Mega Man 10 was inevitable given the success of 2008’s Mega Man 9. It arrived on March 1, 2010 on Wiiware with subsequent releases on the PSN network and Xbox Live later in the month. Developed by Inti Creates, the team behind the Mega Man Zero and ZX series, Mega Man 10 has the gameplay fans have come to expect and some new surprises as well.
The story begins with Roll coming down with a case of roboenza. This sudden disease causes infected robots to go berserk, violently breaking away from their duties and threatening peace. Dr. Wily enters the fray, claiming he was working on a cure when 8 infected robots stole the machine and fled to their respective domains. Mega Man is hesitant to trust his arch nemesis, but given the severity of Roll’s condition, he agrees to hunt the rogue robots. Encountering Protoman shortly thereafter, the game begins.
Mega Man 10's graphics are still full of personality, as the developers were no doubt aware that making graphics 8 bit isn’t enough to make them charming. From the baseball themed world of Strikeman to the sandwhirls of Commando Man’s stage, the graphics do a lot with a simple engine, and I applaud them for that. There is also a lot of fanservice in the form of familiar enemies (Mettaurs) and more subtle references like the appearance of bosses from Mega Man 7 and 8 done in 8 bit style. Seeing them redrawn to resemble the likes of the venerable Metal and Cut Men is awesome for fans of the Mega Man series.
Despite the music being done by Ippo Yamada of Mega Man ZX fame, there is little here that can be wholeheartedly recommended. Mega Man is one of the few series in which I am able to look past the weakness of the NES sound chip. 10 manages this with Commando Man and Wily Stage 2, but most of the game is very generic and doesn’t even approach Galaxy Man, let alone the masterpiece that is Mega Man 2. All else aside, this score is worth listening for one playthrough, then throw it out for some of your own tunes. You’ll thank me for it.
Gameplay is classic Mega man goodness. Run to the right (occasionally up and down) and blast enemies, culminating in a fight with the robot master. Beat him, get his power and take it to the rest, using their own weapons to find the weakness of others. Classic stuff!
New to this entry is the ability to play as Protoman, Mega Man’s older brother. Bruce plays quite different with the ability to charge his Buster shots, deflect projectiles with his shield, and slide. This is pretty kickass, but to compensate, he doesn’t jump as high, takes more damage, and can only fire two shots at a time. He also jumps back further when hit and has a smaller selection of items in Auto’s shop. I played with Protoman for the uniqueness and it was a refreshing take on the Mega Man gameplay.
Easy mode is another change that will benefit those new to the series. Rest assured, while this difficulty makes the game a lot easier by virtually eliminating cheap pitfall deaths, enemies can still defeat you if are slow on the uptake or using the wrong weapon.
The biggest change is the presence of the yashichi. This item is a Capcom staple since the days of Vulgus. Previously seen in the original Mega Man, this item refills all life and weapon energies. Found throughout easy mode, they can save you quite a bit of time you would normally use to kill enemies hoping for refills and just get right to the damn boss.
Challenge-wise, normal is probably as difficult as Mega 7, 8, and 9. This is mostly because the robot masters have obvious weaknesses in many cases, bolts and energy tanks are plentiful, and most of the bosses have simple patterns. The final boss has a surprisingly simple pattern (probably the easiest since Mega Man 5) and shouldn’t pose much of a problem to those familiar with Mega Man. Easy Mode is far from simply button mashing your way through the game for either character, and if you take it too lightly, you still might have some problems. You can’t just trade blows with the enemies and hope to win, especially if you play with Protoman.
Replay value is good for a Mega Man game, with 2 different characters to play, and a 3rd option for download. Both Mega Man and Protoman play very differently to me and I intend to switch between them randomly for future playthroughs. Given the large amount of supporting characters in the Mega Man Universe, such should be an automatic option in future games. Come on guys, I can’t be the only one who wants to see Thomas Light (or Right if you’re in Japan) riding an armored suit as a secret character.
Mega Man 10 is more Mega Man goodness in the best way possible; straightforward and familiar. I often use Mega Man as the best example of when video games don’t need to change to remain fun. Keep it simple, Capcom, and we’ll add look forward to future MM games.
- Ugly Bob