Welcome to Part II of the Big Game Losers Dot Net Mega Man 2 Review-Type Thing Complete With State-Of-The-Art High-Resolution Graphics! If you missed Part I, don’t fret: here you go. Here’s a brief refresher: in this part I’ll be reviewing the four Robot Masters I didn’t already review, assigning them points based on their designs, their stage designs, and their stage music. I’ll also cover the final dungeon at the end of the game, and though I won’t break down the individual music and bosses I’ll still hit all of that. At the end we’ll have the ranking of all the Robot Masters in MM2. Let’s jump right back in!
DWN-013 CRASH MAN
DESIGN: Crash Man, you look like you need to take a monster shit. I don’t think robots have to take shits, but you look like you were designed to take the most monster shit ever. Also, why are your hands drills when your weapon is a bomb? Also, your little pompadour-type headpiece there could be another drill but it’s not, and that sort of pisses me off for some reason. The weapon itself—the Crash Bomber—is a bit of redemption regardless of how it clashes with the rest of the design. A weapon that damages on impact and THEN explodes is pretty neat. But that weird drill-based design for a robot that doesn’t use drills means points off. 4/10
STAGE: Crash Man’s stage is a climbing stage, which I don’t think is a good fit for a Mega Man game. The running and gunning action works best when you can run, not when you’re glued to a ladder and can only fire in two directions. Mega Man games on the NES made the most of the technical limitations but the climbing stages erase a lot of that work. The one thing I do like (a lot) is that the background changes from a blue sky to straight-up space once you climb far enough. It makes sense for a bombing robot to be so high in the sky, plus the stage takes a lot of cues from the Bomb Man and Guts Man stages in the first Mega Man, which makes sense considering Wily designed Crash Man as a sort of amalgamation of those two robots. But still: I hate climbing stages. 3/10
MUSIC: Even if it always takes me fucking forever to finish Crash Man’s stage because one hit from any enemy knocks you off a ladder, I could never get sick of this music. Starts off simple, gets more complex, and stays catchy the whole way through. It’s very bouncy and fun, which I will have to admit doesn’t quite match the stage or the Robot Master tied to it. Crash Man is explosive and the stage is a grind. This, however, is music I would want to wake up and start my day to. In fact, I might actually make this song my alarm. As much as it hurts me, I have to dock it one single point for the mismatch. Sorry, Crash Man. 9/10
DWN-014 FLASH MAN
DESIGN: Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: did you know that Flash Man is bald? He is a bald robot. He hates commercials for wigs, because he is bald. That’s fucking incredible. He is a bald robot and he is self-conscious about his baldness. Even though that’s not immediately evident from his original MM2 art I have to mention it. Said art is thankfully simple. Aside from the monster chin, there’s not much to talk about here, which isn’t always a bad thing. Let’s just be thankful he doesn’t have a clock installed in his chest. It’s also legitimately impressive that his weapon can stop time for short bursts. It lacks a direct offensive capability which I like. His arm cannon handles that. A lot of good stuff and baldness here. 9/10
STAGE: Flash Man’s stage is a slippery mazelike thing with many branching paths and a bunch of doors that can only be broken down using Crash Man’s weapon. There are also some paths that can only be reached using some of the support units. So if you’re taking him on early on in the game, it’s linear. If you’re saving him for later, you can branch out and get some nice stuff. A lot of the stages do this but not to the level Flash Man does. It’s an interesting difference. I also don’t understand why the entire stage is slippery. There’s plenty of questions we can ask here, but at least there aren’t any ladders. 5/10
MUSIC: Maybe I’m just corny, but I’m sort of disappointed this song never references the time-stopping gimmick. I think it’d be cool if it just paused at a certain part and then continued one or two seconds later. That said, it’s a good match for both Flash Man and his stage. It’s not too upbeat and is a very good running and gunning song. It’s very solid as a track. It also has a good rhythm and melody to it—yet again, I ask myself if Kanye would sample it, and, yet again, I can imagine him throwing some 808s on this track and constructing some illegal rhymes on it. Maybe he would do the time-stop thing. 8/10
DWN-015 HEAT MAN
DESIGN: Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: I’m awarding Heat Man’s design a nine out of ten. Is it because I like fire? A little. But look at him. He’s a fucking Zippo with arms, legs, and a head instead of an igniter. That’s fucking great. But the majority of those points come from his weapon, the Atomic Fire. It was the first-ever weapon in any Mega Man game that could be charged up by holding down the fire button before firing. Considering how key-charged shots would show up later on in the Mega Man series, this was a big first step. The reason I had to dock him one point is because without the lighter he would look too much like Mega Man. 9/10
STAGE: Okay. Yeah. I like fire. But not this much. No one likes fire this much. Heat Man’s stage is plagued by the worst thing to happen to Mega Man games: the disappearing platforms. It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t occur over places where you would fall to your death, but that’s pretty much the entire second half of the level. Mess up one jump and you’re molten robot. Though it makes sense that Heat Man’s stage would have lava flowing throughout it, the platforms are awful and unnecessary, especially when the penalty for missing one jump is certain death. 2/10
MUSIC: This is a really short theme and it’ll have to lose a few points for that. Of course they all loop but this is less than half a minute long while every other song we’ve encountered so far has been around forty-five seconds long. The half-a-minute itself is alright. It’s definitely a song that would play in a level with high temperatures and the melodies are good. But, as already stated, there’s not much to it. Yes, it’s a good match for Heat Man, but if you finish half of a test you can only do so well regardless of how well you did on the half you finished. 5/10
DWN-016 WOOD MAN
DESIGN: Wood Man always reminded me of a sumo wrestler. In his actual art, he looks a little less bulky than in his sprite art, though. I do have to hand it to Dr. Wily for straight-up making a robot out of wood, though, and even having the foresight to coat it with a thin sheet of metal to prevent it breaking down over time. I also like the one single branch coming off of his head. It’s like a cowlick. He also really likes nature and animals. And his weapon is a Leaf Shield. It can be used to protect as long as one stays still and then it can be used as a weapon. All in all this is a well-designed and unique robot, regardless of whether or not it’s horrifically weak to fire. 8/10
STAGE: Jungle Japes! Okay, not really. But you do travel through the floor of a forest, underground, and across the canopy. And there’s only a little bit of climbing! All of the enemies in the stage are animal-based, which contributes to the naturalistic theme of Wood Man. In truth, it’s weird for what’s ostensibly a regular forest (though with Dr. Wily you never know for sure) to be populated entirely with robotic animals, but I don’t doubt Albert Wily one bit. The only place you can fall to your death is the canopy, which makes sense. A lot makes sense here. I like it. 8/10
MUSIC: This is another shorter track, but I personally find it a lot better than Heat Man’s. Plus it’s about a dozen seconds longer, so it’s a lot closer to the average. I know I harp on about how the music should match the stage and the Robot Master but I’m glad Wood Man’s music didn’t (or couldn’t) use drums that are so tiredly jungle and forest-esque. This is more exploration-like, which is a much better choice considering you travel up and down through three areas of the forest. Call me inconsistent, but here I favor the quality over quantity. 9/10
So that’s all the robot masters ranked. The standings are as follows:
- Wood Man, 25/30
- Quick Man, 23/30
- Flash Man, 22/30 (awarded tiebreaker because of baldness)
- Metal Man, 22/30
- Air Man, 21/30
- Bubble Man, 18/30
- Heat Man, 16/30 (awarded tiebreaker because of lighter)
- Crash Man, 16/30
Wow. As error-prone as this process was bound to be, I would never have expected Wood Man to win and Heat Man to finish tied for last. It just goes to show you that a good design doesn’t do all your work for you. Have fun yelling about this! Anyway, I still have Wily’s Castle to tackle.
The song from the first two stages might be the most famous and popular Mega Man song ever. Similar to the title screen theme, it’s fast, upbeat, and it shoots a sense of urgency right into your spine. Or something. Like I said, I don’t know music, I just say words. The bosses for these two stages are a dragon and some weird blocks. Wily is phoning it in by this point.
Considering the third stage of his castle is just a redux of Bubble Man’s stage for the most part and the third stage boss is a huge-ass Guts Man, yeah, Wily was phoning it in. The music by this point has slowed down from its earlier intensity and is now focused on raising the tension by only using a few different sounds and having those sounds stretch out for longer periods of time than other sounds (hey, at least I’m trying). And then, the fucking. The fucking
Okay, first off, this thing is called the BOOBEAM TRAP. Second, it is the worst thing I have ever experienced in any video game I have ever played and I have played Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Bioshock Infinite. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but I have to emphasize that regardless of how good the rest of Mega Man 2 is, this boss is a staggering example of poor game design. They are only vulnerable to one weapon (Crash Bomber), and said weapon holds seven shots at max level. There are five of these bosses, and two of them are obscured completely by walls that, yet again, can only be destroyed with the Crash Bomber.
In other words, fuck the fucking Boobeam Trap. Jesus Christ.
From here on out, it’s the basic Robot Master rush again followed by the Wily battle, and then he turns into an alien for some reason? Of course, it’s just a projection that can only be damaged by the Bubble Lead (do not know how I feel about the final boss being vulnerable to only one weapon) and Wily begs for his life at the end, and then some cool credits roll. Did anyone actually think Wily was actually an actual alien? I wonder.
Anyway, that wraps this way-too-long and probably-wrong review up! I hope you had as much fun as I did. I’m still shocked Wood Man “won” and I’ve still got about a dozen songs stuck in my head but I’m not complaining. See you next week, everybody!