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Bubbleman Review: Megaman Powered Up!

Thursday, February 28th, 2008 || Bubbleman

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While there’s no better authority than myself to review anything, I would say that it’s even more so with “Megaman Powered Up” for the PSP, remake of Megaman for the NES. And since I am obviously the best suited for this critique, it is not beyond my powers to sum up the game in one word:

“Murder.”

“Murder” coming from the general feeling it invokes when one plays through the game. It definitely captures the retro feel since it keeps intact what I like to call “Nintendo hard,” which is the schizophrenic difficulty that shifts from accomplishing a given goal to instant pitfall death in a mere missed platform jump. Yes, this game reduces us back into the controller-throwing spazzes we were back in the 80s, when we weren’t cushioned with save spots and good game design. I suppose Megaman P.U. reflects a shift in the gaming atmosphere, but that does little to quell my rage.

Ironically, the unforgiving difficulty is also what makes this game addicting. I found myself playing through Challenge Mode way longer than my patience would normally allow, simply because I wanted the satisfaction of getting through the spiky-fucking-pit area with one health bar while the area exploded with enemies. It helps there’s a variety of boss robots to control, each with their own unique powers and moves. And it is rather cool to play through the original game with any of them and get a new set of dialogue based on their extreme personalities. But myriad of robotic abilities does not make playing through Gutsman stage for the fifth time any less dreadful.

There are two new robotic additions to the original robot lineup: Timeman and Oilman. And instead of melding well with the theme of do-what-their-name-implies robots, they stick out like bolded text in a paragraph. This is mainly a visual issue; Oilman looks like the way African Americans were drawn in the fifties and Timeman sports a pair of tits on his head.

Speaking of weird looks, the overall giant-head artstyle is a big “what the hell?” But then again, once a player gets passed the initial visuals and concentrates on the game, all images become grouped together until the mind only sees it as a bunch of generalized symbols and colors being lead one side of the screen to the other. Really, we haven’t strayed far from eight color adventures of the Atari days when you look at it that way. But on the subject, you forget about the giant heads about ten minutes into the game. It’s only when the robots resemble extreme stereotypes, or naked chicks does it become distracting.

In the end, the reason to pick up this game (beyond me telling you) is the nostalgia. Megaman Powered Up offers classic Megaman gameplay that can’t be found in the blue bomber’s current Pokemon rip-off franchise. The developers were obvious fans of the old school version and they’ve added enough innovation to an old formula to create an incredible thing: a game that is both a new and classic experience.

Now go buy it so Capcom will be encouraged to make Megaman Power Up 2 so the glorious Bubbleman can return. Then I will have enough head to finally satisfy all your mothers.