I haven't done one of these straight-up yet, have I? Let's review Mega Man 9!
Now for a while, I was really hesitant to get this game. I'd been reading reviews of it, and they all seemed to tell me that because I never played a Mega Man game before, I would hate it and its difficulty. But I really, really dig the retro stylings of the game, and I'd already been listening to the soundtrack for a month or two (yep, I got the soundtrack without playing the game--I'm really into VG music)... eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I finally bought it.
And I'm going to be honest: I like this game. A lot.
No I never played Mega Man, but I didn't need to. This is a great game in its own right and a fun introduction to the series. The simplicity in its concept combined with really tight, effective level designs make for a fun package. The levels are all technically short but their life is extended by the array of different unique mechanics you'll be encountering room after room, not to mention the number of times you'll be dying and replaying them before you finish.
And honestly, this game never frustrated me through the deaths. Sure, I might end up quitting after only half an hour of dying, but I always come back; it really does an amazing job at filling my need for some good old gaming once in a while. The game gives a lot to help you overcome its challenge, too. You can buy extra lives and a special item that halves damage for one run, two very useful options that can make up for the fact that you actually suck. Through sheer stubbornness, the game trains you to overcome its challenges the hard way, death by death, until you finally reach the level's end with an incredibly satisfying victory.
And this is old news to all you Mega Man vets, I'm sure, but I really love how the game is structured too; you can choose from any of the 8 levels and bosses to fight at any given time rather than progressing in a linear fashion, and after beating a boss you claim their item to equip whenever you desire. While the game does have its "right" boss order if you want the straightest path to the game's end, having the freedom to defeat each level and collect its item in whichever order you please is really liberating. Being able to play a different level for a change after dying several times on a particularly difficult one is also a breath of fresh air and helps alleviate any frustration.
At only ten dollars, I'd recommend this game to anyone who enjoys simplicity and a bit of retro in his games--NOT just Mega Man veterans. They don't make commercial games like this anymore, and if you don't try it now you're missing out.