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Posts tagged “mega man

Unboxed! – Mega Man 25th Anniversary Statue

What’s that? Not one, but two unboxings in a single week? Oh, yes! The first was Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, but this one is not a game. It is gaming-related, though, representing my favorite franchise of all-time. I will first show you a box:

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What could be in this cleverly-designed box, adorned with pictures of Mega Man and Mega Man X, some 8-bit font, and the 25th Anniversary logo? This:

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I present to you, the Mega Man 25th Anniversary statue. Yes, one of a few pieces of merchandise we have been given the opportunity to purchase instead of a new game. Alas, I don’t want to spoil this post with large amounts of animosity towards Capcom. Instead, I’m going to show you some pics from various angles that highlight the details of this rather impressive piece. I definitely wanted something to commemorate the anniversary in grandiose form, and this fit the bill more so than the previous Mega Man statue that could light-up and was in color. That one I really don’t like because of the small eyes and the plastic-like look of it that makes it seem cheap for the $100 it costs. I could also see the lights being a problem in the long-run if they stop lighting up and there’s no way to fix the issue without taking it apart and whatnot. This statue, however, has Mega Man X on it. That makes it better instantly. Plus, the two heroes are proportioned correctly and, while it would look better in color, the silver gives it a sort of expensive, trophy-like appearance a commemorative statue should have.

First, here are some shots of classic Mega Man:

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The expression looks good, with Mega Man sort of gritting his teeth while looking somewhat innocent at the same time. It’s perfect, seeing as he’s not overly intimidating looking in the games, either, but once he starts blasting, enemies see how strong he really is. Speaking of blasting, I do like the blast effect coming from his Mega Buster. It’s a nice little detail in an otherwise simple piece.

Now for X:

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Clearly, X looks angrier, which is fine, considering he is a darker character than his classic counterpart. The detail in his helmet is well done with nary any errors to be found. I also like his pose, which is rather accurate considering his personality. X was never one to shoot first and ask questions later. It looks more like he’s trying to reason with his enemy, telling them to get out of his way as he doesn’t want to fight them. Of course, if you know the Mega Man X franchise, he always ends up fighting them in the end, and he usually winds up kicking their asses, stealing their powers, and moving on to his next assignment. All in a day’s work for the world’s most-powerful Reploid.

I must have pre-ordered this rather early, as I received one with a pretty low number:

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A close-up of the 25th anniversary logo, too, in case you want to see that:

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Mine is #108 out of 1,000. Capcom’s site isn’t sold out of them yet, so if you’re interested, there are some still up for grabs. You can grab one here. I like the quality of the piece overall. It’s made out of solid resin, and even though there are very few minor indents and bubbles here and there, it’s still a very clean piece. It weighs about six pounds, is about 9.5″ tall, the base measures 5.75″ by 9″, in case you’re wondering if you have enough space, and costs $99.95 plus tax and shipping. I had to clear some space off of my bureau for this, but it was worth it. I finally have a piece to commemorate my favorite game franchise’s silver anniversary, and even though I do wish more was done to mark the occasion, at least I have a very cool statue to display in my collection for many years to come.


Mega Man’s Spiritual Successor Needs Our Help

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Everyone knows how much of a fan I am of the Mega Man franchise, and how I’m not a fan of how Capcom has been handling the brand since Keiji Inafune, the “father of Mega Man” as many refer to him as, decided to leave the company. When Inafune-san left, he also left behind a legacy of titles he poured his heart and soul into, including the fan-involved Mega Man Legends 3, which was a long-time dream of his to finally develop with the help of his dedicated fans. Now that he has his own studio, known as Comcept, he no longer has any affiliation with Capcom and, therefore, can no longer carry on the development of Mega Man titles due to Capcom’s death grip on the license. However, that’s not going to stop him from carrying on the legacy of Mega Man, as his newly-launched Kiskstarter campaign proves.

This is Mighty No. 9.

Clearly, the game looks to draw from a lot of the same concepts as the Mega Man franchise, but instead of a hero that copies boss weapons, Beck, as the protagonist is called, can copy the abilities of regular enemies, too. He doesn’t only apply them as weapons, either, but as tools that he can use to traverse environments, among other functions. This potentially opens a lot of doors to some creative level designs that can turn the platforming genre on its head. I could honestly see this being an evolution of Mega Man had Inafune remained with the company. It may not have been the Mega Man, but a spinoff that could portray a new version of the Blue Bomber. As it stands now, I see Beck as an evolution of Mega Man; a successor, if you will. It’s as if the torch is being passed and the legacy is being carried on into the future. With the involvement of Keiji Inafune as well as many veterans who worked on Mega Man titles in the past, we can rest assured that there is plenty of experience behind this project in order to make it the best it can possibly be.

Does this mean that it’s okay for Capcom to just kill off Mega Man? No. The franchise will never be the same without Inafune’s involvement, as the past few years since his departure can attest to, but I still think that with the right developer and the proper involvement of Capcom that Mega Man’s course can be corrected and we may finally see a new entry or perhaps a new series bud as a result. Of course, I’m not holding my breath, but you never know what can happen this day and age.

With Mighty No. 9, though, I feel my mind is at ease. The man who kept Mega Man alive all of these years clearly still cares about his fans and the franchise he left behind, as is made evident by the video above where he expresses his regret of not being able to follow his dream as well as the dreams of many Mega Man fans by seeing Mega Man Legends 3 to its completion. This is finally a chance for him to realize his dream, and what better way than to have his fans come along for the ride as we not only open our minds to a spiritual successor to the franchise we all know and love, but embrace the chance to help him by pledging and getting involved with the development directly in order to help make that dream come true.

I’ve already made my pledge. The amount I contributed was higher than most, but I feel passionate about this project and I wanted that to be reflected in the amount I chose to give. Plus, the extra perks and rewards involved are truly once-in-a-lifetime stuff. These are the sorts of things I’ll get special display cases for so that I can show them to people and tell them that I helped make this game happen. They’ll be symbols of pride for myself; objects that have more than just monetary value. They’ll represent a dream that came true, an ambition realized. When you think about it that way, there’s simply nothing better.

You, too, can contribute if this project interests you. The Kickstarter link is here, complete with all of the details, rewards, and such. Kickstarter’s payments are made through Amazon, so it’s secure. The project is already on track to completely obliterate its $900,000 goal. I’m hoping it will raise at least $2.5 million so that I can play this on my PlayStation 3, as I play far more games on consoles than on PCs. I’m going to try and get the widget working on the side bar to the right so that there’s always a link to the project, for those who want to keep track of it (including myself). I’ll keep it there until the game’s release, should it reach its goal, as I’m sure the page will be updated as progress is made.

Today, a long-time Mega Man fan can now rest easy knowing that there is a future for the Blue Bomber’s legacy. Even if it doesn’t include Mega Man himself, that’s okay. I know his heart and soul is in this project, that’s for sure.


The Greatest E3 Ever?

Whew! What a week! I knew there were going to be some surprises last week, what with new consoles taking the spotlight at E3 in Los Angeles, but there were some that were completely unprecedented, making for some announcements that will live on in memory forever. I’ve been tracking E3 for many years now, but not a single one has excited me as much as this year’s event. It’s pretty simple for me to say that this is the best E3 I have ever seen.

Where to start? How about Microsoft’s conference? I walked away rather satisfied, to be honest. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a big Xbox guy, but after seeing their conference on Monday, I hopped on Amazon and pre-ordered one. I know about the whole used game deal and online check-ins, but folks, like I said in my last blog post, a console is only truly as good as its games. And, damn, does the Xbox One have some nice exclusives coming its way, many of which will be on or close to launch.

My favorite pick, of course, was one of my most-anticipated announcements: Killer Instinct. It’s real! It’s actually happening! I was literally cheering and pumping my fists in the air as soon as the “KI” logo hit my screen. It has been far too long since the last entry in the series, and now, it’s coming back on the Xbox One.

So, here’s the skinny on it. The game is going to be available as a pseudo free-to-play title, where you’ll have access to every mode, but only Jago is playable. You’ll have the chance to play against every other character, though, and if you happen to like some, you can buy them separately and piece together your own game. Or, you can just download the entire game that also comes with the first season pass for characters, which will entail multiple versions, including some sort of collector’s bundle that is hinted to be containing a port of the original Killer Instinct, which would be amazing.. There will be no physical release, which bites, but it’s better than not getting it at all.

Gameplay-wise, I’ve heard it borrows some elements from both previous KI titles, as well as some elements of Street Fighter, both IV and Third Strike. To me, based on gameplay vids, it looks like KI, but at a faster pace. Characters leap and attack swiftly, with combos being fast and somewhat chaotic. It definitely has the ridiculous combos of the old games, which is a plus, and it has Ultra Combos. My only concerns are that it lacks both finishers and Ultimate Combos, which could be added later on at fan request, but it’s weird that they’re not there. From what I’ve heard from people who have played it, it’s been getting a warm reception and plays well. Jago, Sabrewulf, and Glacius have been revealed, with Fulgore, Spinal, and Cinder being confirmed as far as returning characters go, from what I’ve heard. The devs have also said that they want to put in more female characters than the series previously had in order to balance things out and that there will be new characters, naturally. Development is being handled by Double Helix, and while they don’t have the best track record, they’re working closely with Rare veteran Ken Lobb and seem pretty passionate about the project, so I really don’t have many concerns on that front. Besides, most of the people who made the game within Rare before have left, so it wouldn’t make a difference if Rare was developing it.

The visual style does sort of borrow from Street Fighter IV a bit, with character models being exaggerated and some ink splashes during load screens. I’ve heard people complaining about Jago’s steroid-ridden look, but I dig it. He actually looks more badass than he did in the first two titles. Perhaps I’m in the minority here, but we all have our opinions, and besides, there could always be alternate outfits that could pay homage to his older looks. Sabrewulf and Glacius look spot-on and are fitting evolutions of the characters. I really want to see Glacius in action, but that will have to wait until EVO next month, where I’m hoping they’ll reveal more characters. All in all, I’m very excited for Killer Instinct. This game alone makes me want an Xbox One on day one.

That’s not all the Xbox One has, though. Dead Rising 3 looks promising. The franchise is back to being Xbox-exclusive, like the first title was. It seems to have shed the silliness of the first two titles, for the most part, going for a more bleak tone. It’s more wide-open now, with a city to traverse instead of indoor environments. Hordes of zombies block you at every turn, and the game tasks you with trying to navigate through and around them in order to survive. Plus, the crazy weapon-crafting makes its return, which would have been a criminal omission. I’m definitely keeping my eye on this one as a possible launch pick-up.

A more sure-fire purchase, for me, is Forza Motorsport 5, which sports a new A.I. feature. In fact, there is no A.I. Every opponent that you race against is based off of the behavior of your friends, with their driving styles and habits being mimicked. If your friend is aggressive, their “ghost” will be, as well. Opponents will even drive their cars, too. It’s yet another push towards innovation from Turn 10, which I’ve come to expect, that propels Forza further ahead of its competition. The game looks drop dead gorgeous, to boot.

Then there’s Titanfall, which is the big project that upstart developer Respawn has been working on since its founders (or should I say “founder”, since West left and only Zampella remains) left Infinity Ward. Now, I’m not too big on FPS titles nowadays, as many lack true variety and innovation, but Titanfall looks to be pushing the envelope. Battles seem like legitimate battlefields, rife with action and well-populated. Mechs stomp around and destroy everything in sight while soldiers boost and kick off of walls to get around in a sort of parkour-esque fashion. The game is also supposed to be taking advantage of the Cloud-based structure of the Xbox One, too. The visuals don’t look very appealing for a next-gen title, but graphics aren’t everything. Titanfall is definitely one title I’ll keep in mind, though it won’t hit shelves until next year.

Now for Sony. Their conference was loaded with jaw-dropping moments, including one where they pretty much danced all over Microsoft by stating their clear defiance of restricting used games and any sort of online check-ins, choosing to trust their consumers instead. Sony didn’t have to worry about piracy with the PS3, and probably won’t have to with the PS4 if they can keep it airtight, so online check-ins are probably one thing they may have never considered. However, used games were up in the air until the show, and now we know we can still share and trade-in every game. Online passes and DLC-locked content will still exist, however, but that’s on a publisher-by-publisher basis.

As far as games go, I’m happy to say my prediction of Final Fantasy Versus XIII turning into Final Fantasy XV and coming to PS4 was correct, and my heart was pounding during the entire trailer as Square-Enix finally decided to show this amazing-looking title off after a long hiatus. FFXV looks astounding and will surely deliver a new kind of Final Fantasy experience. The announcement directly after FFXV, though, was out of left field. Never, in a million years, did I foresee a reveal for Kingdom Hearts III, but there it was, and I was so happy that I think I nearly cried. I could definitely hear my voice crack, that’s for sure. It’s been far too long of a wait, and it’s going to be even longer as it isn’t close to being finished, but it’s finally coming and that’s all that matters. What takes the wind out of Sony’s sails with these two announcements, though, is that they’re both headed to Xbox One, so these are two potentially ginormous exclusives that have slipped through their fingers.

What Sony doesn’t have to worry about losing, though, is its first-party titles. Sucker Punch’s inFAMOUS: Second Son is definitely the game to own on the PS4. It improves upon everything the first two entries built up, with improved parkour and fully-destructive environments that truly give Delsin’s smoke/fire-esque powers a greater punch as well as letting him use the terrain to his advantage (think toppling towers and bridges). This is the reason I’m buying the PS4, though it won’t be available until early next year, so there will be a bit of a wait.

We won’t have to wait long for Killzone: Shadow Fall, though, as it’s coming on launch day. I’ll be honest. I’ve never liked the Killzone franchise. It has stunning visuals, sure, but gameplay-wise, it’s always been ho-hum and unremarkable, making it easy to bubble it in with almost every other shooter on the market. Shadow Fall, however, may make me change my mind. It takes the linear levels and cookie-cutter gameplay and throws them out the window. Now, every level is open-ended, allowing you to tackle several objectives in any order you wish. Player freedom is almost always a plus, and it’s great to see huge levels where you can think more tactically about how you engage unsuspecting guards instead of running through scripted events one after another ad nauseum. As for gameplay, Shadow Fall is introducing the OWL, which is like a floating sentry bot that can give you covering fire, supply shields, stun enemies, and allow you to zip-line across gaps, making getting around the new, large levels a breeze. Plus, besides the OWL, you work alone, which means no having to put up with hokey one-liners from butch sidekicks you don’t even care about.

Sony also announced some indie titles, and one that really stood out to me was Mercenary Kings, which comes from Tribute Games, the makers of Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game. It has a similar graphical style, but its gameplay is more like Metal Slug with explorable levels and weapon customization. It looks like a boatload of fun, especially with four-player co-op.

There are also two thrid-party titles that, while not exclusive, will sport exclusive content for the PS4. The first is Ubisoft’s amazing-looking open-world title, Watch Dogs, which will have an additional hour’s worth of gameplay. This title was pretty much one of very, very few good things to come out of E3 2012, with its genre-pushing design and gameplay that allows you to hack an entire city, from taking money from civilian bank accounts, to hacking security cameras, to activating various elements of the city to help break off pursuit of police officers giving chase, and more. It’s definitely a huge departure from Grand Theft Auto-style open-world titles, but I think it’s going to be one of the best titles this year and a definite day-one purchase for me on the PS4. Expect this one to blow people away.

The other title is Destiny, which looks more and more impressive each time I see it. The PS4 is the optimized platform for the title, meaning it will get new and exclusive content before anyone else. The title itself, though, looks like a deep and engrossing online experience. Just the very thought of being able to explore a wide open world with tight FPS mechanics and a MMO-style loot system with friends sounds like a great way to whittle the hours away, and hopefully with a constant flow of new content, can be an experience that lasts for many years to come.

The Xbox One and PS4 both have titles I want, so, while this does sound asinine, I have both pre-ordered. There’s definitely enough on each console to make buying both worth it, even if I have to wait a couple months for some of it. One console I haven’t been convinced of yet, though, is the Wii U. That is, until now. I actually found Nintendo Direct at E3 to be underwhelming, as the next Mario title is nothing but Super Mario 3D Land blown up for the Wii U, and then there’s a new Donkey Kong and Mario Kart that I admit I will buy once I pick up a Wii U, but they won’t make me buy a Wii U this holiday. What will ultimately make me buy a Wii U is Super Smash Bros., which is coming next year, meaning I’ll wait until then before I take the plunge. I was going to buy Super Smash Bros. anyway, but now that my favorite game character of all-time, Mega Man, is a playable character, it’s officially a must-own. Just bask in the glory of this reveal trailer. I’ll let it speak for itself.

All in all, E3 was excellent this year. I expected no less, given that there are new consoles on the horizon and, with them, plenty of surprises. The wait for both to launch will be arduous, as well as impatiently waiting for more characters to be revealed for Killer Instinct, but with about five months left to go until at least the Xbox One launches, there’s sure to be even more surprises along the way.


What Capcom Could Learn from Archie’s Mega Man Comics

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NOTE: This post contains some spoilers from the Archie Comics Mega Man series. If you haven’t read the comics yet, 1) what’s wrong with you !?, and 2) steer away unless you don’t mind the spoilers.

I recently read every issue of the Archie Comics series based on the Mega Man franchise. I’m ashamed of myself for neglecting such a great series based on my all-time favorite franchise, but comics are a serious investment, and on top of that, storing them is another issue altogether. However, I’m happy to say that I’m in for the long haul now, even if I have to find some way to store all of these comics. I also just received Part One of the Worlds Collide series, featuring both Mega Man and SEGA’s speedy mascot and long-time Archie comic hero, Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s a solid start so far, but I’m sure it’ll really take off here soon.

While I read all of these comics, it dawned upon me how awesome this adaptation of the Mega Man franchise is and, better yet, how it would fare in video game form. Sure, it’s based off of the games, but it’s far deeper than them from a story and character development standpoint. For instance, Mega Man starts to see himself as a killer, no better than the Robot Masters he’s chosen to face in order to save the world. He also starts to lose his mind, letting the powers he’s copied from all of them turn him into a power hungry, rage-filled and boastful machine. The comics also tackle the issue of whether robot development has gone too far, to the point where they begin to blur the line between human and machine and the potential threat they could pose to humanity should they cross that line. Wouldn’t these developments and plot lines be fantastic in game form?

See, Capcom is struggling to come up with a direction for the Mega Man franchise. We even recently learned that a Metroid Prime-style Mega Man X first-person shooter was in the works three years ago before it was scrapped due to it being too risky. This is on top of all of the cancellations related to the franchise that we’ve heard about ad nauseum. It seems like Capcom is taking their good ‘ole time coming up with a solution, and seeing as the character’s 25th anniversary has come and gone, and the apparent “celebration” this year, outside of the comic crossover, is a snoozefest. They can stop looking for a solution right now, as the it’s lying right in front of their faces. I know we all want a Mega Man X9, to finally see how the classic series and the X series officially connect, and badly want the development of Mega Man Legends 3 to return. However, if all else fails, and Capcom can’t come up with any sequels, why not start from the beginning?

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Mega Man’s descent into madness. Thanks to the comics, we see the Blue Bomber in a new light as he’s consumed by power.

I’m not talking franchise reboot or anything, as we all know that hasn’t exactly paid off in spades for several publishers, including Capcom and their Devil May Cry franchise. The comics already follow the original series canon. However, they add more substance to the plot and characters, as well as introducing new and meaningful characters to the fold, like the polar-opposite detectives, Rosie and Gil, and a possible love interest for Mega Man in the form of Tempo. Boss fights highlight weapon weaknesses very well, but the fights aren’t simply Mega Man dashing through a shutter, blasting the Robot Master with his weakness, taking his weapon power, then warping out without a care in the world like in the games. He actually has brief discussions with them, injecting personality into each of these nefarious foes, and upon defeating them, has an overwhelming sense of guilt as he stands over their remains and struggles with his pacifist personality. Why can’t the games have this sense of depth?

If there’s one thing that needs to happen, it’s that Mega Man needs to be brought to a new generation. There are still plenty of hardcore fans, like me, out there, but what about the young’uns? Every issue of the comic has an art section in it, and the drawings submitted from readers are primarily those of folks much, much younger than I. Kids are aware of Mega Man’s existence, or at least, the comic-reading kids. Why not give these kids exactly how Mega Man is meant to be experienced? As great as the comics are, he’s a video game character, and kids should learn his roots. Starting over from the beginning is one way of doing that.

Here’s what I’m getting to: Mega Man 1 needs to be remade. In order to celebrate 25 years of gaming history, a remake of the very beginning seems like a great way to do it, at least to me. I know Mega Man Powered Up exists, but considering the PSP is a dead platform in the US and the fact that the game will never be available on the Vita due to issues converting it into a digital version to be sold on the PlayStation Store, its availability is limited. Not only that, its chibi (big head) art style was always off-putting, and while it did add a little substance to the plot, it was very simplistic in its execution.

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This is how Mega Man Powered Up looked. It’s neat, sure, but Archie’s style is the best interpretation I’ve seen yet.

In this remake, the first step is to throw out the 8-bit graphics and sound. I love it just as much as the next guy, but it’s time to move on. We’re in an era where truly beautiful 2D sprite art is possible (think Rayman Origins), and I think Mega Man would be an excellent candidate for such treatment. Or, it could always go the 2.5D route like the new Duck Tales Remastered coming out this Summer, which is coincidentally coming from Capcom and being developed by WayForward. As for gameplay, Mega Man is a platformer through and through. Don’t touch it. In order to appeal to the younger crowd, though, there could always be an Easy Mode put in to make it more accessible. Level designs can remain largely the same as the original game, but with far more detail in their looks. The comics treat each level like a certain location within a city, so giving it that sort of look will make every level feel more connected as a world. Floating platforms even exist in the comics too, as a nice homage, so it’s not like including them in the game will somehow ruin the believability of the environments.

For every Robot Master encounter, there should be dialog between Mega Man and his opponent. Mega Man does attempt to reason with them in the comics, but it never usually works, and the result is the destruction of the Robot Master, the taking of his weapon, and then Mega Man has a sort of inner monologue, albeit very brief, but it shows that he constantly struggles with his pacifist side and how destroying the Robot Masters goes against his “code of honor”, so to speak. Delving this deeply into Mega Man’s character would allow fans young and old to engage with and relate to him on a whole new level. No longer is he just a Super Fighting Robot that blows away enemies without so much as a second thought. He’s practically human.

Cutscenes could be implemented, as well. Mega Man Powered Up used them, but not to any serious extent. They more or less consisted of “Stop, Dr. Wily! I won’t let you get away with this!”, to which Wily usually responds with a cackle. That’s not exactly how it goes down, but you get the gist. There’s a portion of the comic’s plot where Mega Man has to be forced back to Dr. Light’s lab because he’s started going haywire with his hunger for more and more power. At this point, Dr. Light has to reason with Mega Man and let him know that he is different than the Robot Masters and not built for killing. It’s a heartfelt discussion that could really do quite a bit to boost Mega Man as a character, as well as Dr. Light, while also showing the player the bond these two share is far beyond that of creator and robot; it’s more father and son. Roll is also more fleshed-out as a character, too, as she’s horrified at what Mega Man was becoming, before regaining her composure as Mega Man came to grips with his true purpose. She cares for her brother and hates the fact that he’s forced to destroy as much as he does.

There is one other idea churning around in my head, and this may seem outlandish, but what if the original Mega Man were recreated as a third-person shooter? Whoa, whoa, whoa, put down the knives! I’m not talking Gears of War stuff here! I’m talking about the game playing like another familiar Mega Man franchise, known as Mega Man Legends. Sure, the essence of classic Mega Man is gone, as the side-scrolling gameplay disappears, but that doesn’t mean platforming doesn’t have to exist. On top of that, imagine Robot Master battles done in this style. All-new possibilities open for battle patterns and strategies. Another idea is that all of the locations could be connected via a hub world of sorts, where Mega Man can interact with NPCs and key characters, and even warp back to the lab to chat with Dr. Light and Roll.

Whichever way it were to go, 2D or 3D, I’d approve of either direction for a remake of the original Mega Man. People love the old school side-scrolling style the series is known for, but I think we’re all hungry for a new Legends, and a remake done in the same vein could work wonders in regards to satiating that hunger as well as taking the classic series in a different direction. The main point is that I think the franchise could benefit from fleshing out Mega Man as a character and his world like the Archie comics do, drawing in more players who are open to a good story and engaging characters. Regardless, the wait for some sort of news on a new Mega Man is eating away at all of us. I just hope Capcom figures something out, and soon. In mean time, I continue to ponder what could be.


Happy 25th Birthday, Mega Man!

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Today is a huge day, folks, and not only for me, but for the game industry as a whole. One of gaming’s biggest icons, Mega Man, turns 25 years old today! Of course, seeing as this is my #1 favorite franchise of all-time, I simply had to post about it. Mega Man hasn’t been seeing a lot of the spotlight in the past couple years, particularly since the “Father of Mega Man”, Keiji Inafune, left the company, with two Mega Man titles, Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3, consequently being cancelled last year. I could go on about what the Blue Bomber has been going through, but this day shouldn’t be about the unfortunate circumstances of the franchise. It’s a day of celebration, where we have to come to terms with the past and realize that what’s done is done. Hopefully, today will be a turning point, as Capcom has released the fan-made Street Fighter X Mega Man on their official site for free. That’s right; it costs nothing. All you need is a PC. I think it’s a great way to not only celebrate both the Mega Man and Street Fighter franchises, the latter of which also celebrated it’s 25th anniversary this year, but it’s also a step in the right direction for Capcom to start supporting the franchise that put them on the map in the first place back in the 80’s on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In fact, Capcom will be announcing future plans today and in the coming year about how they plan on celebrating Mega Man’s 25th, so while he hasn’t really seen much support from them this year until now, we should have much to look forward to.

With this momentous occasion only coming around once, I wanted to take the time to look back and reflect on what the Mega Man franchise has been to me, how I initially got involved with it, and what I hope to see in the future. Believe it or not, my Mega Man origins did not begin with the classic 8-bit titles. See, Mega Man started for me with the original Mega Man X on the Super Nintendo, as well as one of it’s rare sequels, Mega Man X3, and Mega Man 7, which was not an 8-bit title, but was also on the SNES. They were each rented a few times when I was young, both from an old “ma and pa” rental store around where I was born and from Movie King, which was later relabeled Movie Gallery and is now closed, near where I currently reside. This would probably explain my affinity for the X series, as it was my starting point and, to this day, the original Mega Man X still stands as one of my favorite games ever. It’s the pinnacle of platforming excellence, superior game design, and sports one hell of a soundtrack.

However, Mega Man was an on and off thing then, as I only ever played the games as rentals. I would later rent Mega Man 64, a port of Mega Man Legends that came out on the Nintendo 64. In fact, Mega Man Legends was the very first Mega Man game I ever purchased, and it was from Costco at a ridiculously low price. It was a black label copy, no less, and I would later purchase its now-rare sequel, Mega Man Legends 2, for the same price at the same place. That game easily fetches $100+ on eBay, which is ludicrous thinking I found it so easily about a decade ago. The Legends series is absolutely one I wanted to see revived, and when Legends 3 was announced, I was on Cloud 9. Seeing it cancelled was a crippling blow for me, as well as many others, but we can only look forward from here and still hold out hope that maybe it will someday get picked up again.

Now, I owned Legends and played the hell out of it, but that wasn’t really the true kick-off point, for me. A copy of Mega Man X4 at Circuit City, however, was. I remembered seeing it on several visits with a $14.99 price tag donning the cover. At the time, I really didn’t make much in allowance and was also a very poor saver of money (a complete one-eighty of how I am now), but I did eventually save enough to buy the last copy they had. I remember that evening distinctly, as the cashier said himself that it was the last copy. Little did I know that picking this up based on my previous experience with the Super Nintendo titles I had played in the past would truly cement my love for the franchise. After playing through Mega Man X4 many, many times, the rest is history, and X4 also stands as another all-time favorite of mine, alongside its sequel, Mega Man X5, which my oldest brother would give to me on my next birthday.

From that point forward, I would feverishly collect every Mega Man game I could and play them all. I just loved the character, the design and simplicity of the games, and how every Mega Man series was unique. I remember pre-ordering Mega Man X7 and being very impatient about its release, which looking back, I now see as the worst game in the X series. New Mega Man titles were always a cause for celebration, and back in high school, new Mega Man game releases were commonplace, a sharp contrast to the way things are today.

You’re probably wondering when it is that I did finally play the original 8-bit Mega Man titles. The truth is, I didn’t get to play a single one until the Anniversary Collection came out for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube back in 2004. It sounds insane, given how much I love the franchise, but I never owned a single one for the NES, and at the time, the only two classic Mega Man titles I had played were Mega Man 7, as I mentioned earlier, and the PlayStation version of Mega Man 8, which was another Costco purchase. Imagine how amazing it was to finally play what started it all. They’re far more difficult titles than the X series, plus there’s no wall kicking, dashing, or even charge shots in the first three entries. This was also when I received my first Mega Man t-shirt, which I still wear to this day and wore many, many times in high school. You can take a gawk at that here.

So, what do I think of the rest of the series? I love the Zero series. It’s a brilliant evolution of the X formula starring X’s sidekick with a hardcore difficulty, a great plot, and impeccable level design. The Battle Network franchise was good, if not a bit hit or miss. Fun fact: I’ve never played Battle Network 1 and 2. I have copies, but the first game is still sealed as I bought it really cheap off of Amazon from a third party seller, which I’m not even sure it was legit as it was way less than it goes for eBay. The box and shrink wrap look legit, though. One day, I might just say “Screw it” and open it. As for Battle Network 2, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I know: for shame. Battle Network 5 stands as one of my favorite games on the Nintendo DS and my favorite in the series. The Liberation missions were a ton of fun and the soundtrack had some memorable tunes, including the final boss music, in particular. The StarForce franchise was a good spiritual successor to the Battle Network franchise, if a bit too familiar. I would’ve liked to have seen an end to the plot, though, but it was put to rest around the beginning of the decline of Mega Man as a whole. The ZX franchise is one I like to ignore. I’ve never even beaten the second one, ZX Advent. Don’t get me wrong; the Mega Man Zero-like gameplay is great, but an open-world that’s a chore to find your way around, awful voice acting, and two characters in each one that aren’t even Mega Man X nor Zero and only play dress-up to look like them just killed it for me. Not a fan, and I’m glad it was only limited to two entries.

So, where does Mega Man go from here? Well, the free title coming out today is a good start, but there needs to be new, proper entries. There’s no doubt a return for Mega Man Legends 3 would be an amazing way to revitalize it, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Perhaps if support for Mega Man keeps up, maybe, but that’s a big maybe. Capcom revisited the classic series this console generation with Mega Man 9 and 10, so they could do an 11. The Zero series is over, as it received a proper ending after four stellar entries on the Game Boy Advance, Battle Network ended nicely, and StarForce and ZX had their plugs pulled with little hope of them being revisited due to waning interest. What’s left? Mega Man X. There hasn’t been a new X title since 2004, in the form of the excellent Mega Man X8. What we need is Mega Man X9. X8 left plot holes galore, and the series is the old-school platforming we’ve all come to know and love. It could be in 16-bit style like the Super Nintendo and be a PlayStation Network/Xbox Live Arcade release. What would be better than a new entry after all of these years? If such an announcement were made, I think I’d run out on my deck and start yelling towards the heavens with joy, pumping my fists in the air. It’s my favorite Mega Man series and one that I’ve been patiently waiting to see get the ending it deserves. Otherwise, what else do you do with the Mega Man franchise? A new series. Again, they need to stick to the platforming elements, as that’s where Mega Man’s roots lie. Getting too ambitious and making a new series more along the lines of Battle Network or StarForce may alienate fans. All we want is more platforming Mega Man. Once the franchise is back in the swing of things, then you can start experimenting and thinking outside the box.

There’s a year full of excitement that awaits, potentially. I hope there’s a ton of merchandise being planned, but what I really want are new games, and only time will tell whether Capcom takes that step or not. In the meantime, I’m going to be immersed in Street Fighter X Mega Man and, upon completing that, I’m going to pull a Mega-Marathon to celebrate the franchise from now until Christmas next Tuesday. The goal is to play all 10 classic Mega Man titles and all 8 Mega Man X titles. Will I pull it off? I’m certainly going to try, but I know that, regardless of the outcome, I’m going to love playing them all over again. So, happy birthday once again to my favorite gaming franchise, Mega Man, and lets hope for another 25 years of greatness!


The Weekly Recharge #1 – 11/10/12-11/16/12

Welcome to The Weekly Recharge, where I take a handful of the previous week’s biggest gaming news, as well as some personal favorite stories, and provide my own insight, opinions, and express some joy or loathing, depending on the subject matter! Ready, Reploids? Then let’s get started!

GRAND THEFT AUTO V’S HYPE TRAIN LEAVES THE STATION

That’s right, folks. GTA is back, and it looks, well, friggin’ nuts. Go ahead and give the trailer a watch.

So what do you think? I’m going to be honest and say that this one may be pretty damn comical, even more-so than previous iterations based on the camaraderie between the game’s three playable protagonists. That’s right: three. Now, their stories aren’t actually split up like you would think. All three go on missions together and all of them play different roles that you can undertake, like one covering the other two in a helicopter. The focal point is going to apparently be on heists, according to an article IGN.com posted up earlier this week (which can be found here).  However, they still won’t allow you to make your character fat like in GTA’s finest entry, San Andreas. Seriously? OK, I’m only kidding. It’s not really that big of a deal. What is a big deal, though, is that I thought Grand Theft Auto IV was a major disappointment, which all but diminishes my interest in this entry completely. I found myself playing for 30 minute to 1 hour spurts of nothing but sputtering through the game’s ho-hum story missions with its banal plot, running around getting in fights with random people, and driving really fast and colliding with walls and guardrails to make my character go flying through the windshield, because I’ll admit that was mildly amusing. Case in point: I’m not excited. Call me a hater, but I’ve rarely if ever been impressed with anything Rockstar has ever come out with and the only title of theirs I can say I had a good time with was, you guessed it, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I don’t think it’ll ever be topped.

CALL OF DUTY CONQUERS RETAIL…AGAIN

Yup. Another year, another Call of Duty, and another crap-ton of money made. The series’ latest, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, has reportedly made $500 million in its first 24 hours on sale. This kind of dumps all over Microsoft’s little parade they were having last week over how Halo 4 broke $200 million in its first week. That’s right; Call of Duty made over twice as much as Halo in only a single day. To be fair, Black Ops II is multi-platform, so this takes into account the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC versions, while Halo 4 only saw a release on the Xbox 360 as an exclusive. When you take that into account, Halo 4’s numbers are still pretty damn impressive. What stuns me, though, is that if Black Ops II made that much in one day, how much will the first week’s total be? A billion dollars? It’s absolutely nuts. What does surprise me, though, is hearing that this one’s campaign is the best yet. It has multiple endings based on your actions throughout the campaign. This isn’t anything revolutionary in gaming, but it certainly is for a franchise that’s infamous for having 4- to 5-hour long single player campaigns with absolutely no replay value, whereas this one does. I, for one, stopped buying games after the first Black Ops because I grew tired of the franchise not taking any steps forward, but it looks like that time has finally come, at least plot-wise. This also cements my belief that Treyarch has done Call of Duty better than Infinity Ward, or the empty husk of it that remains, ever did. What happens with what will presumably be called Modern Warfare 4 remains to be seen, but it appears a new standard has been set, and if this franchise wants to remain on top, there is absolutely no going back.

PLEASE, SAVE TIMESPLITTERS!!!!

Reports circulated the web earlier this week that Crytek President Cevat Yerli has been openly pushing for a new TimeSplitters or even an HD Collection for the first three titles in the franchise. For those unacquainted with the greatness that is TimeSplitters, it’s a time-hopping first-person shooter franchise with a clever sense of humor and stars a badass named Sgt. Cortez, who mysteriously looks a lot like Vin Diesel. These games were originally developed by the now defunct Free Radical, which comprised of folks who worked on the greatest FPS of all-time, GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64. The studio has since been absorbed into Crytek and renamed Crytek UK. TimeSplitters 4 was in development before Free Radical shuttered its doors, but has since been put on indefinite hold unless the company starts seeing a demand. That “demand” comprises of 300,000 signatures in a petition. I’ve already signed it, obviously, and if you have a knack for supporting awesome games, you should too. With all of the mundane “me too” shooters coming out year after year, it’s about time an innovative and massively fun franchise came back to the forefront to show these chumps how it’s done. I honestly can’t tell you how many hours I’ve poured into TimeSplitters 2 over the years. No, seriously, I can’t. My save file corrupted years ago along with an entire 16MB PS2 memory card. However, the memories will never die, and I hope this franchise doesn’t either. Which brings me too another, similar matter…

CAPCOM SAYS MEGA MAN WILL BE BACK. SURE. I’LL BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT.

Here we go again, folks! Capcom USA’s senior vice president Christian Svensson has said, and I quote, “I can say with certainty that you’ve not seen the last of the Blue Bomber on consoles and handhelds.” He also continued by saying they don’t want to announce anything without it being green lit, as they’ve done nothing but disappoint fans in the past when they decide to can said projects. Oh, do you mean Mega Man Legends 3? Y’know, the game that actually had fans actively involved in its development? The one people spent hours of their personal time helping to realize on Capcom’s boards? The one people asked for for years until Keiji Inafune, referred to as the “Father of Mega Man”, left this joke of a company because he realized it was a sinking ship, so you subsequently dropped the project in retaliation? I know it has never gone on the record as Capcom saying such a thing, but we all know the almost total neglect of the Mega Man franchise is due to this ugly break-up. I only hope Capcom has realized their mistakes and are working on something fans want and can be proud of, not just this iOS “Rockman Xover” bull crap we may never even see come stateside. I, for one, am not getting my hopes up. Capcom has said they’ll devote 2013 to celebrating his anniversary, as this year focused on Devil May Cry’s 10th anniversary as well as Street Fighter’s 25th, but we’ll see how that turns out. I have my own plans for celebrating the Blue Bomber’s birthday next month, but I’ll disclose on that soon enough.

To end things, I thought I’d leave this on a positive note and not with that rant I just plastered in front of your faces by wishing the great Shigeru Miyamoto a belated happy birthday! I just found out the news via Anime New Network that one of gaming’s greatest figures has just turned 60 on Friday. We owe a lot to this man, folks. He’s given us Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and so much more. To say gaming wouldn’t be the same without him would be a major understatement. He has gone on the record as saying that he will be stepping away from major projects at Nintendo in order to start passing the torch to a new generation, but he’s already contributed more than enough to the industry and deserves the greatest of luck in his future endeavors with the company, big or small.

And that’s it for the Recharge this week. This is The Maverick Gamer, warping out!