Mega Man Powered Up
Capcom's second PSP Mega Man remake is about to hit, but with new modes, playable bosses, and online functionality, Mega Man has come a long way since 1987...
Capcom is no stranger to porting/remaking their library of hit titles to new hardware time and time again, but even the most remake-wary gamer should give Mega Man Powered Up a fair chance. For one, this is no upgrade of a PS1 or PS2-era title that's still fresh in gamers' minds. Powered Up is a complete graphical and aural makeover of the original Mega Man, released on the NES in 1987.
It almost isn't even fair to call Powered up a remake at all. The game retains the same ruthless difficulty of the original Mega Man (don't be fooled by the super-deformed, cutesy graphics- the game is as difficult as ever), but that's just about where the similarities end. It's better to think of Powered Up as an experience that's merely based on that of the NES classic.
The original storyline is intact, focusing on Dr. Light's attempt to thwart the world domination plans of the evil Dr. Wily and his robot army, by recruiting the help of his own robot assistant Mega Man. This time around that rather base plotline has been fleshed out via new cinematics, voice acting, and an actual narrative.
The main game comes in two varieties, appropriately titled Old and New. New features completely remixed levels, with new areas to explore, enemy placements, and item locations. Two new bosses (Time man and Oil Man) have also been implemented, along with a stage for each. Old mode pulls back the viewpoint to 4:3, replaces the redone tunes with the classic NES tracks, and returns the levels to their original layout, albeit with the super-cute, big-headed art style still in place.
Another major edition is the satisfyingly difficult Mega Man Challenge 100. These 100 mini-stages, each with their its goals and challenges, are made all the more interesting thanks to the ability to play as any of the game's eight original bosses. Besides serving as a big piece of Mega Man fan service, playable boss characters keeps these challenges fresh, thanks to each individual boss having its own distinct strengths and weaknesses.
The fleshed-out plot, heavily remixed levels, playable bosses, and 100 challenge stages are all very attractive, but what has this editor most excited is the game's construction mode. Perhaps taking a cue from Konami's Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, the mode serves as a full-fledged level editor, allowing aspiring game creators an amazing amount of control over the levels they make.
Through a series of pull-down menus gamers place the basic infastructure first, from a series of sorted, pre-made "scenery" item packs. Walls, ladders, platforms, etc. Then enemies can be placed, and lastly item pick-ups. Other attributes such as playable character, starting position, and available weapons are set last. Only so much stuff can be crammed into each room, but rooms can be strung together to create levels just as large as those in the main game. The mode is almost obscenely robust. Item packs are littered throughout the single player quest, opening up more options within the level editor, providing an incentive to explore every level thoroughly.
The best part is that these fan-made levels can be saved to a memory stick and then shared locally, or online. Gamers will be able to hop onto Capcom's server and download a virtually endless number of fan-made maps.
The fact is calling Mega Man Powered Up a remake of the 1987 original is an injustice to the title. Capcom has gone above and beyond the call of duty with the game's new quest, new challenges, and new online functionality. The final verdict will have to wait until the game's March 14 release, but PSP owners who remember the days when console power was measured in "bits" would do well to keep Powered Up on their radar.