MEGA MAN 9
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GAME HINTS

It seems like a pretty typical occurrence when Robot Masters around the world start going on a rampage; however, this time around Dr. Wily disavows any association and blames Dr. Light. Wily even goes so far as showing a false video and asking for people to donate to him so that he can build an army of robots to counter this threat. With the world somehow wondering if maybe Wily is telling the truth for once (when does he ever?), Mega Man decides to go out and tackle the immediate problem: the rogue robots.

SPECIAL FEATURES
This is a downloadable game made in the style of the NES. Thus, while I could call it an “NES” game, it’s honestly not; it’s not available in cartridge form and you need a Wii, Xbox 360, or a PlayStation 3 in order to play it. (Buy it through WiiWare, Xbox LIVE, or PSN.)


I’m feeling a little gunked up...
This game has several unlockable modes available as separate downloads. Once you’ve purchased the game itself, be sure to check what kind of add-ons you can snag for it. Along with the main game, you can play things such as various time trials, hard modes, a survival mode, and Proto Man mode (which lets you play as Proto Man ala Powered Up, although in this game he has no plot).

Where supported this game also has official achievements; as of this writing, this list for the Xbox has hints and suggestions about how to acquire each one. (Click on each achievement name individually.)

Similarities and Differences

Just a quick list of where the designers borrowed certain aspects of the game and where they diverged from the classics. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but covers some of the highlights:

REVIEW
Play Control: 4
The control is pretty good, definitely getting close to matching the feel of many of the other classic Mega Man games (though putting the subscreen on Select instead of Start really messes me up). In fact, most of the time when you will be cursing the control isn’t actually a fault of the play control itself, but rather because the stage designers seem to have over-estimated Mega Man’s jumping range just about everywhere.

Are these guys nuts?
Graphics: 2
I went back and studied the graphics from previous NES games just to refresh my memory, and I will say the graphics here do seem to fit the overall style fairly well. The only thing that feels “off” to me is the graphics in Mega Man 9 seem to heavily favor the color black, more so than most of the other games. It’s tough to describe, but take for comparison this screen from Mega Man 3, or this one from Mega Man 6. Still, overall the feel of the graphics is pretty close.
Animation: 3
Most of the sprites for the main characters are from previous games. The new sprites do a fairly good job at sticking with the style of the original games in most cases. (Certainly better than my artwork.) Most of the Robot Masters have a number of frames of animation just for when they do their pre-battle posing. (Ironically, the new Sniper Joe in this game is so detailed he almost sticks out like a sore thumb, which is kind of funny.)
Music: 2
Many of the songs are from previous games—mostly Mega Man 2 (though ironically they seem to have chosen all of the really short and repetitive ones from that game). Some of the songs are rather high-pitched and repetitive (Tornado Man’s comes to mind) but the rest of the music isn’t that bad. The opening/ending is pretty nice, for example. A shame it all had to be in mono though.
Sound Effects: 3
Most of the sound effects are taken directly from previous games, though you’ll hardly hear them because the music volume is significantly louder in comparison and tends to drown out the sound effects (at least on the Xbox). The sound for when you pick up a Screw is kind of grating, and so is the charge sound effect for Proto Man, though that’s not a central part of the game.
Plot: 2
There are cut scenes spread throughout the game, which I give them points for. However, I don’t really care for the actual plot itself. It just doesn’t seem to fit into the original series well; I think the writers kind of forgot they weren’t writing for the ZX series here. (Having said that, the ending is awesome, so I can forgive them, mostly.)
Difficulty: 4 (normal to insane)
Actually, the overall stage design is fairly normal for the Mega Man 4 - 6 era. However, every stage has at least one place where the difficulty suddenly spikes through the roof, usually due to some pretty ridiculous design decisions. This can prevent people from actually finishing any stages because they keep getting snagged on these difficult sections, which makes the overall game feel harder than it really is. (Just as a note, if you are having troubles, see some suggestions in the Tips section.)
Replay Value: 3

You just have to be creative about how you go about things.
This one really depends on the player. Those who have a difficult time finishing the stages will probably lack incentive to ever want to go back to them again. However, people who like a challenge definitely get their money out of this one, so your mileage here will vary.
Polish: 3
There are a couple of extra touches here and there, one of which I want to note here specifically. Later in the game the good guys watch a video taken from the memory of one of the Robot Masters. Because this scene is being viewed through the eyes of the last Robot Master you defeated, the resulting scene shows only the other seven Robot Masters. If you look carefully, the one you just defeated is always the one that’s missing. This is a nice touch. (They did, however, forget to change the “his” to “her” if you defeated Splash Woman last. See, this is why it’s a bad idea to have a female Robot Master!)
Overall: 80%
For a number of reasons, this one is really hard for me to rate. In a lot of ways, it feels a lot like Mega Man 6 to me (but with an Item Replicator, and better weapons, and, well, you know). However, something you have to factor in is the cost. Assuming you already own one of the systems in question and have it connected to the Internet, this game costs less than half that of the NES games in their time, and it’s a full game—not a port, not a remake. So that’s something to consider as well. Overall, I really do think it’s worth the download, but be prepared to be driven up the wall by it at times.

+ Plus:
The weapons are a lot of fun to use; almost every weapon in the game is useful for something besides just defeating bosses.
- Minus:
Your weapon shots go away when you open the subscreen, even if you were just doing so to check your energy levels or pause the game.
SUGGESTED ORDER
It’s difficult to suggest an order because in order to defeat a Robot Master, you first have to reach him—which is sometimes the hardest part. If you can’t defeat the stages in this order, don’t worry too much about it. Just clear whatever stage you can get through, using Energy Tanks on the boss as necessary. The game gets easier as you gather weapons and items, so forget the finesse and use brute force where need be.
TELEPORTING HATCHES
Counterclockwize from top left corner: Galaxy, Concrete, Splash, Jewel, Hornet, Magma, Tornado, Plug
BOSSES
Magma Dragon:
It flies back and forth across the screen breathing fireballs onto the ground, which then split and go sideways (so jump). You can blow the flames off its body with the Tornado Blow, or suck them up with the Black Hole Bomb. Plant a B.Bomb right in the path of the dragon’s head and it will damage the beast as it flies by.
Elephants:
The first one you can just hang on the ladder and shoot it effortlessly. For the rest, you should see the “expected” pattern quickly—jump or otherwise dodge the ball that the elephant sends out, then run against the pull as the elephant sucks the ball back toward it—remembering to jump the ball again, of course. However, if these guys give you trouble, one unorthodox way to defeat one is to just stand right in its face and blast away. You’ll take damage, but you won’t risk getting blown into the pits and with rapid-fire you should defeat the elephant without taking more than two hits yourself. (Use a special weapon like P.Ball to finish them even faster.)
Flower:
The main challenge in this battle is avoiding the arm that is rotating around the room, not so much the flower (although sometimes it has a nasty habit of coming up right underneath you, and you can’t stand on the same ledge as the flower and shoot it because your shots will go straight through the flower because Mega Man sticks his arm cannon through it). Keep circling the room well ahead of the arm, and shoot at the flower only if you have an opportunity to, but don’t go too far out of your way for it or you may wind up just falling onto the spikes.

And you are surprised...why?
If you keep moving, most of the flower’s petals will miss you. Hornet Chaser works fairly well here because there’s no need to aim it; just make sure not to fire until after the flower appears (or at least just before it will appear) or else you will simply waste hornets. T.Blow is nice as well, but its energy won’t last very long.
Face Boulder:
Welcome to the most irritating mini-boss in the game (and that’s saying a lot). Rocks will fall randomly and rapidly from ceiling, and without a slide it’s tough to dodge them. Try to stay on your feet because when you see the boulder with the eyes on it, you need to jump immediately before it hits the ground or it will stun you and then roll over you. (Just to add insult to injury, the face rock can stun you even if you currently have temporary invulnerability from being hit previously by a boulder. This seems a little inconsistent to me.)

Note that when the face boulder goes back up to the top of the screen, you can watch the bits of dust to determine where it will come down again. If you have a weapon that can hit it up there, you can interrupt most of the boulders and cause the face to fall early. Otherwise, it’s not really helpful to know where it is because the real problem in this battle is all of the other boulders, not the one with the face. If you don’t have a weapon that can hit the face at the top of the screen, P.Ball seems to work fairly well as a substitute, defeating the boulder face in about 2-3 cycles.

Spiked Ball Cones:
This is a bit like a game of tug-of-war. Shoot the spiked balls to move them closer to the four robots by the four doors. When a ball strikes a robot, it destroys that robot and damages the boss’s overall energy meter. Most of the time, more robots will come through the gates to replenish those that you destroy (the red faces tend to be a bit more aggressive than the blue ones); however, once you whittle the boss’s energy low enough, eventually they will stop coming.

The T.Blow can move all four balls at once, but of course you’ll run out of energy for it in no time flat. You are probably better off just rapid-firing the spiked balls. Just make sure you don’t touch them bodily because they will kill you instantly.

Shark Ship:
This boss has three modes. The first mode, the tail end of the ship, involves a panel that opens and releases homing missiles. You can only damage the boss by shooting the missile bay while it is open; the panel opens every time it has to release more missiles—which it does when the previous missiles are destroyed. The L.Trident does decent damage and shoots fast, although you’ll waste energy shooting the missiles while waiting for the flying ship to get into range. Fausk suggests using hornets here, which I haven’t tried yet.

The second mode puts you right underneath the ship. Those are spikes right over your head, even though they don’t look like it. Two hatches release flying fish. Shoot the hatches to damage the boss; I would recommend against jumping because you are too likely to hit the underside of the ship and finish yourself off. M.Bazooka can hit the hatches without jumping, or use B.Bomb to both damage the hatches and suck up the fish. Fausk also suggests using T.Blow to accomplish the same thing. You can stand on the right side of the right hatch without being hit if you don’t jump, but beware of the fish.

The third mode is the head of the ship. (The game puts you right underneath it. Do move.) This one fires short lasers, and of course you have to hit the cannon which is only open while it is firing. Once again, L.Trident does pretty good damage, if you have any energy left for it. Be careful when jumping to shoot at this boss because usually you take damage only if you put yourself in the way of a laser.

Yellow Devil Blobs:
You can only damage this boss by hitting the eye while it is in transit. Memorize the pattern of the blocks because they are always the same. The pattern is as follows: Stand underneath 3. Jump the next 2 blobs together, in the center of the room. Then jump the next 2 blobs. Stand under 3. Then the eye will go. Jump 2 blobs; jump another set of 2. Stand under 3. Jump 1 low blob, then jump over 2 together. For the next group of 2, either jump very high over both, or jump the lower one in such a way that the higher one misses you. Stand under the final blob.

That is:

  • Stand (count 3)
  • Jump (2)
  • Jump (2)
  • Stand (count 3)
  • Eye
  • Jump (2)
  • Jump (2)
  • Stand (count 3)
  • Jump low (1)
  • Jump (2)
  • Jump high (2) or jump 1, stand 1
  • Stand (count 1)
While you are standing under the 3 just before the eye, prepare your weapon shot. Use B.Bomb for best results—fire the bomb while standing and if necessary press Up on the controller to get it about level with where the eye will pass through and form the black hole there. If you run out of energy for this weapon, M.Bazooka will do about 2 units of damage per shot and it’s fairly easy to hit with.
Wily 1st time:
You have to keep bouncing the egg bombs back at him. Just keep jumping and shooting them as they bounce toward you. As you knock them up against Wily’s machine, they will crack and eventually explode, damaging the machine.
Wily 2nd time:
Wily’s machine charges forward, trapping you toward the left side of the screen, but there is enough space for you to stand. Whenever the jaw on the machine opens, jump just as it is opening, and the flames that it spews will go right over your head. (The flames are in a U shape; it is sometimes possible to jump them, but it’s easier to stand underneath them when they are high enough.) Also, sometimes Wily will fly into the air and move slowly back and forth. For this, run most of the way across the screen, then turn around and head back to the left side. Wily should drop down somewhere on the right side of the screen. Jump just before he lands because if you are on the ground when he hits down, he’ll knock you off your feet.

To damage the machine, shoot the jaw. You can use either the arm cannon or something like L.Trident or M.Bazooka which is slightly easier to hit with. Additionally, some people have suggested using C.Shot. I haven’t personally tried this yet (seems like it’d be a pain to hit with) but it’s something else you can try.

Wily 3rd time:
Yep, appearing/disappearing saucer routine. When he appears, he has two types of attacks. One sends four energy balls outward and four down simultaneously. The ones going down will hit the floor and move sideways, and the ones going sideways will turn and move down. His second type of attack involves four spheres which come outward quickly, then zip toward you one more time before going off the screen. Position yourself carefully and you can govern where they travel, enabling you to jump or otherwise avoid them. Sometimes Wily will appear and then immediately disappear without shooting.

Hornets are pretty useful here since they don’t have to be aimed, but they don’t track Wily like Beat did, so you have to wait until Wily appears before shooting one. T.Blow is good for easy hits and defense (it blows away his shots) but you only get 4 blasts out of it. B.Bomb can also suck up his shots but it’s hard to hit Wily with it unless you get lucky. J.Satellite will do okay damage on Wily (try flinging it at him) but does not protect you from his shots, so you still have to dodge. M.Bazooka can hit most if not all of his locations.

Feel free to use your M-Tank on Wily if necessary. You won’t need it after this anyway.

PASSWORDS
This game uses saved games rather than passwords (rather surprisingly, actually, given how much they were trying for the whole nostalgia thing). You have up to 8 slots to save your games in, and saved games remember the number of lives, Energy Tanks, and other things in your possession. However, they do not remember progress through the fortress, so if you save during a later fortress stage, don’t expect to go back there when you reload. Also, don’t bother saving while in the fortress at all if you have used more Energy Tanks and such than you found Screws to replace, because otherwise you’ll just set yourself behind.

I really wish they’d let you save the game off the stage select screen, though. The only way to save the game is to clear or die to a stage, which, lacking an Escape Unit, makes it hard to stock up on items and then save them for use later. (What’s the use of buying extra lives if you have to lose them all just to save the game?)

Note: After you beat the game, you can make a save game that puts you back at the beginning of the game, but you retain whatever number of Screws you’d had from when you’d beaten the game. I’m not sure yet if anything else changes.

ITEMS
This game has the Item Replicator introduced in Mega Man IV and reused in Mega Man 7 and beyond. You use “Screws” to build things (which are really Bolts). It’s a shame the interface for the Item Replicator is kind of aggravating though.
TRICKS AND SECRETS

So why do we have two digits for item counts when the maximum possible amount is 9?
General Tips Stage-Specific Tips
ENDING
When Dr. Wily is defeated, a part falls from his ship and Wily runs off. Mega Man picks up the part and follows him. (As an aside, the room they go to has a screen showing schematics for Bass, very similar to the screen in Power Fighters. Yet the press release for this game says it takes place after Mega Man 8, so Bass certainly exists already...)

At any rate, Dr. Wily begs for forgiveness, and Mega Man calls Rush and tells Wily, “I want you to see where you went wrong!” He then proceeds to show Wily projected images of all of Wily’s major defeats in the past. (If you’ve ever complained, teasingly, that you haven’t seen Wily beg enough, this game certainly makes up for it!) What’s really clever about these scenes is they show Mega Man using the “proper” weapon against Wily, based on what colors he is. (The ninth image is from Mega Man & Bass.)

At any rate, Wily admits his defeat and informs Mega Man that he used police robots to capture Dr. Light under the pretense of arresting him. Dr. Wily claims that Dr. Light fell ill and needs to be taken to the hospital. He then leads Mega Man to a cell guarded by police robots with the captive scientist lying inside.

As Mega Man moves to free Dr. Light, Proto Man teleports in and warns him that it’s a trap, that the Dr. Light inside the cage is the robot that Wily built to create that fake video from all the way back at the beginning of the game. But Mega Man says he has to check and make sure either way. So Proto Man leaves him to it, and when Mega Man goes over to the bars of the cage, the fake Dr. Light starts sparking and zaps Mega Man flat.

Wily gloats that Mega Man will be destroyed along with his castle. Personally, I think dropping a castle on his head is a somewhat expensive way to finish him off, but hey, whatever. Wily and his police robots leave. On the floor, Mega Man lifts his head for a moment and comments, “I’m glad it wasn’t Dr. Light, but that poor robot...” (This fits his character but totally contradicts earlier plot points in the game where Mega Man seemed fine with Robot Masters being scrapped...)

Mega Man goes thud, alarms blare, and Proto Man reappears, commenting, “Looks like I have to save you...again.” He then teleports the two of them out.

Interestingly, this game does not actually show Wily’s castle blowing up from the outside like most games; instead, it cuts directly to the epilogue (Dr. Light was cleared of all charges, but Dr. Wily escaped and disappeared), then goes to the credits.

The credits sequence is worth watching because it contains images of the various Robot Masters (apparently they were rebuilt) along with Dr. Light, Mega Man, Roll, Auto, and the rest of the gang.



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Last update: November 22, 2013