Next up is the highly-praised sequel. I enjoyed the first game but it was very difficult and despite using save states every time I defeated a robot…and for the yellow devil (don’t shoot me), I still enjoyed it for being a good and challenging NES game.
But now for the main event, Mega Man 2 (known in Japan as Rockman 2: Dr. Wily no Nazo (ロックマン2 Dr.ワイリーの謎 Rokkuman 2 Dr. Wairī no Nazo, “Rockman 2: The Mystery of Dr. Wily”), developed and published by Capcom, it was released on Christmas Eve of 1988, July 11th 1989 in the US and January 1991 in Europe.
So as it turns out, the first game didn’t do very well, now if this was the case today, Capcom would throw away this character and try to avoid him like the plague (Oh wait). But it seems that Capcom were more forgiving back then because they allowed the development team of the first game to make a sequel but only on the condition that they work on other games. After three to four months of motherly love, they finally created the sequel with many improvements to the first game.
In the year 200X, Dr. Wily creates a new army of Robot Masters: Metal Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, Quick Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Heat Man, and Wood Man, So Dr. Light enlists Mega Man to defeat them and Wily. It was the 80’s, less story, more shooting.
The game is a run and gun name in the same vain as the first game, if you’re familiar with the first game then you should know how the gameplay works, you play a stage and at the end you battle one of the robots and they have unique weapons based on who they are, after defeating them, you collect their weapon. In this game, after collecting a certain amount of weapons you get an additional weapon from Dr. Light and they all involve making platforms to get to higher or further places. After collecting all the weapons and defeating the robots, you get to Wily’s fortress.
But like I said before, there are many improvements, like having two types of difficulty, normal mode and difficult mode, the difficult mode I assume is Japan mode, just as difficult as the first game. But normal mode, while it’s still got some challenge to it, it’s much fairer and most gamers can handle this type of difficulty, this brings in more people who aren’t comfortable with having games that are a bit too hard for them. You can collect Energy Tanks to refill Mega Man’s health at any time but good luck finding them when you need them. There is a password system so you can go back to the game at any time, making the game much fairer and gives you time to strategize. These improvements have all been implemented to make the perfect Mega Man game.
The graphics and level design look so much better; they’re more detailed and colourful and this makes the game the best looking 8-bit game. The backgrounds in some levels move and at times feel interactive, they feel alive and for an 8-bit game the development team did a fine job at that, though the Mega Man sprite hasn’t and never will change for the later 8-bit games.
The level design also plays better and despite the issues I had controlling Mega Man previously, the level design makes up for it and fit perfectly with the game play, even when getting hit and you’re moving back it happens very less than in the first game. Battling the robot masters are much easier, in that if you have the right weapon you can defeat each robot master in under 5 seconds…whether that’s a good or bad thing, you decide.
Now for the most unforgettable part of the game, the music; this is the best soundtrack ever made for an NES game and I look forward to finding one surpassing it…oh, never mind…Gimmick! Takashi Tateishi composed the soundtrack and Yoshihiro Sakaguchi was the sound programmer, we must thank both of them for making songs that make you hum to them, they fit perfectly with the game and I see no problem listening to them outside playing the game.
You know what this is, this was made by an artist who was just shown the game and didn’t know what to make of it so just improvised and it was considered good enough for the front cover. Even designer Keiji Inafune hated the cover and blamed it for poor sales. But the cover has become a joke and the Mega Man we see in cover is now nicknamed “Bad Box Art” Mega Man and is a playable character in Street Fighter X Tekken. But back to the sequel cover, the US one is much improved but he still looks like a middle aged man…I give up.
Overall, this is a fantastic package and still holds up today, it’s a much balanced game and you still get a kick out of playing it after 27 years. It’s considered to be the best game in the series and I for one don’t doubt that for a single second, I recommend playing this first to get into the Mega Man experience. So next up is Mega Man 3, I wonder how long that will take me to start playing that…well this was written a while ago and you should see it during the two months of Mega Man…and possibly Yooka-Laylee.
You can get this on NES/Famicom, PlayStation, Mobile Phones, Virtual Console, iOS/Android and the PlayStation Store.
Just like last time, it’s off to look at the western cover art: