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Forums > Submission Feedback > zippdementia's Mega Man 2 review

This thread is in response to a review for Mega Man 2 on the NES. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: July 23, 2012 (02:32 AM)
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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. ;-)


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: dagoss
Posted: July 23, 2012 (09:26 AM)
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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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    Author: zippdementia
    Posted: July 23, 2012 (10:18 AM)
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    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.


    Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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    Author: Roto13 (Mod)
    Posted: July 23, 2012 (11:23 AM)
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    I don't want to live in this alternate universe where Mega Man 2 isn't fantastic.


    ---


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    Author: zippdementia
    Posted: July 23, 2012 (11:42 AM)
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    It's a grey universe full of zombie puppies, Roto. But they serve good drinks.

    Mega Man 3 looms on the horizon...


    Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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    Author: zippdementia
    Posted: July 24, 2012 (12:49 AM)
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    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.


    Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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    Author: honestgamer (Mod)
    Posted: July 24, 2012 (01:15 AM)
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    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.


    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

    "What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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    Author: zippdementia
    Posted: July 24, 2012 (09:49 AM)
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    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.


    Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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    Author: zippdementia
    Posted: July 27, 2012 (01:40 AM)
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    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.


    Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


    This message was deleted at the request of zippdementia, the person who originally posted it.

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    Author: zigfried (Mod)
    Posted: July 29, 2012 (10:24 AM)
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    The developers went overboard with their new “Item Powers” 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 don’t have enough Crash Bombs in one power bar to take out everything in the room.
    I mean, you can’t 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 didn’t 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


    Unlimited Zig Works!


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