Mega Man 9: 8-Bits of Fun?

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By now you’ve no doubt heard of the new Mega Man title coming this Fall or Winter. Lots of confusion as to what platforms it will launch on. Wii-Ware has been confirmed, and Xbox Live Arcade is all but confirmed. But the other issues I am having all fall into different categories.

First: 8-bit? Really? I’m with Nintendo Wii Fanboy’s opinion that 8-bit game design is an art. I can appreciate that. But why does it seem so impossible to design a game with that classic platformer gameplay and do some cool graphics? Even using the Mega Man X “engine” (was it considered an “engine” in the days of side-scrolling sprites?) would be a nice little improvement. But it seems that every time somebody wants to gloss something up, visually, then they get side tracked trying to makea 3-D as well. Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project is one of my favorite good examples of combining old school play with more contemporary graphics and design.

Based on just a few screenshots, the experienced eye might guess that this Mega Man 9 will be loosely based around the Mega Man III (3) engine. I could be wrong – after all, I never got the Blue Bomber to “duck” or flatten-out like the screen shot above. Plus each of the Mega Man titles used to play just a little different, but if my prediction is right, you can get your reaction time fine-tuned by going back and playing the third installment.

My next gripe… er… question, comes along the lines of controls. If the game launches for Xbox Live Arcade, it seems pretty straightforward. But on the Wii? If they’re going with the classic game-design style, they simply must go with a classic control scheme. Holding the Wii Remote like a classic NES controller and going to town on it. I hope! If I have to wave my arms around like I’m Harry freakin’ Potter, I’ll be quite disappointed.

With all of that on the table, I’m still looking forward to Mega Man 9. It will be a great return to something classic, and I have confidence that, if anyone, Capcom can do justice to bringing back a classic franchise without malforming it “because they can” (are you listening, Nintendo? Mario doesn’t always need gadgets like water jets and star guns!). The saddest part about this article? We’ve still got months before we’re going to know anything more!

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