Thursday, December 29, 2022

Mega Man Xtreme 2 (Game Boy Color, 2001)


Xtreme 2: It's 2-xtreme, like The Hardy Boyz. This one seems way harder than the first, which was already pretty hard. Also, this one doesn't work on an original Game Boy like the first did.

The previous game was in 2000, this one's in 2001. We got a bit of a Mega Man X overload in those two years, with both X5 and X6 AND these two games all coming out in the span of basically 15 months. Unfortunately none of them were really up to par with previous X series games, so this game avalanche was during a creative slump.

Same situation here as the previous game, except now "Normal Mode" is "X Mission" and "Hard Mode" is "Zero Mission". Oh yeah, and you play as Zero for the second set of four bosses.

Beating those unlocks Extreme Mode, which gives you all eight bosses, plus you can play as both characters. Which is what I'm going right to today.

AH! JESUS! It's Iris. This must take place pre-X4, which is actually kind of cool if it's gonna give us some canon Maverick Hunters Before X4 story.

The intro is much, MUCH shorter than the first game's intro... unfortunately it spells Laboratory wrong. The Maverick Research Lavatory awaits on this strange island. So this is where the their business?

Our hero arrives at the Lavatory...and it's the intro stage of X2. I don't think they're doing the whole "Techno is re-creating places from our past! The madman!" thing in this game. They're just sorta dropping you into these places and not asking questions. Basically we have to clear this island of mavericks or whatever. Let's genocide! I'm sure they did something wrong, we'll figure it out later. MAVERICKS.

All of this? Yeah probably Sigma

The first boss is this big mech. Doesn't look like anything else in the X series that I can remember. Very easy fight. The main threat here is that the screen wildly flashes every time you do damage, to the point that I need to put a seizure warning in the video of this fight.

AH! JESUS! Oh, it's Iris again. "Megaman Megaman!" It seems we have a guest at HQ.

This guy. He says he's in charge of the island we just raided and isn't too happy about it. Man, these Maverick Hunters just step on everybody's feet don't they? We're like the United States. In any case, Gareth here tells us that he'll forgive us for rampaging around his island if we defeat the 8 bosses that are like...around.

Iris then starts going on and on about DNA. Man, these X games get SO WEIRD with all this DNA stuff later in the series. DNA is like the most important thing to all the characters all of a sudden. Do these guys go around scraping DNA off of various surfaces in their spare time?

Now Zero is going on about "souls" and stuff. So the robots don't just have DNA, they also have souls! And they have "DNA Souls" as well that can be collected and traded in for fabulous prizes!

The eight bosses for this one. two from X, two from X2, four from X3. The shorter game modes give the top row to X and the bottom row to Zero.

I go with X2's quintessential first boss, The Sponge. We'll see if the bosses are way stronger like they are in the previous game.

The Heart Tank is right where it is in X2, so they're continuing the trend of having everything be in the same layout more or less.

Sub-Tank is also in the right spot.

But wait! This section is entirely new. An elevator ride with deadly spikes. This is the beginning of a trend: Every time they add anything new to this game, it involves instant-death traps and general un-fun bad design.

Wire Sponge himself is similar to the SNES version. The HP isn't completely overwhelming like it was in Xtreme, but he still has a lot.. He stays in his red invincible mode for a lot longer in this one, and the lightning tracks you rather than falling in the same spots. This makes him a much bigger threat than in the SNES version. After a bit you can damage him again but it gives no indication of that because he stays red. At least he's easier than Chill Penguin.

...I still can't believe Chill Penguin is an actual threat in Xtreme.

After a bunch of unsuccessful attempts at stages (this game is so much harder than any of the SNES X series) I finally find one I can beat: Neon Tiger. Kinda makes sense actually. Wire Sponge was the easiest stage in X2 and Neon Tiger was the easiest stage in X3 so them being the two easiest stages here is consistent.

This stage has a new addition: Branches that instantly break off when you step onto them and kill you. Again, every time this game actually deviates from 1:1 copying the previous games, it takes the form of some super un-fun instant-death bullshit.

Neon Tiger himself inherited Sigma's claws from X2. Which makes me wonder...which version of Sigma will we get in this game? The wireframe final boss of X2 isn't happening.

Oh hey, this is kind of cool. Neon Tiger's weapon is completely different. In the SNES version it was a distance projectile, now it's a close-range slash. It stays up for a couple seconds, making it very useful for bumping into enemies.

Speaking of close-range attacks, I need to try Zero at some point. Maybe for the second set of four stages? Heart Tanks go to the character who finds them, not both, meaning it might be more advantageous to focus on making one character really strong. Except, from what I'm reading, the final boss requires you to use both characters. So having both finish a few stages is a good idea.

Except that special weapons ALSO only go to the character who beats the boss. What were they thinking? If I switch to Zero I might miss a crucial special weapon for X, or vice-versa. You need a full-on roadmap guide for this game! I'll keep winging it.

Aside from Gareth, the other big X-Hunter type sub-villain in this game is Berkana. She relentlessly flirts with all the male characters for some reason. I think she's supposed to be some kind of sorceress type character.

Next I take on Launch Octopus' stage. I always liked these water-serpent minibosses, because... can hop onto them and pummel their weak point with some good aim.

Winning that miniboss fight used to get you a Heart Tank, now it gets you the all-important body armor. Half damage!

Volt Catfish's stage is next. This one has the leg upgrade, which lets you dash in midair by pressing jump again. You can even dash upward by holding up while you double jump.

Wait a minute though...I feel like this is actually Toxic Seahorse's stage from X3. Or at least, they took parts of that one.

New content alert: Later parts of Volt Catfish's stage now contain obnoxious instant-death electrified water!

Volt Catfish has a large Cheshire Cat grin. I don't have much else to say about this one...

Next is Flame Mamm-OWWW. Yes, they added NEW CONTENT~! to Flame Mammoth's stage, and of course, it's insta-death fireballs that smash upward with NO WARNING when you step on certain tiles.

I very carefully edge forward for a while. None of these new additions added ANYTHING to these levels. It's actually subtraction by addition.

The Mammoth himself. I feel like he's smaller in this version than on the SNES. All the bosses have entirely different weaknesses in this version.

Next I get the helmet upgrade from Neon Tiger's level, and take that straight over to...

...Flame Mammoth's level to get the weapon upgrade. This lets you charge up your special weapons, which does huge damage to bosses.

Now I've got all four parts. It's crazy how much easier the early X games get once you get all four powerups.

Also in Flame Mammoth's stage: A Sub-Tank, where it is in the SNES version.

Now for something I've been ignoring all game: The shop where you can buy permanent upgrades with all your "DNA Souls" or whatever. Buster Plus 2 is particularly OP because it adds 2 ticks of damage to every attack you do, even regular shots. This makes regular shots as powerful as charged shots, and charged shots even more powerful. You can also stack it with Buster Plus 1 to get +3 to all attacks, which basically makes the game easy from here on out.

I've been pretty much ignoring Zero all game, but here I got him Saber +1.

Launch Octopus' stage has these weird ladders that go nowhere and can't actually be interacted with. Cut content, maybe?

I think this stage has more minibosses than any other stage, especially if you count the giant boat in the middle of it that you don't actually need to fight.

Launch Octopus is probably the toughest regular stage boss in this game, but he gets short-circuited by Volt Catfish's weapon. I mean, at this point even the regular buster fries everything.

This is interesting: Instead of homing missiles, his weapon is the charged up version of Storm Eagle's weapon.

Next is Tunnel Rhino. 1:1 carbon copy of the SNES version, except they added instant-death lava that covers most of the screen every so often. The kids will love it!

After getting past all of the new insta-death crapola, the actual boss fights are easy. Though Toxic Seahorse feels weirdly missing from this game: I've never fought Tunnel Rhino without his weapon, and I'm fairly sure they stole a bunch of his stage to use in other stages.

Next up: Blast Hornet. Weird stage here, feels incomplete and mostly-empty.

This one section is basically the early platforming part of Fortress 1 from X1.

Blast Hornet. This guy's got a pretty sweet design, one of the X3 bosses I always liked.

I break out Zero for the Overdrive Ostrich stage, which has my favorite music of any stage in X2. This turned out to kinda be a mistake... there really isn't any reason to use both characters in this game. Pick one, load them up with powerups, and focus your Sub-Tanks on that character in the final battle. They want you to use both characters in the final battle, but you don't have to.

NEW CONTENT ALERT: Instant-death tornado traps! Just gotta stand here and wait for them to subside. Just...stand here and wait.

MORE new content: Instant-death barriers in an autoscrolling bike section! This part is incredibly frustrating because the controls simply aren't smooth enough to keep up with the speed of this section. They took my favorite stage and made it the worst out of the 8.

Fighting these bosses with Zero IS a cool option though.

After lots of slashing away, we've cleared all 8 bosses.

Time for Gareth to thank us for defeating the 8 revealing himself as the true villain behind them! Or something. Oh noooo, nobody saw THAT coming.

Finished inventory screen. Well, "finished", because Zero got one of the eight weapons. That's why there's a ? block here. And yes, there are only two Sub-Tanks in this game instead of the usual four. The final boss is MUCH harder in this game than in Xtreme 1, so having half the tanks is an issue.

The first fortress stage is Fortress 2 from X1. Yep. There it is.

The first boss here is Sigma's Dog. Pretty cool that he finally got to be a level boss.

Next up is Fortress 2 from...X2. I'm sensing a pattern here.

This boss is NEW CONTENT, which means it sucks. Yeah, this fight is atrocious. There's this platform hovering over you that's supposed to give you a step to hit the top of the tank. Instead the platform just gets in the way a lot and traps you on the floor.

Here's the flirtatious sorceress lady. What's her deal?

She incessantly flirts with these two. Yeah okay. What happened to Gareth? He just sorta disappeared. Maybe you fight him in one of the other game modes.

It's worth noting that you fight her in the final boss room of X4, which means this game actually steps outside of the X1-X3 paradigm briefly. This is a tough fight because she can materialize spikes on the floor and walls.

Next up is the capsule room. Since I'm playing on Xtreme Mode, it's the 8 bosses from this game. If you're playing on either of the 4-boss modes, this capsule room will have the 8 bosses from the previous game. That's actually pretty awesome. Harkens back to the Doc Robots.

Sigma is in his X2 form, claws and all. However, that isn't the tough part...

The tough part is this new form that sort of resembles Kaiser Sigma from X3. He changes colors and only the character corresponding with his color can damage him: Blue = X, Red = Zero, Yellow = Both. The game wants you to keep switching characters, but at this point using a Sub-Tank on Zero is a total waste, so I had an easier time once I stuck with X. I could still damage him two thirds of the time. The main problem is trying to get high enough in the air to actually land a hit on his weak spot. Ya know Capcom, a WALL might have helped here.

After that very tough fight (which is tougher than the rest of the game), all the DNA Souls get freed from the island and fly off in all directions like that one scene in Ghostbusters where it was sheer pandemonium in New York. Yeah. So...hooray, everyone got their DNA back!

Thoughts on this game? Eh. I like the concept. It would have probably been a lot better on Game Boy Advance. In theory it's awesome to have some mixed-up Game Boy versions of the X series, but in practice I just don't find these to work nearly as well as the five classic Game Boy Mega Mans. Like, I'll probably do full video playthroughs of those five at some point but I don't see myself ever doing that with the XTREMEs.

What I DID do is a "How Far Can I Get On One Extra Life" and here it is. I seriously underperformed in this one and didn't get very far. Keep in mind that the Xtreme games are tough and especially tough to break into with no powerups or special weapons. At least the commentary track on this one turned out particularly decent.

No comments:

Post a Comment