Mega Man 9
It has been so long since I have played a game that was both legitimately difficult and fun. You see, I used to be good at Mega Man; there was a point, years ago in my childhood, where I could probably clear all of Mega Man 2 and 3 without dying, or at the very least dying less than 5 times.
This is a hard game, you will die. You will die and have to restart stages over and over again. Often. In fact, I spent about two hours re-attuning myself to this type of gaming environment. I swear that I died about 30 times before I got to the half-way point of any stage. Death after death after death, usually at the exact same enemy and spot. In any other game I would have just said, “fuck it” and gave up but not Mega Man. In fact, the difficulty is what makes it great. It is the well crafted kind of difficulty that drives you to play obsessively.
Mega Man 9 is patterned after Mega Man 2, in that there is no Mega Buster and no slide. Eliminating the Mega Buster was a wise choice in my opinion; it cheapened the bosses and the boss weapons. I miss the slide though, It was fun to play with. The gameplay feels exactly the same. I was a little worried that something might end up feeling off, being on a different system with a different controller and all. But no: the timing and the gameplay is exactly the same as the original NES games.
Mega Man 9 has an excellent presentation. Yes, the graphics are way outdated, I don’t think I need to tell anyone that, but it is visually appealing. One of the aspects that I have always loved about the Mega Man series was its graphical design and Capcom’s use of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s limited color pallet. Everything is vivid.
Graphically, it is also very clean. The level backgrounds for example are colorful and detailed without being a distraction. All of the sprites and important foreground elements are well contrasted and “pop out.” You know where to jump, the stairs don’t blend in with the background like I swear, half of all retro games. It’s getting there without dying that is the problem.
Oh, did I mention the soundtrack? It’s awesome. Not quite at Mega Man 2’s level, which is the high bar for 8-bit sound tracks in my opinion, but it’s damn close. If you in any way enjoy platformers, Mega Man, or fun games, buy this now. Now.