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Friday, 20 February 2009

Mega Man (NES)

I'm sitting here licking my wounds after a lengthy session on Mega Man, my first ever. I did say I had some huge gaps in my gaming knowledge... it might have been better if I'd left a Mega Man sized gap!

I'm not saying that because Mega Man is a bad game... I'm saying it because it's absolutely rock hard. As platformers go, this is one of the most difficult I've ever played. And I'm no soft touch... you're looking at the blog of a man who has completed Monty on the Run without the cheat (take that, C5 section!).

Mega Man celebrated its twenty-first birthday last year, a year which also saw the release of Mega Man 9 on the modern consoles. That was my first experience of a Mega Man game, although I only played the demo. I quite enjoyed that, and in playing this I see how accurate the new version is in terms of replicating all the fans' favourite parts of the original games. Good work there, Capcom.

This game is quite clever, in that it allows you to choose any of its six levels to start on, with bonuses for completing the level being higher depending on which boss you choose to tackle (although apparently defeating all six unlocks a seventh). That must have been quite a novel feature for the time.

Not that it matters that much... it's probably going to take you ages before you even see the easiest boss! I tried all six levels and got the mother of all arse-kickings on each one. Well, I say that... my arse was definitely kicked harder on some levels than on others. The Elecman level seemed particularly harsh... I couldn't even get off the first screen with my first life!

But, a bit of perseverance paid off, and I saw myself beginning to learn the patterns and layouts and beginning to progress a bit. I'm encouraged by this, because it means that I might carry on playing it to see just what I'm capable of. If I'd constantly died at the same places, I just wouldn't have bothered.

I can see why Mega Man has such a reputation. It's revered in many quarters, and it was released in a time when we all had more patience with our games, and would have thought nothing of sitting for hours at a time with a game, trying to figure it out. That's usually how we develop our fondness for games... they don't even have to be good, they just tend to get etched into our brains due to the time we spend with them. I liked this, and I might even spend some of my spare points on Mega Man 9 for the XBox 360.

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