Reliving Blue Bomber, Vol. 1 -- 'Mega Man 1'

I have "Mega Man" on the brain, thanks to "Mega Man 9."

The new 8-bit Capcom platformer ranks among my most anticipated games of 2008. September can't come soon enough. In fact, it is pretty soon.

I've decided to play through as much of the original "Mega Man" series as possible -- one per week or more -- before "Mega Man 9" is released to the masses. That meant, of course, I had to start at the beginning this week: "Mega Man 1."

While playing, I started making a list of things that Id forgotten that make the first "Mega Man" such a difficult experience to play through:

[Image Credit: Wikipedia]

* Spikes that kill even if you're already in "damage mode"

* The traditionally safe pre-boss gates contains enemies!

* How frustrating it is to die twice before reaching a level's end and realize you'll never defeat the boss because you've forgotten his pattern

* Picking up the crucial Magnet Gun in ElecMan's stage

* Picking the wrong level by accident and having to kill yourself

* Not only can enemies magically disappear, so can health items

* …Yellow Devil

Game creator Keiji Inafune didn't have some of the smaller Mega Man staples worked out in the original (no sliding, no charging). For instance, "Mega Man 1" has a scoring mechanism. Defeating enemies and collecting otherwise useless pellets add to a number counter in the corner. In a game with unsaved leaderboards, it's hard to see why anyone would bother with it. There are a million better ways to spend your time in "Mega Man 1." You know, like not dying.

To be honest, I only made it up to the infamous Yellow Devil boss -- I failed to use the select trick -- on the first level of Dr. Wily's stages before I had to finally write this story. I plan to return to "Mega Man 1" later today and finish it, before diving into "Mega Man 2" (and likely "Mega Man 3") sometime next week. I'm still loving every frustrating minute.

Want to play along with me?