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Mega Man 9 NES Demo Cartridge


MegaMan52

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Introduction

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Mega Man 9 NES Demo

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Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 (Switch)

Mega Man 9 was originally released in 2008 as a downloadable game for the PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360, and for the PS4, Switch, and Xbox One a decade later as part of Mega Man Legacy Collection 2. It returned to the audio and visual style of the NES Mega Man games, and played like the first two Mega Man games by removing Mega Man's slide and ability to charge up his weapon (the Mega Buster).

Because the game uses an audio and visual style similar to the NES Mega Man games, numerous hacks and homebrews were released in an attempt to port Mega Man 9 to the NES. I recall playing a very basic homebrew (using the FCE Ultra NES Emulator) containing the first part of Concrete Man's stage, with music but no sound effects and very little to do. I remember watching a video showing a hack of Mega Man 4, which changed two of the stages to look like stages from Mega Man 9. 

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Mega Man 9 NES Demo Websitehttps://lukaszkur.itch.io/mm9

Fast forward to the year 2024, I find a different Mega Man 9 homebrew by "lukaszkur" containing all of Galaxy Man's stage. In February, I found an ad listing a Mega Man 9 demo cartridge. I asked the seller what it contained, and he said "one level of Mega Man 9." I wondered, was this the basic homebrew I played several years ago or was it something else?

I bought the cartridge last month in April. It contains the above Mega Man 9 homebrew by lukaszkur, featuring all of Galaxy Man's stage playable on a real NES. The label has Mega Man X on it instead of the original Mega Man. Oh well. I've seen stranger labels for hacks and homebrew games.

Details About the Cartridge

Opening and Menus 

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The opening, title screen, and stage select screen from the original game are included, complete with music. However, I noticed that the graphics are a little glitched (especially during the opening). I'm not sure what's causing the glitches (and no, it's not because the cartridge is too dirty). I know that with Emulators, you can switch between NTSC and PAL Emulation. I've played NTSC (U.S./Canada) NES games with PAL Emulation using FCE Ultra, and PAL games with NTSC Emulation. The different speeds can cause glitched graphics. The visual glitches in this demo cartridge are similar. I also noticed that the sound effect for Mega Man's shots is slightly higher pitched than Mega Man 1 and 2, possibly indicating that this demo is actually a PAL version of the game and that running it on an American/Canadian NES is causing the glitches. I haven't played it on a PAL NES, though, so I can't confirm that.

Music

Source: Chip Jockey

Since the original game uses NES-style music and Mega Man 9's soundtrack was converted to NSF (NES Sound Format) years ago, most of the music that's on the cartridge sounds very much like the original game. The music that plays in Galaxy Man's stage, however, is a remix of the original version. The music for the stage is also higher quality than the six NES Mega Man games, with PCM drum samples. It's worth noting that the music sounds a little different on a real NES (some of the sounds in the music are missing).

Graphics

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The visuals actually flicker in certain areas of Galaxy Man's stage. Not just the usual sprite flickering commonly seen in NES games, but the graphics for the stage itself. 

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There's also an area in the stage where platforms just disappear and become invisible. In this screen, the game is actually displaying the graphics and layout from the section just before this area (the area that has several of those teleportation devices), even though Mega Man's not actually there.

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This can be fixed by opening and closing the weapon screen (press Start twice).

It's actually very similar to a glitch that I found many years ago in Mega Man 2. A glitch that I call "Mega Confusion."

Weapons

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Because only one stage from the original game is included, you can only use Mega Man's weapon. You can still look at the weapon screen, though, and check Mega Man's energy and how many 1 ups you have left.

Stages

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The entirety of Galaxy Man's stage from the original game of Mega Man 9 is included, playable on a real NES. Some of the things that were introduced in the original game, such as the teleportation devices that launch Mega Man high into the air, are also included.

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Bolts (the little white object in front of Mega Man) are also included, but have no use because the shop from the original game is not included.

Demo Ending 

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Galaxy Man himself is not included. After completing the stage, the screen just fades to black.

Conclusion

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There have been a lot of impressive hacks and homebrews released in the last decade or so, such as Super Mario Land 2 DX for Game Boy Color (a color hack of Super Mario Land 2 that also adds Luigi as a playable character) and Mega Man 3 Improvement (a hack of Mega Man 3 that adds lots of features, including things that went unused in the original game). On the homebrew side there's Mega Man: The Sequel Wars for Sega Genesis, a fan-made sequel to Mega Man: The Wily Wars containing remakes of Mega Man 4-6.

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And then there's this Mega Man 9 demo. Though it only contains one stage, playing Mega Man 9 on a real NES has (sort of) become a reality.

-MegaMan52

Edited by MegaMan52
Fixed typos and added pictures and videos

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Very interesting!  As an aside, only one game ever got a rating on the NES, and it was the defunct "KA" rating.  That might better fit, though I find it hilarious the art someone used for this is from Megaman X Maverick Wars.

It's an amazing project regardless, though I think we should go even cheesier and use that intentionally terrible pseudo-box art Capcom cooked up for these games back when they came out.

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It's pretty great as a proof of concept.  If it had the boss fight, I'd consider getting a cart made.  Still cool though.  I don't think I've come across those other MM9 hacks.

Lukaszkur's other games with @M-Teeare dope too.  I put a bunch of time into Cowlitz Gamers 2 and Gruniozerca 2.

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