I don't know what it is about me and Mega Man - but I was up as late as 6 AM last night checking the Wii store to see if it was available yet. It wasn't, but at least I took that opportunity to download the latest mandatory system update and replace my batteries. First thing I did this morning - before even making coffee, which is absurd for me - is check the store. Yes!! It's here!!
Mega Man 10 had me skeptical in some ways. Primarily this is based on the fact that I knew I would love Mega Man 9 for the mere novelty of the thing, the fact that it existed at all, and might fuel more sprite-based, 8-bit style games. Well, it has spawned at least one more, and it's a direct sequel. Now we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The game would have to be fundamentally good, not just passable.
Not that I'm implying Mega Man 9 was merely adequate - even considering it in just the smaller context of 8-bit Mega Man games, I found it to be one of the best. The level designs were very good, the bosses memorable, some of the weapons quite exciting - the Black Hole Bomb, for instance - and a number of new environmental hazards like the swinging platforms in Jewel Man's stage, the rotating platforms in Tornado Man's, the Gravity Jump things in Gravity Man's stage - made for a very enjoyable time. And it was HARD. It took a small group of us more than one day to get past the eight Master Robots.
Granted, there were some moments of faltering. Splash Woman's level was extremely derivative of past water levels - Dive Man's, especially.
Now, keep in mind Mega Man 10 has only clocked me about about two hours of play-time. I've not yet beat all the Master Robots. I'm not even sure of the proper order to beat them. I've used Energy Tanks during the boss fights, and I feel like a cheater for it.
While trying to be as spolier-free as possible, I can confirm the following:
* The game is marvelously fun. The level designs do not feel rehashed or tired in any way. In fact, some of them introduce some very clever obstacles, hazards, and means of transportation.
* That said, on the whole, I think the levels are much easier than 9's. Maybe I've just become much more seasoned at controlling little blue robots in the past year and a half, but I've had very little trouble reaching the Robot Masters.
* The weapons are pretty excellent. Some of them are indeed very reminiscent of weapon's past - I'm sure you can all guess there was going to be a shield-type one - but some of them are quite new indeed. I especially enjoy Commando Man and Nitro Man's.
* The music is downright fantastic. All of it. It has some instant favorites for me. There are no weak tracks.
* The graphics, too, are gorgeous. Charming. The player sprites seem a bit smaller than in game's past, which may subtly make the perspective a bit wider than before - I'm not sure of this, but my gut says so. Familiar enemies return with all-new animations: the hard-hat guys now shudder a bit when your shots are deflected, for instance. The levels all look great. The bosses look great. The menus look great.
* There's a new control feature: you don't have to constantly go to the sub-screen to select weapons anymore. Much like Mega Man X, you can cycle through your weapons in-game - on the Classic Controller, the shoulder buttons do the trick perfectly. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a problem when just using the Wiimote sideways - I started playing this way, but the action is assigned to the B trigger, and I hit it constantly in tight spots. It's terrible placement for it. Your mileage may vary, but I highly suggest using the Classic Controller. (It is a truly nice addition, in my opinion.)
* The Challenges are a bit different. Instead of simply being Achievements that you collect, they are a game mode in and of themselves: you select an objective, and are launched into a short scene to complete it. I haven't messed with this much at all yet, but it looks to add some replay value.
* There's no DLC available yet. You can't play as Bass yet, there's no Endless Level, or Hard Modes (perhaps they're unlockable?). You can, however, pick Protoman or Easy Mode right off the bat. There's Time Trials, too.
That's about all I feel comfortable saying without the risk of spoiling anything. Yes, I'm breezing through it - but I already know I've got my money's worth. The levels are genuinely great, the music and graphics wonderful, the control tight, and there are still plenty of parts that make you go "NO!!" "SHIT!!" and "GODDAMNIT!" It may not reinvent the series, or be as exciting as 9 was, but it's totally worth your ten bucks. Go play it!!!
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