Thu 1 Apr 2010
When Mega Man 9 came out in 2008, it had the luxury of being the first game in the original series to be released in over a decade. Mega Man 10, released this week on Xbox Live Arcade (and already available on WiiWare and the Playstation Network) doesn't have that luxury. But instead of simply being a rehash of old ideas wrapped up in a nostalgia-driven package, the tenth entry in the venerable series ends up being a refreshing, and surprisingly approachable, outing for the Blue Bomber.
Mega Man's latest adventure sees him joining up with long time foe Dr. Wily in an attempt to find a cure for robotenza, a mysterious virus that's been plaguing the robot population. As you'd expect, finding the cure involves finding and defeating eight robot masters and, like every other game in the series, you can tackle these foes in any order you choose, and finding the correct sequence is the key to success. One of the more controversial additions to MM10 has been the inclusion of an easy mode. With the difficulty turned down, enemies become weaker and levels themselves are actually altered, with platforms placed over spikes and pitfalls. It also makes the boss battles significantly easier, and, in many cases, removes the need to use any special weapons. Instead, you can simply blast your way through most boss battles without relying on much strategy.
But with the difficulty set to normal, the game as just as fiendishly hard as you remember. The enemies are tough. The platforming requires precision. And the bosses force you into pattern memorization. In other words, classic Mega Man. But MM10 also introduces some new, and very impressive ideas, as well. There are giant blocks of ice that slowly crumble and giant sand storms that obscure the entire screen. Some enemies self-duplicate until destroyed while others are actually speeding robot buses. Arguably the most notable stage is Sheep Man's, which features conveyor belts that actually produce electricity, powering platforms for a limited time.
Really, Mega Man 10 is exactly what fans of the series are looking for. It features a great balance of classic gameplay and new ideas, and is packed with plenty of quirky personality—from robot snowmen and floating, electric tufts of wool to a totally rockin', old-school soundtrack—to satisfy the even the most die-hard fan. But, two decades after the original, it's also the most approachable game in the series to date, making it the perfect entry point to players who haven't yet been acquainted with the Blue Bomber.