With the release of Mega Man 9, Capcom was able to successfully recreate the classic 8-bit feel of the Mega Man series for game fans to enjoy, this time allowing the game to be downloaded on Nintendo's WiiWare service. Not only did the game bring back many of the unique gameplay mechanics of the earlier titles, it also managed to look and sound like them as well. Now with the release of Mega Man 10, Capcom has basically taken the same ideas and principles behind the original WiiWare release and taken them a step further, with a compliment of new challenges and 8 brand new Robot Masters to tackle.
The main game itself is obviously where most fans will spend the majority of their time and Mega Man 10 doesn't disappoint. You'll once again go up against the game's 8 Robot Masters in any order you choose, and as you defeat each Robot Master you'll be awarded their specific special weapon, one that will be particularly useful against another Robot Master down the line. It's up to you to figure out the best order to tackle the Robot Masters.
Along the way you'll have the ability to play the game as either Mega Man or Proto Man. Mega Man has his standard arm cannon and jump move, whereas Proto Man has the ability to charge his shot and perform a slide move. Of course with his added power comes the added bonus of taking more damage per hit than Mega Man, not an entirely bad trade-off in some cases.
At the beginning of the main game you can choose to play the game in Easy or Normal Mode. It's worth noting that the Easy Mode really sugarcoats the experience and eliminates many of the hazards throughout each level. While this mode is a nice touch for gamers of a lower skill level or those not accustomed to the high level of difficulty in the Mega Man titles, it's not going to be much of a challenge for long-time fans of the series. Of course for those who manage to get through the Normal Mode, a Hard Mode will be unlocked that will truly test your gaming skills. Completing the game will even get your name on the All-Clear Leaderboards, complete with the time it took you to finish the game.
Time Attack Mode makes a return and once again you get to tackle each of the game's levels using all of the special weapons in a race to finish the level in as little time as possible. This will also get your name on the Wi-Fi Leaderboards - if you're fast enough. If the Time Attack isn't your cup of tea, the game also introduces a stunning number of challenges for you to take on that range from simply platforming your way through a level, to taking out Robot Masters without taking any damage.
There are 100 challenges to take on, each with a specific crown to earn based on various criteria. While many of these challenges don't take very long to complete, they can be every bit as tough as the main game itself, especially for those who stick with them long enough to win the gold crown on each of them. Many of these tasks are open from the beginning, but others you'll have to unlock via the main game.
Capcom decided to stick with the same gameplay feel of the original WiiWare release and it really pays off with the overall experience of Mega Man 10. There's plenty of nostalgic value strung throughout the game and the level designs are among some of the best the series has seen to date. Once again the game's play control is spot on and feels every bit as good as the original 8-bit releases - maybe even tighter in some respects. The Time Attack and Challenges give the game a mammoth amount of replay value and perfectly compliment the main adventure. Of course the Hard Mode will also appeal to those looking for the ultimate challenge and should guarantee that least a few Wii Remotes will be tossed across the room before it's all said and done.
You have to love the 8-bit visual style that Capcom is using for these WiiWare Mega Man releases and Mega Man 10 is as impressive as ever. Granted, the graphics themselves are still fairly pixelated, but Capcom still manages to toss in some flashy effects from time to time to give them a hint of updated appeal. Every stage has its own distinct look and feel and Capcom has once again done a fantastic job of not only creating an interesting group of Robot Masters, but giving them the same classic animations fans of the series have come to expect. There might not be a lot of fancy parallax scrolling or other special effects seen in more modern titles, but you can't deny the game's classic visual presentation and how good it looks, even in today's world of high-res 3D graphics.
As impressive as the musical score was in Mega Man 9, Capcom seems to have outdone themselves with the soundtrack in Mega Man 10. Sure there are a few average tracks here and there, but it's an overall stronger effort and does a nice job of conveying the theme of each of the game's levels. The same can pretty much be said of the sound effects as they're almost all sounds Mega Man fans have become accustomed to over the years and a nice compliment to the game's unique retro presentation.
Mega Man 10 is everything you could want out of sequel and more. It not only carries on the same retro tradition of its predecessor, but it still introduces enough new ideas to the mix to make the game more appealing and an even better value. Whether you're a Mega Man fan or not, you really owe it to yourself to at least give the game a try, if only to see what all the fuss is about. At the very least, Mega Man 10 proves that the classic 8-bit Mega Man gameplay formula is still every bit as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.