Mighty No. 9 hopes to fill the void left by Capcom’s massive hit series, MegamanFiled inside: Games
One of my greatest gaming memories is conquering the flashy, retro, robotic romp that was Mega Man II. I spent hours as a child memorizing the levels and figuring out the correct weapon types to use against each boss to maximize my damage output. I wasted no time in collecting every little secret and side item and I fondly remember some of the “game over” codes I wrote down to save my progress. I fell in love with the series from that point on, and in the decades to follow I made it my mission to get my hands on every Mega Man release I possibly could.
Unfortunately, when games entered the CD boom, and started to grow more and more complex in nature, Capcom’s iconic yet simple 2D side-scrollers slowly died out. We haven’t seen a new Mega Man title in quite some time, and the blue bomber himself has only made guest appearances in game series like Marvel Versus Capcom and Super Smash Bros. It seemed as if the dreams of a new Mega Man title were dead and gone, and that gamers would simply have to accept that the series would never see a revival. Thankfully we’ve learned that isn’t the case, and any of your diehard fanatics out there who have been clinging to a shred of hope should find comfort in an upcoming release, dubbed Mighty No. 9.
Now this isn’t a Mega Man game itself, and unfortunately it doesn’t mark any kind of revival for the series, but it is important to point out that Mighty No. 9 is being produced by Keiji Inafune, best known for his work on Mega Man, Onimusha, and Dead Rising. Mighty No. 9 is under development by Comcept, a Japan-based independent game company founded back in 2010 by Keiji Inafune himself. The studio presented a Kickstarter campaign for the title back in September of 2013, and managed to meet its funding goal, bringing in over $100,000 towards production. Keiji also revealed that the group hopes to bring to life an Anime series to surround the game, but was adamant in stating that all of the Kickstarter funding was to be used directly towards the game itself and that any funding for the animated series will be gathered by other means.
Mighty No. 9 draws a heavy amount of influence from Mega Man, including a main character that uses energy projectiles to defeat his enemies. This new hero, named Beck, may not have a massive buster arm like his iconic counterpart, but a shares a lot of artistic similarities, including a rounded blue helmet and a large pair of robotic dash boots. He’s a pint-sized hero, surrounded by a team of robotic doctors and a robotic “sidekick” named Cell. Mighty No. 9 pulls so much influence from the Mega Man universe that its easy to call it a copy, or a mimic, although this is more than allowed when the main illustrator was responsible for its predecessors so long ago.
The similarities are strongest when it comes to gameplay. Mighty No. 9 features the same eight-stage system as Mega Man employed, allowing the player to choose and tackle the stages in any order they please, and allowing them to discover what order is best. Each stage ends with a boss fight, pitting Beck against one of his sisters or brothers, and allowing him to gain a powerup from defeating them. Much like Mega Man, these powerups make certain levels easier and greatly improve the success against certain bosses. Beck has the capacity to change shape, adding a flare of modernism to this release, and letting him access secret areas. One example is the addition of magnetic arms, which will allow Beck to climb up specific walls, and he can even shift into a tank in order to easily roll over spikes and dangerous terrain. It takes a little more than shooting an enemy to eliminate it in this release as well, forcing the player to first damage the enemy and then dash through them while they are vulnerable to finish them off. Upon completing all eight stages, a new set of stages will open up, allowing the player to proceed to the final confrontation.
From a graphical standpoint, Mighty No. 9 offers up some slick modern graphics, while still nodding towards its retro predecessor. A mixture of two-dimensional and three-dimensional visuals have been blended together to create a side-scroller that feels like it belongs alongside games of the modern era. Some gamers have expressed a distaste for Mighty No. 9’s simplistic design, and have touted that some of the graphics look a little dated. While I do agree that some of the stages lack the same wow factor we saw in the Mega Man series, I am rather impressed with the character designs and animations. It is also important to note that the gameplay videos which have been released to date were simply beta playthroughs and make not represent the finished visual product.
It may not be the Mega Man revival we’ve been hoping for, but a new IP created by Mega Man’s co-creator is the next best thing. Mighty No. 9 is set to drop sometime in Early Spring of 2015, and hopefully we will get a better look at the title as the release date draws closer.