Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Rockman 2: The Power Fighters (Arcade, 1996)

A year later, the sequel to the previous game! Again, arcade-only at the time, confusing title. While the first was just kinda an arcade fighting-hybrid based on the first seven games, this one is more of a promotional vehicle for the upcoming Mega Man 8. They reuse almost everything from the first game so it's more of an expansion than anything else. I just played both of them and can barely tell them apart.

This one adds a fourth character, Duo.


Yeah, despite being a huge Mega Maniac, I barely remembered who this guy was. He's the robot from space in Mega Man 8. He's never seen again after that. This game seemed to be building up a number of things for future Mega Man games that just sorta got dropped, as did the series in general for a while, after MM8.

Instead of choosing from boss sets that correlate to different Mega Man games, here you choose from 3 objectives. The bosses in all 3 seem to be mixed from 1 through 7, and most of them are just transplanted straight from the previous game.

First up, "Search for Wily", which seems like it should be the last one listed. This time the stage select isn't randomized, and actually shows you who the bosses are so you can pick one. No love for Mega Man 4 on this set.

Missed getting a shot of Heat Man in the previous game. Well here he is. As a kid I always saw this guy as being the "strongest" of the MM2 bosses for some reason, probably because he was the last one they said to fight in some of the things I read about that game. Same goes for his appearance in Dr. Wily's Revenge, he's usually listed as the last one to fight. He's one of the four bosses who got short-changed in the Game Boy series by not having a level, just a capsule. Bomb Man and Guts Man didn't even get that, they were just dropped entirely.

I can pretty much hear Mega Man's squeaky voice just by reading this.

Bubble Man is next and he's weirdly creepy. And yeah, I realize his weapon is strong against Heat Man. Much like the previous game, the order doesn't really matter here.

Centaur Man has great music on the NES, but here it seems they've got the music all randomized and mixed so he's got a different theme.

Shadow Man throws a lot of shurikens and zips all over the place. However the craziest part is that at half health...

...he jumps onto a giant frog robot and they jump all over the place like maniacs. I didn't have "Shadow Man rides a frog mount" on my Power Fighters bingo card.

Beat the six bosses and we go to Wily Fortress, which looks more like some kind of mobile mech in this game.

As before, there's one boss before Wily himself. It's different in each of the three modes. This one has the intro stage boss from Mega Man 7.

After that you get almost the exact same Wily fight from the previous game, with him trying to escape at the end and everything.

However the skull tank design is a bit different (more on that in a bit) and they gave him his Mega Man 7 final boss theme for the entire fight this time which is pretty awesome.

Mega Man hauls Wily away while spouting a bunch of empty platitudes as usual. Next he's gonna call the guy a "MAVERICK" like some kind of epithet.

Wily correctly points out that Mega Man is and has always been a huge hypocrite. LOL.

Now Mega Man starts second-guessing himself and wondering if maybe he really is a douche. Good.

Next up is "Rescue Roll". Scissor me timbers!

Going with Protoman for this one. I don't think Elec Man was in the previous game, and MM4 has gotten on the board with Dive Man.

Also, Elec Man has a really good special weapon, in a duo of games where the special weapons are largely kind of negligible.

Like the previous game, the characters all kind of play the same (except Duo).

Dive Man is weak to Elec Beam, and there's a hilarious animation when he gets struck by it:


He retaliates with PSYCHO CRUSHER.

Most of the bosses are ported right over from the previous game, as are the arenas. Here's Shade Man in Gyro Man's arena.

Protoman's shots look really cool. Always liked Shade Man's weapon and how you charge it by bouncing it off of walls (since it's a sound weapon).

I guess we rescued Roll. Also she's a total thief! This powerup basically just lets you jump higher. It's kind of random.

"Rescue Roll" continues with Slash Man. If anyone was perfect for a Mega Man fighting game, it's this guy.

I really like Stone Man because he's in MMIV on Game Boy which was a game I was obsessed with as a kid. He's definitely the biggest robot master in that game.

Wait! Protoman! What are you doing? DON'T SHOOT EDDIE!

The Wily stage boss this time is the Yellow Devil, with the same music and everything. I think he might have some new animations but not sure.

Elec Beam throws him for an absolute loop, as well it should. I always Elec-Cheese him in the NES version.

Mentioned it before, but Wily Machine has a new design in this game. It's a lot more malevolent than the one in the previous game, but it's also easier to beat. Not that you can really lose in a game with infinite health as long as you keep putting quarters in.

Protoman's ending is weird. Dr. Light is all sympathetic to how Protoman suffers (I guess with heel/face confusion).

Protoman is like "lol bye"

Alrighty then.

Lastly is "Recover The New Parts" and this one has a very strong boss lineup. If one is only playing one of the boss sets, this is probably the one to go with. It's got my personal favorite boss in all of classic Mega Man, which is of course...

...Pharaoh Man, who hovers around smugly.

Duo's charge shot is a short range GIANT HAND that does some serious damage. He's a bit slower and a bit stronger than the other 3. It's good to have a character that actually plays kind of different.

That said he's probably my least-favorite of the bunch to play as. I don't know him and he's slow. He's mainly here to promote the upcoming Mega Man 8.

Worth Noting: Your energy doesn't get refilled between fights in this or the previous game, which ensures that you have to pump quarters in. Then again, if it did, it'd be pretty easy to beat the whole game with like 1-3 quarters on the first try and that wouldn't be much of a money-maker.

I switch to Bass, because I'm gonna have to beat this third level set with both him and Duo to see all the endings.

Air Man is all "fear me!"

I then proceed to BLAST HIM OUTTA THE AIR.

Quick Man has a sweet afterimage effect on his movements. Everything is better with afterimages, and more games need them.

He's got a dash, perhaps the predecessor to X and Zero's dash (and before them, Bass' slightly-weaker dash).

Gemini Man also has afterimages in this one, unlike the previous game. Occasionally you get random powerup characters to appear, like Eddie dropping heals or Treble doing damage. It seems to be based on character and their presence lasts for maybe 20 seconds each time.

Mega Man - Rush Coil (lets you bounce high for a bit)
Protoman - Eddie (drops some heals)
Bass - Treble (does damage)
Duo - ? (never saw it)

After crushing Napalm Man, it's off to Wily Castle to fight...the dragon boss from MM2! I love this thing and it's good to see it show up here.

It breathes fire and has the Yellow Devil's music. All in all my favorite fight in either game.

Duo crushes Wily with his giant groping grabby-hand charged shot, and let's see what we have for endings.

Our heroes aren't sure what to make of "tbe robot from space" but conclude that he's one of the good guys.

Duo says he'll return soon to help them deal with the Wily threat, and it's like "Mega Man 8: Coming Soon!"

I reload, switch to Bass for the final fight with Wily, and let's see his ending. It better be good because the endings in this one have been pretty meh.

Wily is pissed at Bass for being such a flip-flopper. Isn't Bass basically what Protoman already was?

Bass is no fan of Wily either. This whole thing with him being against both his master and Mega Man could have been pretty interesting if they'd expanded on any of this post-MM8.

Wily announces that construction on Zero is just about completed. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN.

I always interpreted this to mean we'd be seeing Zero in Mega Man 9, but again they just dropped all this.

What we really needed was...

-A classic series game (MM9) showing the launch of Zero, and Mega Man vs Zero

-An X-series game (MMX9) concretely showing the return of Wily as Sigma's higher power, and X vs Wily

-A Zero-series game where Zero finally defeats his maker (MMZ4 and we basically got this, except they didn't have the higher power immortal doctor from the past actually BE Wily, for some inexplicable reason)

So yeah, great game aside from the Zero cocktease (which was also the best part, interestingly enough). Just reminded me of all the things I wanted out of the series and didn't get later on, but yeah. If it came down to it I think I prefer the first of the two arcade games based on having the bosses divided by game, but then the second has a stage select where you can actually see the bosses. So tough call. Either way, when it comes down to it, they're pretty much the same game anyway. Worth playing if you see it on a collection or it falls into your lap.

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