I wrote a version of this review on my own blog, but I thought I’d revise it a bit for you guys.
With its 8-bit look and feel, Mega Man 9 IS nostalgia. Though I only had time to try one level, it is everything I remember from the early days of gaming: jagged sprites, music only an 80’s/early 90’s synthesizer could create, and even the option to turn on or off the sprite flicker glitch from the original titles (which I gladly left on). The game really looks and feels like an NES title, down to the standard size screen ratio (no widescreen available on the Wii version).
As per canon, the story picks up in the distant future of 20XX with Dr. Light’s robotic creations going haywire. Mega Man must stop the robots, save the city, and clear Dr. Light’s good name. Naturally, this is all done in mostly still scenes illustrated in basic color with text that breaks mid-sentence before the next sentence appears.
The standard eight-boss menu is your central hub for choosing a level. I began with Concrete Man, and was killed over and over again by a robot elephant that sucked me into a pit. By the time I finally got passed it (with one bar of health left), I fell through a fake block into a spike and exploded into tens of energy balls, just like Mega Man’s messy death in past games.
Mega Man 9 feels a lot like Mega Man 2 (though it uses a save system instead of the password system). The game gives plenty of pits to jump over, and moving enemies that try to knock Mega Man into those pits or spikes. However, 9 turns nostalgia into modern gaming by introducing an in-game achievement system. For example, there is an achievement for jumping less than 50 times in a level, or having every shot connect to an enemy, along with completion speed achievements. The main menu also has a downloadable content section, and though it is currently empty it gives fans something to look forward to, including Proto Man as a playable character, though that will not be available until October.
Every aspect of what I’ve played so far made me smile. The sound effects are there, R. Coil is there, E canisters are there, as well as other collectibles. Thankfully, Pharaoh Man is not (see Mega Man 4). Though I’ve only had a taste, I would say the game is worth the $10 (1000 Wii Points) for any Mega Man fan.