After Mega Man and Bass, the Mega Man classic series took a bit of a break. Capcom had done a lot with the blue bomber and was ready to focus on other series, like Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and the subseries’ of Mega Man. Finally, after 10 years of absence, Mega Man 9 was released digitally in 2008. This game marked the return of the classic series and is universally acclaimed as one of the best Mega Man games, but is it still great 10 years later?
Mega Man 9 has a unique story. Dr. Wily has turned a new leaf, or so it seems. When robots wreak havoc all over the world, Dr. Wily places the blame on Dr. Light, who is taken to jail. Mega Man knows Dr. Light is innocent, so he sets out to defeat the Robot Masters once again and put an end to Wily’s reign of terror.
The Robot Masters this time around are Plug Man, Jewel Man, Tornado Man, Concrete Man, Hornet Man, Magnet Man, Galaxy Man, and Splash Woman. For the first time in Mega Man Classic Series history, there’s a female robot master! I love this and wish there were more female robot masters. These robot masters are some of the best masters in the series in my opinion, as it seems the 10 year break in games gave Capcom some time to think of more bosses.
One of the first things I noticed about Mega Man 9 is its difficulty. This game is definitely one of the harder Mega Man games. It’s no Mega Man and Bass, but it’s definitely no walk in the park either. Thankfully, there are a ton of items in this game to help Mega Man, including Energy Tanks! Energy Tanks and Weapon Energy Tanks are back, and I took full advantage of this when I played the game. They are one of the many items sold in the shop, the rest being items you’ve seen before or similar. I’ll include a screenshot.
The level design in Mega Man 9 is very solid, and like I said earlier about the boss gimmicks, I feel the 10 year break gave Capcom inspiration. There are gravity gimmicks in Galaxy Man’s stage and wind gimmicks in Hornet Man’s stage that make them super fun to play. One thing I noticed is that these Robot Master stages aren’t too long, which is great in my opinion, since the game is quite difficult. Overall, these stages are some of the best so far.
One thing that I don’t like about Mega Man 9 is how Neutered Mega Man is. Mega Man does not have the slide or charge shot, and I really don’t understand why. I often forget about this while playing and sometimes it messes me up. Thankfully, the game caters to the newly neutered Mega Man and most enemies can be defeated easily with single shots. Mega Man’s gameplay is great, despite being a bit difficult.
The controls for Mega Man 9 are just like Mega Man 2’s, literally the same. One thing added in Mega Man 9 is Proto Man as a playable character. When the DLC is purchased, you can play as Mega Man’s brother, who has a charge shot, slide, and can use his protoshield, but takes twice the damage. Proto Man is fun to play as if you want something new.
The graphics for Mega Man 9 are interesting. The game was developed during a retro-revival era in gaming. In 2008, retro gaming was becoming very popular, and Mega Man 9 was developed with 8-bit graphics. Though the graphics are 8-bit, they look great, and aren’t held back by NES limitations, meaning no sprite-flickering(though you can turn that on if you want) and no slowdown. The music is 8-bit as well, and sounds great. I can’t recall any tracks off the top of my head besides the title theme, but I remember enjoying it while I played the game. Mega Man 9 still looks and sounds great.
Mega Man 9 definitely earned its right to be a classic Mega Man game. The game is fun, challenging, and has the style and feel of Mega Man. While it isn’t one of my favorites, I have no issue saying that the game has aged very well.