Friday, May 13, 2016

Mega Man II (Game Boy, 1992)

Mega Man II! On the Game Boy! While the previous game was one of the harder games in the Mega Man pantheon, this one is probably the easiest out of all of them. Bar none. Yep, they went overboard when making difficulty adjustments for this one. This game makes the Whelk look like Ornstein and Smough.

Once again, we have a stage select of four bosses.  This one starts out with the four from Mega Man 2 NES that weren't in the previous game. This includes favorites like Air Man and Metal Man. Glad to see them actually get stages, unlike their brethren. I'd have switched Crash Man out for Bubble Man just to have a water stage, but hey. Too late now.

Mega Man locks horns with a gear-riding psychotic gnome as I take on Metal Man's stage. Nintendo Power says to go after Crash Man first, but I'm picking Metal Man so that I can get his weapon. It's one of the best weapons in any platformer because it fires in any direction, fires rapidly, and has a huge amount of ammo.

Good news: Mega Man now has the ability to slide. That's a huge improvement over the previous game. Now it's actually possible to get away if a Robot Master is jumping all over you. Never again shall Cut Man menace our hero with repeated groin-to-the-face attacks.

Metal Man himself... doesn't move or do anything as long as you don't, just like his NES incarnation. Makes this a fairly simple fight. 

Relative to the previous game, this one pretty much doubled the damage bosses take from your shots, as well as halving the damage you take from them. However, this time a special weapon won't kill the boss that is weak to it as quickly, so it almost balances out. The special weapons are less potent, but the game overall is easier, and it's actually hard to lose all of your lives. 

There's the best weapon in the game. Good stuff. In this shot Rush is clearly stoned out of his mind on Oxycontin. Woof.

Wood Man's stage is full of "wildlife". Just roll with it. One of these bats makes a cameo appearance in Mega Man X

This game features the advent of the miniboss. Here we see the infamous Robot Dog from MC Chris' classic song "Robot Dog". It's like Rush's evil big brother. Unless it's a rat. Kinda looks like a rat. In any case, moving on quickly.

Rush Marine in action. I'll say this on behalf of this game: it LOOKS really good.  

Blasting Wood Man with Metal Blades. He's the first boss in a Mega Man game to use a "revolving shield" type weapon; this weapon type would pop up in nearly every game after that. I've always had a little bit of trouble hitting this guy since the leaves reflect projectiles.

Air Man's stage is pretty iconic on the NES, and they managed to translate that to the small screen pretty well. What the hell are these platform-faces supposed to be, though?

And why is one lurking creepily above the boss door (which is now normal-sized)? To keep people from climbing on top of the platform, I guess.

Here's Air Man. since you can't slide in Mega Man 2 on the NES, the game this boss originates from, you have a distinct advantage over him in this game. Slide + the smaller screen = Much easier to close the distance on him between his wind gust attacks. A lot of people suggest going with him as the first boss in both games. Seems like everyone has a different opinion, and that's the beauty of these games. You can really go at these bosses in almost any order you want, and figure it out for yourself. It's more fun in the console games that give you an eight boss stage select.

Crash Man's stage consists of a lot of platform-riding while floating enemies very slowly move towards you. The NES version of this stage is much more challenging. Despite Nintendo Power's advice to do this stage first, I did it last. HAW! SUCH A REBEL!

Another new thing debuting in this game: E-Tanks. They're completely unnecessary (as opposed to the first game, which needed them and didn't have them) since you can pretty much roll over any boss in this game in one life meter without much trouble. They end up functioning more as extra lives than anything else, at least in this particular game. I generally use them in a stage if my health is low and I don't feel like bouncing back to a checkpoint. This is a far cry from how crucial they are in other Mega Man games.

 Crash Man jumps every time you fire. The Air Shooter travels in an upward arc. See where this is going?

After beating the four bosses, it looks like Dr. Wily is cornered. Unfortunately, he can somehow run faster than our hero, so he gets away. Again. 

Next up: Four boss capsules. However, once again, they're not repeats of the bosses you've fought. Like the previous game, these are four new Robot Masters. However, this time they actually have their own stages. Weird that the game did this with capsules rather than with another traditional stage select. Would have liked to see these guys have portraits.

Needle Man's stage is the first one I take on. That's right, we're now featuring bosses from Mega Man 3 on the NES. Unfortunately, the music is changed for the Game Boy, so the vastly inferior tunes that play in these stages have nothing to do with the NES version's amazing soundtrack. Changing all of the music in this game and Dr. Wily's Revenge was a bad idea, since the NES games that they get their stages from had some pretty iconic tunes. This would be fixed for Mega Man III on the Game Boy, at least.

There's actually continuity in weaknesses from one boss set to the next in this game, unlike the previous game. Unless I'm wrong and I struggled to defeat Bubble Man with the arm cannon for nothing...

In any case, Needle Man is weak against Air Man's weapon, which plays double duty in this game. I've always liked this guy; he's got attitude. 

Remember these magnet enemies from Mega Man 3 on the NES? They're here, and function the same way. I circumvent the gameplay by using Rush Jet to fly over everything and blast them. HAWR HAWR. 

Magnet Man is a speedy bastard. He's weak to the Needle Cannon, as Insane Clown Posse wonders how he works. This is one boss that would be really difficult to defeat without the slide ability, so it's a good thing this game has it.

Fast forward a bit, here's Hard Man ::giddy giggling is heard from somewhere::

He falls quickly to Magnet Missiles, as is tradition. Not much to say about his stage; it was the same ol' from the NES version.

The miniboss as a concept returns, as these rad bobcat robots show up several times in Top Man's stage. Is it just me, or does just about everything in these early Mega Man games have visual appeal? 

Top Man's stage concludes with a bunch of spinning top platforms that I quickly circumvent with Rush Jet. This game has the best version of Rush Jet; you can move anywhere with it like a hoverboard.

Top Man has a very simple pattern. Hard Knuckle makes short work of him, but the regular Arm Cannon would get the job done too. If this game let you select from all eight bosses at the start, I'd possibly fight this guy first over Metal Man.

On that note... the main thing that makes these Game Boy Mega Mans worth playing is the way they mix up the NES games. By taking four bosses from one game and four from another, they make for a new experience. With the way these games work with special weapons and weaknesses, being able to use the weapon of a Mega Man 2 boss like Air Man against a Mega Man 3 boss like Needle Man is pretty cool.

After beating the second set of bosses, you fight Quint. He's basically the Enker of the game... and he's probably the easiest boss in Mega Man history. Seriously. I beat him without taking a hit, on my first try. The only way it could possibly be easier is if your shots homed in on his head. He hops up and down in one spot, then jumps over to the other side of the screen and repeats. He looks like Quick Man, and supposedly he's "from the future". A lot of people have debated whether or not he's involved in the X series. Not sure what the deal is there; apparently this game has a plot that I don't know about.

Sakugarne is a pretty sweet name, I'll give it that. It's Quint's pogo stick, and serves little purpose. It lets you jump on enemies to beat them, Mario-style, so it's fun to play with to an extent. Problem is, you usually take damage from them when you do this if the enemy doesn't fall in one hit, which makes it, well, useless. At least against strong enemies. 

There's the Skull Castle, rebuilt and ready for business. It kinda reminds me of the Technodrome. How many stages will it have in this game?

...ZERO! The game just whisks you right past it to the Skull Space Station. Apparently the Quint fight is the only thing that happens in the Skull Castle. What the heck? This is a bizarre game. 

Here's a complete weapon select screen. Four E-Tanks is the maximum for this game, and it's four more than you ever need.

Wily's space station is a weird place. It's the final level of the game, yet it's still easy. This game having nine levels puts it over the six levels of the previous game, but still far fewer than any of the NES games. Now, what the hell are those things in the background? Internal organs?
Here's Wily. He's in a weird little walker this time, disappointing considering his usual massive mechs and tanks. This has got to be the most underwhelming Wily mech in the series. Quint's weapon does huge damage against him, so pogo away.

The walker has a second form! Now Wily is Hell On Wheels. 

There's also a third form, which can best be described as mecha-Godzilla. This form, like the previous two, is simple. Wily having three life meters is more than usual, yet this is one of the easiest final battles in the series. This game is hands-down the worst of the lot on the Game Boy, and it's too bad because the previous game had so much room for improvement. Also too bad because this game has eight of the coolest robot masters in the entire Mega Man canon. The incredibly low difficulty of this game just robs it of any kind of fun factor. Oh well. It's good for relaxing after playing a really difficult Mega Man game, I guess.

The space station plummets to Earth, causing a massive mushroom cloud and ending millions of lives. On that somber note, leave a comment below.

Next up: Mega Man III.



  1. The background images in the Wily Space Station are Salvador Dali melty clocks.

    The game does look REALLY good. They transferred the look perfectly (besides Wily inside his machines) and grayscaled to perfection.

    Yeah, there were a ton of cool bosses here so it's too bad everything was too easy. Must've been the work of the B Team.

    Mega Man on a pogo stick looks funny.

  2. This and Kirby's Dream Land were about the only Game Boy games I could beat while sitting in a car during a trip as a kid. It's hard to see things on that tiny screen!

  3. Wait, this game has both Wood Man AND Hard Man? Snicker.

    The Wily level (and title music) of this game is sweet.

  4. Rush evil big brother... WAIT RUSH IS THE NON EVIL ONE? HOLY SHIT