Mega Man II – An Icon Enters the Fray

Feature Pic

Last week was E3, and this happened:

I’m sure a bunch of other stuff happened, but after watching this I no longer cared.  Mega Man trashing the mascots of Nintendo is just so euphoric.  It’s enough to give you a raging nerd boner, while the vague “2014” release date is enough to give you droopy nerd blue balls.

Link

If this image didn’t make you puke in sheer delight, then you’ve no right to call yourself a gamer.

Like so many others, I’m a huge fan of the Blue Bomber, so much so that I’m pretty sure I’ve watched 5-days worth of that minute-and-a-half-video.  Suffice it to say, I’m pretty damn stoked for the new Smash Bros.  In an obvious effort to placate potential rioters, Nintendo released Mega Man II, III, and IV onto its Wii U eShop shortly after the reveal.  Naturally, I purchased these games because they’re awesome and only cost me a buck each, and, really, you can’t beat that price, especially since 2 of the 3 are my favorite games in the whole wide world!  Now, this raises the question: “Which one do I play first?”  Mega Man II, of course!  It’s the best!  So here I go!

Mega Man 2 Box Art

Game: Mega Man II

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Release Year: 200X

Man, just look at that box art.  Incredible.

Before I geek out all over the place, I must mention that Mega Man II almost didn’t happen. Because of the original’s low sales, the team that designed MM1 had to strike a deal with Capcom in order for them to make MM2, which shouldn’t surprise anyone that Capcom didn’t want anything to do with Mega Man even back then.  Basically, the developers could only make MM2 as long as they worked on other projects as well, making MM2 a labor of love, and labors of love always make the best games (play Cave Story if you don’t believe me).

Considering MM2 was just a side project completed in four months, it blows my mind how freaking amazing it is.  Everything in the game was just done right.  For example, the intro screen.  I know you’ve seen it, but click on the link anyway.  It’s always worth watching again.  That opening scene, with its tone-setting music and cinematic panning, is as iconic as it comes.  Seeing it as a kid hooked me like no other game.  Mega Man was real, and he was ready to fight!

Best Intro Ever

I still get goosebumps.

The game’s level design is just so fun and memorable, too.  Except for Quick Man’s stage.  That shit gives me ulcers.

Quick Man Stage

FUCKITALMOSTGOTME!

Despite its difficulty, I still love that level.  And every other level in the game is just as sweet: Woodman’s stage with its fire-breathing robo-wolves; Air Man’s with its air fortresses; Metal Man’s with its gears and conveyor belts; and Bubble Man’s, Flash Man’s and Heat Man’s stages filling in the video game trope requiring every game to have water, ice and fire levels, respectively.  Granted, a water level hadn’t been done in a Mega Man game yet, and the developers did a great job by making Mega Man’s underwater jumps feel like a robot jumping under water.  Also, they did switch things up by bringing back the first game’s disappearing blocks and putting them in Heat Man’s fire level. Those blocks were on an ice level in the original game.  I don’t know why, but when I was a kid that really caught me off guard.  Too bad I had Item #2!

Item 2

Ridin’ dirty.

Crash Man’s level’s probably the weakest.  It’s not very fun or memorable.  Every other Robot Master’s stage followed a theme.  Heat Man shoots fire; therefore, fire level!  Air Man?  Sky level!  And so on. Crash Man shoots timed mines, yet his level looks like a plumber’s nightmare with tiny Deathstars tangled in the pipes.  That might sound pretty cool, but what the hell does that have to do with bombs!?

Crash Man's Stage

Don’t tell me.  I want to preserve the magic.

This game also introduced Wily’s Castle.  The stages are pretty good, especially when that freaking dragon comes out of nowhere while you’re jumping on boxes over an abyss.  Yeah, I’m sure that didn’t scar kids for life, Capcom.

Dragon

Yeah, Mega Man’s pink.  Shut up.

But I would be remiss in thinking I could talk about Wily’s stages without bringing up the best thing about MM2: its music.  Every track in this game is pure greatness in sonic form, and most are some of the best NES tunes you’ll likely hear on the system.  Case and point: “Wily’s Castle 1 & 2 Theme.”

Who doesn’t love this track?

This and the “MM2 Intro Theme” are played during Mega Man’s Smash Bros. reveal.  I really liked how “Wily’s Castle 1 & 2 Theme” starts after Mega Man gets pissed and starts throwing saw blades (the lesson: Don’t piss off robots).  But did you hear the music playing as he’s down on one knee sparking all over the place?  I’m pretty sure that’s the beginning percussion to one of my favorite tracks from this game, “Wood Man’s Theme.”

Tell me I’m wrong, Internet!  You won’t!

If you’re keeping track, that’s three tracks chosen from MM2.  And that’s no coincidence because all the tracks in this game are sweet.  Personally, my favorite Mega Man track of all time has to be “Air Man’s Theme.”  It’s damn catchy, and then there’s the “solo” where it goes everywhere and shreds your face off:

Your face has just been shredded off.  I warned you.

The game’s music is so great artists are constantly remixing its tracks as well as adding lyrics to them and using them to compose rap epics.  If you don’t know this game’s music by now, get on that shit.

So, anyway, I guess I did kind of geek out there for a little bit.  Didn’t I say I actually played this game recently?  Maybe I should talk about that.  Yeah, fine.  Whatever.

After downloading MM2 onto my WiiU (because what the fuck else do I have to play on that thing?), I immediately reverted to a kid again.  Except this time I could actually beat the damn thing.  It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to beat it, which isn’t bad, I guess.  I couldn’t remember what order to beat the Robot Masters in, so I beat Metal Man first and used his weapon to kill everything in the entire game.  Seriously, that weapon is so gloriously broken.  It shoots in eight directions, is ridiculously powerful, and uses next-to-no energy.  Plus, half of the Robot Masters are weak to it, including Metal Man himself!  His own weapon can take him out in one hit!

metal

It’s genius, really.  Who would have thought to use his own weapon against him?

I guess I’ve really nothing more to say about it.  Everyone’s played it, and everyone loves it.  I can at least say it still holds up today.  It’s as fun as ever, and it’s pretty hard, though it’s really not that hard.  I could feel that way because I’ve beaten the game a billion times, but it’s probably because I know to unleash the power of the Metal Blades.  Seriously, get those and you win the game.

Metal Blade

Or die trying!

This game holds a special place in my heart as I’m sure it does for a lot of gamers.  I honestly feel sorry for younger gamers because you guys will never get to experience this game for the greatness it originally was.  To you guys, Mega Man 2 is more of a footnote in video game history than a nostalgic piece of your childhood.  To me and other older gamers, MM2 is one of the greatest games of all time.  Replaying it and hearing the sound effects and music and re-experiencing the levels for the billionth time still makes me feel like a kid.  There are very few games that can take me back to my childhood and allow me to relive all those great memories of growing up.

There!  I’m finally done talking about Mega Man 2.  I can’t imagine anybody who hasn’t played it yet, but, if you do exist, please stop shaving Big Foot, get out of your U.F.O., and play this freaking game.

Thanks for your Playing!  What’s your favorite Mega Man game?  What’s your favorite Mega Man tune?  What’s your favorite Mega Man memory?  Let me know in the comments below!  And now, for your enjoyment, this!

wily

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!

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