Ben Franchi ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
It’s been four tumtulous years for Inti Creates and Comcept, but finally, the much-talked about Mighty No. 9 has hit shelves. Deliberately taking cues from the classic Mega Man games, Mighty No. 9 is a throwback to the days of old, where games were cryptic, you could only shoot in one direction, and life wasn’t cheap. But perhaps it emulates these traits a bit too well, and as such, fails to live up to the expectations of its developed inspiration.
The plot of Mighty No. 9 is simple; robots have gone crazy all over the world, and as Beck, the invention of Dr. White (an obvious homage to the creator of Mega Man, Dr. Light), it’s up to you to stop your robot siblings and save the world. The plot isn’t important, as you will be going from one stage to the next beating the Mighty Numbers and gaining their powers. The characters are voice acted well-enough, and some Mighty Numbers, like the dead-eyed Countershade or the newscaster Avi, are fun to watch. In short, Mighty No. 9 doesn’t take itself that seriously, and the plot is nothing more than the usual light-hearted Mega Man fare.
The gameplay is nearly spot-on with the original Mega Man titles. Unfortunately, this translates to “archaic” and “frustrating”, especially with advancements in the side-scroller genre that have came in the past five or so years. Beck jumps, shoots, and dashes through stages, blowing up or absorbing (more on that in a second) robots of all shapes and sizes while dodging infuriating environmental hazards with few checkpoints in between. The main mechanic of Mighty No. 9 is dashing. When an enemy has been weakened, Beck can dash into them and absorb them, gaining a small boost to one of his stats or refilling his energy tanks. He can also dash into bosses at critical junctures to deal a massive amount of damage. The game, however, does ill in explaining this mechanic, leaving the player to figure out for themselves what the different boosts do. Coupled with erratic checkpoints and less-than-tight handling, and a new player will find themselves dying quite a bit throughout their journey.
The graphics are sub-par, even in cut-scenes, where the characters show less animation than the vast majority of PS1 titles. The settings are cut-and-paste as well, with a few exceptions, and often the fast pace of Beck combined with the erratic movements of the enemy and the swerves between damaging and one-hit-kill dangers will confuse and frustrate players as they try to make heads or tails of what they are facing next in their adventure to save the world.
Mighty No. 9 is a mixed bag. Some will enjoy the sheercliff learning curve and retro gameplay as a throwback to old titles. Others will be enraged by the exact same thing. Still, if you’re interested in the culmination of four years and millions of dollars on Keiji Inafune’s first major project after departing Capcom, pick it up on the cheap. It will certainly earn its place in gaming history in its own special way