The Anatomy of The Goonies II | 6 | Farewell, Astoria

Like so many video games, The Goonies II presents some strong ideas and solid moments… and it ends pretty terribly. The game sort of peters out, losing its momentum in the final stretch. Quite possibly the strangest portion of the game comes in this final zone, a completely unique tile and palette set that comprises all […]

The Anatomy of The Goonies II | 4 | Rocky Road

“Sure, The Goonies II is an 8-bit game,” you say. “But I’m not convinced it really hates me.” Well, please allow me to show you the truth in all its grim fullness. Following the Keith Haring graffiti will lead you to another section of the orange caverns, which offer a one-way trip to the exterior […]

The Anatomy of The Goonies II | 2 | Pincers of peril

Before we delve any further into the design of The Goonies II, it’s important to take a step back and talk about one of the most curious fundamental concepts behind the game: The idea of front and back. When you pause the action, you’re taken to a Zelda-esque menu screen. Say, this is a pretty […]

The Anatomy of The Goonies II | 1 | Never say die

Hi, everyone. So, I lied. The next game up under the Anatomy lens isn’t Super Mario Bros. 2… because what I have in mind for that is going to take some more prep work. Instead, let’s finish up the second half of that Anatomy of Goonies series I started this spring, eh? I mean, I changed […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 12 | End game

Dr. Wily’s fourth and final stage doesn’t offer many threats, but the ones it does contain mean business. The opening screens feature those floating guys from early in Elec Man’s stage, who attack with the same pincher maneuvers of two sets of three hovering in from both above and below. Here, though, they attack while […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 11 | Sophomore slump

The second Wily stage eases up the pressure somewhat, but it’s only relatively gentle to what has come immediately before. It’s a shorter stage, with fewer minor hazards… but it also houses two major hazards that must be surmounted in sequence before you can reach a checkpoint.   Specifically, those hazards take the form of […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 10 | Wily ways

With the six Robot Masters down, regardless of the order in which you tackled them, the game’s final stage — or rather, set of stages — opens up to you: Dr. Wily’s castle. At this point, you have a choice of where to go next; you can dive right into Wily’s lair, or you can […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 9 | Bomb threat

While I’ve saved it for last, Bomb Man’s stage – the sixth and (in this listing) final of the stages in which you can kick off your odyssey in this very first Mega Man game – actually serves as an ideal stage in which to begin the game. It offers the fairest level designs, a diverse […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 8 | Heat wave

The traditional vision of Hell involves flames and burning. But Mega Man goes with the Dante version, in which the deepest pits of Hell appear as frozen wastes, an icy tomb for Satan himself. Compared to Ice Man’s brutal level, Fire Man’s seems comparatively pleasant. Despite being set in a blazing furnace crammed with open pits […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 7 | Slippery slope

While I will defend the honor of the Magnet Beam to the death, there is really no justification for Ice Man’s level. It is not a good or fun level. It combines one of the infamous worst things about platformers – low-friction iced surfaces – with the game’s two most irritating unique mechanics. By far, […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 6 | Current events

The chain of weapon effectiveness versus bosses can be a tricky thing in Mega Man games. Sometimes it makes perfect, logical sense; other times, not so much. For example, Mega Man 6. How do you determine what the Yamato Spear is good against? It’s basically a pointy stick that embodies ancient Japan, which isn’t really a weak point, […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 3 | Color my world

Why, hello! Let’s talk some more about Mega Man. And its weapons. Ice Slasher Easily the most misleading weapon name in the game, the Ice Slasher does not in fact slash. Unless you use it against Fire Man, who is weak to its icy stylings, the Ice Slasher inflicts no damage whatsoever on foes. Instead, […]