365//365: Day 066 – Mega Man 10 Review (Wii)

03.07.2010

With the barrage of Mega Man reviews lately (not to mention in the coming weeks), it’s sort of reinvigorated my love and admiration for the series, no matter how feeble-minded some of the titles were (Mega Man 5) or how the reinvention fell flat on its face (Mega Man 8). Last year, Capcom released Mega Man 9, complete with old school graphics, 8 bit sound and music, yet the same tight and immensely satisfying gameplay the Mega Man series has been known for. The problem? It was a lot more difficult than any Mega Man title before it, due to a lot of artificial methods of death (pitfalls aplenty, instant-kill spikes being a little too prominent, as well as some lackluster character designs/powers) . While this new release was indeed an entertaining blast from the past, the difficulty really cramped down on the overall enjoyment, not to mention the overly yawn-inducing bosses and powers.

Just recently, Capcom decided to tap back into the proverbial cow and milk us another title, with Mega Man 10. While the previous installment reintroduced us to the blue bomber, as well as introduce a whole new generation to what a real challenge in video games looks like (albeit a bit too extreme compared to the older titles), Mega Man 10 is that title I have been waiting for since the third installment, for better or for worse.

A lot of the difficult bits are done in an intelligent manner, although there are still the instant-death scenarios, though not as prevalent as previous installment.

There’s been three sticking points that have pulled the series down into a slow and steady form of mediocrity — the once mighty musical presentation, boss names as well as their powers, and stage designs. Mega Man 9 didn’t fare overly well in these departments, with certain portions of certain stages directly ripped off from previous Mega Man titles (Splash Woman’s bubble platform segment first appeared in Mega Man 5 during Wave Man’s stage, with seemingly copied death spike placements, bubble platform placements, etc.) With Mega Man 10 however, all three of these stumbling blocks have been rebuilt, creating a solid foundation to the game as a whole. Lets take a look at why each of these three aspects are better than anything the series has seen since Mega Man 3 or 4:

The Music

With each stage, there seems to be a much more dedicated focus on making the music more prominent than it has been over the years. Mega Man 5 – 9 really didn’t grab me in any way, shape or form. It felt as if the devs were going through the motions after Mega Man 4, just for the sake of making more money, and that’s not just based upon the musical composition. As pleasing as Mega Man 9 was at times, the music really wasn’t anything special. In Mega Man 10 however, while it’s not as powerful and lasting as Mega Man 2 and 3, it’s definitely the best since those two titles. The boss select screen sounds a bit subdued, though has that feeling like you’re making a tough decision as to who to chase after next. Selecting the boss, you’ll be treated to a familiar remix of previous post boss selection music, which sounds  impressive as an 8 bit composition can.

Each stage from there on in does its best to provide something fitting to either the boss of the stage, the setting of the stage, or both. Solar Man stands out as not only the best stage theme in the game, but one of the best in the series, providing some wicked 8 bit beats and giving you a sense of hot action coming towards you soon, which is fitting since Solar Man’s stage is the token fire stage of Mega Man. Boss battles have a heightened sense of urgency as well, though not as poignant as even Mega Man 4, but much better than the five games after it. Top to bottom, it’s the best soundtrack since Mega Man 3, which is a compliment held in high regards.

These large ice bricks break after two hits, or after you jump on them twice. Watch how you traverse through this stage!

The Bosses

The boss robots of the Mega Man franchise have had quite an unusual history. The first two titles contained creatively named bosses (for what their powers were, not necessarily just their name alone), as well as some powers that seemed to have fit each boss, their personality and their theme to a tee. Mega Man 3 started showing a noticeable trend with the powers and a bit with the name selection being rather dry and uninspiring, whereas Mega Man 4 began the apparent downward spiral of the famed franchises boss robots. Mega Man 9 didn’t necessarily contain the most sensational set of bosses and powers either, even with the first “female” boss being introduced. Seems like this time around, Capcom really thought hard about how to present each robot, as well as their powers.

The result? Some clever takes on old gimmicks, as well as a few new robots that, although they don’t necessarily fit the bill as evil robots, the “story” helps formulate an appropriate reason as to why such robots exist. Sorta. You have some original takes on the tired and true elemental bosses (Pump Man has a water pump head and a water shield, however the shield can absorb up to six projectile hits, so long as the spinning barrier hits the projectile its self, not to mention you can shoot off your shield in a rotary-like blast off). Then you have some original designs that work well (Blade Man with his blade hands and blade head that he uses to his advantage during the battle). You even have some bosses that sound absolutely idiotic on paper, but deliver in game (Sheep Man, although he’s just an electric boss modeled into something totally original). Each of these bosses have an outstanding character design, going above and beyond previous Mega Man titles. Chill Man looks like a robotized version of Mr. Freeze, and ends up being one of the coolest boss models ever (no pun intended).

Strike Man -- combined with his themed stage and backgrounds, he feels nearly as creditable as some of the Mega Man 3 bosses.

The Stages

For the most part, after the third installment, Capcom really didn’t put much effort into having a stage that properly fit the boss at the end of it. Mega Man 10 has some of the more inventive stage layouts and interactive stages than previous titles. Nitro Man’s stage is a stand out for its constant use of speeding trucks that you have to nimbly hop onto, and either stay on them to traverse through the section quickly, or hop off to avoid being thrown into instant-death spikes (which all have placements that don’t negatively impact or impede your progress, for the greater majority of it all). It’s clever in the way that you can cut down your time in the stage significantly if you know how to and when to hop on and off the truck. Commando Man has a few portions of the level where a giant sand avalanche will try to push you off screen and into a pit or instant-death spike. You can escape these death traps by standing nest to a raised ledge to give you a protective wall from the push, or Rush Jet by as fast as your Jet can go. Chill Man has portions of the stage that break away when jumped on twice or hit with a projectile twice, making for some slippery travels. Even without these newer gimmicks or rehashed gimmicks, certain stages fit the look of the boss to a tee, such as Strike Man with his stadium-like background, playing off the fact that Strike Man throws what looks like baseballs mixed with Pokeballs at you.

A unique twist to Nitro Man's stage are the speeding trucks that you need to jump on top of, and either ride them a short distance, or jump off them.

Everything in-between has been left untouched, or tuned to the players advantage. Once again Mega Man is without his charged Mega Buster and slide maneuvers, but you’ll hardly miss them, as most encounters are tuned to these omissions. You can play as Proto Man through each stage just like Mega Man, complete with the omitted Mega Buster and slide moves, although he cannot take damage well whatsoever. If you want to play Hard Mode off the bat, play through the game as Proto Man. The story is the throw away nonsense that the franchise has been known for, involving a robot virus affecting robots and driving some crazy, though a typical third act awaits you. The game is short, but then again, the franchise has never been known for its high playtime, even with such titles as Mega Man 4, where you had to complete two moderately short end castles.

There’s a minor control issue with the Wii version, thanks to button placements on the Wiimote. You’ll oftentimes encounter moments where your weapons will change over to the next one in stock, without any conscious effort on your part in activating this changeover. This is thanks to the placements of the A and B buttons. During the heat of battle, you occasionally hit one of these buttons and throw off your momentum, with some unfortunate deaths occurring every so often thanks to this mishap. If you have a Classic Controller, take advantage of it and don’t bother with the Wiimote. If you do not possess a Classic Controller and have to make due with the Wiimote, just be aware that your thumb might hit the A button and change your weapon during the heat of the moment (thanks to the minuscule d-pad), or the way you handle the Wiimote in general will trigger a weapon change from the….trigger.

Finally, you have your in-game achievement system, similar to the one found in the previous installment. While they really don’t add anything of importance, they are a reason for perfectionists to come back and play the game repeatedly in order to obtain every single one of these achievements. It’s a nice addition regardless, as it shows that Capcom went the extra mile to lengthen the experience in more ways than one.

Chill Man -- an elementary design, yet looks quite bad ass.

Even without an achievement system, Mega Man 10 manages to hook you in with its clever stage layouts, creative bosses with more thought given to their powers and designs, and a commendable soundtrack. If you’ve never played a Mega Man title, what you’ll find with Mega Man 10 is an old school romp that will put your hand-eye coordination to the test, and provide you with an example of how enjoyable the 2D platforming genre was during the NES days. The game never gets overbearingly difficult, but will definitely challenge you. If you find the game to be a bit too hard on you, try playing on Easy Mode, where instant death is mostly negated. Mega Man 10 has the honor of being considered one of the best Mega Man titles ever, with a masterful blend of entertainment, challenge and high replay value. That’s something most recent big budget blockbusters seem to lack these days. It’s a $10 game — one of the biggest deals this generation thus far. Kudos to Capcom for finally giving the series a proper and thorough revival, while retaining the original look and feel that made this series so endearing in the first place.

Rating: 8.9


Jason V.

I am the Co-Editor-in-Chief here at Chocolate Lemon. Over the last 15 years, I have been writing gaming articles here and there, including my time with GameSages, a then IGN affiliated video game code database that's now owned by IGN, as well as my near four year stay on this very site. I'm quite the gaming enthusiast, have a somewhat "old school" soul, and enjoy a wide variety of geeky shows, movies and so on. Follow me on Twitter @Jas0nVelez



  • http://krismas.deviantart.com/ Krismas

    I has a problem here. Forgive me for being very opinionated but i believe that you are not giving the proper credit to previous megaman titles. Being a Megaman fanatic myself, I have been put through all of the highs and the lows the series has offered us all. My favorite is of course MM2 but i do have love for all of the games in some shape or form. I have just beaten MM10 today and after having quite an extended session with it (close to six hours) i can see where my love for it stems from and what problems i have with it.
    First we will start off with stages as this is a relatively quick point to make. One of the things that has made Megaman such a strong series is of course the creativity and inventiveness of the stages you must go through to reach the robot masters. If you look at the stages you’ll see the same old tricks and traps repeated time and again from MM1 all the way to MM10. There is not a single trick that they haven’t recycled in some way, enemies included. I can’t really take that argument about copied segments serious at all. MM10 stages are very very well done i must say. there were very few points that seemed like there was no effort put into them, and they were all very enjoyable.
    on to the next point. The bosses. MM10 delivered only a portion of the Robot Master greatness we have come to know and love. Roughly half of the bosses in MM10 lack any kind of greater appeal to them other than their stages or their power. Look at blademan. His stage was castle themed but the enemies and obstacles didn’t reverberate his design or power. Then when he fights all he does is cling to surface and shoot a spread of swords at you. His color palette and design leave much to be desired and we can’t even pin so much as a small semblance of personality on him. The same rings true for Solarman and Pumpman, although Pump’s stage was spot on unlike the others. In blade, pump, and sheep’s cases it seems like the designers didn’t think too hard about their design, at least not nearly as hard as previous attempts at the same theme of robots(See swordman and aquaman from MM8). The powers of some bosses covered a little bit of the lost ground. Strikeman, Commandoman, Pumpman, and Nitro have great weapons.
    And of course this leaves us with the music.
    MM10’s music was….inconsistent to say the least. A very select few of the stages lived up the quality of music the series has been known for. Solarman, Commandoman, and Nitro have shown that Capcom has still got the potential to give us worthwhile music. What keeps all of the other tracks from falling below mediocrity (except maybe blademan’s) is the fact that they are relevant to the theme of the stages they go to, and one can appreciate that. Many of the previous installments have had soundtracks that a good majority of songs included on them could stand on their own outside of the game, a quality most of the MM10 tracks do not have.
    To sum up each game in a nutshell starting from 5:
    MM5: The weakest point in this game where the bosses. Capcom tried thinking out of the box but didn’t give us a cast likable enough. With the exception of maybe Starman and Crystalman, the music for each stage was consistently above average, and while not the best soundtrack, it still grabs you. Stages were interesting and relevant as well as moderately enjoyable. A bit of difficulty here and there spiced things up a bit.
    MM6: Capcom was high on something when they made each of this installments masters. A centaur robot? a centaur robot that STOPS TIME?! I need not say more. The stages were inconsistenly relevant, it was a hit or miss thing. they got at least half of them right. the music was one of the weakest soundtracks theyve given us. It wasn’t a difficult game, but it wasn’t a cakewalk either.
    MM7: Capcom ventured onto a new console for the first time in the megaman series and they sought to take advantage of the consoles capabilities. The new graphics allowed them to create more detailed robot masters and were even able to inject a little bit of personality into them, a plus from a somewhat bland history of recent bosses at the time. The music had a different feel to it thanks to the SNES’ technology, and while it hindered most of the music’s ability to grab the player it created a few good tunes. The stages were difficult for mostly everyone because they required a lot more finesse than the older titles. trucking and tanking through stages was not an option.
    MM8: This was megaman’s first and last time on the Sega Saturn. With evern more tools at their disposal, Capcom took some major modifications into consideration. Boss concepts were the most detailed ever with stylized and distinctive looks to match their brand new personalities, the cimbination of which created one of the most original cast of bosses to date. The stages were equally stylized and very fun to play through with opportunities galore to have fun and experiment with all the different weaponry. The music in MM8 was very different from all 7 previous installments. It had a smoother feel to it and it was a lot more modernized. the soundtrack was easily the most capable of being standalone, even if it wasn’t the most well-received. Apart from self imposed restrictions however, the game was pretty easy.
    I’ll comment on MM9 later.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Jas0nVelez Jason V.

    I appreciate the comments and views on MM10, as well as some of the later titles, Krismas!

    In terms of bosses, I really started to harbor a massive amount of frustration with how they looked, the powers they had and the powers they gave you around Mega Man 3, but more so on the 4th installment. After the second title, it really started to show how unoriginal Capcom started to become. Mega Man 3 passed, if just barely. I did like Top Man’s power, but not his character model. Hard Man was just ridiculous. Every release after that, there seemed to be less emphasis on mixing together clever bosses, original powers and having it all fit each stages theme.

    Guys like Nitro Man, Chill Man and Strike Man really showed that Capcom tried to make the experience from the beginning of the stage, right on through to capturing your enemies powers, either as original, entertaining or cohesive as possible. Nitro Man is inventive, as his stage more than matches who he is, with a sort of fast paced stage, thanks to those trucks that rush on by. The music has a good fit as well, as its fast paced and has a lot going on in the piece. How he attacks you in terms of trying to run you over is clever, though the power is a bit goofy, not to mention never goes off when I want it to.

    With Blade Man, his music seems more fitting for a Wily Castle segment more than anything. The stage layout is a bit odd, definitely, with the only medieval overtones from the enemies and obstacles coming from that annoying axe enemy. I do appreciate the fact that the stage and the boss are not that easy to get through for the most part, but the obstacles are not necessarily fitting the background. I do like the model, as he’ll dive at you head first and make use of his odd model.

    Enemies like Strike Man, have a real good cohesion between his look, power, stage and enemies. You have that mini boss with the soccer balls, those cannons that shoot out baseballs and footballs, as well as the themed background to match the obstacles you’ll face, with a boss that definitely fits the bill, as well as that musical piece that makes you feel like you’re at a ball game of some sort.

    I think the biggest draw with the bosses, stages, music and powers in MM10 is that usually two of the four aspects are matched with each robot, something past titles have lacked quite a bit. Your point about Centaur Man is exactly the example I’d use. Okay, the character model isn’t bad, but the power, stage layout and music all failed. Mega Man 9 didn’t catch me with much of anything. The stages felt way way too long and it didn’t feel like a genuine effort to reintroduce gamers to a series that’s been one of the most memorable in gaming.

    I’m running through every single Mega Man title before June 30th. If I knew I was going to be hooked into the series again, I would have started from the first game, and slowly run through them all, plus the Game Gear Mega Man game, and I think one or two others (not Rockman & Forte). I definitely do have a considerable appreciation for the first three Mega Man titles (3 is my favorite of the series so far, with 10 surprisingly behind it) and the series as a whole. 4 was where it started to slowly decline. From what you’ve said about 5-7, it seems like we’re on a similar wave length. I’m about to play 8 this week for the first time in years, so I can’t comment much on it. All I remember is that voice acting….”Dr Wiwy?”

    I think I may switch around some release dates on my reviews. Mega Man 1 is slated for Day 93, Mega Man 2 is Day 114, and the rest are much later, with 5-9 in June I think. I’ll move them around somewhat and get them released a bit closer to each other. But rest assured — I do love and appreciate the series as a whole. I just have a ton of hang ups with the series after the third title, though the fourth wasn’t bad at all. It really felt like Capcom was going through the motions and not putting that care into it anymore. I mean, that Rush Suit device that let you punch enemies and other obstacles. About as idiotic as the Mega Soccer Ball from Mega Man 8, which I need to get to playing right now!