Megaman 9 & 10
 
I originally bought Megaman 9 when it first released. I played for a week, and found it way too hard to get attached to… It then sat on my Xbox 360 for over a year while I played through many other titles. I then had a new found appreciation for punishment arise, and I went back to the game. I was fueled by both my desire to play something I could feel that sense of accomplishment for beating (whatever happened to games doing that?!?) and also because I simply refused to let the game beat me. The one thing I did to help make things easier was simply searched the internet for the recommended Boss order… I know, cheating, but without this the game takes amazing dedication. Dedication that I had simply shown I didn’t have. After doing that I bought into this difficulty. I was willing to play Jewel Man’s stage 50+ times because I knew it was what needed to be done next… Whereas before, each death seemed magnified because even if I did pass the stage I may end up being destroyed in the boss battle… I simply didn’t know. Armed with that knowledge I found the frustration more tolerable, and the reward of adrenaline when defeating a robot master greatly amplified.
 
One reason I moved my way back to MM9 was a side project I have recently joined up on. I hope to share more on that soon, but basically I am working with some other developers to make a non-sanctioned Megaman Game (completely free, and Flash based). Thus this game became research as well. After playing it more and finding the enjoyment come back, Megaman 10 went on sale on XBLA… I had to buy it. MM10 came with some great improvements to controls and overall gameplay (of which we plan on implementing in our game!). The major one is the ability to quickly scroll through powers using the bumpers… ingenious! This has always been a complaint of mine with these games. Having to navigate the silly power menu was a waste of time, and took me out of gameplay. This is very evident in sections where you switch weapons fast and often (Dr. Wily’s stages).
 
In playing the two games, I have had ups and downs… moments of brilliance and disaster. There are things I really enjoy about the two new games. The “Bolt” system is fantastic. The ability to purchase helper items is great. It allows the player to customize the difficulty in a sense. This is much more rewarding that a Easy/Meduim/Hard setting. You pick and choose where your strengths and weaknesses are. Some of the unique level mechanics are brilliant. Tornado Man has the spinning battery looking things that are a pain in the ass, but amazingly fun. Jewel Man has the extremely frustrating pendulums. Many great mechanics were added to these levels to make them shine. All of these great features are something we hope to touch on in our game.
 
Megaman has gone through so many iterations since its beginnings, and I hope to get a sit down with each as I work on this side project (specifically I have been told the Megaman X line is great… I have played none of them). I am very excited to be part of a game that features such classic level design. I am a level designer at heart, and this style of game is a dream to work on. I will continue playing these games, and hopefully soon I will have an update to the project to share with everyone.
Saturday, July 31, 2010