Demographically, I feel that I should be in the group of those who are hailing the look of the new Mega Man 9
. I have been a huge fan of Mega Man since I was a kid in elementary school. I still have memories of sitting in elementary school designing Mega Man levels in my school notebook. Many of my earliest memories of quality video game music came from Mega Man (Mega Man 2 and 3 title screens, Snake Man, etc). Yet, I feel that the retro 8-bit look of Mega Man 9
does not particularly excite me and in fact raises alot of red flags for me.
So here's what bothers me about the look of Mega Man 9
The Mega Man games started going down the tubes (4 was a decent entry but I think 5 is when it started going down) because of unmemorable bosses, unmemorable music, and largely unmemorable stage design. While the non-NES games Mega Man 7
(SuperNES) and Mega Man 8
(PS1) were not as good as the first three games, I thought that they were actually a step in the right direction. I liked alot of the changes that Mega Man 7
did by tightening up the gameplay. The game had some great stages and I especially loved the boss battles with Treble and Bass. Mega Man 8
was also far from a bad game. If anything, the game was marred for me by its horrendous voice acting (hell, it was so bad that they should have just hired the voice cast from the highly questionable Mega Man
animated series) and a particular game mechanic in two stages which can be summarized as such to anyone who has played this game: "jump jump slide slide jump slide..."
Graphics are NOT the reason that former was a better game than the latter. Credit to Gamespy for the first pic and Neoseeker for the second pic.
All in all it is simply very hard for me to believe that there is an actual artistic and game-driven reason to downgrade back to an 8-bit look other than the desire to cut costs and space, which in the latter would allow for WiiWare release as well. I am not going to call it a ROM hack as the video trailer does show some interesting new gameplay mechanics and as such I do have some hope for the game's stage design. I guess I just can't shake off the feeling that this is Capcom's way of quickly making an easy buck from us by churning out an unambitious sequel. This feels especially true to me since from the other information we have about the game, we know that mechanically, this game will probably have the same gameplay and structure as an older NES Mega Man game and honestly, I am not sure I like that seeing as I liked the gameplay controls in the newer games.
I would love to be proven wrong about this and regardless, I know that I plan to pick up a copy on XBox Live and try it for myself. I guess I just don't understand why so many people are out to defend a game for no reason other than its graphics, which is hardly a criterion of quality. I feel that given the continuously declining quality of the Mega Man games, gamers have every right and should be skeptical about any game that claims to be a true sequel to this series. I just don't understand how when game series like The Legend of Zelda
, Metal Gear
, and Super Mario Bros
have shown that 8-bit icons can make a very good upgrade into 16-bit and beyond if the designers actually care enough to put in the money and effort, that people are defending this game's choice to pursue what seems to be a very unambitious sequel by pulling out all sorts of excuses about the artistic merits of the 8-bit style, all while ignoring the fact that the 7th and 8th games were praised for their graphics and that many of the Mega Man games that people generally consider bad had these same 8-bit graphics.