Mega Man II (Game Boy) review
"How a poor contract developer managed to make a poor game."
While we like to think otherwise, games are often a product first and any artistry is accidental, with lots of people providing assets, resources, and their own idea of how the game should work. While popular attribution usually goes to the publisher or property owner, that company rarely made the game on their own. Any number of components could have been contracted out, from a few sprites and a sound library to the entire game. This is true just as much today as it was in the late 80s and early 90s, when the boom of the Famicom in Japan spawned many contract developers.
Despite working on dozens of games in the 80s and 90s, contract developer Minakuchi Engineeringís work is largely uncredited. Itís difficult to know the full extent of their work, but we do know they were the primary developer on Mega Man X3, Mega Man: The Wily Wars, and most of the Rockman World series.
Rockman World II is the only game in that sub-series not developed by Minakuchi. There was less than 6 months between the release of Rockman World and itís sequel, which is likely the reason a different developer, Japan System House, took the contract. At the time of its release, Rockman World II was one of the few games developed by Japan System House released outside Japan, although a notable exception is Ninja Gaiden on the Game Gear a month earlier.
Ninja Gaiden on Game Gear is not the Ninja Gaiden players knew on NES and Famicom. It was Ninja Gaiden in name only, not style. The jump in particular feels egregiously floaty, like itís being played underwater, and the game altogether lacks the rapid action that makes the series proper so fun to play. It is as though Japan System House either was not given access to enough information on how to make the physics work, were not given enough time, did not care, or a combination of all three. After all, they were contract workers--their brand is their own as developers, and the consistency of the Ninja Gaiden name is not their concern.
Featured community review by dagoss (June 12, 2021)
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