After 2008’s release of the brand new (yet distinctly retro) title Mega Man 9, it seems that Capcom couldn’t resist the glorious symmetry of matching up 2010 with Mega Man 10.
The last title was well received by gamers, particularly those of a certain age who were happy to let it lead them down a rose tinted path back to their childhood. Complete with punishing 90’s style difficulty level. The game certainly took no prisoners and was able to make even the most gentile gamer produce language that could strip wallpaper from twenty yards away.
With this in mind, one of Mega Man 10’s touted features is the inclusion, for the first time, of an easy mode. This throws a bundle of health into the mix as well as adding platforms over spikes and drops to make traversing the levels easier. Note the use of the word `easier`, because Capcom’s idea of easy isn’t the same as ours, and probably even yours. Despite the additions, the game is far from being a pushover and has no qualms about stripping you straight back to the start or midway point of a level if you die. The mode is still a welcome addition for those who felt like playing the last outing was the equivalent of trying to swim through treacle, but like a violent partner who’s supposedly reformed, Mega Man 10 will have the occasional relapse and, out of the blue, belt you across the face.
The other mechanics of the game remain the same as every other Mega Man title, but this time around the difficulty level is not Mega Man 10’s biggest problem. Instead it feels more like, quite frankly, the ideas have rapidly dried up. The Robot Masters are a prime example and while it must be pretty difficult to come up with original ideas after all this time, they’ve managed to throw some together. Take Sheep Man (which is literally what it sounds like) who, at first glance, seems like a pretty bonkers character. The problem comes not with the character itself but his setting. If you were to ask someone to suggest off the top of their head what his stage might consist of, it’s a good bet that many people would say something related to farming, sheep, or even other livestock. Instead his stage is based inside a computer with lots of binary numbers and giant mouse cursors for enemies. Some of the other Robot Masters follow the same obscure pattern, with Commando Man’s stage being… a desert?! The end result is the feeling that you’re playing a massive non sequitur.
While flagging up problems with the settings of a Mega Man game may seem pretty absurd, they’re indicative of a bigger problem. Stripped of the novelty factor which, a little under two years ago, made outing number Nine so appealing, this latest retro outing needed to work a lot harder to be catch your attention and be worth the cash. Whether or not it meets these criteria will be very dependent on how much of a Mega Man nut you are. We’re guessing that for the majority of people, it just won’t be enough.