The "Blue Bomber" is back...just don't call him that, because that is a registered trademark of Capcom. A little over a month ago at the Tokyo Game Show I got the chance to play and talk with the people that are hard at work on Mighty No. 9!
For those of you that might not be familiar, Mighty No.9 is the latest game from the famed creator of MegaMan, Keiji Inafune. A little over three years ago Inafune left Capcom and his beloved MegaMan behind. Since then, Capcom (in the eyes of many) has spitefully left MegaMan confined to only our memories. Inafune decided the time was right to reinvigorate the genre he created, but, since he no longer had access to the characters he created, he decided to start again. In order to help fund his vision, Inafune turned to KickStarter and was met with tremendous success. The end result is Beck, the Mighty No. 9 and this game is MegaMan in everything but name. However, Mighty No. 9 is not just a straight up MegaMan clone, it is an evolution of the franchise.
Since everyone is familiar with how a MegaMan game plays, let's talk about what Mighty No. 9 is doing to change up the genre for the better. The biggest change everyone will immediately notice is the orb powe-up system. You see, every time you defeat an enemy a colored orb will appear. Green orbs recharge your health, blue increases your speed, and red make your attacks more powerful. The more orbs of a like color you collect in succession, the longer and stronger the effect of that power-up is. However, the kind of orbs an enemy drops are random so you have to manage your pick-ups carefully, however if you take too long to collect an orb your power-up will go away. Fully maximizing the benefits of this new system is definitely going to be a nice challenge.
While Mighty No. 9 still maintains the standard and boss weapon usage system we all know and love, it adds a dash attack into the mix. While this is nothing new to the "X" series, how it is used here is entirely different. First off, the dash is the only way you can collect the orbs for the previously mentioned power-up system. Additionally there is no double jump present (as it stands now) so carefully timing your jumps and dashes is a must in order to effectively clear some of the platforming sections of the game.
The demo on-hand was a fairly straightforward level that demonstrated all of the games mechanics in a nice and concise way. However, upon finally arriving at the boss room I was presented with no boss. I called over to one of the booth attendants that there was a problem. They quickly reset and I was back on my way to the boss room, and yet again no boss. The booth attendant then came back with some Comcept employees in tow and I told them what was happening. They apologized and had me play the demo again as they had yet to see this glitch. My 15 minute demo ended up being almost an hour as they had me play again and again trying to replicate this bug. But alas, I was unable to get the glitch to trigger a third time. Looks like I'm not quite ready for the glamorous life of a Q&A tester. Don't get me wrong, the game is in no way buggy, I had just managed to trigger some weird sequence of events that somehow made the game go boom.
However, my added time with the game allowed me to chat some with the Comcept team and I gotta say they are an awesome bunch. We chatted about our favorite MegaMan games and they were quite to happy to hear that mine is MegaMan Legends. These guys love and miss our beloved "blue bomber" and this game is truly a homage to the series we all know and love. In fact, sometimes it goes past the realm of homage to outright poking Capcom in the eye. When I asked the Comcept employees if the name of Beck's creator, Dr. White, was too similar to MegaMan's Dr. Light the response I got was a laughing "Our lawyers say no!" You gotta love that answer, lol.
According to the Comcept team, barring any unforeseen problems, the PC verision is on track for a Spring 2015, and soon as that is released they will get started on the console ports. Their current thinking is that we will see the console version around this time next year. But, they did reiterate to please not hold them to that information as nothing as been officially announced.
If you are a disillusioned MegaMan fan like I am, Mighty No. 9 will renew your faith!