All you have to do is simply utter the words “Mega Man 2,” and you can send me back to a time when I didn’t give a shit about politics, money, or even washing the dishes. My cousin showed me this game when I went to his house one fateful September afternoon when I was eight, and I was immediately hooked. It blew my mind with its awesome music, crisp visuals and stellar gameplay.
For the record, I did play every game in the series, enjoyed each one for their own faults and accomplishments, and readily acknowledge that the third one did almost everything better than two. Having said all that, this is still my favorite of the Mega Man series. It’s the first one I picked up and played, and it’s still the first one I go to when I need a serious Mega Man fix.
Originally, Capcom had no intention of making a sequel to the first Mega Man game, because the sales were so poor. However, they allowed the original development team to make a sequel, so long as they worked on other projects concurrently. The end result was a game that became so successful, it not only launched a new series, but is still widely considered to be the best in the series.
The story for Mega Man 2 is pretty much the same as almost every other Mega Man game in existence: Dr. Wily has created eight master robots, and he plans to use them to take over the world (it’s not Shakespeare, and thankfully, it isn’t trying to be). As the heroic robot, Mega Man, your task is to destroy the robot masters, assimilate their weaponry, and traverse Wily’s multi-staged castle, so you can stop his nefarious schemes. Given the amount of times Dr. Wily has tried to take over the world, and the fact that he usually works alone, it makes me wonder how in the hell he could assemble a robot army so quickly, all while rebuilding his base of operations. Also, where the fuck does he get the money and supplies from without raising suspicion?
Or maybe I’m just over-analyzing a game that was made in the 80s, when story took a back seat to gameplay. Better stop myself before I write a shitty book about it (I would’ve called it, Mega Man 2: Jump by Jump).
If there’s one thing that makes or breaks a Mega Man game, it’s the responsiveness of the controls. Even for an early title in the series, Mega Man 2 has very responsive controls. There’s no delay when you push a button to jump, shoot, or move around. If you’re like me, you don’t just make Mega Man run around – you make him jump and shoot in the air constantly. And we all do it for the same reason: that iconic Mega Man pose!
This game marks the first in the series which has you fighting eight robot masters, as opposed to six in the first one. Every Robot Master in this game is bad ass, and each has their own unique fighting style. Metal Man will throw his blades at you while you’re trying to keep your balance on a conveyor belt; Air Man will shoot mini tornadoes, which can be tricky to dodge; and Quick Man moves incredibly fast, just to name a few.
After killing a robot master, you gain their weapon (and sometimes an item), which can be used to exploit the weaknesses of other robot masters. Some of these weapons are overpowered as hell, because they can be used on multiple robot masters, and the weapon energy is staggeringly high. The Metal Blade, for example, is great to use against Flash Man, Wood Man and Bubble Man, but it can also one-hit kill Metal Man – the robot master you get the weapon from. I always found that to be weird.
Another thing I find weird is that when you kill one of the many massive bosses in Wily’s castle, it creates a seizure-inducing explosion. Somehow I feel that this was deliberately intentional, as if Capcom was secretly in league with pharmaceutical companies in a failed conspiracy to turn gamers into photosensitive epileptics in order to sell more seizure drugs. But that’s ridiculous! I mean, a gaming company would never give in to their greed and sell out their fans, right?
Pick any game in the Mega Man franchise, and it will have awesome music in it, guaranteed. Mega Man 2 is no exception to this rule – in fact, it has a lot of awesome music in it. Wily Stage 1-2 is undeniably epic (and the most covered Mega Man song by YouTube musicians), and Heat Man’s stage theme is just as red hot and dangerous as the stage itself. My favorite is a tie between the heavy beats of Wood Man’s stage theme, and the low octave, guitar-solo climaxing Bubble Man stage theme.
There are some sections in the game that still make me tense up when I get to them. Right before you fight the Mecha Dragon, the screen starts scrolling automatically, and you have to keep jumping on blocks to get to the end. The transition from normal to auto scrolling throws me off because it’s a little jarring when it occurs, and I have to be extra careful when jumping from block to block. I’ve actually failed at this part many times; either by waiting too long to jump, and getting killed by the Mecha Dragon; or by misjudging my next jump, and falling to my death.
Overall, Mega Man 2 does have a few faults, which I can easily overlook because the game is still fun to play after all these years. If you somehow haven’t played this great game, get off your ass and do so, now! Emulate it, get an original copy (for a decent price, obviously), or pick it up on Nintendo’s Virtual Console. You can also get it as part of the Mega Man Legacy Collection for current consoles.
But whatever you do, for the love of Derik, don’t play it on mobile – the sound quality sucks ass.