Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (Game Boy, 1991)

Once upon a time, Capcom decided to tap into the lucrative Game Boy market with their flagship series, starring the Blue Bomber (now the Gray Bomber...he's like reverse Gandalf).

While it never actually appears in the game, this was given the subtitle "Dr Wily's Revenge". Far from a straight, downgraded port of an existing NES game, this is a new-ish game entirely that utilizes elements from both Mega Man and Mega Man II on the NES.

First off, the box for this game? Yikes. It isn't anywhere near as bad as the NES version, though.


He kinda looks like George Takei. Something about the face and the pose...


The four bosses in this game: Cut Man, Elec Man, Ice Man, Fire Man. It's like a what's what of Final Fantasy elements! Nope, there's no selection of eight bosses this time. All four of these guys are refugees from the original NES Mega Man, which itself had a mere six bosses. As for the other two... no sign of Bomb Man or Guts Man. They were left out of the portable series entirely. Guts Man went on to have a major part in the Mega Man cartoon, but Bomb Man basically just fell by the wayside. Last anyone heard, he had developed a drug addiction and shaved his mohawk.

I choose to go after this guy first, since he's the most emo of all robot masters.

This game is HARD, probably the most so out of any of the portable Mega Men.

"Oh Myyy!"

At least, the stages are. Most of the bosses are extremely easy when you use their weaknesses against them (I'm talking three-hit kills), but that first boss you have to get past to break into the circle is a tough one. Cut Man is probably the easiest to beat. It helps that since he's so emo, if you wait long enough he'll do himself in.

No slide, no charged shots, no E-Tanks, no Rush Coil (or Rush of any kind)... this game is as bare-bones as possible for powerups or utility. There's a lift platform you get later in the game, but that's about it. 

It also has GIANT BOSS GATES. This is ominous. Will we get super-sized versions of the bosses, as well? 

...nope, just regular Cut Man. He takes time out of listening to Nine Inch Nails and trying on clothes from Hot Topic to attack our hero with ferocious boomerang-cutter attacks. 

That said, his primary offense consists of jumping back and forth right on top of Mega Man and hitting him with a dick-to-the-face attack repeatedly. It's pretty annoying and obnoxious, especially when you can't dash or slide and have no real way to move remotely quickly to get away from him. Yay. This game already sucks. But you know what I say, even a sucky game in this series is fun to play.

I barely eke out a win. And that... was the hardest boss in the game, at least up until I need to break into another set of bosses. More on that later. The way he jumps all over you is pretty irritating, especially considering your shots don't knock him back like they do in the NES version.

Rolling Cutter sounds like a wrestling move. But more importantly than that, what the HELL. Was it really necessary to show us his innards? Good God almighty!

This uses a password system with dots to save, much like the NES series. 

 Another thing it borrows from the NES series: these damn materializing platforms. I could really do without these in every game they appear in, but hey.

Elec Man's stage is full of - you guessed it - electric beams. Due to the smaller size of the Game Boy screen, far less area can be shown in any one screen at a time than in the NES games. As a result, everything seems closer together. Makes rooms like this tricky when you have very little space to move.

One interesting part has The Gray Bomber battling lightning-throwing goblins. The ease of leaping from platform to platform demonstrates that the controls for this game are pretty good for 1991.

There are a few rooms like this, and they suuuuuuuck. Have to have perfect timing to climb past these electric beams, and you have to do it FOUR TIMES. 

Survive all of that, and you have to somehow beat THE most electrifying man in consoles AND portables, Elec Man. If you have the Rolling Cutter, however, you can beat him in two hits or so.

Ice Man's stage takes our hero to the frozen tundra. I really like looking at ice levels in these platformers. Playing them? Not so much.

Icicles rain down on our hero, turning some of these rooms into puzzles. The player needs to avoid getting rained on while also allowing the icicles to stack up so they can be used as stepping stones. Once that's accomplished, you get to make a horrific jump to the right.

The stage itself isn't all that interesting otherwise, probably the easiest of the four stages in this version. The boss is a bit difficult with the standard cannon, but once again it's an easy fight with his weakness. The Elec Beam torches him in a few shots, and he's extremely limited and predictable with his movements.

Fire Man's stage was my favorite as a kid. It's interesting how they managed to convey the fiery-ness of the stage without any colors.  Are those fireballs wearing sunglasses?

Fire Man has a pretty sweet weapon (too bad it doesn't look like that when you get it) and is easily dispatched by the Ice Slasher. Well, easily in that you can outgun him in the war of attrition that this fight is, just like the NES version. His shots are nearly impossible to dodge since they come at you so rapidly and erratically.

Much like in the aforementioned original NES game, Fire Man's weapon is what the first form of the final boss is susceptible to here.

Fire Man was usually the last boss I fought in the NES version game, because Bomb Man (the Robot Master weak to Fire Man's weapon) was so easy to beat with no weapons. Bomb Man not being in this game makes it harder to break into the circle, so it's lucky that Cut Man isn't too bad. ...Aside from all of the Linkin Park that plays while you fight him.


With the four bosses down, Dr. Wily appears. Time for Skull Castle version 238763. 

...or at the time of this game, Skull Castle version... four? I believe this came after the first three Mega Man games on the NES. 

Here's the sole utility powerup of the game, the Carry. You can only deploy one at a time, it doesn't last long, and it doesn't move in any way. Yeah. Not that great, but it's something. It's no Magnet Beam, which I still maintain was the best powerup in the series. Hard to believe that it was only in the very first game.

Carry does have one really good use, though. If you deploy one as you fall, it appears under you. HUZZAH! This saves you from the INCREDIBLY CHEAP spike walls that suddenly appear below you in this stage. Though it didn't save me in this shot.

These drill-tunnels are typically good places to restock your health/weapons in the early games; not the case here. They pretty much never drop health powerups, and if you do anything besides SLOWLY inch forward, they appear right above your head. I blame the smaller screen.

Here's the capsule room, time to fight the four bosses again. Get your weapons ready!

...wait a minute! That's Quick Man! He isn't one of the four earlier bosses! Indeed, this game departs from tradition by weirdly putting four more bosses in the capsules (you never re-fight the first four). No stage, you just go straight to the boss fights. What the heck? I guess they ran out of manpower to make four more stages for this game. Yet another way that this game isn't really up to the standard of the others.

I'll never get why this game gets praised so much on the internet. Then again, the internet loves first-in-series games. They're like the hipsters who shit on anything that isn't a band's early work.

Again, the toughest thing about this is finding a good way to break into these four fights. Their weaknesses seem to go in a circle, with none of the earlier boss weapons having much effect on them. I managed to take out Bubble Man first, with nothing but the arm cannon. 

You get their weapons upon victory. This is a really weird, and cut-to-the-chase, way for a Mega Man game to work. There are only six stages total in this game, and everything about it screams "condensed for time".

Here's Heat Man, one of my favorite bosses from Mega Man 2 on the NES. He fights in exactly the same way in this game. Missing is his stage, with awesome music. It would have probably been a different tune in this version, even if the stage were included, though. 

Defeat all of them, and you fight... Enker. Who? He looks like an X series bad guy. 

He's Wily's latest creation. Not sure what the story here is, or if there is a story, but he's got a sword and an energy shield. Pretty badass dude. The fight isn't difficult at all, though, because your shots inexplicably home in on his head. Now that's weird and unnecessary, and makes what should be an intense battle into a joke. I don't think any other Mega Man fight ever has your shots auto-home on the enemy's weak point. After going overboard to make this game difficult, why would they go out of their way to give you an advantage for one battle? This fight would have had a perfect difficulty level if you simply had to aim your shots.

In any case, defeating Enker nets you the Mirror Shield, which reflects projectiles. Only certain projectiles, though. It seems pretty useless until the final boss.

Here's the sixth and final stage of the game, Skull Space Station. Some of the Mega Mans have this. When a Skull Castle doesn't get the job done, be sure to have a backup Skull Space Station. 

It's the dastardly, shield-wielding Sniper Joe. These guys pop up all over this game, and the best way to dispatch them is to run right up to them and rapid fire at point blank. They don't return fire as long as you're shooting, and if you get close enough Mega Man reaches past their shield to fire. Pretty sure that's a glitch, but it's a helpful one.

Here's Heat Man's weapon, Atomic Fire. You can charge this up and fire a big charged shot with it.  Unfortunately, it's almost useless. It takes way too long to charge and if you get hit, you lose the charge. Also, if you start the charge while Mega Man is reeling from a hit, then the charged shot will be a regular one. Yeah. Lameness all around. It's disappointing given how cool the weapon was in the NES version of Mega Man 2.

The other weapons from the second set of bosses don't fare much better. Quick Man's boomerangs are basically an upgraded version of Cut Man's weapon, and that's more or less the only useful new weapon. You only get to use these weapons for ONE STAGE, too.

Here's the final boss: a giant metal Wily-head. This thing is a lot more menacing than Wily's final machines in any of the NES games. This trend holds throughout the Game Boy series; Wily's creations in these games are a bit scarier and a lot less cartoonish. In any case, Fire Man's weapon makes short work of this fight.

Defeat the "first form" and the top comes off. Now it attacks with THE CLAW~! 

This is where the Mirror Shield becomes crucial. Wily's tank fires beams across the screen, and you can reflect them back to damage him. Not sure if there's any other way to damage him in this form, but this method is simple enough.

Side-note: This game got a Nintendo Power cover. If you look closely, that is indeed a model of the final boss right there. Nintendo Power had some pretty creative covers back in the day.

Credits roll, we still don't know who the hell Enker was. Wily is brought to justice (so much for his revenge) and an okay Game Boy game concludes. Okay, but not particularly good. Could be so much better.

The difficulty was really ramped up for this one. As we'll see, they turned the difficulty down for Mega Man II, but they turned it down so much that it made that game no challenge at all. They'd turn the difficulty back up (and go overboard with it) for Mega Man III, a problematic Game Boy game for a number of reasons.

They finally got it right when they delivered two well-balanced games to close out the series. Mega Man IV and V are what many consider the two best original series Mega Man games, despite their not even being on a console. More on all of these soon. 

Mega Man takes a moment to look at the answer to Zero's unanswered "WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOOOOR" question.

Onward to Mega Man II, as my expose on the Game Boy Mega Man games continues.



  1. I noticed how small the screen is in Mario Land 2 and Wario Lands, too. Mario Land 1 didn't have this feeling because Mario was so tiny then.
    Mega Man's guts are something I can never unsee.
    Yeah, they did a great job with shading in Fire Man's stage here.
    Enker is so random!

  2. The Magnet Beam is great, but the best in the series is Rush Jet in MM3, bar none.

    Enker is the first of three "Mega Man Killers", the other two are Punk (he's the cult of!) and Ballade.