All things Mega Man

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All things Mega Man

Post by JaySevenZero » December 24th, 2016, 10:50 am

Here is where you can leave your thoughts regarding Mega Man and/or Mega Man 2 for possible inclusion in the podcast when it's recorded.

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Re: Mega Man / Mega Man 2

Post by Craig » July 15th, 2017, 12:08 pm

I have fond, blurred memories of the original Mega Man. It was a game I'd play at a friends house and I all I can remember is that we chose the Mega Man power we wanted because of colour rather than any ability granted by the different suits. Given the difficulty of the game, and this fashion based haphazard way of stumbling through, I'm astonished we managed to even defeat a single boss.

I dived into these games proper in my late 20s, starting with Mega Man 2 given it's reputation as one of the best. It's a wonderful piece of design with bright and memorable characters, flexible game play and a fair difficulty. Because of the initial non-linear select, you can try your hand at any of the levels and at first it's somewhat overwhelming.

But then you start to make headway in a single level, and before you know it, you get to the boss. And then, after a few times falling to the boss and making your way through the level again, you manage to down the boss and have a shiny new toy to play with. Once you have the weapon, it becomes a key. Much like in Zelda or Metroid, your brain starts making connections about how seemingly impossible sections before now become manageable due to your new abilities. Enemies bothering you when you need to stand still on a moving platform? The leaf power up makes it a piece of cake. Need to pass by instant death snakes but they move way too fast? Now you can stop time!

But the difference between Mega Man and Zelda is that in Mega Man these things aren't actually impossible, just exceedingly difficult. You can brute force most of the game with just your basic shooter meaning that the different abilities also act as a way to select your own difficulty, but one that makes you feel good for choosing the easy option. You've earned the ability to walk through this level at ease, and you're a smart player realising you can use it here. You make the player feel powerful by his or her actions and decisions reducing the overall difficulty.

The game falters when it strays from this philosophy and forces players down a single path. The boss in Wiley's castle that requires you to use the crash bomb, and a specific number at that, is a slap in the face to players who, up until that point, have been encouraged to deal with obstacles in their own way. It's entirely possible to arrive at the boss having unknowingly previously used up your ammo on enemies and enter the fight in a no-win state. The only thing you can do at this point is wait and get killed. Similarly, the last boss requiring the use of the awkward bubble beam is a disappointing end. It's entirely possible to run out of ammo, and then on your next life either have to tediously farm for more or arduously kill yourself a few more times to hit the continue screen. The best part of the game is getting a new power and figuring out which weapons to use in which situation and these battles not only undercut this joy, but also require an omniscient foresight to preserve the right kind of ammo. Thankfully, they appear late in the game. Had these appeared earlier, it would have set off my JRPG potion hording tendencies and I would have stopped myself using weapons just in case I needed them later on.

Other than that, the balance of the weapons is also off. The metal blade fires fast, in all directions, with good damage and little cost. Once you get it, it's usually the optimum weapon. If you have a playful spirit, you'll see yourself changing up the weapons often, but it's easy to get stuck in the trap of "Well, this is just the best." Like when you find a solution that works for everything in Scribblenauts.

I loved Mega Man 2, and after that I played through all the others on the NES and beat all but the first. The first Mega Man game is a lot harder, though the difficulty bump feels more through lack of polish than keen design skills. The levels don't feel quite as fair with many death pits, and the controls not quite as tight so those falls are all the more likely. I got all the way to the Yellow Devil and called it quits. It was a challenge that even if I memorised the pattern that the blocks would appear in, I still could not reliably avoid them. The moment in which you can inflict damage is so slight that you have to perform this trick so many times that I just couldn't be bothered with it any more. And you know what? At 30 years old, I'm okay with that.

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Re: Mega Man / Mega Man 2

Post by duskvstweak » August 23rd, 2017, 11:43 pm

Somehow, during my NES years, I missed the Mega Man series. When I was about sixteen, I used a few paychecks to find an NES on ebay, along with a whole bunch of games. Mega Man 2 was one of those.

The game was fun from the start. The action, with the old school platforming and shooting was easy to get into, despite the difficulty. The bosses were memorable and the powers granted to you for defeating them took the game to another level. Shooting Metal Man's sawblades at enemies is a joy that's not easily matched.

Before this, I was really only familiar with the game through OverClocked Remix and the music on that site. I was happy to find the music in-game to be just as enjoyable and some of the best in video games period. I'm constantly humming the tunes. In fact, when I attended a performance of Video Games Live, their Mega Man arrangement was one of the best. The music is charming, exciting, silly and adrenaline pumping. It's one of those soundtracks that I find unbelievably impressive considering the technology at the time. I'd also recommend any fan who hasn't to seek out the Megas, a band that plays Mega Man music almost exclusively. Their acoustic take on Quick Man's theme, "The Quick and the Blue" is one of my favorites and my wife even picks it out on road trips.

All and all, Mega Man 2 is a game that deserves it's classic status. I often look for it on Twitch and wouldn't mind replaying again soon. I've never explored much of the rest of the series. The first game seemed too simple compared to 2 and lacked the charm. And the sequels were a bit too repetitive, even with a robot dog! Despite that, 2 has never let me go.

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Re: Mega Man / Mega Man 2

Post by Technikal » September 2nd, 2017, 8:14 am

My memories of Mega Man go way back to some of my very first gaming memories. I got my first games console in 1993 for my seventh birthday, and I was lucky enough for it to be a NES. I became an avid reader of the British games magazine Total!, where the Mega Man games were often mentioned. I never paid too much attention to the name initially, as my youthful, simple mind had confused it somewhat with 'Mega Lo Mania', and for some reason I thought they were the same game.

As most kids of the day used to do, I would swap games with my friends to try and play as many Nintendo games as I could with my limited parent sourced budget. One day I ended up borrowing the first Mega Man off of a friend, simply because I had already borrowed everything else of his that I was interested in playing. The box art certainly didn't help matters, and reconfirmed my earlier suspicions that it wouldn't be something I would be interested in. I can only imagine how many sales that artwork must have lost Capcom, and it absolutely stuns me in retrospect that it was ever approved!

I got home and stuck the game into my NES. I was instantly hooked. Even as a young, juvenile gamer, I could tell that there was something special about Mega Man. His look instantly appealed to me. To me he had the same kind of attitude that Sonic had, but with more charm. I loved how he handled, how responsive his arm cannon was, and how tight his jumping felt, which was a good job as I remember being absolutely infuriated by the 'disappearing blocks' platform sections. I remember I used to use the Game Genie cheat device a lot as a kid, so probably ploughed through it with infinite lives and energy; but I still remember finishing it so would have conquered all of those tricky platform sections. I would struggle to do that now.

The freedom of being able to select whichever stage I wanted to play, felt hugely liberating back then. I remember it feeling like a level select cheat being hard programmed into the game (yes, as a 90's gamer I used to love my cheats). The mechanic of stealing a bosses ability seems fresh even now, and makes more logical sense to me as a gamer than the endless skill trees and EXP ability upgrades in nearly every AAA modern game today.

Of course you can't talk about Mega Man without mentioning the music. Even the first game was stacked with awesome tunes. Not that I really paid attention to who developed which games as a child, but it makes sense to me now that so many of my favourite and most catchy 8 bit tunes were in Capcom developed games.

Luckily my friend also owned Mega Man 2, so I borrowed that shortly afterwards, and was pleased to find it was everything I loved about the first game but just improved in every way. It didn't rewrite the rulebook; it didn't need to. It just refined everything great about the debut game, and trimmed the fat where necessary. Mega Man 2 almost makes the first game irrelevant to an extent, and I would always advise anybody who hasn't played a Mega Man before to start with the second one.

I stopped paying attention to the Mega Man games around the late 90s as his later games didn't really appeal to me, and I completely missed the X series. Despite this I still regard Mega Man as one of the all time greats, and I still reap huge amounts of enjoyment from firing up his early games today. It's rare for an 8 bit game to hold up so well, and I consider it among the original Super Mario Bros games for having stood the test of time.

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Re: Mega Man / Mega Man 2

Post by NeoGazza » September 7th, 2017, 3:07 pm

Mega Man 2 was the best game on the NES. Loved it to bits. On days with bad weather I would boot it up and run through it timing my runs. If I died, I'd restart from scratch. I possibly could have competed with the best speedrunners out there. Oh and those Wiley Stages were the BEST!

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (11.11.17): Mega Man and Mega Man 2

Post by ColinAlonso » November 9th, 2017, 8:00 pm

As I grew up in the 90's with a Mega Drive, Mega Man was never really on my radar. Therefore, the first time I played a Mega Man game was earlier this year when I played the first two games on the Legacy Collection.

I started the first game with no guide and tried each of the levels to see if I could make any headway. After a fair number of deaths I focused on Fire Man's stage. Every couple of days I would come back and make a few attempts at it. I learned when enemies would start to fire bullets and how to avoid small enemies whizzing on the ground that were too low for Mega Man's gun to hit. I persevered and after defeating Fire Man was rewarded with his gun and a nice sense of achievement, even if it was only one level.

The increased capabilities of this new weapon opened the other levels up and they were no longer as difficult and became more fun. The other robot masters were easier due to my ever increasing arsenal and I was running and jumping through the levels confident that I could face what came next. But even then I had some issues. The knockback when Mega Man takes damage is quite large and would often lead to infuriating deaths where being hit by enemy bullets would knock Mega Man off a floating platform or ladder into the inevitable bottomless pit or instant death spikes. Some bosses, like Ice Man, seemed completely unbeatable without the correct weapon for his weakness. The traditional Capcom boss rush rears its ugly head at the end of the game. But worse than any of these is the Yellow Devil, where even if you know his pattern it is still very difficult to get it right. It annoyed me so much that for the only time in the game I used a save state mid-level, right before his boss room, as I was tired of constantly replaying that level to challenge him. I eventually bested him and Dr Wily and moved on to the second game.

Mega Man 2 was a more straightforward affair. I started with Metal Man's level followed by Wood Man. As it turned out this may be the easiest way to start as the Metal Blade and Leaf Shield were my main weapons through the game. Capcom clearly learned lessons from the original and a number of improvements were noticeable: for example,there are fewer bottomless pits or spikes, Mega Man seems a bit more responsive, enemies drop health and energy far more regularly, the boss rush can be completed over an continue rather than in one life and the bosses even drop health when defeated. Therefore while the game is still a challenge it rarely feels unfair, aside from Quick Man's laser filled stage, and the varied level and boss design, high quality platforming and shooting are allowed to shine.

I could not really recommend the first game to others. There are many flaws holding it back from being a great platformer. Having said that, I am glad I played it as it made the improvements that went into the second game all the more apparent . I'd recommend the second game to anyone with an interest in 2D platformers really, some games may have surpassed it since but it is still very enjoyable to play.

Three Word Reviews (as I'm not on Twitter)
Mega Man: Electricity beats Ice!?
Mega Man 2: Mega Platforming Action

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Re: Our next podcast recording (11.11.17): Mega Man and Mega Man 2

Post by cardbo3000 » November 10th, 2017, 9:10 pm

Mega Man 2 is one of the earliest and fondest memories I have of playing video games. I remember being six or seven years old and being enthralled by it. It was everything I could have hoped for: cool robots, rad music, and lots of bright colors. Naturally, I never really got anywhere since the games were pretty difficult but I loved them nonetheless.

I feel that the NES Mega Man games hold up really well and demonstrated how well constructed games could be back then. The controls were simple and responsive while the games' feedback was generally very clear. It's so much fun just to jump around and shoot things! The first game is certainly a little rough around the edges. I remember many deaths from glitching through platforms or sudden stutters as I was landing a tricky jump; and the points system was entirely erroneous. However, Mega Man 2 cleaned up many of the issues of the first game and was very satisfying, rarely feeling as unfair as the first game could at times. Solving the puzzle of which weapons to use and when was exciting albeit unbalanced (there was almost never a reason to NOT use the Metal Blades). The game provided interesting challenges that could be daunting but were extremely rewarding to overcome. I can clearly recall the triumphant moment that I first defeated Quick Man after countless game overs to instant-death lasers; or finally managing to get past the disappearing blocks in Heat Man's stage without using Item-2. I could certainly see how some might see this as a flaw in the game. There are parts of stages that are nearly impossible until you've died enough times to learn exactly where the enemies are and how to time your jumps.

On another note, the music of Mega Man has always been a highlight for me. I'll never forget that first tune you hear in Dr. Wily's castle in Mega Man 2 or the main title screen music. After learning that his name in Japan is actually Rock Man, it began to make sense that all of the songs sounded like guitar riffs backed by drums and bass. The Mega Man 2 and 3 soundtracks have some of the best chip-tune songs out there.

I still love revisiting Mega Man games to this day and highly recommend that anyone who hasn't played any of them to at least pick up the first Legacy Collection. It is a bargain for how much content you get to play through as well as having nice tidbits of art and trivia for more die-hard fans of the series. Admittedly, some of the games after Mega Man 3 wane in quality a bit but are still worth experiencing in my opinion. Mega Man 2 is an essential game to play for anyone who enjoys 2-D action games or wants to trace back the lineage of modern games like Cuphead.

Also, I want to say thanks to all of the people who help make this podcast happen. I discovered Cane & Rinse a few months ago and it quickly became one of my favorites. When I discovered Mega Man was coming up it seemed like as good a time as any to sign up for the forums. Keep up the good work guys!

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Re: All things Mega Man

Post by KSubzero1000 » October 4th, 2018, 10:19 am

Only a few days after release and all the bosses have been mastered already. Insane.

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