Mega Man 8 Now Available in the PlayStation Store

Following The Misadventures of Tron Bonne's surprise release on the PlayStation Store, Mega Man 8 is now available to purchase as promised previously. This PSOne Classic is compatible with the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita.

Upon its release in late 1996/early 1997, Mega Man 8 would be the last numbered game in the Classic series until Mega Man 9 arrived more than a decade later in 2008. With the latter's return to the style made popular by the series' longevity on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mega Man 8 was left as arguably the graphical height of the series.

For those who haven't played it, Mega Man 8 is perhaps best described as "divisive" among the fan base. It features a brighter, more vibrant aesthetic than many fans were used to, and a more animated, cartoon-like style to match.

This is accented by the Xebec-animated cutscenes, which gained notorious infamy for how poorly performed the voice acting would be in the English versions of the release. Grievances frequently leveled include Mega Man sounding like a girl instead of a young boy (which had been all the more jarring following Ian Corlett's performance in the Ruby-Spears cartoon) and mispronouncing rival Bass's name, as well as Dr. Light speaking not unlike Elmer Fudd and tripping over his lines. One might argue that newer characters such as Bass, Duo, and the Robot Masters didn't come off as poorly, though that could simply be due to not having high expectations based on previous portrayals attached to them.

Also divisive is the game's use of "gimmick" stages, including shoot 'em up-styled Rush Jet sequences and the infamous fast-paced snowboarding sequences which bark the instructions of "Jump! Jump! Slide! Slide!" at you with such increasing frequency that you're receiving new instructions before the old are even finished.

Another new feature to the series is a custom power-up system for Mega Man which changes the effects of his Mega Buster to include spread shots, energy arrows, and even a laser. These are acquired by gathering bolts found spread throughout the game, though they aren't as common as in Mega Man 7, with multiple playthroughs needed in order to try all of the available options.

Rush returns with a new motorcycle mode of limited utility, with his other forms no longer available to be called upon for regular use. Instead, he can be summoned to drop bombs or power-ups across the screen. Instead of the Rush Coil, Mega Man must now use weapons such as the Mega Ball and Tornado Hold to reach new heights.

The Robot Masters, which continue the adoption of four-then-four waves taken from the Game Boy titles in Mega Man 7, provide an interesting variety, and are arguably one of the stronger aspects of the game. Though not all of them may be winners, they're memorable nonetheless -- enough so that Tengu Man and Astro Man would make encore appearances in Mega Man & Bass, which kicked off Mega May on the Wii U earlier this month.

Overall, Mega Man 8 has a lot to love and a lot to hate, or even both at once for the longtime Mega Man fan, and is definitely worth checking out if you've never played it before, especially at such a low price. It's also worth noting that though the voices weren't of the highest quality to begin with, the version of the game included in Mega Man Anniversary Collection only served to make some of them worse, so if that's your only version of the game, this might be worth a look.

Unfortunately for some, this is the PlayStation version of the game, so the bonus bosses of Cut Man and Wood Man found in the SEGA Saturn version remain missing.

Finally, if you're interested in Brett Elston's thoughts on the game, you can find those in his post over on Capcom Unity.