Mega Man Powered Up
|Mega Man Powered Up|
European box art for Mega Man Powered Up.
|Release date(s)||PlayStation Portable|
Mega Man Powered Up (known in Japan as Rockman Rockman (ロックマンロックマン?)) is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and publlished by Capcom in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld game console. It is a remake of the original Mega Man game released in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Players control the eponymous star Mega Man who must stop Doctor Wily from conquering the world using eight robots called Robot Masters. Unlike the original game, players can control these eight Robot Masters under the right circumstances. Other new features include a level creator mode and a challenge mode.
Powered Up was designed by series mainstay Keiji Inafune. It was first revealed in 2005 and announced for a US release later in the year. It was released in a bundle alongside Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X (also for PSP) and was slated for release on the PSP's PlayStation Network (PSN). It was released for the PSN service in Japan, but a US release did not occur due to technical difficulties. The game uses a chibi-style that was intended for the original game but was not possible at the time. The designers intended to keep this design faithful to the way the characters worked and looked in the original. Inafune hoped to follow Powered Up with a remake of Mega Man 2 titled Mega Man Powered Up 2; this fell through after Powered Up sold poorly.
The robot creator Doctor Light created two human-like robots with advanced artificial intelligence named Mega and Roll. Following this, he created eight more robots intended for industrial use: Cut Man, Guts Man, Ice Man, Bomb Man, Fire Man, Elec Man, Time Man, and Oil Man (the latter two which were added for the remake). He received a Nobel Prize for Physics, and his old colleague and rival Doctor Wily has grown bitter for not being acknowledged for his work on the project. Wily discovered a prototype robot made by Doctor Light before Mega and Roll called Proto Man, who is in danger of having his energy generator go critical. Wily gave him a nuclear energy supply to extend his life. He later steals and reprograms the eight industrial robots to attempt world domination. Mega volunteered to stop Wily and the robots and was converted into a fighting robot called Mega Man.
The game is a remake of the original NES Mega Man title and has similar gameplay and level designs to it. The game moves on a 2D plane and players are given control of the game's eponymous hero Mega Man. Unlike the original's 8-bit graphics, the game uses 3D character models with super deformed designs. Mega Man's primary abilities include jumping and shooting and he is given both a health meter and a life meter. Mega Man can lose health by touching enemies or their projectiles, while lives will be lost when Mega Man empties his life meter, touches certain spikes, or falls into a pit. Lives and health can be found either dropped by enemies or in fixed locations.
At the beginning of the game, players are given an introductory level and boss to overcome. Afterward, players are given access to eight different stages, each represented by one of the above-mentioned Robot Masters (in contrast with six in the original). At the end of each stage, players must battle a Robot Master. When a Robot Master is destroyed, it will give Mega Man its respective power, which can be used against other Robot Masters or enemies but has limited ammunition. If Mega Man defeats the Robot Master using his primary weapon, the Robot Master will be captured and reprogrammed. This allows players to play through stages as one of the Robot Masters.
It features two styles of gameplay: "Old Style" is comparable to the NES version aside from the updated presentation, and "New Style" uses the PSP's entire widescreen and contains storyline cutscenes with voice acting, altered stage layouts, remixed music, and three difficulty modes for each stage. Additionally, the remake lets players unlock and play through the game as the eight Robot Masters, Roll, and Protoman. The New Style stages differ in structure from that of Old Style, with some pathways only accessible to specific Robot Masters. Mega Man Powered Up also features a Challenge Mode with 100 challenges to complete, a level editor for creating custom stages, and an option to distribute fan-made levels to the PlayStation Network online service.
Mega Man Powered Up was developed and published by Capcom for the PlayStation Portable handheld game console. It was designed by Keiji Inafune. Mega Man Powered Up was first seen on a list of games that would have demos at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show titled Rockman Rockman. It was later revealed to be a remake of the NES Mega Man. It was announced for a US release on November 8, 2005 under the title Mega Man Powered Up. It was featured at Capcom's annual Gamer's Day convention in Las Vegas in 2006. It was bundled with Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X on UMD. It was slated to be re-released on the PSP's PlayStation Network service along with other Capcom PSP titles including Maverick Hunter X. While it was released for the Japanese PSN, a US release of Powered Up never occurred due to technical difficulties that neither Sony nor Capcom could resolve.
Inafune had originally planned to use this chibi-style in the original Mega Man, but could not due to the hardware constraints of the NES. Producer Tetsuya Kitabayashi stated that redesigning the character models was a result of the PSP's 16:9 widescreen ratio. The larger heads on the characters allowed the development team to create visible facial expressions. "The concept for these designs was 'toys'. We wanted cute designs geared towards little kids ... the kinds of characters that you'd see hanging off of keychains and such," character designer Tatsuya Yoshikawa explained. "Not only that, I made sure to tell the designers not to skimp on any of the original Mega Man details. We wanted their proportions and movements to be accurately reflected in these designs as well." As the size of the remake's stages are not proportional to those of the original, the widescreen ratio also presented the developers with more space to fill. The Robot Master Oil Man originally had black skin and pink lips, which GamesRadar identified as a "1920's caricature." The design was changed for the US release to blue skin and yellow lips to avoid controversy.
Mega Man Powered Up received generally positive reception after it was revealed. It was perceived initially as a "straight port" of the NES game with graphical enhancements. IGN writer Nix felt that the graphical update as seen at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show was well-designed. He noted that its biggest hang-up was the fact that the original Mega Man was improved upon by its sequels and that the original lacked functions such as the charge shot, the slide, and Rush. Jeff Gerstmann felt the game was promising and praised its take on the original levels as well as its level editor. Ricardo Torres was impressed with the playable demo at Capcom's Gamer Day; he praised the graphical overhaul but noted that it might be "overdosing on cute." Juan Castro felt that it would appeal to Mega Man fans and those looking for an "oldschool platformer." Jeremy Parish noted that fans hoping for a new game may be disappointed and that it was "a little short on creativity." He also wrote that its "super-cutesy look ... is likely to give Hello Kitty a run for her diabetes-inducing money." He added however that the level creator function (which he felt would be more at home on the Nintendo DS with its touchscreen input) made it his most anticipated PSP game at the time. After using the level editor, Parish called it "nothing short of incredible" despite limitations.
Sales of Mega Man Powered Up in Japan were considered very poor, though it sold better in the US. Speculation existed for the low sales which included the possibility that it came out too early in the PSP's life and a "lack of overlap between Mega Man gamers and PSP owners." Fan lamentation also existed for the fact that it was not available for the Nintendo DS (which featured several other Mega Man titles). Inafune expressed an interest in making a Mega Man Powered Up 2, though he noted that it would take time to get to. Due to the poor sales of the game, further remakes have been put on hold.
Despite poor sales, it received generally positive reviews, currently holding aggregate scores of 83% on GameRankings and 82 out of 100 on Metacritic respectively. It received positive attention from the Mega Man fanbase. Game Revolution's Mike Reily praised the game' variety of challenges, playable bosses, level editor, and the gameplay variety but criticized its "trial and error" gameplay and graphical slowdown. Gamasutra writer Connor Cleary praised its improvements of the original Mega Man and noted that those who don't like the art style would be able to get over it after playing. David Oxford, from 1UP.com felt that it was the most notable remake of the original Mega Man. In his review, Jeremy Parish, also from 1UP.com, called it "one of the most addictive PSP games to date" and felt that it reminded players of Mega Man's greatness. He also praised its level editor, which he noted came before future Sony titles that featured a level editor such as LittleBigPlanet and Sound Shapes. He later included it in his list of games to play on a short flight due to its quick levels and auto-save feature. GameSpot's Alex Navarro called it the best remake of the original Mega Man due to a combination of the original game's quality and the quality of the additional features, while IGN's Juan Castro felt that the quality and polish of the game would appeal to veteran Mega Man fans and newcomers to the franchise. Detroit Free Press called it "a must-buy for fans of the long-running series, despite its super cute-ified new look." Matt Keller from PALGN called the original an "all-time classic" and felt that Powered Up was "the remake it deserves."
GameSpy placed "Powered Up" as the seventh best handheld game of 2006, as well as the fifth best PSP game. IGN ranked it the ninth best PSP game ever made. It was also nominated for "Best Action Game" for the "2006 1UP Awards", losing to Dead Rising.
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