Saturday, July 10, 2010

Game Review: Mega Man 10

Mega Man 10

Surprisingly, not Mega Man X

Wii, PS3, XBox 360, 2010

Developer: Inti Creates, Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Time to Complete: 1-3 hours

Mega Man 10 is the latest edition of the storied, beloved series featuring the pantless blue wonder, who wears his underwear over his tights. Actually, to be more accurate, it's the latest expansion pack for Mega Man 1. It begins with what may well be the longest intro scene in Mega Man history, clocking in at approximately 14 hours.

During this intro, we learn that Mega Man's robot sister, the aptly-named Roll, isn't feeling well. It turns out to be robot period, and she's having one of those heavy days. Thus, our hero sets out on a quest to find some Midol before all hell breaks loose in the Dr. Light household.

Luckily, I'm kidding about all of this. The problem for our heroes is nowhere near that bad, as it is simply a case of "Robofluenza" spreading throughout the robots of the land and causing mass chaos. Yes, robots can get sick in this world. Dr. Wily is working on a cure, and Mega Man must go out and stop eight renegade robots in the meantime. Thank goodness Dr. Wily is helping our heroes out by creating a vaccine for everybody to take! What a noble soul! Of course, he's really evil (spoiler alert...well, no) and turns out to be full of bad intentions. After nine other games (not counting all the spinoffs) with Wily pretending to be a good guy, then turning out to be the villain after all, then Mega Man having to defeat him... you would think Mega Man and company would learn their lesson. No, of course not. Suddenly they're all buddies with Dr. Wily in this game, while Mega Man shows all the critical thinking skills of a lamp.

In a famous line from Spaceballs (now on DVD!), Dark Helmet declares that "evil will always triumph over good... because good is dumb." Never has the last part of that proverb been more true than in Mega Man 10. The amount of naivety shown by the protagonists is so off the charts that I found myself actually rooting for Wily to just put these people out of their misery already. Which, honestly, should have happened already, considering Mega Man 7 and 8's spinoffs (Power Battle, Power Fighters, Rockman and Forte) all alluded to Wily's ultimate creation, Zero, being almost completed. Mega Man 9 should have been the final battle with Wily and Zero, but instead they waited ten years and just made 9 and 10 story-deficient games where nothing really happens. I'm guessing 11 and on will be more of the same, so count me out. Which isn't to say retro-throwbacks are "bad". They're great for their intended audience. I just wanted the story to go somewhere, and Capcom really missed the boat on connecting the plot after all that buildup.

They missed the boat with the Mega Man X series as well, since Mega Man X5 seemed to be building towards Wily being the power behind Sigma (or at least his accomplice). Unfortunately, they dropped the ball there too, making X6, X7, and X8 into generic, moderately crap-tastic games where nothing happened story-wise. Speaking of Mega Man X, I have always preferred that series (or at least, the first two) over the original Mega Man series. As a character, Mega Man X is older, more mature, and makes Mega Man look nearly immobile.

A fiend for soccer

Alright, so I don't like the story, and wish the protagonists would all meet untimely ends. But how does the game play? Very well. The controls are spot-on. Much like Mega Man 9, there's still no slide, but that's okay. Speaking of Mega Man 9, the primary complaints that I heard about that game had to do with the astronomical difficulty level. For series veterans, people who have played through the earlier entries, the difficulty was manageable if still tricky. For newcomers, it may well have been almost inaccessible. Mega Man 10 brings the difficulty back down to Earth, and the result is a more fun game overall.

Oh yeah, about that low difficulty... it does spike later in the game.

One thing that is especially noteworthy is that, for the first time in the main series, multiple characters are playable from the start. Actually, in Mega Man 9, Protoman could be unlocked...but only via a download. In this game, he's available from the get-go, and Bass is available from a download, for a total of three possible characters. Each of them are very distinct from each other, as well. Protoman gets the slide and charge-up power, while Bass gets the Mega Man X dash and rapid fire. Mega Man himself is definitely the most well-balanced of the three and the easiest to complete the game with, so it's unfortunate that he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. At least he doesn't have a Sailormoon-esque girl voice like in Mega Man 8. Or any voice. I should have just written this series off altogether back then, I tell ya. It was probably Mega Man's "jump the shark" moment. Mega Man as a character has become so wimpy that when he gets a haircut, they mistakenly charge him for a bikini wax.

One thing that impresses me about Capcom's Mega Man efforts is that they're still managing to come up with eight new Robot Masters to fight in every game after all this time. Then again, this is less impressive when you consider that almost every game has the usual fire, ice, and shield bosses with different names/appearances/stages. This game, however, has a couple of unique new ones. Namely the bizarrely-named Sheep Man, who has a unique weapon and a unique computer-themed stage; and Strike Man, who has a sports stadium for a stage with sports-themed enemies and a unique weapon of his own. Not bad. Also noteworthy is Pump Man, who joins the elite pantheon of Mega Man bosses with dick-related names. Bosses such as Hard Man, Snake Man, Plug Man, Drill Man, Junk Man, and, of course, Needle Man.

In closing, Mega Man 9 was superior if you could handle the difficulty, but this game is also good enough for fans of the old Mega Man games to pick up. It's very inexpensive; short enough to be finished in an afternoon but with lots of replay value; and if you can overlook the inane characters/plot/lack of originality, it's pretty entertaining.

Out of five 1-Ups, I give it...

Rating: 6.8 out of 10


  1. Playing Mega Man games for the stories suggests that Capcom isn't the only one who missed the boat...

  2. Oh snap!

    No you dih-int!

    I simply expect a bit more substance out of this series, and an overarching plot would add that substance. Especially considering they started to do overarching stories, then abandoned them mid-stream, in both the MM and MMX series.

  3. I too wanted to see Wily appear in the MMX series, but after it went 3D, I pretty much abandoned hope of any story substance in megaman :(

    Hell, they brought back Vile but had him do the same nonsense as before... he should've been revealed to be Wily in a brain-vat lol

  4. When did the MM series do "overarching stories"?

    The MMX story build-up to MMX5 was great! And then the series ended there, and all was well with the world.

    ...wait, what? They made 3 more games after that, against Inafune's wishes? Oh.

    Well, considering that literally every aspect of X6 and X7 are dumpster fires, I can't particularly criticize them for the plot-- it's just as bad as everything else in those games. (I don't like X6's music as much as you, but perhaps I'm just primed to hate it because of how bad the game is.)

    X8 doesn't have much plot either, but at that point, I was just so happy to get a competent Mega Man X game, I could live with it.