The year is 2008, a fresh faced Barack Obama is set to win the US presidency, Nat20 is at university and Capcom is sitting on a dying franchise.
Megaman had seen better days, the original series hadnt seen play since the mixed reception received by Megaman 8 in 1996 and the X series had been killed dead by the disaster known as Megaman X6.
Whilst Capcom had enjoyed some success with Megaman Zero whose original entry released in 2002, that line had come to end by 2005.
Continuing on this path, Capcom released Megaman ZX in 2006 and ZX Advent in 2007. Whilst both games were competently made platforming games, they lacked the brand recognition of the earlier games in the series.
But the world of 2008 was an exciting one. The success of Xbox Live Arcade over the past few years had demonstrated the viability of digital distribution. Independent game developers had been finding great success, able to develop smaller games at a fraction of the cost whilst still gaining decent exposure through schemes such as the Xbox Live Arcade Hits. Nintendo had been seeing similar success with its virtual console, monetising its incredible back catalogue for a new generation of gamers sucked in by the smash hit that was the Nintendo Wii.
In the past decade or so, Keiji Inafune, the man behind the Megaman franchise at Capcom had been interested in creating a new Megaman game, outwardly stating all the way back in 2004 that hed like to make a game as a throwback to the old school style of the early 90s. The idea initially had no traction, but as digital distribution became more viable and development costs fell, the pipe dream became more and more realistic.
Whilst there were whispers of a new Megaman project, it was in July 2008 that Capcom shocked the world. A brand new original series Megaman game was to be released, with glorious 8 bit graphics and the removal of gimmicks that had been tacked on to the series over time. The focus was simple, to build a game that was better than Megaman 2 and when Megaman 9 finally released in September of the same year, reception was mixed, with some thinking that Capcom had finally surpassed Megaman 2 and others thinking 9 was one of the worst games in the series.
Complete sales figures were never made available but Inafune claimed after its release that Megaman 9 had far exceeded Capcoms expectations. The announcement of a sequel, Megaman 10, shortly after appeared to corroborate that statement.
Megaman 10, released in 2010, copied the aesthetic and style of Megaman 9. Ultimately however, it failed to have the same impact as its predecessor, with most outlets comparing it unfavourably with 9. The consensus was that whilst Megaman 10 was a competent platformer it did little to innovate on 9 or perform better in any field.
And for 7 years that was where the story ended. Megaman 10 was fine, but not good enough to warrant a sequel; the retro aesthetic would go on to be captured by a number of independent developers, with the likes of Super Meat Boy and Shovel Knight gaining acclaim as the heralds of a new era in platforming. With the departure of Inafune from Capcom and the subsequent failure of his own release, Mighty No. 9, it truly seemed as if Megaman was dead and buried.
That is until December of 2017, Capcom announced the release of a new game in the main franchise, Megaman 11, which is set to continue from where Megaman 8 left off, innovating in terms of visual design and departing from the retro aesthetic of the previous games.
So now seems like a good time to examine Megaman 9 and 10. Did 9 deserve to be the smash hit that it became? Was 10 a game that was unfairly compared to its predecessor? And will 11 live up to the standard set by one of the high water marks of the series?
Lets find out.
I alongside my erstwhile companion Yorkshire Tea will be playing through Megaman 9 and Megaman 10 in a video LP format.
Whilst both Tea and I have a fair bit of experience with Megaman 9, which Ive beaten a few times both of us have a little bit of a blank spot for Megaman 10 which we never played. Our goal therefore is to play through 9 and get our groove back before going into 10 blind. This hopefully will be a good way to examine the design of both games and see if they stand up to the standards of today.
Videos should release on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday cycle and well aim to cover 3 stages or so each week, although this might vary based on how much trouble we have with each stage. Well be playing on a level by level, life by life format, so you can both mock me for thinking I know what Im doing and congratulate Tea for doing far better than he expects to.
One thing to note is that neither of us are absolute experts at platforming, you can expect hilarious deaths, game overs and everything in between, but thats hopefully going to be part of the fun. If youre expecting a frame perfect speedrun of the game then you probably want to look elsewhere!
Most importantly however, we will have voting. At the end of each week we will ask you the amazing audience to pick out the next three bosses you want to see, with Megaman 9 weve been a little cheaty and chosen to go to Galaxy Man and Jewel Man first to ease ourselves in, but from that point on itll be up to you to send us to our next level. Want to see us do all the bosses in a reverse order so weve never got an effective weapon? Go nuts! Want to see us run into the hardest stage last for a satisfying climax? The choice is yours!
Each Friday Ill list out the remaining bosses. Pick out whichever three you want to see in this order:
Bosses with a ranking of 1 will get three points, a ranking of 2 will get two points and a ranking of 3 will get one point. When voting closes on Sunday afternoon, well figure out the three highest ranking bosses and then do them in scoring order.
If it ever happens that Tea and I cant do a recording session, Ill either be doing a solo run through of Megaman 2 and 3 here or looking at DLC that we haven't had a chance to get to yet. If I do Ill give notice ahead of time so people can run a quick vote on Boss order for each game. This will be a fair bit less formal than the LP itself, but hopefully it should be a laugh anyway. Ive played through 2 a few times but I have a genuine blind spot for Megaman 3 which will be amusing to behold should I get there.
And with that, sit back, relax and enjoy the LP.
Let's Play Mega Man 9 - Episode List
Episode 1: Thinking Too Much - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea fight a Galaxy
Episode 2: Tea's First Time - Wherein Tea proves to be a lot better than he anticipated
Episode 3: Everything Went to Plan - Wherein Nat20 is reminded of his hubris.
Episode 4: Jewel Satellite - Wherein Nat20 abuses the hell out of a weapon and is berated for it.
Episode 5: I can't beelieve it- Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea make terrible puns and enjoy spikes
Episode 6 - Almost a Cigar - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea get butt bombed.
Episode 7 - Ice Levels are the Coolest - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea deal with pits and ice.
Episode 8 - Damage Boost - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea try to be speedrunners.
Episode 9 - Cut in Post Production - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea have to deal with magama pillars.
Episode 10 - Bees vs. Sub - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea are pleasantly surprised.
Episode 11 - The Same Thing Over and Over - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea fight giant blobs.
Episode 12 - We Had a Blast - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea take on bouncing balls.
Episode 13 - Our Favourite Weapon - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea attack time.
Bonus Episode 1: Superhero Mode - Wherein Nat20 Tries to deal with Superhero mode.
Bonus Episode 2 - More Superhero mode! - Wherein Nat20 gets on a roll.
Bonus Episode 3 - Even more Superhero mode! - Wherein Nat20 struggles with problems from the original Megaman 9.
Let's Play Mega Man 10 - Episode List
Episode 1 - Nintendo Should Sue - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea face off against a deadly sheep.
Episode 2 - That's Not What I Want - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea genuinely struggle.
Episode 3 - Ambush Catfish - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea take on the deadliest boss in the game.
Episode 4 - Touchdown! - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea are underwhelmed!
Episode 5 - A Complete Nightmare - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea experience a difficulty spike.
Episode 6 - Pretty Cool - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea make terrible puns.
Episode 7 - Nitroglycerin is not in cars! - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea debate the internal combustion engine.
Episode 8 - Neon Tiger - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea remember all the Mega Man bosses they forgot.
Episode 9 - Diagnosis: Swords - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea slowly lose their sanity.
Episode 10 - We Probably Don't Deserve to Win - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea put everything they have into winning.
Episode 11 - Please Be The End - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea pray for an ending.
Episode 12 - (Epilogue) Back Where we Started - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea look back in wonder.
Spiked Death Count: 30