Monday, October 3, 2011

Mega Man Powered Up

Mega Man Powered Up is pretty much my ideal way for remakes of classic games to be done. It takes the original Mega Man from 1987 and brings it to the PSP, maintaining what made the original great, meanwhile adding to it in a lot of ways. There are a lot of mechanical additions and interesting bonuses, but the most important addition is an element of whimsy. Between this and the also excellent Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, it seemed like Capcom was finally shying away quick and lazy ports of their old titles and were beginning to do some quality updates, but, sadly, due to the poor sales of these two titles they did not continue in that direction.

I say that it is “pretty much” my ideal remake because I prefer quality, hand-drawn 2D art over 3D graphics, but considering the budgetary constraints, I'm okay with the graphics as they are here. It has a clearly defined art style, adorable, and it genuinely looks really good and it goes a good way towards establishing the aforementioned whimsy. Probably because Powered Up is targeting a younger demographic there are bright colors and cute designs, but I find that they really suits the original Mega Man series and it makes for a unique and entertaining game.

The less interesting way to play Powered Up is the “Old Style,” which is essentially the same as the original game but uses the new graphical engine. It is in a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the levels are set in the same scale and dimensions of the original game. It plays exactly the same, so I guess this mode is for the die-hards that just want to play the game they've played a million times before, but with a new look. There is nothing wrong with this mode, but it is more of a bonus mode than a main attraction.

“New Style” is the big draw of this edition of the game. All of the stages have been reconfigured to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio of the PSP screen, as well as adding branching paths and new elements to accommodate for the ability to play as multiple characters. That's right, players can go through the game as not only Mega Man, but also all of the robot masters, Roll, and Proto Man. To older fans, that is just nuts, and the added story portions, which have different dialogue for each character, are also a nice addition.

On the subject of additions, there are two new robot masters added to the game, which brings the game in line with the standard eight pre-Wily levels. One of them is a forgettable time-themed guy, while the other is a really embarrassingly designed oil-themed guy that certainly doesn't help Capcom's claim of “we're totally not racist guys, we swear.” On the positive side, his ability to use an oil slick as a sort of surfboard is pretty fun to use, though not particularly original. Anyway, there are other additions, such as unlockable versions of Mega Man that include his slide and charge shots, as well as one in a soccer outfit that just kicks people with his giant Mega Feet.

I just think it is fun to play a game that takes place in some weird alternate universe where Guts Man is the hero and Mega Man is just another robot master that has gone crazy. Or better yet, a universe in which Mega Man just sat on his ass while Roll beat the shit out of everybody with a broom. There is a bunch of other interesting stuff in the game, as well. The level editor is complex, so there is a bunch of stuff that can be done with that, including sharing levels online. There are also a bunch of challenge levels, which, along with the ability to set the game on different difficulty levels, means there is just a ton of stuff to do. That's why it is such a great remake. Powered Up takes the relatively simple and fun original Mega Man and builds upon it in a way that makes it a lot more fun to go back to.

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