E3 2008: Wario Land: Shake It!! Hands-On Preview At Kombo
E3 2008: Tomb Raider: Underworld Hands-On Preview At Kombo

E3 2008: Dr. Wily Wants Your Money In Mega Man 9

Dr. Wily Most of the major Capcom goodies are kept behind closed doors this year at E3, but the company does have a small presence in the Showcase Pavilion.  One of the games on display is Mega Man 9 for WiiWare and beyond, and while only two levels are playable, the demo does contain the opening cinema scenes that establish the plot.  First I'll paraphrase the plot, then fill you in on the gameplay itself.

The trouble begins when eight new Robot Masters begin attacking the world.  Everyone naturally assumes that Dr.Wily is behind the madness, but instead the gray-haired scientist appears on worldwide television with an explanation.  He claims that it's Dr.Light that has sent the robots.  Moreover, Wily has the video to back it up.  He shows the world a clip in which Dr. Light offers Wily the chance to team-up and take over the world.  Wily refuses, explaining how he's turned against his evil ways.  Light declares his intention to go it alone, but Wily promises he will find a way to save the day.  Wily explains to the world that he has designed new Robot Masters that can destroy Light's maverick creations, but he lacks the funds to actually build them.  Wily promises that if people will just donate to his special Swiss back account, he'll use the money to build these robots and save the world.  Light claims innocence and, naturally, Mega Man doesn't believe that Light is guilty, so he departs to clear his creator's name as the citizens of the world begin slamming the good doctor's phone with complaints.  Poor Roll is left to take lots of angry phone messages.

Mega Man 9 As for the demo itself, I can confirm that Mega Man 9 is following heavily in the steps of Mega Man 2.  While I did see places where a slide ability would be an asset, the blue bomber didn't have that capability today.  Collecting bolts for use in Auto's shop was there, but not the shop itself.  Rush's coil ability from Mega Man 3 was available as well.  The Robot Master level selection screen looks a lot like Mega Man 5's selection screen, but the boss introduction level fanfare was taken right from Mega Man 2 (in hindsight, I wish I'd have tried to see if the old "hold down the B button to turn the stars into birds" trick was retained).  It was too loud at the pavilion to hear the level music itself, unfortunately.

What's important is that the game plays a heck of a lot like the original Nintendo Entertainment System games, sprite flicker and all.  I even noticed the classic limitation of simultaneous sprites on a screen in which enemies are wiped from one screen while Mega Man transitions to the next.  Oh yes, and then there's the difficulty: really damn hard; at least until I learn the new enemy patterns and disappearing block sequences.  I didn't make it to either of the available Robot Masters (which two were present?  I don't know; the demo was careful not to reveal any names or mug shots), but then again I suppose it's good to save something for the final version later this year.