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PSP  header logo

Mega Man Powered Up

For: PSP

…but dresses down in this cutesy old-school run–and-gunner

Product: Mega Man Powered Up | Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Format: PSP | Genre: Platform | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Mega Man Powered Up PSP, thumbnail 1
Look back at yourself 20 years ago and you'll either see the inside of a dark scrotum or, if you were already born by then, a younger, better, slimmer, more intelligent, less cynical version of yourself.

In your memory, the younger you probably looks out from bigger eyes, flutters longer lashes and flashes higher cheekbones and whiter teeth, as perfect kiss curls frame a blemish-free visage and the purest of minds. What you probably don't see in this beautifying time-travelling mind trip is yourself hideously affected with elephantiasis, an enormous, leaden cranium weighing down your emaciated shoulders and buckling skinny legs.

But that's exactly what Capcom has done in this re-imagining of the very first Mega Man game released nearly two decades ago.

Mega Man, that blue robotic menial helper turned diminutive world saviour, has always been pretty sweet looking. But for this title, he's turned kiddy cute in true Japanese super-deformed, slightly-freaky slightly-cuddly style. Similarly, the world around him has been drenched in saccharine syrup – even his most fearsome and evil-blistered enemies look like they've no real issues that a little time out, a mug of hot chocolate and an early night to bed couldn't sort out.

But don't let the cutesy clothing fool you – this is no kids' game or childish short sell. Rather, the original title has been totally revamped, the two-dimensional retro wallpaper stripped in favour of slinky new 3D backgrounds, and new levels and bosses added. It's a similar transformation to the one already enjoyed by the PSP's other, excellent Mega Man game, Maverick Hunter X (our review of which you'll find here).

For this game though, Capcom has really piled on the extras, making all of the boss characters playable (once you've beaten them) and creating a fanciful level editor for budding game designers, as well as an exhaustive and exhausting 100-level Challenge mode.

And despite its age, the gameplay is far from tired; Mega Man's well-established mix of platforming and shooting shows its pedigree as the pixels streak by you in your frantic race to foil Dr. Wily, the evil overlord kidnapping robots in order to take over the world.

As you play through, it quickly transpires that many areas in the game aren't accessible. That's because after defeating each of the eight boss characters, you get the option to play as them using their innate special abilities to reach the parts of the game other characters can't.

Each of these reformed enemies jump and move in a similar fashion to Mega Man, but with their own particular weapon and special attack for arsenal. These special skills are key to unlocking the game: Guts Man, for instance, can tear through certain ceilings and floors to access hidden areas, whereas Cut Man can bounce off walls and jump to extraordinary heights.

The other key mode (other than that ambitious level editor that enables you to create new playgrounds for Mega Man to climb all over before uploading them), is Challenge mode. This sideshow is compulsive enough to have been a lazier developer's main attraction, and it really adds a lot of value to the package.

Consisting of 100 unique challenges, Challenge presents a wide variety of different scenarios to win through: ten each for Mega Man and the boss characters, and another ten-strong series of boss fights. These are far more puzzle-based than the main game and throw up inventive and difficult challenges. It's always clear exactly what you have to do, but not always easy to achieve it – a potent combination that will likely have you chipping away to complete the set for weeks.

For purists, Capcom has even included the option to swap to the visual style of the original game, so those turned off by infantile chic can opt for a more traditional finish. A variety of difficulty settings make things accessible whatever your ability, and they're each sufficiently distinct to warrant playing through for a unique experience each time. Combined with the catalogue of features already highlighted, it all conspires to create one of the most generously-stocked games on PSP.

Sure, it's often more basic than its twin, Maverick Hunter X, but the sheer exuberance of gameplay avenues in Mega Man Powered Up makes up for the relative shallowness of the main game.

Mega Man Powered Up is on sale now.
Mega Man Powered Up
Reviewer photo
Simon Parkin | 6 April 2006
This value packed package dresses Mega Man in almost unbearably cute attire, while pumping him and his game full of enough anabolic steroids to keep you both playing for weeks
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