John – Is the Tenth Time the Charm?

It’s that time again. Time for another Mega Man game.  Mega Man 10 is following hot on the heels of Mega Man 9’s success, but how does it match up to its predecessor?  Well, I suppose it’s up to me to give you all a piece of my COMPLETELY UNBIASED OPINION (no, really, I’ll try my best here).

Robots everywhere are infected with a disease known only as roboenza, making it difficult for tasks around the world, even the most basic ones, to get done.  Sadly, poor Roll has come down with a case of the roboenza, too, and it’s up to Mega Man to find a cure.  Fortunately, Dr. Wily has a machine that can manufacture a cure!  However, there’s other robots running amok, so it’s up to everyone’s favorite blue bomber and his brother to stop them!

Mega Man 10 retains to the 8-bit visual style seen in the previous game, hitting the retro nostalgia button once again.  The presentation for the style is spot on as far as that’s concerned, complete with a chiptune soundtrack, sprites with basic, but fluid, animations, and the usual minimalist “story” that’s come to be expected of the classic Mega Man series.

The game mechanics are standard fare, with its assortment of jumping, shooting, sliding, flying, what have you, divided up among 13 stages.  The stages are, as you might imagine, 8 robot masters and 5 castle stages.  The locales depicted in the stages are very diverse ranging from Blade Man’s trap-filled castle and Chill Man’s winter wonderland to Solar Man’s furnace stage or Strike Man’s stadium.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about the more technical aspects of the game, starting with the gameplay.  A lot of people say that Mega Man 9 was rife with all kinds of bad and boring stage design, and this is something I can agree with in some part, seeing as Inti Creates loves pulling the “spike trap” card quite often in their games.  Rest assured there’s much less of those shenanigans in MM10, but that’s not to say the game is easier, ohhhh no.

While the game’s stage and boss designs are, as a whole, much more cleaned up and coherent, the game is far from easy.  Even on normal mode, there are several levels guaranteed to prove troublesome.  The sandstorms on Commando Man’s stage and the super-speedy trucks in Nitro Man’s stage, to Solar Man’s penchant for absorbing your shots and Pump Man’s shield abuse, will definitely give anyone a hard time the first time playing.  Playing on easy mode removes some death traps and slows down some enemy patterns, but for seasoned players, this is sure to cheapen the experience a bit, as stages are littered with power ups and free lives.  Regarding difficulty, hard mode is unlocked after beating the game once.  Only the most brave and hearty of souls should attempt it.

Most of the game’s music is pretty great, though I do take issue with Strike Man’s stage theme only because it doesn’t sound very Mega Man-ish to me for some reason.  What makes me really glad is there’s no recycled music the way the main menu, stage start, victory, weapon get, and castle map themes from Mega Man 2 were copy-pasted into Mega Man 9.  My favorite songs are definitely Nitro Man and Solar Man’s themes, as well as the robot master battle music.

The weapons this time around feel a bit… gimmicky.  Three of them, namely the Commando Bomb, Chill Spike, and Solar Blaze, are most useful for their secondary effects and not their initial attack method, rendering their usage a bit odd.  The Thunder Wool is difficult to aim, but its striking power is quite remarkable.  The Water Shield feels underwhelming after relying so much on the Jewel Satellite so much in MM9, but once again, it packs quite the punch when it connects.  The Rebound Striker is a bit odd in that it seems to gain more power as it bounces around and has somewhat of a homing effect after it bounces.  The Wheel Cutter is a great throwback to the Spin Wheel from Mega Man X2, and most everyone will agree that the Triple Blade is one of the most effective weapons for dispatching enemies and most mini-bosses.

Although the game does have DLC planned for it, it’s nice to see that two of add-ons from Mega Man 9, Proto Man and hard mode, are both included with the game this time around.  Proto Man and the upcoming DLC character also have their own stories, so it’s not just a boring romp through the game with no replay value.  The other add-ons planned for the game include three new stages with some more familiar faces and the return of endless attack.  There’s also a challenge mode that presents the player with a number of tasks to make their way to the goal with a number of obstacles without taking any damage or honing the precision of their actions.

Mega Man 10 certainly feels like a much more full-featured package than its predecessor, and the quality of the product certainly delivers.  The difficulty might be discouraging for newcomers to the series, but as is the case with anything, practice makes perfect.  The amount of replay is astoundingly high compared to MM9 and its contents, as a whole, are of a higher caliber.

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2 Responses to “John – Is the Tenth Time the Charm?”

  1. Confucius says, “Excellent design is found in clever enemy placement, not in spike traps and pits of no return”

  2. 25yearoldgamer Says:

    Nice review!

    But I disagree with you in some points. I didn’t like the level design as much as you did. I thought it was pretty cheap. Also, to me, the easy mode made the game so easy that it makes it boring even to newcomers.
    I’ve also published a review on my blog (http://25yearoldgamer.wordpress.com), check it out!

    Regards,
    25-year-old-gamer

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