Friday, October 10, 2008

Fantasy Zone II Remake & Mega Man 9

First: yes, the Fantasy Zone II Remake in the recently released Fantasy Zone Complete Collection is pretty dang fantastic. Kurt Kalata's got a writeup over at HG101, and there's a youtube video you can watch here - it's got a link to a demo of the Windows version, too!

Mega Man 9, too, is pretty great. It's a lot less interesting to me at face value, just because hey - it's Mega Man 9, y'know? This franchise has had its time in the sun, and while People Who Played Video Games In the Nineties really dig Mega Man, the fact of the matter is that, uh, getting the chance to play another installment with intentionally anachronistic graphic design doesn't quite instill me with giddy excitement.

That said, they did a good job with the game. The level design is excellent, and occasionally a little sadistic. Sometimes it feels like there aren't enough mid-stage checkpoints (there's only one per stage, besides the one before each boss). It's a tough game. And yet, while you may initially struggle through a stage the first couple of times, a second attempt after finishing it will often reveal that hey, this game's not that hard after all. I think that's a good thing.

Most stages are built around setpieces or build on interesting new play mechanics that haven't been seen in a Mega Man Game before. One stage introduces swinging pendulums, which react to your movement while standing on top of one. The first time you run into them, they're spaced pretty reasonably over a bottomless pit, allowing you to come to grips with their behavior. The second time is similar, but this time there are spikes positioned just so, forcing you to swing the platform precisely through the gap and in to saftey. The third time you run into one of these things, it's suspended halfway up a room lined all the way around with spikes. The only exit is through a 2-tile-wide hold in the bottom of the room. That's some gutsy shit.
There's also a downloadable Endless mode, which Capcom is charging $3 for. Kind of a shame, because it's really neat and should be included with the game by default, I think. The way it works is, you start at the beginning of a randomly chosen 10-screen long stage. There's a warp at the end. Reach it, and you'll be warped to another randomly chosen 10-screen long stage. A lot of these stages are modeled after famous stages from Mega Man history, including that damned disappearing block section in Heat Man's stage from Mega Man 2. Every 30 screens, you get to fight a boss. Die, and the game records the number of rooms travelled as your best score. It's pretty dang clever!

Conclusion: You did a pretty good job, guys. Please do not make a Mega Man 10. I don't care how well this game sells. Don't do it.

2 comments:

nabbercow said...

Hooray, you didn't retire! As one of those PWPVGItNs guys, I am looking forward to playing me some MM9 (though I haven't decided which system yet; ps3 has my favorite controller I'd say). Just need to find the tiiime --> :(

Koddy said...

I think that Mega man 9 should have some viagra online in order to enhance his main weapon.
What do you think about it?