We've already looked at the 16-bit era of gaming earlier today, so why not take a glance at the 8-bit era as well. Here is a review of the retro variety, celebrating all things awesome with Mega Man 2. Here is our review.
Mega Man Refined
|It takes some fancy footwork|
to stay on that rotating gear!
For those who have no idea what the Mega Man series is all about (have you been living under a rock[man] for the past two decades?), each classic Mega Man game (save for the first) pits the Blue Bomber against eight Robot Masters. You, the player, are allowed to choose which order you wish to take their levels and concluding boss fights on. This was a huge innovation way back when, but the innovation actually doesn't end there either.
|Defeat Metal Man...|
Each Robot Master (boss of each level) has a weakness to another Robot Master's special primary weapon. As Mega Man defeats a given Robot Master, he copies their ability, allowing him to use that weapon in and out of boss battles, including the severely overpowered Metal Blade. For instance, Heat Man is weak to Bubble Man's special weapon, and if Mega Man uses it on him, Heat Man will go down in a handful of hits. While there is a recommended order of levels for beginning players to follow (the best order starts off with the Robot Master that is the easiest to eliminate with Mega Man's default weapon), expert players can make the game harder by going out of order, or even taking on every Robot Master with only Mega Man's default weapon.
|...to use his Metal Blade|
as Mega Man.
Each Robot Master stage has its own obstacles, enemies, hazards, setting and theme. Air Man's stage is completely above the clouds and in the sky. You must jump from cloud to cloud, mechanical monster head to mechanical monster head, all the while always being threatened with a bottomless pit under you for careless players to fall into. Meanwhile, Crash Man's level has you riding on platforms that ride along an lined path. You need to stay on it while shooting down enemies, which wish to knock you back to the ground below. Lastly, Quick Man's stage is a nightmare without Flash Man's time-stopping ability. You have to think quick (pun intended) on your two blue feet as you try to evade giant killer laser beams otherwise.
|Whatever you do--|
Don't look down!
There are generally a few checkpoints per level, so death doesn't mean you have to replay the entire level over again like many games of the 8-bit era would punish you with. Don't get me wrong-- Mega Man 2 is still challenging, even with the comfort of checkpoints. Still, even if you do lose of all your lives, you can continue your game from the stage select screen. Previous Robot Masters defeated will still be gone. If the normal difficulty isn't doing it for you, you can always play on Difficult mode. Enemies deal out more damage, and the game is just even harder than usual.
|These foes will put the screws into Mega Man.|
Mega Man 2 is a much improved game over its predecessor. For one, it's a longer game, featuring eight Robot Masters to defeat instead of just the six from the original Mega Man. This is a feature that future Mega Man games would have. Another aspect of Mega Man 2 that would live on are Energy Tanks. Mega Man can collect and hold onto up to four at a time. These restore his health completely when used, so they're without a doubt usually hidden well.
|Wood Man's stage occurs in this|
unfriendly forest setting.
Perhaps my only beefs with Mega Man 2-- something that I know might disturb some fans of the game, as many find the game to be perfect-- are very small ones. For one, after you have finished a level and beaten the Robot Master, you can't return to that stage. I'd love to be able to replay levels without having to start the game over again. One annoyance occurs with a boss in Wily's Castle stages. It requires you to use the Crash Bomb to defeat several targets. If you mess up and run out of weapon energy, you have to grind outside the boss door for energy. Very vexing. Lastly, and this deals with the performance of the game, there is a lot of sprite flickering when there's more than a few sprites on screen at the same time. Thankfully, this is but an aesthetic issue, however, and has nothing to do with the gameplay.
|Surrounded but not surrendering!|
Mega Man 2 is a short experience, giving players a brief experience around 2-3 hours total. However, it's a game that you'll want to play through again and again. It's that good. My minor beefs aside with the game, Mega Man 2 delivers a challenging platforming with enough action that has kept players coming back for over two decades now. The addition of restore points in the Wii U Virtual Console version means even the worst player can get through the game with some patience and determination. Mega Man, you rock.