Disclaimer – This review is part of a 5 part series of reviews for the the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. Due to a full review of the collection coming soon, I will not be mentioning everything the collection brings – only mentioning those that pertain to Mega Man 10.
After Mega Man fell for the ol’ ‘Fake Dr. Light Robot’ trick and let Wily escape (again..) a mysterious virus begins to infect robots everywhere. This ‘Roboenza’ virus only afflicts robots, eventually causing them to go rampant. The obviously responsible Dr. Wily claims he was looking for a cure, and enlists the help of Mega Man and pals to go reclaim his medicine machine. With Mega Man clearly being an incompetent buffoon, Proto Man decides to supervise his derpy brother and join the quest.
Mega Man 9 was the triumphant return the Blue Bomber needed to assert his dominance over lesser 2D platformers, paving a path to reclaiming his long absent throne. Seeing the overwhelming success of their long forgotten robot, Capcom pushed a sequel. Mega Man 10 released a year and a half later, promising more super tight platforming and action packed awesomeness. Did this game succeed in carrying on the series legacy, or did it end Mega Man’s reign before it could begin?
For the first time in Mega Man history, there have been no significant changes between sequels. Mega Man’s abilities and controls are identical from his last outing. Even the ever vacillating Rush remains largely unchanged. It has honestly thrown my whole review structure off balance – it’s weird. The only notable change is that you can slap your shoulder buttons to change weapons. I am a hardcore menu user, so this change had literally no impact on my experience. However I can imagine it may be quite a hefty improvement for those who enjoyed its inclusion in 7 and 8.
Everybody knows the drill at this point. Heck, through the awesome power of osmosis, even ‘Mega Newbies’ know the craic. Eight nefarious Robot Masters themed after a variety of bizarre elements, creatures, themes and household appliances stand between you and Dr. Wily (spoiler?). This time around however, your selection is a little bit on the bland side, even removing women from the equation. RIP Splash Woman. Instead we have generic ice dude, a guy made of swords who unsurprisingly, throws swords, a water pump and an angry baseball(?). The roster would be completely irredeemable had Sheep Man not been a thing. Sheep Man is awesome, literally holding the team together with his staticy magnificence.
The bland Robot Masters unfortunately hinder their respective stage themes. A lot of these locations are just not interesting to look at and don’t do enough to invest me visually. Sheep Man once again steps up to the plate to show everyone how it is done, by having a level referencing Philip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, a nice touch. Visuals aside, these stages do have some pretty good level design with varied mechanics to keep things fresh. Sandstorms, moving traffic and the obligatory ice physics are the glue that holds it all together.
The Robot Masters themselves are fairly enjoyable fights, if a bit on the easy side. I would say you could comfortably batter seven of the eight with your Mega Buster alone. The eighth still being manageable if you muster up a fair amount of patience. This naturally results in the bosses being made of paper when hit with their weakness. After the last three entries had made strides to make their bosses a consistent challenge, it is a shame Mega Man 10 didn’t continue this trend.
Unfortunately the weapons you get from each boss is equally disappointing. Mega Man 10 decided to make the vast majority of its arsenal awkward to use. You either have to plan in advance to deal damage or pray that an enemy will walk into your attack. The biggest offender is Thunder Wool, which is hard to hit, has a wildly inconsistent damage output and burns through ammo like no tomorrow. No weapon should be this awkward. I used the Mega Buster and the Bubble Shield exclusively. Easily in the runnings for worst weapon selection in the series history.
Up until this point, Mega Man 10 has struggled to crawl out of Mega Man 9’s beefy shadow. But now we get to the Wily Stages, and Mega Man 10 truly shines with blinding incandescence. Hands down, these are some of the best stages with some of the most enjoyable bosses the series has ever had. Wily Stage 1 is quite possibly the best stage in Mega Man history. It takes the Doc Robot concept from Mega Man 3, makes it actually good, then dials it to 11. Had the rest of the game been made to this standard, it is very possible this game might have developed a religious following.
Mega Man 10 is nothing, if not content rich. Not only do you have the Mega Man campaign, but Proto Man makes a return – being playable from the start to boot. As with Mega Man 9, Proto Man can charge his buster, deflect projectiles and slide for the low cost of taking double damage and a gimped lemon launcher. He even has his own shop this time around, although with less items, at a higher price, to keep him as gimped as possible. Thats not all though, as you can finally play as Bass of Mega Man 7/8 fame. Bass can dash, fire in 7 directions, can fly and fires a bajillion lemons at once in a stream of death. He has the draw back of not being able to move and shoot, his lemons are weaker and don’t pass through walls, and his shop is equally as expensive and limited as Proto Man. Having three playable characters increases the replay value of this game to ludicrous levels.
Capcom were not content with providing insane amounts of content – they wanted an overwhelming amount. Time Trials make their debut and challenge you beat each level as fast as you can, with only one life. There are even three special stages with an equal number of new bosses and weapons. These weapons are for Mega Man only and transfer to the main campaign, which is a nice way to making Rock standout amongst his more varied companions.
Mega Man 10 also just so happens to be the most accessible game in the series, having an Easy (and Hard) mode. Easy reduces the number of enemies, adds additional platforms and covers spikes. Additionally you take less damage, deal more damage and gather currency at an increased rate. I am 100% down for people of all skill levels enjoying Mega Man, so this mode is a welcome addition. Even my spatially obtuse son can play without being brutally murdered. A mighty fine feat indeed.
I am a sucker for NES era Mega Man, and 10 retains those super snazzy retro aesthetics from that time. Like Mega Man 9, it is still very much inspired by Mega Man 2 visually, as opposed to the significantly better looking Mega Man 6. This is once again a missed opportunity in my opinion, but I can’t help but enjoy the art style nonetheless. As a side note, 8-bit Bass and Treble look fantastic, with incredibly characterful sprites that ooze ‘broody edgelord’.
Mega Man 10 continues the series tradition of having a stellar sound track. Unlike 9, every track here is unique as opposed to being Mega Man 2-esque. You have bloopy bangers like ‘Cybersheep’s Dream’, rocky jams like ‘Solar Inferno’ and my personal favourite ‘Abandoned Memory’ from Wily Stage 1. With ten games under my belt, it is becoming harder to rank each soundtrack, but this one is definitely a top tier entry.
Mega Man 10 has the unfortunate job of following up on one of the greatest 2D platformers of all time. Whilst I do not think this game reaches the same heights as 9, this is still a very good Mega Man game. It’s overflowing with content, it has some fantastic stages and the music is top notch which help conceal the disappointing bosses and weapons.
Let me know in the comments what you thought of Mega Man’s 10th outing.
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