Back in the mid 2014 when the Mighty No.9 kickstarter was still being fed a gargantuan amount of money in the hopes that a new masterpiece will rise from the ashes of a neglected Megaman team, there was another game that surfaced on the 3Ds which in retrospect was a far more respectable successor to the legacy of the blue bomber : The Azure Striker
Much like the game it is heavily inspired by the meat of Azure Striker Gunvolt is mostly about shooting and jumping, although the game adds its own small twist to the concept. Bullets that the Azure Striker, named : Gunvolt shoots do not damage the enemy a lot but instead they tag the enemy and by holding down the designated button(R in the case of the 3Ds) Gunvolt activates an electric field that shoots out electricity which is the main source of damage you have. Its a fresh take on a rather tried and tested concept. It feels far closer to a Megaman-esque game than what Mighty No.9 turned out to be.
Regardless the game feels fluid, it has a certain rhythm to it and it manages to pace itself admirably well. The levels, while limited are varied and are designed in a way that complements Gunvolt’s abilities. Although IMO the best part about them is that they feel better than the some of the Sonic games when it comes to speeding through them. Unlike the level design of Mighty No.9 which felt clunky and often punished you for trying to speed through, while some may argue for a Megaman-like experience but you have to admit that when the Sonic twitter feels comfortable mocking your video-game then something has gone horribly wrong.
Sonic the Hedgehog made fun of you….. SONIC 2006 THE HEDGEHOG made fun of you, SONIC boom the rise of lyric THE HEDGEHOG made fun of you.
But I digress, the game gives you a real sense of speed as the level design has elements that allow you to rush through them if you are somewhat familiar with the layout. It even rewards you for doing it with sideobjectives that require you to clear certain levels under a specific time. The game did end up being successful enough to gain a sequel, which is a good thing since I doubt that’s ever gonna happen to Mighty No.9 (Okay I promise, that’s the last time I’ll rag on Mighty No.9 especially since I think Inafune did talk about a sequel).
The Azure striker series does have a story too that’s pretty close to the main conflict in the X-Men series of the whole ‘Super Powered beings trying to co-exist with humans’ except its a lot more anime although unlike the story of previous Megaman games the Azure striker series is somewhat more mature and has certain adult overtones . Lets be real though who plays Megaman games for their story huh?
I do…….I totally do.
But regardless of its hit or miss story and its innovative yet at times gimmicky mechanics the Azure Striker: Gunvolt series is a solid successor to the (supposedly) late Megaman series and stands to be the model of innovation that should inspire other genres too.