The Resident Evil 2 Remake Is Capcom’s Second Best Remake
Capcom’s fantastic Resident Evil 2 remake (or Biohazard 2, if you want to be THAT person in your friend group) was released recently to much acclaim and high-fives. While I’m heels-under-head impressed by their evident care and passion to nail the long awaited remake to one of their most popular games, I can’t help but be Total Recall’d by another incredible remake of a beloved Capcom game. A remake that was revamped from the ground up, while maintaining its spirit, charm and third complimentary quality. A remake that this humble word-typer believes is an even better remake than Resident Evil 2. “Steven!” you exclaim. “A better remake than RE2? Have you been bathing in mercury again?” No, I have not been bathing in mercury again. Also, how dare you bring that up while I’m trying to write an article.
The game me and my, I can’t stress this enough, mercury-sober brain are referring to is the 2006 PSP-exclusive, Mega Man Powered Up (or Rockman Rockman, if you want to be THAT person in your friend group).
Now, I love Mega Man games. I love Mega Man games more than most games. Knowing this, I can, with my left hand on whatever kind of religious and/or secular text you’d prefer, say Mega Man Powered Up is my favorite Mega Man game. This doesn’t even require an asterisked “besides all Mega Man X games” Like what you like, but I’ve always had a bigger robocrush on the Blue Bomber than his taller, nü metal counterpart. Mega Man’s tight gameplay, music and charming aesthetic will always send me into bouts of joyful bliss as well as blissful joy.
Back when I owned a PSP, a time most scholars affectionately refer to as “the mid-2000s,” I would play Powered Up cover-to-cover. I’d play it in the morning. I’d play it in the evening. I’d play it at supper time. I adored it so much, I was too afraid to mod my PSP, for fear of not being able to play it anymore. That’s right, those who are audibly scoffing on the bus; I used my PSP legitimately, the way Sony intended. If that’s not love, then love simply does not exist and we are born to die. Born to die alone.
Mega Man Powered Up is a remake to 1987’s Mega Man for the NES. The story for Powered Up, which is told through quality voice-acted cutscenes, falls in line with your typical Mega Man blueprint:
SPOILERS FOR EVERY MEGA MAN GAME IN THE FRANCHISE BELOW
Dr. Wily is bad.
Dr. Wily makes good robots go bad so he can use them to be even badder.
Dr. Light is good.
Dr. Light’s says, “Aw crud. Bad robots? What are we going to do?”
Dr. Light’s hand-crafted robot boy (Son? Butler?) says, “Crud nothin’, Doc! Make me mega, but also a man!”
Dr. Light complies and former boy, Mega Man, sets out to murder bad robots to death.
Mega Man travels through differently-themed levels of, what I can only assume are districts of a city?
Mega Man uses his arm gun to murder henchman robots, many of which look like cute animals.
Mega Man gets to the end of a level where he has to murder a formerly good robot who now is bad Robot Master.
Mega Man murders the Robot Master and steals its weapon for his own use.
Mega Man uses stolen weapon to murder another Robot Master that coincidentally has a weakness toward that weapon.
Mega Man finally murders all the Robot Masters, then goes to murder Dr. Wily.
Mega Man ventures into Dr. Wily’s skull shaped castle, which is more difficult than previous levels and probably has a section where he must murder those Robot Masters all over again.
Mega Man reaches Dr. Wily, who is controlling some sort of Metal Gear-esque monstrosity and successfully murders the life right out of said monstrosity.
Dr. Wily escapes, only to return in a later installment to transform a new set of good robots into bad robots.
Mega Man sets of to murder these new Robot Masters, but maybe this time he has a dog or bird to help him out.
Also, somewhere in there will be a level with platforms that disappear and reappear and it’s super annoying.
END SPOILERS TO ENTIRE MEGA MAN SERIES OF GAMES
The first Mega Man, while nostalgically well-regarded, usually gets critically pushed into a locker by the superior Mega Man 2. With Powered Up, producer/ original character designer, Keiji Inafune said “nards to that,” took that first game and overhauled the living lunch out of it. Powered Up’s “New Mode” exchanged the 2D NES graphics for vivid 2.5D visuals. The character models and enemies are adorably chibi-fied. The levels were updated to provide more of a challenge. The aforementioned cutscenes and an intro level were included, with the music was modernized in a style I would call “whimsycore.” Best of all, while most Mega Man games have eight Robot Masters to murder, the first only had six: Cut Man, Guts Man, Ice Man, Elec Man, Kitty Man and Fire Man. To correct this abhorrent bosslessness, Powered Up added two new, equally murderable, Robot Masters, Time Man and the, if I’m being honest, pretty problematic-looking Oil Man.
Also bundled into Powered Up were fun features even newer Mega Man games, for some noggin-bogglin’ reason, don’t have. Play the game again after beating it on normal mode and you were rewarded with the slide and Mega Buster abilities from later games. Also, not only could you unlock Mega Man’s cyberlogical siblings, Roll and Proto Man, as playable characters, but whenever Mega Man murdered a Robot Master using his default weapon instead of one murderously stolen, the Robot Master became unmurdered, no longer CPU-washed by Wily and was now a playable character. (My sincerest apologies if the excitement caused by the notion of playing as Cut Man caused your monocle to fly from your eye socket, directly into your soup. Contact me and I’ll be able recommend a good monocle-cleaning service in your area.) Also included was also a level editor that could be used to make custom stages. Those stages could then be shared with others over the PlayStation Network.
If these lovingly-crafted new additions aren’t fancy-tickling enough for you, one could opt to instead play in “Classic Mode,” which maintained the original level layouts, removed the cutscenes, brought the boss lineup back down to six and, best of all, played the classic music. This game was a love letter to Mega Man fans, sealed with a kiss, and sent with a, very passionate, yet tasteful, French kiss. What a time to have been alive!
But despite reviewing positively, (It currently has Metacritic score of 82.), Powered Up sold unpositively, a word we all know is the correct antonym of “positively.” Plans to make a sequel were scrapped and it was never even ported to another platform. What a time to NOT have been alive!
At this point, you might be looking at my rundown of the game and asking yourself, “Travis, the features he listed are cool and all, but what makes this dirt-old PSP game superior to the PS4’s 2019 RE2 remake?” The answer is, Mega Man Powered Up PROBABLY isn’t actually better. I just generally like Mega Man games more and wanted the clicks. Let’s move on.
Here is the dream that keeps me awake at night: I hope that, with the combined successes of Mega Man 11 and Capcom’s (subjectively) second-best remake, Resident Evil 2, someone in power over at Capsule Computers will have some sort of eureka-esque revelation, call me on the phone and be like,“Yo, Steven!” And I’m like, “Capcom, what’s up?” And they’re like, “Remember Mega Man Powered Up? Should we make an HD remaster and bring it to everything, especially Switch? Also, should we develop as sequel?” And I’m like, “Heck yeah to both, player!” And they’re like, “Done!” And I’m like, “Rad!”
I’d say “Rad!” because it would, indeed, be rad, and I’m not a liar...Except when I lied about Powered Up being a better game than the RE2 remake. That’s the only lie I’ve ever told.
(Note: Yes, I’m well aware the Robot Master’s name is “Bomb Man” and not “Kitty Man.” I just wanted to see if people would stop reading there and leave a comment correcting me. Also, that would also count as a lie, which brings my official lie counter to two. Still not bad.)