10 games that need the Mega Man 9 treatment

DK is startling to look eerily similar to a washed up sitcom star. He was riding high during the early eighties, now he’s just a banana bender away from boat show appearances and Old Navy ads: Truly, the Adam West of game characters. Seriously, it hurts us to see this once mighty icon clapping moronically to B-52s covers and playing 7th fiddle to Waluigi in a meaningless parades of party games.

Above: We’re done with you, thanks

It’s time to get behind a Donkey Kong devolution, baby. Lose the tie, ditch Diddy and muss up that immaculate Dairy Queen cowlick. Let’s bring him back to the primal beast that kidnapped helpless women and could only be fended off by a shot of pesticide to the monkey balls. Each of the original games was a complete departure from the last, but we’re not asking anybody to reinvent the wheel. Pile up the pink platforms until we puke, or hey, how ‘bout a fifth level? Just sayin...

What we want:

To make up for:
Earthworm Jim 3D - 59% (Gamerankings)

As far as Mr. Jim’s exploits go, real gamers only count TWO. You see Gaming’s favorite invertebrate didn’t make the bounce into 3-D territory any of us hoped for. Actually it was some pretty abysmal shit, in hindsight. It kept the attitude, weapons and the worm itself, but the deliciously charming level design of systems past was replaced by typical N64, pastel blah.

Above: An image from the seemingly canceled PSP Earthworm Jim shows off 2.67-D, all the rage circa 2005

The original Earthworm Jims proved environments didn’t have to be lifeless, made up of flattened planks or even pseudo 3-D screengrabs of Reboot renders. For the first time it felt like pen-and-ink animators were puppeteering the action onscreen, instead of mouse and keyboard wielding programmers. So when you look visual accomplishments like Castle Crashers and PixelJunk: Eden heading over to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, a 2-D artistic redemption for Earthworm Jim seems like money on the table.

Above: Groovy!

What we want:

To make up for:
Sonic the Hedgehog - 43 (Metacritic)
Sonic and the Secret Rings - 69 (Metacritic)

Above: How can you not love ‘em?

We hate to heap any more shit on Sonic, since he’s fast becoming gaming’s favorite whipping boy. But travel back to a time of cartridges and Blast Processing and you’ll undoubtedly recall an era when collecting rings and emeralds were serious business. After Sega abandoned 16-bit, feeble attempts were made to revitalize the rodent for every new generation, up to and including affixing him to a hoverboard, tennis racket, sword, fishing pole, etc., to the delight of next to no one. Then of course would come the apology from Sega, followed by the inevitable promise to “return to Sonic’s roots!” next time.

Above: Go stand in the corner, Sega!

We’re not saying Sonic Unleashed won’t live up to those expectations, but the realm of handheld games has done a far superior job sticking to the Blue Boy’s guns. Listen: Careening through lavishly detailed multi-tiered sprint courses, liberating woodland creatures from robotic prisons, with an unmistakable 2-D Genesis look accompanied by a screaming score from Masato Nakamura will always be the very foundation upon which “WIN” is built.

Sega could even throw in idiotic appearances from its failed stable of jellybean mascots until the squirrels come home. Just as long as they’re brief, and Sonic can blow by them like homeless people asking for change.

Aug. 12, 2008

Link heads to the future? Star Fox goes Warhawk? Find out, as we speculate our asses off trying to predict what’s in store for our favorite series.

Things we would’ve liked to have seen announced by Nintendo at E3 2008. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Mega Man 9 Info Blowout
Hands-on preview, custom 8-bit wallpapers, pixel blocks and interviews abound in the most comprehensive Mega Man Retrospective ever conceived by human beings.

Dr. Radar is here to cure several cases of chronic suck.