Mega Man 9likePEGI7 Developer Capcom Publisher N/A Genre Action Platform Nintendo Wii Release Out Now About 30 years ago, Capcom sat down and thought; "How can we make a really hard game?" Their answer? Mega Man. Mega Man was a little blue guy jumping around, shooting stuff in two directions; left and right, going around beating the crap out of other robots. With a fairly loose story (as they were back then) you find that an evil doctor (go figure), Dr.Wily had created 6 diabolical robots and plans to use them to take over the world. Luckily, a good doctor (go figure) named Dr.Ri--Light has created Mega Man to defeat them...

Downloadable content? Sure is.
In the year 2008, Capcom had a stroke of genius. They took Mega Man -- who had evolved over the years; adapting himself for 16 bit and even 32 bit consoles, gained a few new moves and fighting countless Wily Robots -- and brought him back to his roots. Making a faithful 8-bit reincarnation of Mega Man, Mega Man 9 storms onto downloadable platforms for Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. But is it any good?

The story is dead simple. Black and white. Robots all over the world are going crazy, blowing stuff up and generally causing mayhem, only this time our good friend Dr.Light has been caught up in this whole mess. Dr.Wily claims Dr.Light is behind the madness, touting irrefutable evidence of Dr.Light discussing his plans for World Domination with him. Mega Man sets off to find the crazed robots, hoping to find answers. A story which doesn't require much thought, however has rather sinister undertones, Mega Man 9 is perfect for little kids, shame the game will drive them to insanity.

Go, Go, Pink Ranger
Gameplay is where the game shines. If you grew up playing Mega Man on the NES, Mega Man 9 will bring back some good/bad memories of playing these games. You start off with the trusty "Buster" weapon -- which is a hollow gesture to Mega Man fans who are now acquainted with the "Mega Buster" from Mega Man 4 onwards which could be charged up to deliver a stronger single shot -- and the "Rush Coil" which is Mega Man's pet dog; Rush who comes zooming in with a spring on his back enabling you to bounce off him to get to normally inaccessible or very difficult to reach platforms. Strategic use of the Rush Coil can save you annoying deaths from tricky platforming or just help you climb a ladder or two. By defeating the 8 robot masters in the game, you get their abilities and all their abilities will have to be mastered if you're to finish the game.

You have 2 basic moves through the whole game. Shoot and jump. Once again, fans of the series will note that since Mega Man 3 you could do a floor slide, holding down and jump. Again, it's gone missing. So, if you're looking for a way to reach an item -- items can be used to restore health (4 different variations; small, large consumables which are used as soon as you touch them and E/M-Tanks which are picked up and used when you need them in the weapon select screen), restore weapon power items and screws which are a currency in the game, you can exchange them in the shop for items (1UPs, item robot calls, special abilities and Easter eggs) -- weapons are your best bet to get to them, like in Mega Man 2.

I've heard of a Whale song but...
After the Initial 8 stages, you're lead to Wily's Castle (Sorry if I spoilt the story for you, but like it wasn't obvious anyway...) where your nerves, reflexes and skill will be pushed to the very utmost. Tricky platforming, item-based puzzles and inexplicable deaths are all that await you in return for your prowess. It's what you play the game for, challenge. Stages are infuriating as anything, however it's nothing trial and error wont fix. A few play troughs of each stage and you'll be playing like a pro. Although if you want all achievements in the game, you'll have to go up and beyond being 'good'. All versions of the game including the Nintendo Wii version have 'achievements', one includes going through the entire game without taking damage... ... ... ... You what!?

Controls, the game is multiplatform, so you'll find varying control schemes on different consoles. However, for some unknown and slightly strange reason, the controls on Xbox 360/Playstation 3 are inverted to what they are on Nintendo Wii. There are two distinct versions of the game, the Wii version and the 360/PS3 versions. The main difference? Well, the fact PS3/360 versions have a pause menu. However, that pause menu does nothing but help you to quit the game, check various things and well, get in the blooming way! For some unknown reason Capcom thought it'd be good to put a useless menu on the most easy to reach, usable button. Yep, they put it on the START BUTTON. To get the weapon select menu, you have to press "Back"/"Select" a far more awkward button to reach. On the Wii version, weapon select is on "+" button, achievements menu is on "-" button. On the Wii version, you can either hold the controller sideways to play (which is nice, it feels like a slightly bulky (he says, tongue in cheek) NES controller) or on the Classic Controller (recommended). Jump is on "b" and "x", shoot is on "a" and "y". On other platforms, Jump is on "B"/"Circle" and "X"/"Square", Shoot is on "A"/"Cross" and "Y"/"Triangle". Why they're inverted? I'll never quite know.

Awesome powerup, less-Awesome colour
Visuals, well, you get what you expect. NES-capable visuals with optional screen flicker as seen in Mega Man 2's later stages. It's all very pretty, even on a console capable of super high resolution textures, capable of 24fps 1080p HD movie files with ease and able to display 500 million polygons a second, Mega Man 9 looks an amazing game. Sure, those of you who play GTA IV because it looks super realistic wont be impressed, however there's always beauty to be found in a wonderfully crafted piece of art. If you consider Mega Man 9 art is completely up to you.

And here comes the negatives. You remember how I said some things which were missing from newer games? Well, for a bit of Wii Points/MS Points/Cash you can reclaim those features by buying downloadable content through the game. Buying the Proto Man downloadable content allows you to play as Mega Man's astrange brother... Proto Man. He brings a Charge Shot and Floor Slide to Mega Man 9. But why should I and why should you pay for something which should have been included in the game by default? This milking of fans for petty cash is one whole score point lopped off for this review. It's very bad practise, games industry. Very bad, don't let me see you do it again.

Overall then, Mega Man 9 is a fan service. Kids now-a-day probably wont be very interested in a game about a blue guy jumping around like a jack rabbit, shooting robots which barely even explode. With a whole back catalogue of games which offer so much more, in much greater detail, offer deeper gameplay and an interesting story... It just feels like Mega Man 9 is a game reaching out to a audience which has since moved on since 1987. Finding refuge in kids of yesteryear, Mega Man 9 isn't for everyone, but for those who grew up with him. But by all means, play this game. If you're after a challenging platform game or just something different; you'll love this quality, well thought through, solid video game. If you have a choice though, get the Wii version of the game. It's got a better control scheme (and a choice of control schemes). If you want those valuable gamer score/trophies though, get the 360/PS3 version. Just expect a rubbish control scheme.