Mega Man 2 - Great Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Games

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What a Game

For now, let’s talk about some good games, namely Capcom’s Mega Man 2 on the great Nintendo Entertainment System. When I was a wee young lad, there was a stint when I was playing a bunch of very crappy Nintendo games. You know, stuff like X-men and Silver Surfer. Games that made you want to punch a baby, basically. Finally, the dude at the video store says, “try this one,” and he hands me Mega Man 2. Well, that game changed my life for the better.

For most people, this was the first game that they played in the series. The first game was terribly difficult, and wasn’t really a hit until they released the second game. That’s when people went back to explore the first game. The first game was okay, but it wasn’t nearly as refined as the second one was.

During the first weekend that I played Mega Man 2, I don’t even think I really made it very far in the game. I think I might have killed Bubble Man, but that was about it. I was horrible, but I fell in love with the game. It made me love my Nintendo a lot more, too. Mega Man 2 was just a complete winner in every way during those first few days.

The Title Screen Was Epic
The Title Screen Was Epic

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Pure Epicness

The second game in the series hooks you right from the start. It has a really awesome intro with music that gets you totally pumped up. The image of the Blue Bomber standing on top of a tall building with his hair dangling in the breeze really makes for a beautiful sight, too. Then you get to the stage select screen, which was fairly unique for the time. People were used to games like Super Mario Brothers, where you had to go through the levels in a set order. They always would get progressively more difficult. In Mega Man 2, though, you could choose to start on any boss level that you wanted to. This also meant that, if you were like me and were too young to be any good at video games, you could explore more of the game. It meant more fun, and was mind blowing for the time.

Eventually I became good enough to tame the robot masters, since I starting renting this game very often. I should have probably just purchased the game, but there were so many NES games that were worth buying during those days. Still, this game really is one of the best on the system. The gameplay is tight, the controls are completely fluid, the music is beyond amazing, and the graphics looked superb for its day. What wasn’t to love? This was a gem.

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Not Perfection, but Very Good

Was there anything that wasn’t good about Mega Man 2? Sure, I guess.

Once you got skilled at playing the game, it felt like it was a little bit on the short side. Sure, during that initial period it was hard to get through to the robot masters like Quick Man, and it was hard to beat Crash Man using just the megabuster. Eventually, though, you realized that the weapons from one master would annihilate another master. The classic example would probably be using Metal Man’s saw blades on Wood Man. It made a lot of sense. So, at some point, the game began to lose its charm when it became more of a race to see how fast you could beat it. Wiley’s castle was always challenging, but getting there without much effort made the game seem a bit dull eventually.

Of course, there was the difficulty setting. But who the heck wanted to play the game on difficult mode? Few did. The Japanese version had no difficulty, and was always on difficult mode. Hah!

Seriously, though, you had to be pretty good at the game to warrant playing on difficult mode. I find that difficult mode is really just more tedious than difficult, too.

Classic Game Room Undertow's Mega Man 2 Review

The Stage Select Was Awesome, Until You Realized That You Had to do The Bosses in a Specific Order. Boo!
The Stage Select Was Awesome, Until You Realized That You Had to do The Bosses in a Specific Order. Boo!

Dullness Does Set In...

Despite the fact that you could choose your path through the game during the stage select screen, you ended up having to do it in a certain order because one Robot Master's weapon was useful on another master. Metal Man's weapon was the most useful of all, so he was usually the first on my list. That made the game more linear in the end, which made it tiresome in the way that Super Mario Bros was. Level 1-1 was always level 1-1, and Mega Man became similar.

The dullness that set in for the Robot Masters made things rather tiresome. That was probably the reason why I didn’t ultimately buy the game. Even though I hadn’t beaten it, I had mastered the robot masters part. It just didn’t seem important to buy a game just to play through and master the ending sequence.

Does this make the game any less awesome, though? Not really. Owning the game was well worth all that time spent mastering the robot masters.

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Much to Love

I loved how different each level was in Mega Man 2. The blue bomber got to brave through a high tech water zone with Bubble Man, and he got to run through a weird forest with Wood Man. What were those things – mechanical road runners? Those were always funny. Air Man’s stage was unique, being up in the clouds. Crash Man’s stage was cool in that it went from the surface of a planet up into space. Quick Man’s stage was very strange, what with all those yellow bars flying out to squash you as you raced against them. Flame Man and Metal Man had very interesting stages that fit with their themes. Flash Man had a really cool stage, and I liked how you slid all over the place on those glowing bricks. The music fit all these stages perfectly.

It’s just such a shame that all of those stages became so monotonous and easy the more that you played them. Maybe it was the difficulty that made things get a bit boring. Mega Man 2 scaled down the difficulty a lot in comparison to the first game, because people just couldn’t get very far in Mega Man 1 without dying. Difficulty can be a good thing, though. Look at a game like Contra. Contra was relentlessly hard without the extra lives cheat code, but it’s still one of the best games on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It had great controls, good music, and insane difficulty – but it was awesome. You wanted to beat Contra in order to brag to your friends. Mega Man 2 didn’t really give you very much bragging rights, since it had that normal mode.

All in all, I would say that Mega Man 2 was one of those games that everyone who owned the system loved. It’s obvious why it’s one of the best games, and it’s also fairly easy to recognize its short comings. It just didn’t have enough difficulty for some gamers, basically, even on the difficult mode.

I mean – I was a poor gamer. If I could beat it, then it wasn't hard. No amount of great music, great programming, and great level design can make up for a game that is slightly lacking in difficulty.

Seriously, Why Did He Have a Gun on the Box Art in the US? Was It Really THAT Difficult to Show the Design Team What the Game Looked Like? Take a Picture, Maybe? Polaroid, Anyone? Duh?
Seriously, Why Did He Have a Gun on the Box Art in the US? Was It Really THAT Difficult to Show the Design Team What the Game Looked Like? Take a Picture, Maybe? Polaroid, Anyone? Duh?

A Gem of the Overall Series, but 3 Might Have Been Better

I think the third Mega Man game got things right on the money in comparison to Mega Man 2, but most people still think that the second is the masterpiece. I tend to have a different opinion. The first game was the genesis of a great idea with great execution. The second game did everything right and was playable. The first game was a great idea with semi-poor execution. The third game kind of took all the great things about the second game, added more great things, and also scaled the difficulty up a tiny bit. This made for a better overall game. Some people say that Mega Man 3 was easier than 2, but I never thought so.

Mega Man 2 was a great game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, at least we can all agree to that. As far as I’m concerned, they got progressively harder after 2 because Capcom didn’t know how difficult the series ought to be. The first game is probably the most difficult, and for that reason they scaled each game up from 2. They knew the first game was well designed, but the level of difficulty in the first was a major mistake on their part.

© 2014 Rywads

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