Review - Mega Man 2 (NES)

Uploaded by Loogaroo1 on 01.08.2009

As you saw from my previous review, I have a lot of respect for the Mega Man series.
While the first game needed refining and lacked the features that would have tempered its
high difficulty level, it was still a very solid platform shooter that showed a lot of
promise. Mega Man 2, however, is where the series really hits its stride, as major improvements
are made on just about every aspect of the game. As a result, Mega Man 2 isn't just the
best game in the series - it's the best overall game on the NES, period.
Just like before, the object of the game is to defeat a series of robot masters - eight
in this installment - before mounting an assault on Dr. Wily. While the premise isn't very
original, that's really the only weakness this game has. Everywhere else, the game is
substantially better than its predecessor. Take, for example, the level design. You won't
find any rooms getting repeated this time around - in fact, some levels even split up
into different paths, and they all give you plenty of opportunities to use the weapons
you've accumulated along the way. The play control, which was fairly solid in the first
game but had a couple of issues with hit detection, is also a lot better in the sequel. Although
Mega Man still skids just a little bit before coming to a complete stop, his jumping controls
handle perfectly.
Despite being released only two years after the original Mega Man, the graphics and music
to Mega Man 2 are a quantum leap from what they were able to manage in the first installment.
Each of the eight opening levels look fantastic, with Air Man's cloudy setting, the dense jungles
of Wood Man's domain, and Flash Man's glimmering ice cave boasting some beautiful scenery.
The enemies also have a lot of character, as they're given just as much graphical detail
as our hero has gotten all along. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is nothing short of legendary.
I'm sure we're all familiar with the theme to Skull Castle, but the tracks that accompany
the other stages are also very well-composed, with Bubble Man and Crash Man's stages featuring
music that push the envelope of what the NES sound board was capable of. The only thing
keeping the presentation from getting a perfect score is the occasional flicker that happens
when too many sprites are aligned with each other.
But the biggest improvement comes in the game's level of difficulty. In a stark contrast to
the first game, Mega Man 2 is probably the easiest of the NES titles. The introduction
of energy tanks gives you more leeway when fighting it out against a particularly tough
boss, and the new password system makes it so that you don't have to beat the whole game
in one sitting - even though it shouldn't take you much longer than an hour to do so.
But just in case you really want a challenge, the game has a Difficult mode where the monsters
take more hits and you take more damage. It's a much tougher game, but not overwhelming,
and good players will be able to get through it without much of a problem. Then again,
I personally like being able to cruise through a Mega Man game without losing a life unless
it's on purpose.
Capcom has one of the most revered franchises of all time with Mega Man, but it wasn't until
Mega Man 2 that all of the potential for the Blue Bomber was unlocked. From top to bottom,
it gets everything right: just the right length, just the right difficulty, with phenomenal
music and graphics and a great ending to cap it all off. I've probably played Mega Man
2 at least a hundred times, and it still never gets old. At 72 points, it's the highest-rated
NES game in my collection, and it's definitely required reading for anyone who owns the console.