Dual Reviews You Can Use [tm]: Mega Man 9 and Worms 2: Armageddon

Both of these are DLC — Mega Man 9 was $4.95, Worms 2 was $14.95.

Mega Man 9

If you read my last two posts, you know of my love for Mega Man. I was browsing PlayStation Network, and spotted this one sitting for cheap, so I immediately downloaded it.

Mega Man 9 follows everyone’s Blue Bomber against eight new robot masters, for the first time featuring a female robot master! If you’ve never played a Mega Man game, the basic premise is that you are a good robot fighting against bad robots. Defeating a boss lets you absorb that robot’s powers, which you can then use against subsequent opponents. That’s all you need to know. (There is a story, but until Mega Man X, it’s not particularly enthralling.)

For those of you who were big fans of the X series (like me), be forewarned that this is a return to the 8-bit glory days, down to the graphics and sound. The slide and chargeable Mega Buster are gone, but everything is true to the original series. There are a few new wrinkles, too. First is the Mega Man shop, where you can exchange screws (collected during your travels) for items like Energy Tanks, 1-Ups, and one shot immunity against spikes. Second, trophy-style achievements have been added, from beating the game five times in one day to shooting your Mega Buster 500 times. Third, there are several add-ons you can download (and pay for) including individual stages to clear, Endless Attack (wherein Mega Man must battle a never ending series of robots — progress is tracked by rooms cleared), and Timed Attack, where you replay a stage and try to get the best time. Perhaps most intriguing is the ability to play as Proto Man. All of these are available for another $4.99 combined.

The controls are simple, and play like any other NES-style Mega Man extravaganza. The difficulty is about the same as the earlier Mega Man games, although the shop does make things easier, as you can buy helpful items. Best of all, if you die, you keep all of your items, including energy tanks, on a continue or choosing a new stage. You’ll still die plenty until you master the patterns of your foes and the requisite jumping puzzles. There are two additional modes (part of the add-on), Hero and Superhero, which make the game even harder. There’s also an item in the shop that removes Mega Man’s helmet, making him twice as vulnerable, if for some reason the game is too easy.

All in all, an extremely worthwhile purchase, particularly for the price. I haven’t purchased the add-ons yet, and I probably won’t, but for the extra money you do get quite a bit of new content.

Pros:

— It’s more 8-bit Mega Man!

— The shop is a nice new addition and takes a bit of sting out of the difficulty.

— The levels are well designed.

Cons:

— It’s more 8-bit Mega Man!

— Why no slide or chargeable Mega Buster?

— Spoiler alert (click and drag to see): The end boss is Dr. Wily, and they tell you that in the name of one of the trophies (oops!) At least Mega Man 4 tried to fake you out.

Worms 2: Armageddon

Originally a PC/PlayStation 1 release, the Worms series of games has a very old premise. You control a team of four worms. Your goal is to destroy the other team (or teams) using an assortment of creative weaponry, ranging from a bazooka to the Buffalo of Lies to the dreaded Concrete Donkey. There is no story: just worms screaming, dancing, and killing each other. As an offline multiplayer game, only Mario Kart and Twisted Metal 2 are superior among those I have played.

As you might imagine, the game doesn’t take itself very seriously, and it shouldn’t. This is the second HD remake of the original franchise, following Worms in 2009. This version adds new weapons, a campaign mode, and the Worms shop, which adds unlockables like new weapons, new terrain, and a variety of hats. The terrain generator is more robust, and a new mode — Fort defense — has been added, where each team gets a fort to attack the other team, rather than all being randomly distributed.

The controls are quite simple, and the tutorial does a great job of introducing new players. The firing ranges let you experiment with weapons, which is very useful for mastering the trickier ones (damn you, Super Sheep!!!) Everything looks very smooth — new graphical touches include victory dances and hats for your worms. The addition of screaming worms (when a grenade or mine lands by them) is funny at first, then annoying, then funny again, etc.

The only complaint I really have is the loading times. This is an unwelcome addition to the franchise, as the earlier HD relaunch had no such problems. Precious worm-slaughtering time is wasted, and it’s particularly galling to have them on a downloadable game (Mega Man 9, for instance, suffers from no such problem).

However, this is a minor complaint. If you bought the new Worms, Worms 2 does offer a lot more content — it’s up to you whether it’s worth another $15.00. I happen to think it is. If you didn’t buy the first reboot of Worms, this one is better in every way, and that’s not a knock on the old one.

Pros:

— New weapons, new backgrounds, same old carnage.

— Hats!

— The unlockables are a nice touch and convince you to play through the campaign.

Cons:

Not everybody who bought the first will relish buying the second.

— Loading times.

— Still no Carpet Bomb or Old Woman.