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Matt Keller
09 Apr, 2006

Mega Man Powered Up Review

PSP Review | The Blue Bomber makes his second PSP appearance.
Capcom’s Mega Man is one of the most well established franchises in videogames today, with over 70 titles featuring the Blue Bomber since his first appearance in 1987. Although the franchise has diversified into many sub-series such as X and Battle Network, many Mega Man fans still feel that the original series is the best. Not wanting to lose those base fans, and at the same time wanting to grab a piece of the PSP’s pie, Capcom's decided to release a remake of the first Mega Man title for Sony’s handheld. Having recently trod the remake path with the excellent Maverick Hunter X, can Capcom make it two from two on Mega Man remakes?

Capcom has taken a completely different approach to remaking Mega Man than they did with Maverick Hunter X, choosing to completely alter the game’s appearance, using a new chibi-style look for all of the games characters. They didn’t stop at that however but also added two new bosses, difficulty modes and a heap of bonus content, including a level editor and challenge mode. A bit of extra depth has been added to the story (such as giving Dr. Wily extra motives for reprogramming the robots), as well as a look into the origins of Mega Man.

On Hard difficulty, you'll wonder why Cutman's name has only one 'n'.

On Hard difficulty, you'll wonder why Cutman's name has only one 'n'.
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Mega Man Powered Up offers players the opportunity of playing both the new style game, and a classic style mode which retains the old stage designs, old school music and fearsome difficulty (by today’s standards, anyway) of the original NES game, though in saying that, the game does allow you to save between levels. It’s even presented in the old 4:3 aspect ratio, so purists should be happy. Playing the game in the new style lets you choose the difficulty, so wimpy gamers can get a helping hand through the slightly more challenging jumps and boss fights that the game slings at you, while masochists can make a hard game that little bit more difficult.

The levels have also been extended, but most players will find that they can’t access the new areas – this is because they’re not actually designed for Mega Man. If you complete a stage under the requisite time limit, you’ll actually be able to unlock the boss of that level, and use him throughout the game, and each boss will have a special ability that allows him to access these new parts. It’s a little difficult getting used to using the bosses in the regular stages - they’re obviously not designed for taking out regular enemies - but nevertheless it's a nice touch.

The new version of the game also has an extra two stages with new bosses attached – Oil Man and Time Man. It’s a little unfortunate that neither of these characters carries the weight of the original bosses – Oil Man’s technique is to spill oil on the ground, hoping you’ll slip in it, while Time Man can slow time, and shoot clock hands at you, but little else. After defeating Oil Man, you can use those oil slicks to create something of an oil surfboard, which will take out enemies in your path while you ride. These two extra bosses make up the only parts of the game that feel like filler – it’s a bit unfortunate, really.

Unlike your Grandma, Mega Man's joints aren't prone to freezing.

Unlike your Grandma, Mega Man's joints aren't prone to freezing.
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If three levels of extra difficulty and the ability to replay the game through as the bosses isn’t enough for you, Mega Man Powered Up also offers 100 different challenges across a wide variety of scenarios. Each playable character has 10 challenges unique to their abilities. These challenges are not for the faint-of-heart either - it seems like Capcom has intended that these challenges are for the Mega Man elite. Still, it’s an excellent addition, and extends a relatively short game without making it painfully tedious.

The best extra feature of Mega Man Powered Up is the level editing tool, which allows players to make their own crazy levels, and then trade them with friends over the Infrastructure mode. There are also other packs of levels available for download. It’s pretty easy to make a level thanks to an intuitive interface, but be warned that you have to look for the best materials, since the building packs are hidden throughout the game. This means having to traipse back through the levels as the bosses, but again, if you enjoy what the game already offers, then it won’t be a problem.

There's always a bloody fire level.

There's always a bloody fire level.
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Many people are likely to dismiss Mega Man Powered Up due to its child-like appearance, a real tragedy because the game’s new style of presentation is really quite good. However, if you’re comfortable enough with your maturity to play a game like this, you’ll also be able to appreciate the technical brilliance that Capcom has brought to the table. Powered Up uses the same 3D characters, 2D plane style employed in Maverick Hunter X, and it looks just as good, though design of some of the game’s enemies could push it over. The framerate can drop at times, just like the original game, when too much is happening on screen at one time, but it’s only an occasional glitch.

Powered Up’s voice acting is much like that of the old Saturday morning cartoons – very exaggerated, but unique in its own way. Each character has a voice that ties into his personality – Mega Man has your typical bright, enthusiastic voice, while Dr. Wily has a slightly deranged, cackling-old-man way of speaking. The game also features a remixed version of the original Mega Man soundtrack in the new style game, while the old style game retains the original soundtrack in its old NES style.

Despite being nearly 20 years old, the original Mega Man is still a solid game, and Capcom has given it the remake treatment it deserves. If you can cast away your doubts over the graphical stylings (which are pretty good both artistically and technically), you’ll find an excellent remake of a classic game with a score of bonus content that will give players a real sense that they’re getting their money’s worth out of the title. Mega Man Powered Up is easily one of the best titles on the PSP at this point in time - a must-buy for all fans of the Blue Bomber.
The Score
One of the all-time classics gets the remake treatment it deserves. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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1 Comment
8 years ago
Nice, 8's all around is good enough for me.
Won't be buying this locally though... stupid PSP game prices.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Capcom Entertainment
Developer:
  Capcom Entertainment
Players:
  1

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