Mega Man 2 (NES) review
"These days, when I think of the name “Mega Man,” the image that regularly comes to mind is a factory churning out countless piles of sequels. In this odd-but-true fantasy, boxes teeming with Mega Man Battle Network games are loaded onto trucks and driven out to all the EBs and GameStops of the world, every minute of every day of every year, ever. Such a fantasy is a rather exaggerated but bluntly true reminder of the fact that we have too darn many Mega Man games on the market today, a lot of wh..."
These days, when I think of the name “Mega Man,” the image that regularly comes to mind is a factory churning out countless piles of sequels. In this odd-but-true fantasy, boxes teeming with Mega Man Battle Network games are loaded onto trucks and driven out to all the EBs and GameStops of the world, every minute of every day of every year, ever. Such a fantasy is a rather exaggerated but bluntly true reminder of the fact that we have too darn many Mega Man games on the market today, a lot of which aren’t even good.
Such a fantasy makes me fondly remember the world’s savior, both in the game and in real life: Mega Man 2. This old-school masterpiece comes from a time when the only Mega Man sequel on the market was itself. And, oh yeah, it was a great game. So much so, in fact, that when I picked up a copy of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection and played it, I went, “Wow. I’m reviewing this.”
And here, my fellow HonestGamers, are the fruits of my labors.
The game’s plotline picks up from where the first Mega Man left off; Dr. Wily, an evil psychopath who makes robots, is infuriated over his defeat at the hands of Rock, aka Mega Man, a simple servant robot outfitted with an even simpler combat system. In his rage, he develops eight robots, named Air Man, Quick Man, Wood Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Metal Man, Heat Man, and Bubble Man. They are the Robot Masters, built only for the destruction of Mega Man and the world. So, Rock’s mission is to cut a swath through the Robot Masters’ operation, destroying them all in a methodical order with their comrades’ own weapons. It’s not very complicated, but it sets the scene nicely.
The gameplay is also akin to that of the first Mega Man’s. You jump, shoot, and run your way through the eight Robot Masters’ hideouts. As you proceed through these stages, Dr. Light will occasionally page you and give you three special items, such as a high-speed platform that you can ride on over long abysses and such. The diversity of the stages and enemies is spectacular this time around. For example, Bubble Man’s stage involves a treacherous dive into a dark ocean, complete with robot fish. And the boss fights, like those of MM2’s predecessors, are action-packed duels with the agile and powerful Robot Masters. They can be easy if you have just the right weapon (Heat Man’s weak to Bubble Man’s bubble gun, for example), and hard if you don’t (Crash Man can be quite a nuisance without Air Man’s tornado attack).
Once you’ve dispatched all the crazy robots, you’ll be transported to Dr. Wily’s huge, multilevel castle, complete with special bosses, such as a giant remake of Mega Man mainstay Guts Man and a huge, mechanical dragon. Besides these special baddies, you’ll also have to face all eight Robot Masters all over again, as well as Dr. Wily himself. These final few stages make for a satisfying end to the game. Although the challenge level can be rather low at times, the game turns out quite nicely.
And the music. Oh, man, the music. It’s like the a la mode to the gameplay’s sweet, sweet cherry pie. This has got to be one of the most memorable and excellently composed soundtracks of the 8-bit era. The opening tune at the start screen seems to empower you and make you feel like you really can take on evil. I was also particularly impressed by certain stage tracks, as well; Crash Man, Bubble Man, and Air Man’s tracks had me humming for hours afterward. The music, albeit simple, is just tops for a game like this.
Seriously, this is one of those games that you just owe it to yourself to play. Although the concepts are pretty simple, the stages and bosses are fun, and the music is just as good-- or maybe even better than-- any you’ll find in modern games. Though countless sequels of the overmilked Mega Man series have slightly soiled the franchise, this game takes you back to an era of innovation and fun that I wouldn’t miss for the world.
Community review by wayne_steed (November 17, 2007)
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