Archive for September 29th, 2008

Performance Review – Mega Man 9: From Hell’s Heart I Stab At Thee

September 29, 2008

Everyone is up in arms about Mega Man 9. A new sequel to the classic series that’s resurfacing after ten years. That was enough to send the hardcore fanboys into a tizzy. Then Capcom really pushed their joy button: it wouldn’t be returning to the cartoony sprites of Mega Man 8 or going the polygonal route… it would look just like the NES installments that the fans have a fondness for. And they went nuts for it. What a ballsy move! The mock box art they produced a few months later that poked fun at Mega Man 1‘s original shitty box art made them even giddier. It’d be just like the old days!

Then the game launched on WiiWare and the locust-like fans descended upon it and devoured it in record time. Reviews flew up left and right from die-hard fans spewing jizz all over the game’s aesthetics, gameplay, music and challenge. But most of all, its nostalgia. Hell, this blog even produced one of those. But what about those that are uninitiated? What about the gamers that never grew up with a NES or Mega Man to play on Saturday mornings? What about those with no fond memories tied to the Blue Bomber? Would they have anything nice to say about it?

I knew something smelled about Mega Man 9 the moment I saw that fucking awful box art. It was the stench of pandering. Of manipulation. Capcom knew exactly what it was doing by going back to NES sprites. It was preying upon its loyal fanbase, feeding upon the memories of Mega Man 2. It seemed less like appealing to our sense of good gameplay and more about appealing to our sense of nostalgia. Play our game, it’ll make you feel like you’re back in 1988. It all seemed so very underhanded and slick; predatory.

Well here I am to give you an impression of the game that’s untainted by goggles of vaseline-smeared nostalgia, unfettered by years or training to play this type of game and uncaring of the feelings of anyone it happens to cross on the way to its inexorable opinion. I hope this grump ruins friendships. I hope it dissolves marriages. I hope it scorches the very earth it stands on and poisons the water until all that’s left is blackness. There will be no getting along, no compromises, no uneasy truces.