Review by Psycho Penguin
"I am not a slave to popular opinion."
''Best Mega Man game ever.''
''Truly innovative and wonderful!''
''The best music I've ever heard!''
I have heard a various range of praise thrown onto Mega Man 2, which is apparently the greatest video game in the history of all games according to people I know. I can't think of a single person that can say anything bad about it.
Aren't you glad I'm here, then?
While I admit, I was wrong to give it a score of 4/10 before, my opinion still stands that this is a decent, not great, Mega Man game. The game just doesn't have all of the characteristics and personality of the later games in the series to be the best, but it is certainly a good game, and is most definitely better than the original.
The Mega Man series is unique for the simple fact that no many how many games are added to the series, the storyline just kind of floats from one game to the next, basically adding one or two plot elements. But the basic plot has always been the same: Dr. Light made this guy called Mega Man, who has to defeat Dr. Wily and his 8 Robot Masters from taking over the world. Nintendo logic doesn't assume Dr. Wily would have sent all 8 bosses after Mega Man, or just made MORE robots, after the 7th loss, but that's just the way video games are sometimes.
The game sure as hell looks nice, though. The vivid backgrounds and detailed designs make it hard for me to believe this is an early-to-mid generation NES game, seriously. I love how the backgrounds and stage designs mesh with the personality of the boss character so well. For instance, Bubble Man has waterfalls and other aquatic nature, while Wood Man's stage takes place in a lush forest.
The boss designs, suck, though. You can flame me all you want, but Bubble Man has this thing on at the end of his mask that makes him look stupid, and Wood Man.. well, just look at the picture of him when you choose him in the boss selection screen, that just about says it all, especially when he beats his chest like he's some sort of manly man.
I love the enemy designs, however, as Capcom added some innovative enemies into the sequel, especially some of the mini bosses, which are massive and truly deserve to be called mini bosses. The enemy designs they kept in from the original Mega Man have been upgraded to a look you might be more familiar with. Mega Man 2 certainly changed the enemy designs of the series forever by establishing basic designs for each character, and they did a very nice job in doing so.
So, I can't really complain about the graphics all that much in the end. Sure, the boss designs look like a six year old drew them before nap time, but the backgrounds and characters are too well animated to be ignored for long.
Oh yeah, did you know Mega Man 2 has really good music? I'm sure you've heard it before. Well, be prepared to hear it again. Good lord, Mega Man 2 has good music. There you go. I love mostly every song in this game, as this is one of those games where you hear the song once, it'll be stuck in your head for days. Sure, some songs are better than others (I love Bubble Man and Flash Man's theme most), but the average quality of the songs is overall better than most of the music out there in video games now.
Too bad the sound effects aren't as good, but they're still decent. Most of the sound effects are your standard beeps and bloops, with not much else to go by. All your basic Mega Man sound effects are here, so if you heard one, you've heard them all. The enemies don't make sounds when they die, which is kind of disappointing, but the sound effects are still acceptable.
You know, every Mega Man game has really good control, so of course this one does, as well. The controls are placed logically, and the buttons respond perfectly every time. The game needs good control in certain spots, like precision jumping, and it will not disappoint you. You can exexute even the hardest jumps in the game without having to worry about the controls bombing out on you, and that's really all I can ask for.
Sadly, Mega Man 2's main flaws come into play when it gets to the most important part of a game, especially a NES game: gameplay. Now, you may have been incorrectly told before that this game has perfect gameplay, but that is just not true, and I will now try to convince you that this game has some major flaws. This is also the part where most of you can scroll to the bottom and click no to save yourself an additional three minutes of reading.
The basic format is just like any other Mega Man game: you start off with 8 bosses, and you get to choose which order you want to complete them in. The advantage to completing them in a certain order is that when you defeat a boss, you get a weapon, which can then be used to defeat another boss with a weakness to that weapon more easily. So, really, the game isn't as non linear as you may think, but getting to select the path you wanted to complete the stages was a unique feature the Mega Man series owned for a while.
Mega Man 2 also added innovations from Mega Man, just not as many as you may thinlk. The major ones were, energy tanks (you can now stockpile energy tanks and use one when your energy runs low), two modes of difficulty (more on that below), and just overall cleaning up the game to make it seem more polished from Mega Man.
The stage designs are merely decent in Mega Man 2. There, I said it. Most of the stages follow the same basic pattern of ''kill enemies, do some platform jumping, kill enemies, do some platform jumping while killing enemies, kill boss, move to next stage, rinse and repeat''. Sure, most of it is fun, but there's no real variety that sets the stages apart from each other like the later Mega Man games do. That's why I don't like this game as much, plain and simple.
Although this might be a **SPOILER**!!!!, another innovation that Capcom brought to the table with Mega Man 2 was that you can now fight all 8 bosses at the end of the game over again before facing Dr. Wily. I thought this was a cool idea, but alas, it was expanded on to be made better in future games. But at least it got its start here, that means this is the best game of all time by default, right??
If you need more reasoning, the game is way too easy. I mean, seriously, this is the easiest Mega Man game ever. And a lot of non-biased people agree with me, too. That's why Capcom included two modes of difficulty. Notice how they have never done that in any Mega Man game ever besides this one? Why would they do that besides that they knew this game was too easy to begin with? Even the difficult mode is easier than half the Mega Man games out there, as the only thing difficult mode added was more damage taken. Wowee. I'm scared now.
I'm sure everyone in the world loves to play this game all the time, but I find myself playing it less than other games in the NES series. When I'm in the mood to play a Mega Man game, it's Mega Man 5 or 6. You can make the argument that because this game came out way before them, it's allowed to have less cool features, and that's true, and I agree with you. But why would I want to do platform jumping over and over when I can be getting flipped upside down by gravity or having fire shot at me when I'm standing on oil?
Mega Man 2 simply doesn't have the goods to be a top-class video game, plain and simple. Yes, it's a good game, maybe even a great one. But there is no reason to really play this, except to see how Mega Man used to be. This game added tons of good features from Mega Man, and is a much stronger game, but the later games in the series are more varied and more challenging. The only reason everyone loves this game is because of the music, and how easy it was. So, if you love easy games with killer soundtracks that aren't very varied, then blow yourself away.
Me, I'll be busy playing a better game.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 05/13/03
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