Late to the Party: Mega Man 10
Let's start with what nobody cares about: the story. This is the only part that really turns me off. They went a really long way in the intro both to set up how there's a new crisis and to set up the scenes for later. Having gotten past the 8 main stages (but haven't beaten it yet), I can see they did a little something for lolicon fans by giving them a close-up look at Roll all vulnerable. This seems to be more of an accident in establishing somewhat of a romantic scene between her and Rock (Mega Man is originally Rock Man, hence Rock & Roll were always meant to be together). The general premise actually gives Dr. Wily some credit, infecting robots everywhere with a special virus that made them turn violent, also implying that they would serve Wily in the process. He plays the fool and gets Mega Man to intervene, sending him right into the swarms of violent, infected robots which of course gets Mega Man infected. With him supposedly out of the way, Wily strikes again, and that's as far as I've gotten.
Thankfully, the interfaced has changed in every way for the better. The sidebars for wide-screen televisions are more pleasing than 9 had. The menu theme is not annoying for nostalgia's sake this time. The help & options screens are more user-friendly. Your weapon selection screen actually has you put in a bit of effort to get to your items, so it's harder to accidentally use up an energy tank. The menu is anything but hidden from the level select screen, whereas in 9 it was so small and hidden that you probably only found it by accident. This game does allow for an in-game weapon select too by using the bumpers, though my instinct was to use the triggers at first. It's not strictly an NES-friendly function, but I loved not having to break the action in 8 just to change weapons.
Getting into the actual gameplay, of course it's everything Mega Man fans love. I don't think I got through any of the stages on my first try, sometimes not even reaching the end boss. As is the usual case with Mega Man, my rate of success tended to go up as I got more weapons, due probably in combination with that and my previous exposure to the levels. Fortunately, there's a kind of training mode not unlike what Street Fighter 4 had with its trials. You unlock certain challenges by reaching certain points in the game, and then can test out your skills in those special challenge stages outside of the main game. Going through the normal and challenge stages reminded me a lot of Valve's design to teach by playing. They expose you to things on a light, probably easily answered level first and then gradually turn up the complexity. Of course, this still results in a lot of deaths before success, but those hair-pulling experiences have always been a part of Mega Man's appeal. Memorize the events, prepare for them, and conquer them. I don't think anyone's held out any illusions at this point that even the character Mega man could realistically go through all this avoiding destruction every time. Come to think of it, I'm sure Mario is exactly the same way, at least in the classic design.
I haven't spent more than 3 or 4 hours on this game, but I think it's going to prove well worth the money I've invested in it. Obviously competitive games have given me more than Mega Man ever will, but this is still pretty good for a single-player game. It's definitely good for some quick sessions, and the Wily castle will be good if I feel like wasting more than 10 minutes.