PSP Review: Mega Man Powered Up

There's a sign to tell you when you're having fun with a video game. That's the point when you ask, "When is the next one coming?" That's the case with Mega Man Powered Up, easily one of the greatest remakes this industry has ever seen, and a classic even if the remade portions hadn't worked out as planned in the final product. The mesmerizing amount of things to do changes this game from one where a 20-minute speed run is possible into a 20-hour marathon title.

Essentially three games in one, Powered Up includes everything you could possibly imagine being related to the first NES Mega Man aside from the inclusion of, well, the original Mega Man. It seems odd to release a remake and not include the game that inspired it, but it is included in updated form. That's one of two ways to play this one, and fans will love seeing the gorgeous color and 3-D backdrops in place of the classic sprites (in addition to the original music). This mode changes nothing aside from the graphics, not even the music.

The completely redone "Powered Up" new style mode changes everything. Level design is switched around and played with and two new bosses make an appearance (Oil and Time Man). Secret areas can only be accessed by having a specific enemies weapon available, jumps have been changed around, and bosses speak with some of the most grating childish dialogue ever recorded. These newly crafted levels are definitely on the easier side with fewer disappearing platforms, more sporadic enemies, and entire sections cut out or replaced.

It's different enough in level design alone to make you feel like you have two separate games available. However, the extras keep coming. Once beaten on normal, you can play through using Mega Man's powers from the third and fourth NES title, the slide and charge shot respectively. By beating a boss only with your standard weapon, you earn the right to play through the entire game as that character. Obviously, this completely changes the dynamic of the game and how you play thanks to the specific weapons they use.

If these levels still seem dull, then there's the construction mode, creating an entirely new third product on the same UMD. By picking up pieces inside the new style levels, you'll slowly unlock countless items to decorate your Dr. Wily-styled creations. All of these can then be used to craft your own level masterpiece and upload it to a Capcom server right on the PSP.

Likewise, you can download levels through a fantastic interface without the need for a USB cable or a PC. File sizes are small, and some of the innovative creations are worth owning the game for. It's a shame you can't see at least a small level preview before the download, but the meager file size and brief load times don't make this too much of an issue.

Those hardly constitute the only extras. Powered Up is filled with such an insane amount of content, after playing through the new levels on normal difficulty, only around 4% of the game is unlocked. A special challenge section offers up various new tasks for every level you beat, and each of these 100 extras offers something new. Extra costumes become unlocked for certain characters, and even then, the game still has life.

Like the Gamecube Resident Evil remake from a few years back, Mega Man Powered Up reminds us what made the original a classic. The stunning recreation, even down the feel of the NES version, is fully captured in this PSP exclusive. Bring on Mega Man 2.

(***** out of *****)

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