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Beating A Dead Robot Horse (And Loving Every Minute of It)
Capcom has had a long history of giving gamers more of what they want. Numerous incarnations of Street Fighter and Resident Evil have been released over the years, providing gamers with the next dose of their favourite series. Though it has gone through several changes, the most numerous of these is Mega Man. Throughout the years, Mega Man has consistently been a source of classic platforming games (except for those forays into the Roleplaying genre) and Capcom seems only happy to continue that tradition.
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Mega Man 10 throws the player right into the story before they even reach the title screen. A nasty virus (uncreatively called Roboenza) is infecting all of the world's robots and causing them to go nuts. Dr. Wily, Mega Man's arch enemy, shows up to claim innocence, and offers to help create an antidote. Mega Man's brother, Proto Man, offers his own strength to the cause (and gives the player someone to play as other than Mega Man.)
Mega Man 10 provides a solid platforming experience that matches the quality we've seen from Capcom over the years. Like Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10 uses the same graphics and gameplay of Mega Man 2. The graphics, while 8-bit, are all crisp and clear, and leave no doubt as to what you need to shoot and where you need to jump.
The music, as usual, is the incredible sort of retro techno that had gamers hand drumming on controllers then, and still gets remixed all over the place today. Each of the Robot Masters' themes is fitting of the level, and I can only hope that Capcom will release the soundtrack sometime soon.
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Modes of Play
The main mode of play can be accessed simply by choosing "New Game" on the main menu. Below that are options to load a saved game, the challenge mode, time attack mode, the achievements list, and the options menu. More options will be available for download in the near future, including an endless attack mode and three extra, tough stages.
Challenge mode will provide a list of challenges such as only being able to use the Mega Buster in a stage, or making it through a stage without taking any damage. Time attack will challenge the player to complete each of the stages as fast as possible. Achievements are, of course, just for bragging rights.
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Gameplay in Mega Man is as simple as it was back in the days of the NES. The Wii Remote is held sideways, like the controllers of old. The directional pad controls left and right movement, the 1 and 2 buttons control firing and jumping respectively, and the A and B buttons switch between weapons and other tools. The Minus button (-) will pull up an
options menu, while the Plus button (+) will open up a two page inventory listing all of your available weapons and the energy left in them, and the inventory of items you have available to use during the level. The inventory will also tell you how many lives you have left, and how much of the game's currency (bolts) you've picked up.
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Choosing to play Proto Man instead of Mega Man will give you a bit of a different play experience. He'll take more damage, and can't fire as quickly as Mega Man, but he can slide under enemies and charge up his shots. In addition, Proto Man's trademark shield will protect his front from small projectiles while he's jumping.
The game itself is a simple platformer in which you can choose the order of the first eight stages you visit. The goal is simple: jump and shoot your way through levels while trying to avoid hazards, and survive a battle with the Robot Master at the end of the level. Each Robot Master gives up its weapon upon defeat, and each of the bosses is weak against a specific weapon from one of the others. In the end, the player runs the gauntlet of a large, multi part level with plenty of mini-bosses, concluding with the mastermind behind the Roboenza infection.
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True to the series, Mega Man 10 is a ruthless and unforgiving platformer that only gets harder near the end. Enemies can come from out of nowhere to throw off the timing of a jump, and the instantly lethal spikes the series is notorious for lie in the most inopportune spot. Upon completing the game once, a hard mode is unlocked, providing an even greater challenge for veterans of the series. For those who are inexperienced, an easy mode exists, in which enemies are fewer, and most of the deadly pits and spikes are covered with safe platforms.
With the three available difficulty levels, Mega Man 10 is a game that anyone interested in the series can enjoy. Newer players can get a feel for Mega Man, while veterans can get their fill of ruthless action after unlocking hard mode.
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Mega Man 10 does the same things that previous games in the series have. Having said that, it does those things well. As long as the fans continue to enjoy the latest offerings of this successful series, sequels are inevitable. For a few hundred points more than the cost of the download, players can enjoy three new levels and a new mode coming in April. And for fans of the series, a familiar character from Mega Man's past will also be available to mix up the gameplay in April.