The Blue Bomber returns to save the day from a mysterious robot virus in Capcom's Mega Man 10, the latest installment in the long-running series. It follows in the footsteps of 2008's Mega Man 9, returning to the series' roots in a classic NES style adventure. Has the nostalgia worn off, or do some new additions keep this throwback feeling fresh?
It's business as usual for Mega Man, who's out to dispatch eight robot masters en route to uncovering the cure to Roboenza, a virus that's causing robots everywhere to go haywire. It's typical Mega Man fare, with all the campy moments we've come to expect. While its predecessor had more fun mocking the series' running gags and themes, 10 has its moments. The story elements are a nice touch, but this time around, it's more about the action.
Mega Man 10 features many of the modes found in its predecessor, though it tags on a new challenge mode with 100 various tests of skill that really extend the replay value. The main game has you inching your way to the eight robot masters and the inevitable levels beyond leading up to the final confrontation. There's action aplenty with hardly a moment's rest as you tackle numerous enemies, death traps, and obstacles. Though you'll have to deal with a fair number of segments that require mere trial and error, there are check points to alleviate some of the tedium. One cool touch with the boss battles is that even after you discover a given one's weakness, you'll often still have a challenge ahead of you.
The inclusion of an easy mode allows those prone to frustration to become accustomed to the game's mechanics and levels. Think of it as Mega Man on training wheels. The normal setting kicks things up a notch, as obstacles, enemies, and even the boss attacks are more aggressive. If things get too difficult, you can head back over to the shop introduced in Mega Man 9 to purchase power-ups to even the odds.
Several hours of challenging action await you no matter which difficulty setting you take on, and there's tons of replay value with the online leaderboards and the new challenge mode.
Like its predecessors, Mega Man 10 requires insane reflexes in order to jump and blast your way to victory. The controls are as responsive as ever; it feels like classic Mega Man. This time around, Proto Man joins the fight, and you'll be able to play as either character from the get-go. Proto Man mixes it up with his ability to slide, charge his shots, and deflect enemy attacks with his shield while in mid-air, but as a trade-off, he takes more damage per hit. It's a welcome addition to have him available immediately rather than as DLC as before.
Another improvement is the ability to quickly toggle between your secondary weapons via the shoulder buttons, something sorely missing in Mega Man 9. As for the secondary weapons themselves, they're more unique than before, and most have multiple functions, many of which lend themselves to clever, fun uses.
Mega Man 10 succeeds in reproducing an 8-bit style, though with refinements that wouldn't have been possible back in the olden days. The level and enemy designs evoke classic Mega Man, and overall, the visuals surpass the more simplistic look of its predecessor. As for the music, it's a more diverse mix with great tunes, but it doesn't quite approach the series' best.
Capcom has once again successfully recreated a classic Mega Man game while improving the package with tweaks and new content. Those intimidated or even frustrated by the normal difficulty of a Mega Man game can fall back on the easy mode, making the experience more accessible than ever. The Blue Bomber once again proves he still has what it takes.
Reviewed on Nintendo WiiWare.