The Anatomy of Mega Man 2 - IV - Bubble symphony

If we assume that most newcomers to Mega Man 2 will attempt to play through the eight stages in the order in which they’re displayed (not realizing you can pick and choose your sequence at will), that means the game kicks off with Bubble Man. We also have to assume Capcom’s dev team had observed player behavior from the […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man 2 – III – Rearmed

    Leaf Shield Not every Robot Master weapon in Mega Man 2 takes the form of a gun, but even the unconventional armaments are more useful than their equivalent from the first game. The Leaf Shield comes with significant downsides — like the fact that it causes Mega Man to become completely immobilized while it’s […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man 2 – II – Gunbound

Mega Man 2 maintains many of the first game’s mechanics and design choices, including what would go on to be the essence of practically every Mega Man series save Legends: Fighting robots, then claiming their weapons as your own. And, as before, every Robot Master proves to be extremely weak to one of their comrade’s powers, and […]

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 | 5 | Cut to the chase

About all Cut Man’s stage has in common with Guts Man’s stage is assonance. In terms of design – and particularly as a starting point for a newcomer to Mega Man – it proves to be far more effective. It doesn’t front-load unreasonably difficult platforming challenges, it offers a variety of hazards, and it offers […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 4 | That means you have huge guts

As I mentioned before, Guts Man’s stage is a terrible place to begin playing Mega Man if you’re a first-time player. It’s a great starting point for an experienced pro, because it’s a good jumping-in point on the rock-paper-scissors ring of enemy weaknesses. I also like it because of the tricky lifts in the opening […]