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Rockman 9 The Deal!
What Rockman 9 Was All About, and Why It May Possibly Be the Most Confusing Title to Date
by Shin Lunaar

Rockman 9.

It happened, and whether people liked it or not, a tidal wave thrashed the sales and reviews. Near perfect to perfect grades have been handed out from numerous gaming sites - both industry and amateur alike. The number of times Rockman 9 was downloaded blew the top off of the other WiiWare titles by far, and it continues to receive praise to this day.

The obvious reason being...well, obvious. Anybody who fell in love with the Original series, with it's colorful graphics, tight mechanics, excellent music and wonderful reward value - there are very few who wouldn't take this opportunity to just GOBBLE this new installment up. Only this tasty treat contains spices. And it burns your tongue. Although the treat is indeed tasty, it stings for some reason.

There is one major point that leads people to believe that Rockman 9 was not worth making, and I've noticed that when stating this reason to the public for discussion, it's met with "well, yeah it doesn't matter. Just continue on with the nonsense, and don't think too hard" type of comments. What am I referring to? Well, what I think SHOULD be a large point in video gaming to some extent...the uh...pff, story. The story. Y'know? The overall plot? This latest installment to the Original series is...I'm sorry to say, LACKING one. It's almost to the point of being fan-fiction. Almost.

I will elaborate, of course. As I warned above, SPOILERS ahead! But who cares, this game barely has a story to begin with. XD Anyhooooo, take the plot of Rockman 9, alone. Eight robots attack the city, Rockman has to save the day from Dr. Wi - I mean Dr. Light. Holy buster balls, a twist! ...sorta. I mean, we could kinda already assume that ol' Dr. "Willy" would have something to do with it. Okay okay, just for the point of getting everything straight; let's get the whole game down in one fellow swoop. Dr. Wily is still in jail from...apparently his trouble-making from Rockman and Forte, according to the canon we've been introduced to in the ending - which I will get to in a bit. The eight robots attack the city, and Wily states on television that he obviously has nothing to do with it, as he is sitting in jail as this happens. Not only that, but he actually has a recording of Dr. Light requesting Dr. Wily to join him in world domination and Dr. Wily proudly declining his invitation to help with his evil deeds! The robots shown on the rampage even belong to Dr. Light! :O Well, of course, Dr. Light, Rockman, Roll and the whole gang are in the laboratory watching this newscast as it happens. They're...! Dumbfounded...as usual. The phone is um...ringing (???), and Rockman decides that the first thing to do is resort to violence and hunt down those robots! :D Good ol' Rocky. Through out, we have little snippets of cut scenes here and there revealing a strange (new? old? i dunno) law that all robots have expiration dates and when that time comes, they are to be scrapped and sent to the junkyard. Pretty scary stuff. Wonder when Rock and Roll's are? Eventually, Dr. Light is put behind bars, and Rush is upgraded(?) so he can use the Rush Jet. After defeating all eight of these robot masters, Rockman brings back a memory bank from the last one he had mercifully blown to smithereens. Surprise, surprise, Dr. Wily himself is up to his old tricks when it is revealed that he conversed with the eight robots and convinced them that it is wrong that robots should be scrapped when their job is done. He then explains to them that he can remove this expiration code for them, out of his kindness –with a bastard of a grin, lol. Of course, we all know that Dr. Wily didn't just remove their expiration codes, he turned them into his own little soldier bots and let them loose unto the city. Rockman sets off to take down Wily once and for all, and he does so in a comedic fashion. After the blue bomber practically scolds him with projections of every past failure he's put him through, from the early Rockman to the latest canonically correct game Rockman 8 - WAIT A SECOND, there's a ninth projection! *squints* That looks...like...Rockman and Forte. Wow, thoroughly well done job, Capcom. The scolding finishes, and the next turn of events almost seem like they're written by some eager fanboy. Dr. Wily is frantic about Dr. Light's illness (WTF?) and that when he captured Dr. Light, he became worse. So wait. The Dr. Light that was supposedly taken off by the police was...a robot. Well, that makes sense, as it appeared strange that Dr. Light appeared in the aforementioned video in the opening intro. Rockman follows Dr. Wily into the next room, which is occupied by two Fake Mans (police lookin' bots) and a large cage containing a sleeping Dr. Light. Rockman approaches the cage, when Blues himself whistles down into the room and warns him that it's a trap, and that THAT Dr. Light is the robot used to make the video! Wait a fuggin' plug ball, that means that Wily lied about the robot being the actual Dr. Light and that the robot in that room with them IS Dr. Light, only that he's LYING about THAT, and that THAT Dr. Light is ACTUALLY a robot, and the REAL Dr. Light is...where? ...I need a drink. Back to the story. Rockman decides to ignore his warning, and that he can't take the chance. Blues practically says "go fuck yourself" and leaves. Sure enough, as soon as Rockman gets near the doctor, he's met with a nasty shock to the touch and passes out. As the fake Light sproings his head to and fro in a wonderful "I TOLD YOU SO NYAH NYAAH" fashion, Dr. Wily leaves the castle with his two Fake Mans, the castle now starting to self destruct. Blues once again teleports down to save his brother's naïve ass. "Looks like you need my help - again..." Did I mention I love Blues' common sense? The screen then cuts to one of the many cop-out white text on black screen endings I've witnessed in my NES days...its gold.

"MEGA MAN HAS ONCE AGAIN
PUT A STOP TO DR. WILY'S
EVIL PLANS.

DR. LIGHT WAS FOUND TO BE
INNOCENT OF ALL WRONGDOING,
AND WAS ABLE TO RETURN
TO HIS LABORATORY."

Ohhh, the hilarity of it all. After that screen blacks out, it then cuts to the credits. During the credits, it shows a montage of enemies, their respective robot masters, and...photo shoots of said robot masters interacting with the Light bots. Magma Man heating up Dr. Light's bath, Jewel Man giving Roll pretty gems, Rightot taking photos of Splash Woman, Blues staring off into the sunset with Galaxy Man shadowed in the sky, Rockman just plain standing there with Tornado Man doing the same...............did he not just single-handedly UTTERLY OBLITERATE THESE ROBOTS??

Alright, I'm gonna start of by saying that I love this game. I really do. I couldn't wait to play it from start to beginning, the gameplay was more than amazing, the challenge aspect was...CHALLENGING to say the very least, and the fan service was pretty damn satisfying. Now, on to addressing the story. Capcom's attitude towards this game was lighthearted; they simply wanted to recreate the old charm of the past with weird stories, strange dialogue and glitchy graphical flickers. In that aspect, they, along with Inti Creates, did extremely well and should be applauded until kingdom come. So, some points of the story can be forgivable. Like, the typical "omg eight robots kill them get power defeat wily save the day lulz" situation is so wonderfully executed in this game, it makes me smile just thinking about it. The last game that came anywhere near that close to mixing the gameplay with the simplicity of story was Rockman 3 - a game I hold very dear to me. Probably even more so than Rockman 2. And while we ALL have questions about furthering the plot along after the Original series and before the X series, it was stated before its release that the storyline will have no relevance to the overall canon. As upset as I was over this (read my first article and you'll get my opinion on that whole schmeel), I didn't care as much as I thought I would. The game was still beautiful in its own right, and that's the enjoyment it gave me.

NOW, onto the nitty gritty. Some um, problems I had with Rockman 9. First off, as cheesy and simple the story is...why is it so complicated at times? O_o Is that Dr. Light or isn't it? Is Dr. Wily a nice guy or not? It went back and forth quite a bit, especially towards the dialogue heavy ending...which is something in itself I never found to be present in the first six games. Not only that, but most of the dialogue actually wasn't badly written. Of course it was cheesy, but it didn't have the dumbed down poorly translated feel the old games had. As I had wrote earlier, it feels like a fanboy wrote the last scene. The next problem I have is one important plot hole which left me scratching my head as the story progressed. As we are told, Dr. Wily is behind bars at the start of the game. It is at that point in which the robots attack the city, and Dr. Light is blamed for their deeds. Yet, it is shown through one of the robot's memory banks (depending on who you gibbed last) that Dr. Wily spoke with them, and tricked them into getting their systems reworked. Now, how could have he done that behind bars? Think about it, it couldn't have happened. Let's say he did this before he was taken to jail, and he was planning ahead. Well, that doesn't work either because that would've happened during Rockman and Forte, and I personally don't think that his backup plan involved conversing with eight lowly work robots and sympathizing with them and - and...uh...hmm, we're thinking too far ahead into this aren't we? As we have been told, the story was just supposed to be a little cheesy hunky dory plot meant to satisfy the gamers of old with their glands of plot hole filled delight. So, why is it that everything they're giving us with Rockman 9 is somehow just one huge blemish when you actually try to sort out the timeline? Are we supposed to just numbly play through the game and nom nom everything we see and just love it? I mean, that's what I did through the first playthrough, but...y'know, it's kind of ridiculous. The note it ends on is just...typical. I thought I was in for a nice ending, but...no; it's the usual "he gets away" story with some strange elements. First off, let's look at the first screen that appears when you defeat Wily. Oh hey, there's...Forte.

...

I just simply gave the bird to the screen as soon as I saw that. Forte. In an 8-bit game. Sounds cool, right? YEAH, maybe if actually made an APPEARANCE. You'd think that during the entire length of the game that he'd be all over Rockman's little blue ass just trying to blow the crap out of him - but not ONCE is he even mentioned in the entire game! And yet, Rightot's there. CHYEAH, the totes useful green robot that really has an importance over Roll's assistance. Okay, so Forte's um, blueprints(?) are proudly displayed to all in the background monitor. Jeesh, the first EVER official 8-bit rendition of Forte from Capcom - and it's off of some little monitor in the corner. Thanks, guys. Now, before you all scream out "FORTE IS BEING BUILT ZOMG!" or the opposite "THIS ISN'T RIGHT!! THEY SAID ROCKMAN 9 TAKES PLACE AFTER ROCKMAN AND FORTE, SO WHY IS HE BEING BUILT WHEN HE FIRST APPEARED IN ROCKMAN 7 RAAAAGE -" *shoots in the face* Shut up. I mean, I know it sounds wonderfully simple/convenient, but perhaps Dr. Wily was simply studying Forte's build and left it on screen. Or he may be upgrading him, possibly giving him some uber transformy-thingy for Gospel. Even though it IS such a rather small image, it does mean a whole lot. That Capcom just wanted to keep things simple, but keep the fan service in check. For example, the following event: Rush's projector. Not only did this have me in stitches, but I was also pleasantly impressed with Capcom's attention to detail. I mean, the first six games are easy to take a screenshot of, but they went ahead made their own 8-bit renditions of Wily's defeat at the end of Rockman 7 and 8, and even Rockman and Forte! Being the tard I am, I quickly Youtube'd the final boss battles of each respective game and sure enough - surprisingly accurate, down to the suggested weapon choice. I hadn't even realized that Rockman 7 and Rockman and Forte had practically recycled stage graphics until I saw this entire projection spoof. Ya learn somethin' new everyday. So that projection bit was delightful, but then things proceeded to take a quite a turn. Dr. Wily began to ask for mercy and to...get Dr. Light to the hospital! My reaction was that of a confused puppy, tilted head and all. I mean, it was OBVIOUS that he was lying by the time the screen scrolled over to Dr. Light, the Fake Mans standing there and everything. XD They crack me up. Either way, we all know what happens and if you don't...you should've just scrolled up a bit and read the entire thing. XD

Just about everyone had a huge beef with the gameplay features that were removed for Rockman 9, I myself being one of them. The removal of sliding and charging took some getting used to. There wasn't any plot point to it either - he just didn't fuggin' have them. I mean, I would've liked some Metroid-esque situation where his weapons are taken away before the game starts but NOOOO. Personally, I never used the charge shot very much at all in the Original series. It was in the X series in which I felt it was necessary to run, dash, bounce, charge and blow shit away. The Original series is just great with its running, jumping and pew-pew-ing, with a little bit of sliding along the way. It's not really a means of travelling like the dashing was in the X series. So when it comes down to it, I was even angrier over the sliding than the charging. Sliding provided more opportunities for puzzle solving, meaning I was baffled when they announced it was taken out along with the charge shot - and even MORE baffled when Capcom confirmed that it will NOT be part of a downloadable or purchasable upgrade - that they just won't exist, ever. Although, they did provide a download for a playable Blues (among other spiffy downloads), who DOES have a charge shot and slide. Alas, he can't really take a hit...and when he does get hit, his recoil distance is like "WOAAAH I'M FLYIN'!" Serious distance. Wait a minnit; he's a red Rockman who is overall stronger but cries like a baby when he gets hurt? Sounds like our good friend Akuma snuck in to our favorite little game series. This isn't surprising, considering he ALSO resides at Capcom's abode. "MESSATSU!"

There were a lot of things that hurt people's feelings about Rockman 9, but only if they happened look deep enough - which oddly enough Capcom practically told us not to do. Filled with a ton of extremely difficult challenges and unlockables, although not being without its obvious flaws and head-scratchers; Rockman 9 satisfied me and many, many others - but not in the way that I think most expected. Not only that, but Capcom got a whole huge heapin' pile of money for it, so as long as their pockets are warm, why not continue? Rockman 10? I'd rather not see it coming any time this year, unless they spent even more time on it than their previous installment - and didn't make it another stand-still in the overall story. Perhaps a next-gen take on the game? Graphically improved in 2.5D? We could only dream...and then dream more, hoping that it doesn't suck.

In the meantime, I highly recommend this game. If you enjoy any Rockman game for the story, you can't possibly play through all of it because you love the story and you hate the game. It just doesn't work. You're going to love it somehow. :D The story IS no doubt lacking, however. Don't expect anything truly riveting, other than the fact that Capcom has finally accepted Rockman and Forte into it's happy canon - and not only that, whether they meant to or not, confirmed that it was indeed Rockman who officially defeated King and Dr. Wily, not Forte. Interesting tidbit, no?

I'm going to go comb over this game again. Maybe I'll finally discover this super duper secret that Seth Killian says exists, yet not one person has uncovered yet. Yeah, I'LL find it, fuckers! XD

~Shin Lunaar, signing off. Email me at AzureBlueKnight@aim.com for more discussion, or hit me up at http://www.youtube.com/lunaarcorp !!

*points and laughs at Blues using his P. Ball* He's not Blues, he's PINKS! *is shot*