|Release Date:||March 2010|
As I neatly wrap up my review of the bookend of the original Mega Man series, I truly find myself at a loss for words. Seriously, there are only so many adjectives to accurately describe the greatness and staying power of this amazing collection of games. From the original 1987 classic all the way through the tenth game released some twenty-three years later, the core gameplay has hardly changed at all! And yet, the series remains as popular and as beloved as ever! Like any fine wine, the Blue Bomber only seems to get better with age and the most recent installment is yet another instant classic! Featuring all of the qualities found in the best Mega Man games, the tenth Mega Man epic has everything that longtime fans could possibly hope for...and more! Mega Man 10 is yet another pantheon performance by Capcom, and immediately raises questions about whether or not we will get an eleventh installment somewhere down the road.
Overview: Wow! Just when things couldn't seem to get any better for the Blue Bomber, we were treated to a second new Mega Man game built in the classic NES vein...within 18 months of MM9's release! I was literally beside myself when I received my January 2010 issue of Nintendo Power only to see the Blue Bomber (and Protoman!) gracing the cover. And to top it off, NP even posted a letter I had written weeks before encouraging a sequel to the already fantastic Mega Man 9 game! It was so surreal and I couldn't have been happier as a gamer or as a Mega Man fan.
And believe me, the tenth Mega Man game did not disappoint either. All you really need to know about Mega Man 10 is that it is virtually identical to Mega Man 9 in look and style. Everything from the retro graphics and music to the controls and gameplay is exactly what you would expect from Capcom. If you haven't read it already, I would encourage you to read my Mega Man 9 review to get an idea of what MM10 is all about! This game truly is that similar to its predecessor.
And trust me on this...I really couldn't be happier! Since Mega Man 9 was such a great game, why change anything? Capcom was pleasantly surprised at just how well the ninth Mega Man game sold and, true to their word, they gave us a sequel as a result! This was definitely a great example of what any game company should do when a classic retro-styled game does really well. Don't alter the game in any way! Thank you Capcom...thank you for being so awesome!
Graphics: Visually, I thought that Mega Man 10 was fantastic! Like MM9, there is a real polish or crispness about the graphics in MM10. The diversity of the color schemes is a sight to behold and the animation and background graphics are superb as well! Every stage has a unique feel and some of the various 8-bit special effects give the game a fun atmosphere. Especially for a retro-styled game, MM10 really brought the house!
The first stage that instantly comes to mind is actually the initial stage I selected when I first fired up Mega Man 10: Chill's Man domain. I chose this ice-themed robot master first because I've always loved some of the frigid locales found in Mega Man games (Frost Man's stage from Mega Man 8 for one) and I figured that the graphics would be really cool in this stage (uh...no pun intended). And my gut instinct was dead on because this level was really co...I mean impressive! ;) From the varied background graphics (mountains covered in ice, snow falling under the night sky) to the ice ledges constantly changing colors, I really loved the feel of this stage. Granted, these are 8-bit graphics we are talking about, but just take a glance at my NES Nostalgia section and you'll see just how much I love old-school graphics. In other words, if you don't like old-school graphics, just chill man (pun definitely intended!)
There are plenty of additional examples of impressive graphics as well. Pump Man's underground water/sewer stage with its waterfalls, bubbles, and currents features one of the better "water" levels for a Mega Man game while Nitro Man's stage is a rarity in that it actually takes place in the middle of the city! There's nothing like running through the big city at night with all kinds of car-like enemies and giant trucks trying to do their best "drive-by" impressions. The traffic lights and city buildings/tire-track backgrounds were a nice touch and the gameplay was pretty unique at times!
On a related note, something that is probably worth mentioning is the improved background graphics in Mega Man 10. I wouldn't say that they are a major improvement but I could tell the difference between the MM10 background graphics compared to the more drab backgrounds found in MM9 (although there were exceptions in MM9 for sure). From the computer circuitry and floating binary numbers of Sheep Man's cyberworld to the dazzling reds and fiery emblems of Solar Man's vertically-scrolling world, MM10 was quite impressive in this regard.
Lastly, the animation was very smooth and gave the game a nice personality ala Mega Man 9. This is especially true for the myriad of enemies littered throughout the game. Little tweaks, like having certain mets shake when you shoot their shells, were a nice touch.
Music: The Mega Man series, for whatever reason, just seems to bring the best out of its composers. Like the nine classics preceding it, Mega Man 10 did not let me down in the music department. Fun, catchy tunes, ditties that create a nice atmosphere, and rockin' adrenaline-pumping music can all be found in Mega Man 10's brilliant score.
And believe me; Capcom pulled out all the stops in ensuring that the tenth Mega Man game would not suffer a letdown after Mega Man 9's scintillating soundtrack. They did the unthinkable and somehow were able to summon the entire cast of composers who had given life to the MM1-9 soundtracks! How awesome is that? And how improbable was it to even dream that someday, each one of them would contribute music to one game? I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard through the grapevine that this was Capcom's master plan for the tenth Mega Man game.
As a result of this deliciously unique decision, the Mega Man 10 soundtrack features an eclectic selection of music and just feels more varied than your typical Mega Man score. You can just tell that a plethora of musicians were involved in this project by listening to a few select themes from the game. One track might remind you of a classic Mega Man 2 or 3 tune while another one sounds like it would fit right in with Mega Man 9's soundtrack. It's pretty cool and personally, I loved the variety of music in this game! It complements the incredible MM9 soundtrack nicely by adding a slightly different flavor to the game...without sacrificing quality which is an important point of emphasis.
As far as favorites go, the Nitro Man theme has to be at or near the top for me personally! I love this track because of how incredibly catchy the melody is along with the upbeat nature of this particular song. It was the tune that Capcom played for the main trailer that was posted before Mega Man 10 actually came out and in retrospect, they definitely chose the right one in my opinion. Another tune I really enjoyed was actually Chill Man's subdued, almost abstract theme. It just seemed to fit the mood of his stage nicely and was quite unique for a classic Mega Man game. The fact that MM8's composer created this tune definitely didn't hurt either (I love the MM8 soundtrack btw!) ;)
I also loved the quirky, almost Commodore 64-like feel of Pump Man's theme while Solar Man's track was the "Galaxy Man theme of Mega Man 10" for me. Solar Man's rockin' beat was just crazy enough to win that award (and it's a really good track to boot). Blade Man's tune is another favorite of mine with its cool melody and suspense-like feel at times. It created the perfect atmosphere for his castle stage and just kind of stuck with me more than some of the other themes found in the game. Heck, even Sheep Man's stage shocked me (...once again, no pun intended) by churning out a pretty nice melody. And even some of the lesser tunes like the Commando Man and Strike Man tunes were at least appropriate for their particular stages.
The cool thing is that, like Mega Man 9, there really aren't any throw-away tracks in Mega Man 10. All of the music is very nice and you can tell that each composer really took his (or her) limited work seriously. Even some of the shorter tracks like the title theme (better than the MM9 one IMO) and menu screens sound very nice. And the music that plays when you select a robot master or defeat a boss is classic stuff yet beautifully remixed! I love it!
Heck, even the music that plays during some of the bonus portions of the game is exceptional stuff! The Endless Challenge theme is catchy, upbeat, and probably better than the MM9 one in my opinion and the three Special Stages sound fantastic! I can't say for sure but I think that all three themes are remixed tracks from the classic Game Boy Mega Man games! And dang, do they ever sound nice!
And I've even saved the best for last because personally, I thought that the Wily Stage tracks in Mega Man 10 were to die for! And Wily Stage 1 might be the best one because, well, there are three distinct tracks that play in this one level! At the beginning of this epic stage, you are just outside of Wily's castle as a thick rainstorm is pouring down. A calm, fitting melody plays in the background and you do battle with some enemies that will remind you of the Big Eyes found in the original Mega Man game (an awesome tribute to MM1 in my opinion). Once you enter the castle, the lights suddenly flicker on and frantic boss music plays. And you suddenly find yourself fighting the likes of Elec Man from MM1, Wood Man from MM2, and Gemini Man from MM3!! How sweet is that? The best part comes after you defeat these enemies from the days of yore, however. Suddenly, incredibly epic, adrenaline-pumping music begins to play and it simply carries you through this amazing, multi-pathed Wily Stage. By the end of this stage, you will have faced one robot master (in essence) from each of the previous nine games. And the music from start to finish is simply fantastic! My good friend Josh Zawel (your name is now on my site, Josh!) even went so far as to say that this stage alone might enough to push this game as a whole over Mega Man 9!
What's really special about all of this is that...it's only the first stage of Wily's Castle! The track that plays in the second Wily Stage is sensational as well (almost as good as Wily 1 even!) and the other tracks certainly don't disappoint. Without spoiling too much, I want to say that the game's final stage features an exceptional remix of the main story theme. I loved it and thought that it created the perfect atmosphere for the climax of this wonderful game. And the final battle tracks along with the game's ending theme was, like MM9, fantastic!
Play Control: Honestly, all you really need to know regarding the controls in Mega Man 10 are that they are pretty much a carbon copy of the goodness found in Mega Man 9. I say "pretty much" because a new character makes his first appearance in the original Mega Man series: Bass! Unless you include the Mega Man & Bass game as canon (seems like a fair question considering that the ending of that game appeared in Mega Man 9's ending), this is your first opportunity to play through a classic Mega Man game as the Blue Bomber's arch-rival. And Bass really alters the way you think about things because of his ability to shoot in literally any direction (even diagonally!) and dash as well. It shakes things up nicely in terms of gameplay and is enough of a reason to play through the game at least three times (assuming you play through as Mega Man and Protoman initially). The Blue Bomber and his bro control exactly like they did in MM9 which is perfectly fine since the play control in MM9 was practically flawless!
Not that it really affects the controls but I do wish that the special weapons would have been more fun to use in Mega Man 10. Compared to the awesome arsenal of weapons found in Mega Man 9, the Mega Man 10 special weapons are pretty wimpy. They do have some pretty cool uses (e.g. the Chill Spike can freeze objects as large as trucks, the Wheel Cutter allows you to quickly scale any wall) but overall, they tend to lean heavily on the technical side (versus being extremely powerful) which is not always a good thing. Granted, the weapons set in MM10 is certainly better (or at least more intuitive) than a few other Mega Man games in the series but I suppose the MM9 weapons spoiled me quite a bit. I'm probably just being picky.
Challenge: While I personally loved the high difficulty level of Mega Man 9, I thought that Capcom really helped their cause by including the new Easy Mode in Mega Man 10. As a result, this game is much more accessible to the more "noobish" gamers out there which is a great thing! I have read quite a few statements posted by fellow gamers stating that they had been intimidated by previous Mega Man games and suddenly felt inclined to give the series a try. And now, many of them are hooked on the Mega Man series! Extending the already large fanbase by adding the Easy Mode was quietly a stroke of genius on Capcom's part. They definitely seem to know which strings to pull don't they?
Regarding the main game, I thought that Capcom actually showed slightly more mercy in terms of the challenge level than the brutal bludgeoning otherwise known as Mega Man 9. Granted, MM10 still has its fair share of brutal spots (the sandstorms, floating enemies, spikes, and pits in Commando Man's stage have broken more than their fair share of gamers) but overall, it's probably somewhere in the middle of the series in terms of overall challenge. Of course, this isn't saying a whole lot since this is not a series known for being easy!
However, if the discussion involves the game's Hard Mode, then we have something to talk about because playing the game on this difficulty is absolutely brutal! There are additional enemies in this mode, oftentimes placed in perfect spots to cheaply knock you off the edge of a platform (with instant death chasms always nearby...I might have known...) for one thing. In addition, the disappearing blocks in certain stages such as Sheep Man's normally docile domain are now altered and some of the blocks are in mind-blowing spots! Yikes!! Along with those new tricks up the game's sleeve, even the robot masters have additional attacks that they can use which make the boss battles really tough without energy tanks or special weapons. I honestly appreciated this surprise for sure because you really had to change your strategies on the fly! It almost feels like the Hard Mode was the default difficulty that Capcom wanted to use for the game but perhaps they decided not to use it because of its intensity. Whatever the case, Mega Man 10 truly has something for everyone and is a game that anyone who is even average at games should be able to pick up and enjoy. And that is always a good thing for sure! The more Mega Man fans they are, the better I say!
In addition to three difficulty options and three playable characters (Mega Man, Protoman, and Bass), Mega Man 10 features tons of bonus content which should keep even the most diehard Blue Bomber fans happy! There is a new Challenges List similar to the one found in Mega Man 9 that offers new ways to test your Mega Man merit along with a brand new Endless Challenge that will undoubtedly leave you sobbing like a sissy after losing to that danged bird holding the freaking bomb for the 50th time. Seriously, the Endless Challenge in MM10 is actually really, really impressive (easily better than the MM9 one) and it gives a respectful nod to several previous games in the series by including similar graphics and platform sequences. As far as difficulty goes, I think that this Endless Challenge is much more difficult than the MM9 one due to even more instant deaths and really difficult areas that are bound to end your game at some point.
In addition to the aforementioned goodies, Mega Man 10 offers not one, not two, but three special stages! And all three of them are a blast to play! Graphically, musically, and gameplay-wise, they are all really enjoyable to play and I am sure that fans of the classic Game Boy games will shed a sentimental tear or two...especially when they meet the various bosses for the first time! I won't spoil it here but let me just say that if you played the Game Boy games growing up, you're in for a really special treat!
Storyline: Although it once again isn't extraordinary by any stretch, I thought that the story in this game was actually pretty good. It captivated me a bit more than the good but not all that exciting MM9 plot anyway. Something about it just seemed a bit more epic than usual...especially towards the end of the game.
Basically, the tenth Mega Man game begins with the Blue Bomber's sister, Roll, contracting a mysterious illness. Dubbed Roboenza, this virus apparently affects only robots and causes their systems to weaken with a sort of sickness. Over time, it also begins to cause damage to their core systems with even some of the more docile robots becoming violent. Although Roll seems to be okay in this regard, the story progresses when many of the robots throughout the world become not only violent, but unified through a common goal: to take over the world!
While everyone and their mom is screaming at their television sets that Dr. Wily is once again behind everything, the plot thickens when the mad doctor himself crash-lands near Dr. Light's Lab with Mega Man of all people saving Dr. Wily and his dastardly spaceship. Apparently, Wily was able to discover a cure for this illness but before he was able to mass-produce the vaccine, one of the maverick robots (I just had to throw in that word!) stole the medicine-making machine.
All you really need to know is that Mega Man offers to help Dr. Wily locate this machine so that the current threat can be quelled. I'm not even going to try to insult your intelligence here so I will just say this..."Do not trust Dr. Wily...ever!" Okay...I'm good.
Once again, it isn't a great story but I thought that the idea of robots going crazy/mad/insane was quite intriguing...especially when you consider that the futuristic Mega Man X series almost completely bases the core of its story on the concept of normal Reploids (technologically advanced humanoids similar to the ones found in the Mega Man series) fighting Mavericks (Reploids who have basically gone mad or insane due to the effects of the Sigma Virus). It does makes you think about possible connections between this series and the X series...despite what Keiji Inafune has said about the Classic series being completely separate from the X series.
Funfactor: Like Mega Man 9 and virtually the entire series, Mega Man 10 is an absolute blast to play! Despite the gameplay being virtually identical to other games in the series (the NES games in particular), the new stages, new robot masters, and new Wily levels make this game as special as they come. Incredibly, Capcom followed up one of their best games in the series in Mega Man 9 with yet another pantheon performance! I never thought that I would be saying this but we actually have a modern-day equivalent of the legendary Mega Man 2 and 3 classics. The ninth and tenth Mega Man games are both incredibly fun, well-made video games that really have no glaring weaknesses. You can tell that a lot of thought went into making these games as good as they could possibly be and I think that Capcom nailed it both times (and Inti Creates as well...they did a fantastic job on both Mega Man games they've done!)
Although it has become old hat and possibly a worn out tradition to say this, the graphics, music, play control, and gameplay in this game simply scream Mega Man. The controls are once again near perfect, the challenge level is pretty high/unfair at times (especially in Hard Mode...may God have mercy on the brave souls that attempt to beat that!), and the classic, simple-yet-difficult-to-master gameplay will never grow old or tiresome. After playing Mega Man 1 all the way through Mega Man 10 during a recent Mega Man Marathon with my good friend Josh Zawel (You've now been mentioned twice, Josh! You owe me another pizza dude!), it is now absolutely crystal clear that at least to me personally, the original Mega Man series is something that will never lose its luster or become lost to the mists of time like so many mediocre, unoriginal video games of the past. The winning formula that started way back on a typical wintry night in late 1987 has only grown stronger over time as evidenced by the immense success of both Mega Man 9 and 10 (the "cyberspace" Mega Man games). Now that's the stuff that legends are made of! Here's to hoping that Capcom will continue to give the fans what they want and that before too long, we'll be able to get our greedy mits on Mega Man 11!
Negatives: The first thing that comes to mind has to be the underwhelming set of special weapons in Mega Man 10. Now granted, some of them were actually pretty cool (the Triple Blade weapon is sweet in that the trajectory varies slightly depending on whether you shoot it when standing versus jumping and it's somewhat powerful to boot!) but a few of them are almost completely worthless (the Thunder Wool and Rebound Striker come to mind) with others being average at best (the Chill Spike and Wheel Cutter probably fit in this department). What you are left with is the pretty good Pump Shield, decent Solar Wave and Commando Bomb weapons (although the C. Bomb in particular can be really tough to execute properly), and the Triple Blade. Even the weakest weapons in Mega Man 9 were more fun to use than most of these choices. Meh...maybe I'm just being nit-picky.
Other than that minor gripe, I am honestly at a loss for words here because Mega Man 10 really has no major problems! Granted, the story is probably the weakest link by default but even it was somewhat intriguing in this game. And the background graphics, although improved in MM10, are still not quite as good as, say, Mega Man 5. The fact that the gameplay remains virtually the same as every other game in the series might turn off some of the more impatient fans who are dying to see something new. The same could be said of the classic yet extremely dated 8-bit graphics as well. Personally, I see no reason why Capcom should mess with a formula that works. But perhaps at some point, they could enhance the graphics and musical quality while leaving the near-perfect controls and gameplay alone. Although many fans might disagree, I thought that Mega Man 8 actually accomplished this feat beautifully!
Ratings: Graphics: 4.3 Music: 4.8 Play Control: 4.8 Challenge: 4.8 Storyline: 4.0 Funfactor: 4.9 Overall Score: 27.6 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Golden Classic!!
Back to Wii WondersLast Updated: February 26, 2011