Monday, February 20, 2012

Power Blade 2 (NES)

This is the most attention anyone has paid to Power Blade in the last twenty years

The sequel to one of the NES's greatest and most under-looked games, Power Blade 2 is... painfully average. By 1992, the NES had been largely replaced by the SNES, and the few new NES games tended to be subpar and forgotten. Why they didn't just do a Super Power Blade on the SNES is beyond me, but instead we got this. That said... it ain't bad.

Before reading this, check out my entry on the previous game in the series:

Weird, Christmasy music plays during the intro of the game. "X'Mas Eve" or not, it seems wildly inappropriate for a game that is otherwise trying to be badass and keww. Maybe it was released during the holiday season. It's cool that the year ingame is exactly 2200.

Just so you know, this mission was issued secretly from the DOD. Nova is like a fusion of Arnold Schwarznegger, Guile, and Jack Bauer.

Much like the first Power Blade, this game begins with a stage select. While the first game has a standard Mega Man esque screen with multiple choices, this game has a weird stage select where you travel via motorcycle between stages. Badass and keww! While the first game has six selectable stages and then a seventh final stage, this game has a mere four selectable stages, then fifth and sixth stages that unlock thereafter.

Each of the first four stages has the dragon from PB as a miniboss. This is odd, but luckily it's weaker in its various incarnations here than it was in the first game (where it was quite tough).

Fighting it is optional in each stage, but you better do it, because winning nets you the various Power Blade suits for this game. And they're completely necessary to finish the game. The Newt Suit is the first one. It transforms you into Newt Gingrich.
My bad, I am being told that it actually transforms you into Newt, of Only Bad Thing About Aliens fame.

 "They mostly come out at night. Mostly."

Here's the real Newt Suit, which is incredibly useful. It lets you cling to walls and ceilings, and of course you can fire the all-powerful Power Blade while it's in effect. Much like the first game, this game pretty much forces the player to be reliant on the Power Blade, especially for bosses.

The first boss is a green guy. The bosses in this game have nothing on the inventiveness of the first game, to say the least. When fighting this guy I figured the Newt Suit would be a good thing to use, and I was right. Unlike the first game, in this one you activate power suits at will rather than as soon as you get them. This battle isn't too tough if you stay on the ceiling and fire downwards.

The difficulty jumps a bit when you move on to stage 2. This place is full of instant death ceilings that slowly descend, which makes for a harrowing experience.

Another dragon-mech awaits at the midpoint of this stage. The Newt Suit makes short work of it, though.

POW POW POW! Since these dragon-mechs are all palette-swaps of each other, there's little point in showing more of them. For beating this one, I get...

...the Wet Suit, seen here. It basically gives you total mobility in water, which is completely necessary in basically every water-logged part of the game. And of course, you also get Power Blade capability with this one, like all the other suits.

A section with rising lava follows, as Nova must ride platforms for dear life. Taito mimiced the Mega Man series quite a bit with this game, but not as much so as the first game. This one also borrows from Ninja Gaiden (NES series) to an extent.

The Wet Suit makes the next boss pretty simple, as you don't need to worry about falling into the huge pit in the middle of the room.

Stage 3 is relatively bland. Not much to say about this one. Protip: You're going to want to hang on to your L and E tanks for the final stage. Wait, why am I giving protips? Don't play this game. If you must play a Power Blade, check out the rad original.

Defeating the third dragon miniboss nets our hero the third suit: the Rocket Suit. This one lets him hover and glide around. It could be good, but it's too hard to control to be very useful. Still, there are some areas where this suit is crucial. The one thing that PB2 does better than PB is the variety of new suits.

The boss of stage 3 is this super-fast ninja. Unlike the first two stages, using the suit from this stage against the boss is a bad idea. There's probably a trick to this fight but I didn't find it, choosing instead to trade hits with the boss and use an energy tank. Because I couldn't find any particular strategy to use, this boss gets the award for being the hardest fight in the game.

Stage 4 is full of water, which is a breeze to navigate with the Wet Suit. Doing the stages out of order is a really, really bad idea.

Slaying the fourth and final dragon nets our hero the New England Patriot suit. Unlike the other three, this one doesn't increase mobility; it's just a defensive suit that blocks some incoming enemy attacks. This makes it great for slugging it out with bosses.

The boss of stage 4 is this Gemini Man esque foe that splits into two and leaps around the room.

Using the Newt Suit and hanging from the ceiling in the corner is a good way to take them out pretty fast without sustaining too much damage in return.

Now that the first four stages are down, the sub-final stage opens up. What awaits our hero inside the nefarious tower of Delta Corporation?

Mitt Romney pleads with our hero to go home, but to no avail.

This stage is a notable step up from the earlier stages in difficulty, largely because it's mostly vertical.

Wait, what? Who is Jaqueline? Arnold's girlfriend?

My God! It's Maria Shriver! ...and the bad guy is an alien! Okay.

This room has evolving block platforms ala some Mario games. These things are ridiculous to keep your footing on, but the Rocket Suit gets you through without much of a fuss.

The importance of Life tanks cannot be understated. Collect 'em all, because otherwise you won't get through the last two stages.

The final boss (??) is this bastardly green alien. He could be the toughest fight in the game if you don't know what you're doing, since every time he hits you he absorbs your health.

The Patriot Suit makes short work of him, however, as long as you stay the hell out of his way.

Nova issues a Rick Perry esque "oops", as this post becomes the most 2012 Election themed post ever.

Nova falls into the super-secret sixth stage, which is some sort of weird alien intestine. This stage actually isn't as bad as stage 5. The only problem with it is that there are basically no checkpoints - unlike every other stage in the game - so if you die you start at the beginning of the stage. Which is a pretty lame way to make the game artificially more difficult at the end.

At the end of the stage is a boss rush, but it isn't much to talk about because you get a full heal every time you beat one of them. The only one that poses any real threat is the stage 3 ninja boss.

Nova finally corners the head of Delta Corporation, who is really an alien. Or something.

Behold, the final battle. "I am the 99%, bitch!" says Nova as he unleashes Power Blades.

That fight was ridiculously easy. As you can see, I didn't even get hit. Which is stunning, given how overly difficult they made the final stage up to this point. It's anticlimactic and doesn't make very much sense.

Now that the mission is complete, our hero finds himself face-to-succulent-lips with...

 ...Naru Narusegawa, seen here with a strange rodent humping her leg.

And they all lived happily ever after, as the bizarre, out-of-place Christmasy music plays again. Maybe THIS game should have been "A Power Blade Christmas".

How has Power Blade changed YOUR life? What? It hasn't? What about Naru Narusegawa's succulent lips? Leave a comment below.



  2. Replies
    1. Love Hina. I actually wrote about it some last week:

  3. I've never heard of Power Blade 1 or 2. The suit thing seems kinda cool, tho. Especially for the time this came out.

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