Mega Man 2: The best $5 ever!
Eight Robot Masters. Seven Dr. Wily stages. All awesome.
Growing up with my uncle's NES was hard. No, the difficulty only made me stronger, but the problem was actually finding games. The FuncoLand near my Grandma's house was the only place for miles that sold Pre-N64 games, and even though it was 1999, they didn't carry any Saturn games. They had NES games for only about two years after I got my NES, so I always hoped my mom would get me some. It may have been less, because when they were absorbed by GameStop, they got rid of all the SNES and Genesis games, too.
The point is, I had a very limited selection of games to choose from. Sure, I was able to get the staples, like Metroid and SMB3, but I never had any of the less popular games, like Predator or Spy Vs. Spy. In fact, I never had a good time finding any games that weren't Mario-related. To be honest, when I saw this game called Mega Man 2 for $5, I didn't know what it was. I was drawn into the cartridge art that showcased a thin man wearing blue spandex and helmet, standing on some sort of a structure over lava, and shooting a pistol at a man wearing a boomerang on his head. I didn't know their names, and I actually wanted to play as the boomerang guy, but I begged my mom for it and went home with a shiny, new cart.
And boy was I surprised! You played as the blue guy, who I assumed was Mega Man, and I plowed my way through the stage with the boomerang guy's face on it. I didn't know his name, since I couldn't read yet, (see "It's the Reading Railroad!" Yes, it's a shameless plug) but I knew this guy was evil. I mean, his boomerang had a sheen to it.
I never made it to him. Those laser things halfway through the stage got me. In fact, I couldn't beat any of the stages. I don't think I ever made it to a Robot Master back then, but I didn't know they were called that. Angered by my losses, I chipped away at this game every day until my 13th birthday. By then, I mastered all of the regular stages and had a tried and true order to do the stages in (you will see that soon). When I finally beat Dr. Wily on that fateful day, I knew I did something special. I beat a game that made me into a chump for years, and it felt good. Sure, I didn't understand the ending, but I still beat the game!
Mega Man 2 is a special game. It is one of the few games that I would give the label of "Perfection" or "Masterpiece." Everything about it is amazing individualy, but together they make a triumphant horn section. Like the gameplay is standard platforming fare, but it is executed so exceptionally well! Then, it is paired with some of the best 8-bit music ever (see the bottom of the page) and amazing uses of the NES's graphic capabilities (the scrolling pixels on Wily's ship that make it look 3-D). But last, and certainly not least, is the rock-paper-scissors gameplay of Mega Man.
It was fun figuring out all of the Robot Masters' weaknesses. But the best part comes from Mega Man, who is fairly weak with only the Mega Buster, taking their weapons and becoming steadilly more powerful. Seeing Mega Man become stronger and more versitile is something that I still don't see that often in games, especially since some stages require the use of said weapons just to progress.
What's that? You do that in Metroid and Zelda? Well, yes, but do you fight these bosses right out of the gate and choose not to use any of your new abilities later? You don't need to use the weapons (except when you are forced to), so you could theoretically stay weak as long as you want and test your limits. You don't need the Time-Stopper (Flashman's weapon) to beat Quickman's stage (boomerang head), but it helps get through the one-hit-kill lasers. You don't need the Metal Blades (Metalman's weapon) to beat any of the bosses, but it helps. And even though you don't need to use each weapon, each one is radically different than the last.
Speaking of those Blades, they are the best weapons in any video game. So overpowered and so cool! The weapons in the game give you a different experience each time you use them. In the case of the Metal Blades, you can abuse them throughout the entire game, and actually beat Metal Man in one hit, but it gives the game a different feel by making you the equivalent of Conan the Barbarian; stronger and more destructive.
And that is why Mega Man 2 is so awesome and is the best Mega Man game ever. "Oh, but Emerald," I can hear you all saying, "I can do these things in all the Mega Man games!" And yes, all the elements are present in every Mega Man game, but Mega Man 2 does it the best. Mega Man 3 comes the closest, but I give its success with me to the use of a boss called a Doc Robot having all the powers of each Robot Master in Mega Man 2. I think Mega Man 2 also has the best music in the series, and I'm allowed to say that since I have beaten every game in the core series.
So, thanks again for reading! I hope you guys will talk about your favorite Mega Man games, your experiences with the series, and even strategies. Oh, I almost forgot! My boss order is Airman, Metalman, Woodman, Crashman, Flashman, Quickman, Bubbleman, and finish with Heatman. If you have another order, you can talk about that, too. Also, don't forget to submit ideas for later blog posts. Beneath this are some tracks from the game. Enjoy and see you all next time!