difference in terms of its appeal to new gamers since it's so out of tune with what they expect from difficulty levels these days. hell, it's out of tune with what *i* expect from games these days. ; )

anyway Frog, it's still a good review... hope you don't think we're down on it, because it was good writing.

you should do another.
__________________
Drink Coffeecola. It's good and good for you!
My Blog on Writing and Gaming
Brad Gallaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2008, 05:06 PM   #12
frogofdeath
whaler on the moon
 
frogofdeath's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Trashville
Posts: 990
Rep Power: 14 frogofdeath is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Gallaway View Post
anyway Frog, it's still a good review... hope you don't think we're down on it, because it was good writing..
Not at all. And I appreciate the comments and debate. It's not like anyone is replying: "you sux! old skool graph1ks rUlez!" (sorry, I suck at writing in any type of internet lingo...)

My last comment on the graphics, before I sound too long winded: what gets me the most is the blockiness (is that even a word!?) and the backgrounds. I would have preferred smooth graphics as opposed to the pixelated look. I also despise the boring backgrounds. If I were to ever publish this review I would probably edit the "graphics" paragraph, not the ideas contained within, but the word choice in how I phrase it (though I might keep "stink out loud"). The graphics don't sit with me, that's all, but I do enjoy the game.

I guess I should also state that I am not a huge Mega Man fan. I played the original games on the NES, but before MM9, the last game I played in any Mega Man series was when Mega Man X first came out the SNES (which I enjoyed, though not sure it still holds up).
frogofdeath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2008, 08:56 PM   #13
David Stone
One of uuuuuuussss....
 
David Stone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Better than before!
Posts: 3,128
Rep Power: 18 David Stone is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogofdeath View Post
I guess I should also state that I am not a huge Mega Man fan. I played the original games on the NES, but before MM9, the last game I played in any Mega Man series was when Mega Man X first came out the SNES (which I enjoyed, though not sure it still holds up).
And that right there explains everything.
David Stone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2008, 02:11 PM   #14
Izzardius
New Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 29
Rep Power: 6 Izzardius is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Nice work. I agree that one's opinion of MM9 will be very much influenced by their attachment to the 8-bit era, especially the graphics. However, I'm part of that generation, so I enjoyed it
Izzardius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2008, 06:00 PM   #15
frogofdeath
whaler on the moon
 
frogofdeath's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Trashville
Posts: 990
Rep Power: 14 frogofdeath is on a distinguished road
Re: Mega Man 9 review - Please provide feedback

Well I see people started rating this review (thank you and gracias!), so I figured I'd better edit it to meet the new format here at GameCritics.com. I added the standard title and high-low-wtf section, as well as the end statements for parents and hard of hearing gamers.

I also edited my paragraph on the graphics (maybe that should have been my WTF section). Still not a huge fan, but I think the edit comes across a little different now.

Thanks again for all the feedback and the ratings!
frogofdeath is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump




Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
About Us | Privacy Policy | Review Game | FAQ | Contact Us | Twitter | Facebook |  RSS
Copyright 1999-2010 GameCritics.com. All rights reserved.