With the recent release of the Mega Man Legacy Collection on Switch, I have been revisiting some of the old Mega Man classics! One of my personal favourites is Mega Man II! Some people believe that Mega Man II the best classic Mega Man ever made – I am one of these people, but nevertheless don’t think that it is perfect!
In terms of story, the game takes place in 200X. Dr. Willy wants revenge for his defeat at Mega Man’s hands and creates eight robots to get it! The story is not deep and is basically the archetype for the rest of the games in the series. It does a fine job at setting the tone for the rest of the games in the series.
In terms of gameplay, this is a pure action platform game – and really set the standard for the genre. Mega Man runs and guns enemies down with his blaster and jumps over pits and though a large variety of puzzles throughout the game. The controls are tight and responsive and the gameplay is fun and engaging.
One of the main attractions of the Mega Man games is the customary 8 level / 8 boss structure. There are eight levels for Mega Man to explore and at the end of each is a boss. If Mega Man defeats the boss, he gains his power to use for the rest of the game! The trick is to learn which boss is weak to which power – as the bosses themselves can be quite challenging without using the weapon they are week too! After defeating the eight bosses, Mega Man journey’s to Dr. Willy’s castle to go through another 6 stages and finally dispatch him for good!
The bosses themselves are quite unique (especially for an NES game) with classics like Metal Man, Wood Man, and Bubble Man! Some jump all over the screen, while some chuck bombs at you, while others still have moving platforms that complicate the fight. While some bosses are definitely harder than others (I especially have trouble with Quick Man) none feel insurmountable – and if they do – you just use the weapon they are week too!
The powers you get are also awesome and really open up some of the gameplay limitations Mega Man has with his lowly blaster. For instance, Metal Man gives him power to chuck blades in a full 8 directions, making it versatile and effective in most levels! Crash Man’s bombs allow Mega Man to blow holes in specific walls for extra lives and energies, and Flash Man freezes everything on screen! As Mega Man progresses through the game, he gains access to less interesting powers called 1, 2, and 3 which each provide him a power to mobilize through space easier. Later incarnations incorporate these powers into Rush the dog – which is more interesting – but at this point they were just numbers!
In terms of graphics, the game looks great for a NES game but definitely has some slowdown – as most games of the time did. It might be my nostalgia but I still find the 8-bit graphics appealing an easy to look at! And not for my big criticism – Mega Man looks like a little child in the post-boss scenes! He looks fine during the game, the bosses look great, but he looks so strange in the scenes when he gets his powers (see above)! Joking aside, the stages are also very unique and employ many different themes such as underwater areas, forests, and caves! The music is on an entirely different level – I have been listening to soundtracks of this game for years. Few games can match the rocking and timeless tunes of this game. The intro music is among the best every created. The sounds effects are excellent as well for an NES game.
In summary, Mega Man II is arguably the best classic Mega Man game ever released! It’s tight gameplay, awesome music, and innovation over the first entry make it a must have for any NES owner! If it wasn’t for his childlike post-battle look and the lack of Rush, this game would have been perfect! Overall, I give this game a Final Score of 9/10!
Final Score: 9/10