I’ve loved the Mega Man games for nearly 20 years now. I collected all six original NES Mega Man titles. I have beaten them all, along with three of the Mega Man X series games. But right now, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I may never beat Mega Man 9.
I purchased it yesterday afternoon for the Xbox 360. Probably a poor choice since the 360’s d-pad sucks, but whatever. Hindsight would have me purchase the game for the PS3, but then I wouldn’t be able to boost my GamerScore on Live. Oh wait, most of the achievements that Mega Man 9 offers start with the phrase “Complete the game…” and then tack on something crazy like “…3 times in one day,” or ” …in under 60 minutes.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love the game. The 8-bit graphics and sound make me feel like a kid again for all the right reasons. It is truly a wonderful accomplishment on Capcom’s part to have created so perfectly a new NES game.
But the years of modern gaming have spoiled me on easier difficulty levels. Games are just so much easier than they used to be. I’m guessing its the effort of game designers to cater to casual gamers. Few games live up to the default difficutly attached to most retro games. Beat Halo 3 on legendary? Done. Beat Gears of War on insane? Done. Beat Resistance on hard? Done. Beat a single boss in Mega Man 9? Whoa hold on a minute! Give me an hour or so with the level and then we’ll talk.
In my one-and-a-half-ish-hours of gameplay I’ve defeated one boss. One. That’s it. To be fair, I don’t remember picking up the original games and just blazing through them. It took patience. It took replaying levels. Some I’ve replayed so many times over the years that if I close my eyes and concentrate hard enough I can relive large portions and even hear the music (I’m not even joking, the music has always been amazing in these games and 9 is no exception). So maybe its not that I’m not used to a game this hard, but it’s that I’m not used to a game that isn’t designed to be intuitive on your first attempt with it.
Regardless, the game feels hard. Harder than any game in a long time. But I’ve loved every second of it. Go buy it now, on whatever system you can (beware the 360 d-pad though), and enjoy it. Playing it will make you feel 9 years old again. If only more things in life had that effect.