Friday, April 5, 2013

Emulator Hour: Mega Man 2 (NES/3DS)

First off, is it Mega Man 2 or Mega Man II?

The box art, regardless of region has the game titled as being "2."
If you can't tell what the game is based on the box art, you can consider yourself  medically normal.
But, when you start the game, the game is titled as "II," with the exception of Rockman and then the title screen has the number 2.  
Does he really need a helmet?

Wikipedia has the NES Mega Man 2 with the number and the Gameboy release (different story) of Mega Man II.  So, for all intensive purposes the NES Mega Man will be referred to as "2."

Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business.

Mega Man 2, released in 1988 in Japan and 1989 in North America by Capcom is a fun game, but god damn is it pretty difficult.  I feel like I can say "pretty" as opposed to "fucking" seeing as how I just beat it a few hours ago for the first time since I started playing it nearly 24 years ago.  To all the possible haters, it was on normal difficulty, it was the port to the Nintendo eShop and not on the NES from an original cartridge.

The story is pretty simple in that Mega Man, created by Dr. Light "was built to be a domestic robot, but in order to put a stop to Dr. Wily's evil plans [world domination], he was reborn as Mega Man, a battle robot. "  What more do you need to know?

While going through the game, there were definitely areas and specific screens that I remembered very well.  As I did when I originally played the game back in the early 90's, I started off with beating Metal Man (and by "beat" I mean that it took me a number of tries to not only get through the level but beat Metal Man.

Admittingly, I looked up the suggested order to go up against the bosses.  I personally don't see this as cheating since one still has to have some skill in order to get through the level and the game is designed so that a boss is weak against a particular weapon.  Also, I knew this information when I was younger but had since forgotten it.  To note, here's the order I used:

1) Metal Man
2) Wood Man
3) Air Man
4) Crash Man
5) Flash Man
6) Quick Man
7) Bubble Man
8) Heat Man

In this order, each weapon from the boss is strong against the boss below it.  Yes, the Heat Cannon (named Atomic Fire) is strong against Wood Man and the Quick Man Boomerangs are pseudo-strong against Metal Man and the standard arm cannon works well enough on both Flash Man and Crash Man, but you've got to pick an order, and this was the one that I settled down on.  An actual list can be found here and actually lists what weapons the bosses are weak against, but keep in mind that you can still go through the levels and beat the bosses in any order you want, something that I still see as ingenious about the game.

One thing that I noticed while playing, was that Mega Man 2 is apparently very guilty of the annoying respawning of enemies that Dr. Potts talked about regarding TMNT.  I don't know how many times I would get knocked back by an enemy, run towards the shielded green cannon guy, only to have the same enemy respawn and now be faced with two green shielded cannon guys.  Another hazard that I fell victim to (pun not intended) was switching out my gun while on a ladder.  The danger of doing this, is that Mega Man falls/ teleports back onto the screen and when this happens when you're on a ladder, you are no longer holding onto the ladder, and fall through it to the screen below.

Now, the 3DS (and maybe the DSi as well, but I never had that system so I can't comment on it) does this thing when you close down a downloaded NES/Gameboy game.  It puts the game in stasis, as in, I could be playing Mega Man 2, pause the game then exit to the main 3DS screen while closing down the Mega Man 2 game.  When I return, I can pick up right where I left off.  For Mega Man 2, this allowed me to never need to copy down passwords.  I could play the game and reach the "Game Over" screen and simply select "Continue" or "Stage Select" and I never had to worry about copying the password and subsequently losing said password.  Once I reached Dr. Wily's compound, I realized that losing the passwords was probably the main reason why I was never able to complete the game.

And then there was this series of jumps that I could rarely manage to time correctly.
And the very few times I did manage to make those jumps, I wasn't able to deal with the Mecha Dragon.  Yes, that silvery dragon on the front of the German and UK covers, you do have to fight although it only took me about 4-5 times to figure out how to not die during the battle.

By the end of the game, I felt like I'd become pretty good at killing the boss robots, having to defeat them one-by-one from a central hub-teleportation point before fighting Dr. Wily and while it is a little tempting to go through the game on the "Difficult" difficulty setting, I'm sure I would have a hard enough time making it through the levels with enough life just to get to the bosses.

Oh yes, the music.  Holy damn the music.  First off, if 8-bit era, NES style music is not your thing, tough luck not liking this music; except my Father.  The music was primarily composed by Takeshi Tateishi along with Manami Matsumae and Yoshihiro Sakaguchi.  I find the music to be every bit as awesome when I first heard it as when I hear it any other time.  The music from Mega Man 2 seems to be a staple among video game music cover bands (The Advantage, NESkimos, Minibosses).  So yes, the music holds up.

Now when I was playing Mega Man 2, I never seemed to hunker down and just play the hell out of the game.  I would pick it up, play for maybe 15 - 20 minutes then put it down after getting frustrated and needed to walk away.  My stats for the game had me playing 15 different times with an average of 17 minutes of game time each time I would play.  In the end, it took me 4 hours 25 minutes.  A very respectable time I would say having spent $4.99, so roughly $1.10/hr, although I know that I will be wanting to go through the game again, not because Mega Man 2 has some of my favorite songs from the series, but because now I know I can beat the game.

Charging Up The Digital Hill

1 comment:

  1. Mega Dragon, or is it Mecha Dragon? >;)

    Either way, it's a pain in the ass. I remember that fight too vividly. If I didn't fall down and die instantly, I would get overconfident and then die suddenly from damage taken.

    On the other hand, I freaking love the platform gun and especially the rocket-platform gun. I'm glad you posted that pic with the three floating platforms - I remember that scene distinctly.

    Dang... getting the urge to play some Mega Man II (2).... you should post some passwords so I can go straight to Dr. Wiley stage :)