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Mega Man 2 (NES) artwork

Mega Man 2 (NES) review


"Mega Man 2 deserves all of the praise that it receives for controlling well and for amazing presentation. What I think goes overlooked in this praise is that it makes a lot of the same mistakes that caused people to shy away from its predecessor in latter years."





In my first Mega Man review, I established a new standard for myself when it comes to judging the series. I surmised that the essence of Mega Man stems from its bosses. The rest of the game, from stage layout to how the weapons handle, is so based around the concept of the Robot Masters and the guardians of Wilyís Castle that you can tell how good a Mega Man title is based on an assessment of them.

That brings us to Mega Man 2. When the first game was released, it was to a fair amount of acclaim but not financial success. With the second game, Capcom decided that they would allow the same team to make it, but they had to do it on their own time. Capcom maintained that the bigger priorities were the upcoming Legendary Wings port for the NES and (get ready) Professional Baseball Murder Mystery. Those are surely both unforgettable classics that weíre all glad were given priority over Mega Man 2 (note: use an umbrella to avoid dripping sarcasm). It all worked out in the end, of course. Mega Man 2 went on to become Capcomís highest grossing title for years to come and Professional Baseball Murder Mystery went on to become a footnote on Wikipedia.

Mega Man 2 is often called the best of the original series. Its popularity has not diminished over the years--it was Mega Man 2 which was often cited as the basis for the design of the newest Mega Man titles developed for download play. Many fans call it the most satisfying of the 8-bit games, featuring the best stages and Robot Masters, and striking a delicate balance in the difficulty that makes it challenging while keeping things fun, hitting that classic Mega Man g-spot.

I disagree.

I am now going to say something that may gain me instant infamy amongst Mega Man fans: Mega Man 2 is not the best game of the original series. I do not say this lightly or because it is against the norm and therefore hip. I say this after having carefully played through all of the stages multiple times and realizing that the majority of Mega Man 2ís challenge comes not from tight design, but from cheap tricks. Iíll point these out as we go along.

First, letís talk about what Mega Man 2 does right. The controls are extremely smooth and remove the horrible drift of the last title. A huge improvement and a nice raising of the bar for platformers in general. Though I have died many times in Mega Man 2 I have never died due to control issues. The other thing thatís great is the color palette. Gone are the dismal greys and puke greens of Mega Man. Every level is vibrant, each boss stands out, and the whole thing is just easy on the eyes, even today. And the music, of course, is iconic, with Stage One of Wilyís Castle having gained special recognition amongst fans as possibly the greatest theme of the NES era. The controls and outstanding presentation are what were specifically carried over into Mega Man 9 and 10 . They were things done undeniably right.

Now letís look at some of what went wrong.

Quick Man 3/5
Two words I have to put out here immediately: Force Beams. Donít know what Iím talking about? Thereís this segment in Quick Manís stage where you have to fall through several screens of platforms in a set pattern before force beams fly across the screen and kill you. Those two words might as well have been ďinstant death,Ē because even if you know the pattern it is incredibly difficult to get past this section. It almost seems based on luck. Land just a hair-breadth off target or move a second too late and youíre done. Many people use the Time Stopper here instead of on Quick Man himself. Even then, you can still die easily. This section is definitely beatable and even a fun challenge but it contains dark hints of the horizon. It is a sign of the ďone correct pathĒ design that will end up plaguing the design sensibility of Wilyís Castle. Ironically, Quick Man himself has no path and just bounces around like nuts chucking boomerangs (of all things) until you out-shoot him.



Crash Man 2/5
The developers painted themselves in a corner with this one. Like Guts Man, I donít know what this guy is supposed to represent. Does he crash into stuff? Why does he have drills for arms? He shoots what are apparently ďcrash bombs.Ē What distinguishes a crash bomb from a regular bomb? Crash Manís stage is the one that most resembles the hodge-podge aesthetics of the first game, with little to distinguish it. Thereís pipes, conveyor belts, and a section where you inexplicably climb into space. This also introduces another frustrating aspect of Mega Man 2ís stage layout: long simplicity. Long simplicity is best displayed in one section of the stage where you have to ride conveyer belts up to a ladder. There is no skill involved in this and no real risk, either. Fall off the belt and you land on solid ground. What will knock you off the belt? Nothing, really. The enemies that come after you are slow and easy to hit. You have to completely mess up in order to fall. The only thing this belt achieves is to drag out a stage for longer than itís worth.

Metal Man 5/5
I have no complaints with Metal Man or his stage. Indeed, this is a well-themed stage that doesnít have any design flaws. One of the most memorable sections involves making your way through a constant barrage of drills that emerge from the floors and ceilings. They are endless, so the stage gives you two options. Either kill as many as you can and then inch your way forward before the next onslaught, or recklessly and quickly dodge your way through any opening they leave. Both are fun. Iíd also be remiss if I didnít give an honorable mention to the Metal Blades powerup. The Blades highlight the solid controls of the game, easily being thrown in any direction at a time in gaming when doing anything diagonal usually meant abounding frustration and occasional thumb blisters. They are also effective against FOUR Robot Masters: Wood Man, Bubble Man, Flash Man, and Metal Man himself. Thatís half of the Masters! No other weapon in the series has that range of effectiveness.

Heat Man 4/5
Heat Man, along with Quick Man, has the distinction of having the first truly cheap stage in Mega Man history. The disappearing blocks make their one and only appearance here and there is no way, on first playthrough, that you will survive their segment. You canít. There is a section over deadly fire where the blocks appear in a pre-arranged but completely nonsensical pattern and until youíve memorized the pattern youíll have no idea where to jump next. The staff seem aware of this and provide an out: if you have ďitem 2Ē you can fly over this section without much effort. The sensibility will be repeated later, in a less forgiving and more mandatory fashion. As for Heat Man, I think everyone likes him because heís a walking Zippo lighter. The one thing that confuses me about him is that he was never made into an action figure alongside Cut Man and Bomb Man. Maybe Nintendo was afraid it would encourage drug use in children?

Wood Man 3/5
What I like about Wood Man is that they went all out on keeping him themed. Everything from his leaf shield ability to his forested level showcases what heís about and makes playing his stage a visual treat. It borders a little bit on the long simplicity of Crash Manís stage, with a number of basically harmless or very easily passed segments. Designing good platforming has been eschewed here in exchange for gauntlets of enemies, but the theme carries it through. Wood Man provides a solid ending boss to the gauntlet, even if you do have the Metal Blades. Unfortunately, Wood Manís shield power prevents you from moving without losing it and takes a surprising amount of power to activate. Itís not often that enemies swarm you, so overall itís a power that doesnít see action, despite the idea being cool.



Air Man 4/5
Someone at Capcom must be related to Guts Man, because otherwise I think they would have made Air Man their poster boy. Heís one of the more memorable of the Robot Masters due to his squat shape and propeller-stomach. His stage is one of three in the game that was built with platforming consistently in mind. There are plenty of pits, a few tricky jumps, and enemies you have to shoot mid-air or be knocked out of the sky by. Playing it definitely gives you that adrenaline rush that we associate with the best of Mega Man.

Bubble Man 3/5
Bubble Manís stage has outlived its Master. Heís a guy in a scuba suit who cannot move except by jumping and he fires deadly *snicker* bubbles at you. His stage, on the other hand, is the first truly aquatic stage and it goes all out in playing with the setting (throwing fish and shrimp enemies at you) as well as gravity--especially by forcing Mega Man through long rows of deadly spikes which require precise jumping. Itís the perfect challenge for a game that controls as well as Mega Man 2 and a great showcase of how much more creative you can get when your game controls smoothly.

Flash Man 2/5
Mega Man 2 had some of the oddest named Robot Masters. What the heck is a Flash Man? and what the heck should we build his stage around? Flash Manís stage is not much better than Crash Manís, in that it is completely forgettable. Itís layout is more interesting, since itís set up like a maze, but itís a maze without a point. Very few enemies inhabit the maze so it doesnít really matter which path you take, unless youíre looking to snag an easy energy tank. Iíd even say itís a good place to stock up on an energy tanks, but you canít revisit stages in Mega Man 2 so, nope--itís just a pointless maze. Flash Man does have a rather unique power: he can freeze time. Itís a power you gain when you defeat him but it ends up being useful only in very specific areas of the game, since it canít be turned off once activated, nor can you fire any weapon while using it. So basically a ďonce per levelĒ kind of weapon that can actually get you stuck taking damage in certain areas where enemies block the path forward.

Wilyís Castle 0/5
Itís telling that most reviews of Mega Man 2 focus on praising the eight Robot stages and make no mention of the final run through the castle. Mix together long simplicity with enemy gauntlets and ďthe one right pathĒ and you find the cheapest, nastiest form of generated challenge that comes strictly from unfair design and not from testing your actual dexterity or gaming abilities. On top of this, Wilyís stage introduces another new element to the platforming genre: grinding for power refills. And itís not even feasible grinding. The enemies you have to grind against are some of the toughest in the game, often taking many hits and fine dodging skills to destroy and then leaving nothing behind. But grind with them you will, or be doomed to failure.

Iím not just saying this to be overly cautious. Itís not just a good idea to have full power at all times, itís often necessary. The developers went overboard with their new ďItem PowersĒ that create things like moving platforms, making it mandatory that you use them during several segments. And then thereís the Stage Four boss, one of the worst bosses in video game history. The boss, which is comprised of 6 glowing half-spheres, can only be damaged by one weapon: the Crash Bomb. Most of the spheres are hidden behind walls, which can also only be damaged by the Crash Bombs. Unfortunately, you donít have enough Crash Bombs in one power bar to take out everything in the room.



The trick was supposed to be to figure out the right order of using your Bombs. If you do it right, you can just take out the boss with your last shot. Unfortunately, the right answer is so convoluted and requires such precise use of one of the Item Powers that many gamers didnít know how to proceed. Many gamers figured out an alternative. If you use the Crash Bomb to blow the walls and then die, the walls stay destroyed. Dying lets you grab a couple of power refills at the beginning of the stage; then you have to march through a long section that (despite the presence of spikes) is incredibly hard to die during; before you can finally return to the room to beat the boss. Unless you were like me on my last time through. I not only grabbed those refills when I started the stage but then innocently used the Crash Bomb on the gauntlet of difficult enemies guarding the boss room (none of whom dropped any power ups). I was completely screwed and Iíd accumulated nine lives by this point. I had to kill myself nine times and lose all of my energy tanks to try again with full Crash Bombs.

I mean, you canít argue against the cheapness of this boss. When has any other boss in Mega Man history been immune to all but one kind of weapon? And why were there no recharges in sight or easy enemies to grind against? Thatís not everything, either. The boss shoots at Mega Man so quickly that the only legitimate way to dodge the shots is to rapidly pause and unpause the game, which causes Mega Man to flicker for just a half-second of invincibility. Capcom apparently agreed that this glitch is a necessary element to the fight because, while they took pains to remove a similar glitch from rereleases of Mega Man 1, they left this one in for future versions of Mega Man 2.

The real pain, though, is that this is the last stage in which you can grab any sort of power up. Once youíve beaten this boss, youíre zoomed off to Stage Five, where you have to not only beat every Robot Master again, but then fight two forms of Dr. Wily before you get to another check point. Worse, Dr. Wily has specifically been designed to almost always require at least one energy tank to defeat.

Itís clear what the developers wanted gamers to do. They wanted them to gather all of the energy tanks throughout the various Wily Stages and then make it all the way to Wily and defeat him on three lives; something a gamer will never do on their first time through the game. Can you imagine the pain of a child who, after spending nearly two hours struggling their way to Wily, slowly figuring out the stages and counting each victory as a great success against the odds, realizes he has to reset the game and start over if heís going to have a chance at winning? Thatís not rewarding design. Thatís contentious design. Thatís design that has it out for you and any future gamers that may spring from your loins.



* * *


Mega Man 2 deserves all of the praise that it receives for controlling well and for amazing presentation. What I think goes overlooked in this praise is that it makes a lot of the same mistakes that caused people to shy away from its predecessor in latter years. There are still a lot of random and unspecific Robot Masters that lead, consequently, to a lot of levels based around random and unspecific themes. And I would claim that the powerups have actually have taken a step backwards. The first Mega Man had the Guts Fist, the number one most useless weapon in the series, but every other weapon was viable and you cycled through them frequently in Wilyís Castle. In Mega Man 2, it feels as though Capcom started out with some clever ideas for powers and then couldnít get the balance right and dumbed a lot of them down, leaving you the Metal Blades as your Swiss Army Knife. Otherwise, you get a wood shield that doesnít let you move, a fire shot thatís useless unless you charge it, a time stopper that you canít deactivate or shoot while itís turned on, and boomerangs that go pretty much wherever the hell they want to.

Furthermore, Mega Man 2 compounds these issues with unfair design. Note that I donít say challenging design. I donít mind challenge, but most of the levels and bosses lack it. The majority are actually quite simple, straightforward, and overly easy. Even the hardest stages in Dr. Wilyís Castle are easy to progress through, if you have the right powers. And therein lies the problem. These stages require the use of powers, which they give you little or no chance to refill from within the level. Dr. Wilyís second form takes this to a further extreme, with a shot pattern thatís so erratic that most players simply slug it out with him, using energy tanks to stay ahead. But if you donít have those energy tanks, thereís nothing to do except reset the game.

It goes beyond the ďone sittingĒ issue of the first Mega Man, because it sets you up for failure. If you can progress in the first Mega Man, if you can persevere, the game rewards you. It fills up your health and items and gives you all the tools you need to win within each stage. Mega Man 2 pulls the rug out from under you when youíre in the final stages of the game.

Several of my friends disagree with my assessment of this difficulty, but each also admitted to beating the game on the easy mode that was included with the American release. Yes, playing on the easier difficulty does dumb down all of the bosses and enemies, removing the need to search out energy tanks or at least making it much easier to hold onto them. But it doesnít remove the insulting design. You are still forced to use a glitch to beat the sphere boss without taking massive damage. You are still forced to die to reset your weapons if you run out of power. You are still forced to slug it out with Wily, rather than fight him with skill--it just takes less hits to do so.

What it comes down to is this: I like a game that is challenging. What I donít like is having to do something in a very specific way, not being told I have to do it that way, and having to completely start over when I try to experiment to figure out what the right way is. Mega Man 2 may carry a lot of nostalgia, and it improved on many of its predecessorís faults, but to deny its issues is to insult the further improvements made by later games.



Rating: 6/10

zippdementia's avatar
Community review by zippdementia (July 23, 2012)

Zipp has spent most of his life standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox there. Sometimes he writes reviews and puts them in the mailbox.

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Feedback

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honestgamer posted July 23, 2012:

You have a few errors throughout this review, though only a few that I figure you'll likely want to update. The most obvious is that you call Bubble Man by the wrong name (you call him Water Man, which is incorrect). Also, he attacks with harpoon shots underwater. You just happen to receive the Bubble Lead as a weapon that you can use yourself (this is more prevalent in later games, where bosses often have 3 abilities and the game randomly gifts you with perhaps the least interesting one).

You also don't have to lose all of your lives if you die in the wall cannon stage in Wily's Castle. The checkpoint where you reappear is right next to a group of three enemies that are easily killed for power-up refills, so it just takes a few minutes--at worst--to refill the Crash ability and then you're good to take out the cannons. As you noted, it's also possible to use the lift platforms to do it all in one shot, but I never really go that route since the other option is such a piece of cake.

I wasn't even aware until just recently that you could use the trick of rapidly pausing and unpausing the game to avoid taking damage, mostly because that's unnecessary. I also find that Mega Man 2 is no less forgiving when it comes to using the right weapons on the right bosses than any subsequent Mega Man games were. If anything, it's more generous. That's helpful when you have to defeat the robots again in Wily's castle. I love taking Crash Man out with a shot or two from Air Man's weapon, for instance, and taking out Metal Man with a single one of his own blades. That leaves you with six more challenging boss encounters, but Flash Man is easy as pie and Quick Man is cake because it's not like you need the Time Freeze move at that point, anyway. Wood Man has never been a difficult boss, either, and Air Man is easily taken out with the Leaf Shield, which just leaves the very simple Bubble Man battle and an only slightly more difficult confrontation with Heat Man.

Your complaints from some of the stages also rung a little hollow, though of course I wouldn't call them errors. I'll agree that Flash Man's stage is fairly simple and mostly devoid of enemies--as it should be, since it's the stage most people will reasonably tackle first--but Wood Man's stage has always been one of my favorites for the sheer variety (plus the music rocks, but you mentioned that).

I won't argue with you about the lava pit in Heat Man's stage, either. If you're determined to disapprove of Mega Man 2 for making things much easier on you if you tackle the stages in a certain order, well... I guess that's your right. I just do Air Man's stage first most of the time. As for Quick Man's stage and the Time Freeze, it's not like Quick Man is a particularly difficult boss, but if you do have trouble with him, you can always fill up the Time Freeze by taking out enemies in the corridor ahead of him. That's a pretty simple solution that works like a charm, if you don't trust yourself to fight him fairly with just the arm cannon.

All in all, this review did a great job of outlining your particular preferences for Mega Man games, so I do come away with a good idea what you dislike about Mega Man 2. It's just that none of them have ever made much impact on my own time spent with the game. I also feel that you're in for a rude awakening if you revisit the later Mega Man games, since part of the basis for your low score seems to be that this game does some things poorly compared to the later games... when those later games commit the same transgressions with magnified impact.

So yeah, I am writing this from my place in the hostile audience you knew this review would reach, and feeling mostly like we played two different games. ;-)
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dagoss posted July 23, 2012:

I liked reading a critical review of this game. You clearly put thought into it, and MM2 definately has design flaws that aren't highlighted often, though I do disagree with many of your points. Your overall criticism seems to be that the game's designed with a "right way" in mind and punishes players who don't commit it to memory. Memorization is part of Mega Man gameplay, and not by accident.

Let's take those blocks in Heat Man's stage. While you do need to memorize a pattern, you are:

  • Introduced to the blocks before getting to this section by using them to get over the walls earlier in the level.

  • You start this section above solid ground. You must complete one and a half repeitions before you are over the lava/pit.

  • The pattern repeats


  • I don't think this section is poorly designed or unfair; the exact opposite. The player is weaned into this section, being shown how blocks work, then forcing the player to count the time between them to jump up onto blocks that appear directly above you, then combining these things over a safe area with no enemies, then doing it over lava.

    Quick Man's stage is another good example. You don't just fall into a room and have the lasers kill you. The first screen they appear is almost a give-me; you fall right through and the room is designed like a cone to move you into the right place. The next section does the same screen does the same thing, but rewards players that adapt and move fast enough to get to the right by giving them an E-tank. Where the player falls and where you're supposed to go has a natural flow by the shape of the screen (which you can see for a split second, by the way, before the lasers appear).

    The second set gets progressively more difficult, but by this point the player has been shown how the mechanic works. If they die, it's becaue they weren't fast enough. You need to follow the same of the screen, adapt, and fall correctly, like you were taught to do earlier in the stage.

    There is memorization in this game, but it isn't because it is poorly designed. It follows a basic rule:

  • Show the player how something works (e.g. those moving platforms in Crash Man's stage)

  • Let the player use this something in a controlled environment (e.g. the 1st screen in Crash Man's stage)

  • Increase the difficulty on this something (e.g. you now have to shoot enemies on the moving platforms)

  • Test the player (e.g. Wily stage 3 forces you to do the something over spikes)


  • Memorization does help, and recognizing patterns is basically how you beat every single boss in the Mega Man series. Again, I don't think this is a design flaw, I think it's part of the show-practice-memorize design of the series: show the player how something works, let them do it in progressively harder situations, then test them on their skills.

    Like Jason said, if you're finding this flaw in MM2, you're probably going to feel the same way about later Mega Man games too. You can usually brunt force your way through Mega Man, you can always use Item 2 in Heat Man's stage or Flash Stopper in Quick Man's stage, and you can always brunt force your way through a boss by eating E-tanks, but players who learn the rules are rewarded. This doesn't change in later titles, they just give you more E-tanks. (I think this is one reason why the later games are not as good).
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    zippdementia posted July 23, 2012:

    Thanks for looking it over, guys, and for the remembrances. And thanks for the water man catch, Jason. That's a bad oversight on my part, but I've thought of him as water man, even when "Bubble Man" is staring me in the face as I play. Again, a sign that his level made more of an impact on me than he did. Water, water, everywhere, and all that.

    He DOES shoot harpoons at you, but the bubbles are also part of his arsenal and what I was focusing on because it is possibly one of the sillier robot weapons (wait for Mega Man 3 and the "Top Spin").

    You also don't have to lose all of your lives if you die in the wall cannon stage in Wily's Castle. The checkpoint where you reappear is right next to a group of three enemies that are easily killed for power-up refills, so it just takes a few minutes--at worst--to refill the Crash ability and then you're good to take out the cannons. As you noted, it's also possible to use the lift platforms to do it all in one shot, but I never really go that route since the other option is such a piece of cake.

    Hmmm... I appreciate the tip, but all I can say is it didn't work that way in the playthroughs I just made. The only enemies that even suggest grinding are two of those little helmet guys, they are a room back, and set up in a way that's it's very hard to avoid taking damage from them while fighting them. Also, their drop rate is abysmal and with a higher chance of dropping health than refills. There are a bunch of the floating blocks in the next room, but because it's a pit filled room, most of the power ups they drop fall in inaccesible places. There is one particular spot you can stand and shoot them for power ups, but you need the Metal Blades to do it and occasionally you'll get hit as one of them respawns, which usually knocks you into the spikes. They did turn up the drop rate in easy mode, but that doesn't excuse the design, in my mind. The boss is still one of the dumbest in video game history.

    I was tempted not to even review the Robot Master stages for this game, because I was afraid people would get caught up disagreeing with me on my assessment of them, rather than focusing on where my real problem lied. Note that I'm not overly complaining about Quick Man and Heat Man's stage. I'm pointing out the cheapness because I think it has to be pointed out, but you'll see it doesn't really bother me until Wily's Castle where that cheapness can be game ending, rather than just a setback. Thanks for responding to those sections; it shows me I should probably talk about that either in this review, or in future reviews if the cheapness of the levels doesn't bother me (so people understand why it's not an inconsistency).

    I'm also glad that the review didn't come across as a bash rather as (I liked how Jason put it) an outline of my preferences for a Mega Man game. I wanted to make sure that credit was being given where it was due, where the game is undeniably awesome. Controls and presentation, specifically. I would argue that some things are undeniably unawesome, such as the later Wily Stages. Everything else is a grey zone that I think can swing one way or the other based on your preferences.
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    Roto13 posted July 23, 2012:

    I don't want to live in this alternate universe where Mega Man 2 isn't fantastic.
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    zippdementia posted July 23, 2012:

    It's a grey universe full of zombie puppies, Roto. But they serve good drinks.

    Mega Man 3 looms on the horizon...
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    zippdementia posted July 24, 2012:

    A quick note... I don't know why everyone thought I'd hate Mega Man 3... after playing through a good chunk of it, I can easily say it's one of my favorite Mega Mans. Completely different design from number 2. This one is balls to wall action, testing your every reflex without resorting to cheap shots. I'm not at Wily's Castle, yet, so we'll see what they do with that, but currently this one is rating a 9/10. My only complaint so far is with Gemini Man's level, which ditches theme in favor of weird and mosquitos.
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    honestgamer posted July 24, 2012:

    Was Mega Man 3 the first Mega Man title in the series that you ever experienced, perchance? If so, that would help to explain why you hate the things you hate about Mega Man 2, yet are apparently willing to forgive or ignore them in Mega Man 3 (where those same elements are not only present, but far more severe).

    Edit: Sorry, it probably sounds like I'm trying to be a jerk there. I am just trying to figure it out, honestly. The criticisms you applied to Mega Man 2 are the precise criticisms that I've always had of Mega Man 3--throughout the many years since I first played through it--so it genuinely confuses me to see you applying them to Mega Man 2 and then praising Mega Man 3 for avoiding those pitfalls. The biggest difference in our reactions (aside from the two of us applying the two criticisms to different games) is that as much as I dislike those elements in Mega Man 3, I'd still rate the game higher than you rated Mega Man 2.
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    zippdementia posted July 24, 2012:

    No worries, I understand the context of what you're saying (though I also appreciate the little note).

    Actually, I was debating talking about this in my next review, but I didn't play much of 2 or 3 in my childhood. The first Mega Man I played was number 4, and I played the hell out of it! It's that one that I'm going to have to put aside nostalgia before I play it (thankfully it's been so long I don't have much feeling for it any more). Then I bought Mega Man 1 (I was one of those "do it from the beginning" kind of guys). After not being able to beat 1, I always had trouble letting myself play 2 and 3. They were rentals and I never got very far. The only thing I remembered from each one, respectively, was Heat man (cause he's a zippo) and Snake Man's stage (because it's pretty memorable, especially that green that's everywhere).

    EDIT: Oh, and the final boss I remember! That's because my friend got there once when I came over and we tackled it together. That I have a good memory of.

    Mega Man 5 and 6 I didn't play until a few years ago when the Mega Man collection came out. Mega Man 7 I bought when it came out, after a long hiatus from the series and played more than probably any of them. I beat that game, like, four times. Mega Man 8 I have played exactly once and wasn't impressed then, but we'll see what happens this time.

    It's pretty true to what I said in my Mega Man 1 review: after Mega Man X came out, I sort've ignored the original series and just played that over and over. I only ever played the first one (again, until the collection came out) and I didn't even own it: I "borrowed" it from my friend for an extended time. It's a sign of how good the game is that he asked for it back eleven years later... and I still knew exactly where it was... and was sorry to see it go.
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    zippdementia posted July 27, 2012:

    Note: now that I'm pretty sure they won't take away from the review (I was afraid people would get caught up on the scores) I've added in my scores for the Masters and stages.
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    zigfried posted July 29, 2012:

    The developers went overboard with their new ďItem PowersĒ that create things like moving platforms, making it mandatory that you use them during several segments.

    One difference between Wily's Castle and the rest of the game is that, in the castle, the developers know that you have already collected every power. Yes, there are segments where a particular power is mandatory -- part of the challenge is to make players think about how they're going to overcome each obstacle. Skilled players will only use powers when necessary, and unskilled players will be wasteful and have to grind for recharges. No one gets screwed.

    Unfortunately, you donít have enough Crash Bombs in one power bar to take out everything in the room.
    I mean, you canít argue against the cheapness of this boss. When has any other boss in Mega Man history been immune to all but one kind of weapon? And why were there no recharges in sight or easy enemies to grind against?

    That's a good thing. Anyone who has been using the crash bomb throughout the game knows how many shots are available, and they can plainly see that the number of walls and cannons is greater than the available number of shots. That's the puzzle. If a player could simply destroy everything in the room, there would be no puzzle.

    Including recharges in this room would be bad game design, because it would undercut the challenge. It's good to present players with puzzles, as long as the solution is reasonably attainable.

    Unfortunately, the right answer is so convoluted and requires such precise use of one of the Item Powers that many gamers didnít know how to proceed.

    I think you're underestimating the intelligence of most gamers. Just looking at the screenshot you provided, it's not convoluted. Since you don't have enough bombs to destroy everything, the right answer is to destroy as few walls as possible. Once you accept that fact, the ways to go about this are obvious.

    Precise use of item power, sure, but it's not convoluted. You're misapplying the word.

    The boss shoots at Mega Man so quickly that the only legitimate way to dodge the shots is to rapidly pause and unpause the game

    The problem with this statement is that it's wrong. There are other legitimate ways to dodge. One legitimate way is to jump. Another legitimate way is to walk two steps to the left or right. The cannons are essentially snipers -- at predictable intervals, the cannons fire based on where you're standing, so if you simply move at the right time (the cannons even flash), then you won't get hit.

    Technically speaking, pausing and unpausing the game is an illegitimate way to avoid being shot. Point being -- it sets a very, very low bar if that particular boss is considered to be "cheap" or "unfair".

    //Zig

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