Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mega Man 10 (video game)

Platform: PSN, X-Box Live Arcade, Wiiware
Developer: Inti Creates
Genre: Action, Platformer
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Release Date: March 1, 2010

I think I came down on Mega Man 9 harder than I intended to. It was a very good game, but it was not perfect. I had issues with it, to put it plainly, but I did not hate it.

I still have some of those same reservations - yet again, Mega Man has nothing past the basic controls of Mega Man 2 - but this time the game is just too damn good to care.

Story is simple, as it always is. This time, a virus is going around. The kicker? It only effects robots. It's their version of the flu, basically. Dr. Wily shows up saying none of it is on him - I'd say spoiler alert, but come on, I'm not telling you anything you don't know when I say he's full of shit - and that the crazed robots have taken the device he had used to develop a cure. Mega Man takes Wily at his word - I guess he forgot the last time Wily pulled the "fetch my stolen crap" trick with the Peace Keeping Robot from 3 - and goes to smash some robot heads together.

While the things that annoyed me with 9 carry over, everything else has improved. It's clear Inti Creates took all the lessons they learned from making Mega Man 9 and applied them to 10, because everything is just that much better. Mega Man 10 has what is easily my favorite group of levels since Mega Man 2, with a wonderful amount of variety, great gimmicks, interesting looks and killer design. The music is even better this time around - I thought 9 had a great soundtrack, but I wasn't fond of a couple themes - with an eclectic group of Robot Masters and subsequent power-ups. Some of the power-ups were even worth using outside of the boss battles for me, which is a far rarer occurrence than you'd think*.

Even the endgame is improved. Dr. Wily's Super Death Trap Castle is as frustratingly crazy as ever and the bosses are just as bad. The "Yellow Devil" version of this game is the Block Devil, which is almost fiendish, even once you get the pattern down, since it's made up of the blocks from the floor and wall. Meaning that being knocked off the ledge to your death is a concern. Then, after Wily has thrown everything he can at you and the game seems over, it has one last trick up its sleeve.

There are even some advancements to be found in the gameplay if you're willing to venture outside of Mega Man. Proto Man is available in the stock game - shield and all - and he has the slide move that used to be a staple of Mega Man's moveset. Meanwhile, Bass is available as DLC - complete with his ability to fire in eight directions from Mega Man and Bass - and he can combine with his robodog Treble, an ability that's been unavailable to us since the Rush Adapter in 7.

Oh, speaking of the DLC, I didn't bother with 9, but I got it this time. It was worth the money. Bass is, of course, fun to play as. But also on offer is the "Endless Stage" mode, a marathon session where your only objective is to stay alive for as many screens as you possibly can. Unfortunately, only Mega Man is on offer for this mode, but that does not make it any less addictive. I've dropped cash on worse DLC, for certain.

All told, 10 may just be one of the best entries in the Classic Mega Man series.

The Score: 9 out of 10

Mega Man 10 is pretty close to perfect. Well worth your cash. Tenth time's the charm.

* This might just be me, but for the classic series, I tend to find the different powers impractical for use outside of the designated boss they're strong against. The first a second game had some fairly practical powers, but as the series wore on it seemed like they ran out of interesting things to give you. This is all not to say that 10 doesn't have it's duds; Thunder Wool is completely useless and the Water Shield - which works the same way as the Leaf Shield from 2 - isn't a hell of a lot better.

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