Mega Man 10 Review

Mega Man 10 [WiiWare, PSN, XBLA]
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Platformer/Action
Publisher: CAPCOM
Developer: Inti Creates
Release Date: March 1st, 2010 (WiiWare)

Mega Man 9 revived the classic Blue Bomber in 8-bit form back in 2008, and MM10 is continuing the madness.  Fans are skeptical of this sudden sequel because CAPCOM is known to milk a series, and no one wants 2D Mega Man to be ruined.  Luckily, Mega Man 10 is inspired from 9’s spark of creativity and loads of fun, despite 9 being the debatable better game.

The story unfortunately doesn’t bridge to the Mega Man X series.  Fans have been begging for that for a while, and it would be great to see the gap filled, but apparently CAPCOM wanted a simpler scenario.  I can understand, as classic Mega Man is meant to be simple and colorful.  Still, this narrative feels light, even for the series’ standards.  The epilogue is pitifully short compared to MM9, which was minimal to begin with.  It’s not much to ask for a little exposition, especially with what the previous games have established.  The plot revolves around a disease called Roboenza (Robot + Influenza), which is making the world’s robots go crazy.  The citizens are helpless without them, and even Dr. Wily is in need of assistance.  He approaches Dr. Light for help to make a “medicine machine” to cure the disease.  Fans were willing to connect this to the “Maverick Virus” concept from the MMX games, but sadly MM10 doesn’t capitalize on the concept.

MM10’s design is identical to that of 9’s, and most of the originals before it.  You control Mega Man or Proto Man, battle eight robots with their own powers, and eventually take down Dr. Wily.  It’s still a 2D sidescroller with an emphasis on platforming and action, so it’s pointless to repeat specifics.  Mega Man 10’s stage layout is more focused on surviving hazards and toppling mini-bosses, with Commando Man’s sandstorms, the Octobulb in Sheep Man’s stage, or Pump Man’s dangerous water current.  MM9’s powers felt powerful, especially the Black Hole Bomb and Concrete Shot (essential for speed runs, with the Concrete “zip” technique).  That isn’t the case here, though the abilities are still useful.  The Triple Blade exacts awesome damage, and the Chill Spike comes in really handy.  Why no female boss though?  With 9 setting a new standard with Splash Woman, fans expected more.

“Easy Mode” is a controversial addition.  Die-hard fans have accused CAPCOM of watering down the experience just to make it accessible to non-gamers, and others welcome it due to the franchise’s tough-as-nails history.  It’s a mere addition however, so it doesn’t infringe on the main game and shouldn’t pose a problem.  The usual offering is just as difficult as Mega Man is known for, and Hard is downright brutal.  Most of the game is easier than Mega Man 9, albeit a few exceptions, like the second stage of Dr. Wily’s castle or Commando Man’s stage.  The boss fights are also entertaining, and their attack patterns even change according to the difficulty.  On Hard Mode, bosses move faster and employ new skills to mix with their old.  For example, on Easy, Pump Man covers himself in a water barrier and jumps around, like on Normal.  The difference is that the barrier has more pieces which are tougher to dodge.  On Hard Mode, he also throws his pump handle at you.  As a result, it’s more interesting to play the game on every difficulty.

One of the best additions is the Challenge mode.  There are two categories: some are basically in-game achievements, while the others are separate stages with specific rules.  For instance, you might be required to fight a boss without taking damage.  This is a great way to practice for the game’s more intense moments, however, to prevent the player exploiting this, the challenges have to be unlocked by satisfying certain criteria.  Time Attack returns, and DLC content exists in the form of Endless Attack, Bass Mode, and three special stages.  MM10’s content exceeds 9’s by some margin, but the campaign is short.  CAPCOM/Inti Creates appears to be trying to replicate MM2 with these revivals, but the later games in the series had lengthier adventures, particularly with the castle stages.

The visuals are still 8-bit, but more advanced than before…comparatively-speaking.  The stages are decorated by more complex backgrounds and effects.  Had 10 been an NES game, it would’ve jumped ahead of the presentation pack.  As far as present day is concerned, no boundaries are pushed…it’s all about nostalgia.  Still, the game is easy on the eyes and appreciable.  The sound fares the same, with a great array of 8-bit chiptunes.  Nitro Man’s stage is a highlight, and fans should recognize it from the debut trailer.  Solar Man’s theme is also excellent for its great bass line, and the first Wily stage employs some excellent music.  The final Wily stage is disappointing, though.

The biggest question is: does MM10 succeed MM9?  Well, it’s not a clear step up, and personal preference determines which game you like more.  MM10 is clever and filled with lots of fun moments, but it doesn’t innovate the series.  It’s basically an extension of MM9.  But it’s a $10 download and therefore easier to accept.  It’s a bite-sized experience as opposed to a full retail release that caters to fans, despite Easy Mode.  Critics are accurate that these retro releases don’t push the series, but that’s not the point.  They’re meant to be nostalgic, simple, clever, fun and renew interest in Mega Man.  With 9 and 10, CAPCOM can potentially take new risks.

MM9 was a gamble, released into a wave of skepticism.  10 built on 9 and played it safer, but the end result is still great.  Another ‘risk’ is necessary though, to prevent past mistakes.  The revivals are great, and there’s room for them on today’s download services, but it’s vital that CAPCOM doesn’t overdo it.  In the meantime, MM10 is a winner; another wonderful 8-bit trip that reminds us how much fun a simple game can be.

Scoreboard:

Story: 5/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Controls: 10/10
Graphics: 810
Sound: 8/10
Value: 9/10

Overall: 8.5/10

3 thoughts on “Mega Man 10 Review”

  1. Fair review. What’s weird about 10 is that it really manages to deviate from 9’s feel and overall design, yet for me I prefer 9’s choices more. I commend the variability offered, but I guess by releasing two installments in close proximity to each other it’s easier to nitpick on the newer one. If we were living back in the 8 bit days and we had both 9 and 10, the latter would’ve been universally applauded.

    10 has been an enjoyable ride for me either way. Really feels akin to Mega Man 4 or Mega Man X in a lot of things. The challenge mode is perhaps the most significant addition in the series. Even though I breezed through the stages and found most of it to be easier than 9, I still had a lot of difficulty going through Solar Man and Strike Man’s levels. Dr. Wily’s first level is such an awesome homage to previous games in the series. Loved that touch. I highly doubt I’m going to pass through Wily’s levels unless I revert to Easy Mode though.

    BTW, Sheep Man’s music is the coolest track in the game. That electronic beat is just stuck to my head right.

  2. I think you have a point there Ahmed, gamers today are far more skeptical of releases than back in the Nintendo era. I remember when I was a kid playing NES and Super NES, I would generally get into most every game and there wasn’t quite as much scrutiny. But now with the internet, everyone is a critic–which has its advantages and disadvantages, I’d say. Gamers can avoid bad or overhyped games, but sometimes they may miss legitimately good experiences. As for this case, I think 9 is the superior game, but not by a wide margin at all. I prefer 10 in some instances, like with the challenge mode.

    For me, 10 has lots of moments that feel like Mega Man 3 and Mega Man 6. The introduction to Wily’s Castle, and the darker tone of the music in particular really reminds me of three. The crazier boss stages (and especially Commando Man’s) feel so much like 6 to me I felt like I’ve gone back in time. I am really stoked to check out the DLC though, with Bass as a playable character and three of the Mega Man killer robots as bosses in the special stages.

    And you’re right about Sheep Man’s stage theme, it’s really catchy. My personal favorite though, is Solar Man’s stage. It’s awesome, I want that as my ring-tone, lol.

    1. Love Solar Man’s stage music, too. Very un-Mega Man-like…gets really fast-paced after the intro. In fact, this tune fits perfectly in an MMX game more.

      MM10’s DLC is looking to be really good stuff though. I’m just as hyped as you. Bass as a playable character, and bringing back killer robots from the forgotten Game Boy series sounds excellent. I’ve seen some screenshots of the new levels and they really have that GB Mega Man design, too…I’ve only played the forth GB installment so I can’t cross reference much, but I’ve noticed a few obstacles from that game in particular in this new DLC.

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