Back again with a new brand of reviews, this time for video games. No, this doesn’t mean the anime reviews are gone but I just felt like doing something for my other nerdish passion. Now, the games I do are obviously going to be restricted to games I’ve played. So, that encompasses games from NES, Genesis, Playsation 1-3, Dreamcast, Gamecube, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, and PSP. I play a lot of games and for the most part I’m a bit of an RPG snob, so bear with my overflowing amount of nerdisms when I review one.

So, for the first review here I wanted to go back to the classics, of course this may come off as more of a nostalgia trip so…take that for what you will. I want to go back to the days of Mega Man. I wasn’t alive for Mega Man 1 and by the time I got Mega Man 2…Mega Man 1 was an irrelevant after thought. I would later play the first Mega Man on the Gamecube’s Mega Man Anniversary collection that encompassed Mega Man 1-8. Which brings me to my next point, I’m going to try to review the Mega Man games that I played as a kid. Then I’ll move on to the X-Series that, as a child, I was never able to play because I never found that elusive SNES under the Christmas tree. However, I did eventually get to play them on Gamecube’s Mega Man X Collections which, like the Anniversary Collection, encompassed Mega Man X1-X6.

For those of you who do not know, Mega Man is an platform/action game where you control our hero Mega Man. He is a robot that was created by a scientist called Dr. Light to be able to determine right from wrong actions, in the original game he had also created six robots for everyday tasks that he would unveil to the public that would revolutionize how work was done. However, his colleague, Dr. Wily, sabotaged and took control of these robots with the aim of world domination. At the time Mega Man knew the actions of Wily were wrong and volunteered to be upgraded to a fighting type robot to aid Dr. Light in stopping Wily. Dr. Light upgrades Mega Man with enhanced blue armor and a Buster Cannon on his left arm. Thus, we have the birth of Mega Man. Naturally, in the first game Mega Man is successful in stopping Wily, but in Mega Man 2 Wily has returned with a new batch of Robot Masters to attempt to not only take over the world but exact his revenge on Dr. Light and Mega Man.

Before we get started, however, I’d like to go over the name “Mega Man”. As a lot of Mega Man fans know, his name in Japan is a little different. In Japan his name is Rockman and was supposed to be a music based reference with his sister Roll. Rock and Roll, right? As time went on they even had other main characters named after music based references such as Bass(Forte), Beat, and Treble to name a few. However, according to the former Vice President of Capcom, Joseph Morici, he just didn’t like the name and the name would sound unnatural to English speakers picking up the game. It’s rumored at one point his name was suggested to be changed to “Rainbow Man” because of his ability to change color when acquiring new weaponry. Because Rainbow Man would translate way better than Rockman, right? Regardless, Mega Man was the newly selected name for the Blue Bomber and would last through all of the numerous sequels and spin off games in North America.

Now, like I said, the first Mega Man game I played was Mega Man 2 so let us start our trip through the world of the Blue Bomber there, shall we? This game now holds an almost legendary status just among video games in general and has been heralded as the BEST Mega Man game of the entire series. First, I want to give you a little bit of how I saw Mega Man 2 as a child then we’ll talk about the actual game schematics.

Back in the day, this game was REALLY hard. Now, you have to remember I’m talking about this as a kid in the early nineties, we didn’t have internet, or at least I didn’t, to look up what order to beat the bosses in or have a password to let us skip by the tricky bosses like Quick Man if we didn’t have Flash Man’s Time Stopper. Unless you had Nintendo Power it was all trial and error and when you think of those Heat Man stage disappearing blocks…any kid from the nineties will recall the utter frustration of that fucking lava pit. At the time the game seemed like it was set at a difficulty level you just couldn’t comprehend, that is until it sets in that maybe there is a pattern you should be following and that the order of beating the bosses makes a difference. I know that sounds stupid now, but that first time through Mega Man 2…how was I supposed to know? Sure, making the connection between Bubble Man and Heat Man is easy, but Air Man being weak to Leaf Shield? Who would have made that connection on their own without being so frustrated with his whirlwinds that you’re just trying every damn weapon? That was another part of Mega Man’s charm, you kinda had to have a strategy about how you’d go about tackling the Robot Masters, and you couldn’t just rush into any old stage unless you were the ELITE among Mega Man players. You had to look at all the bosses on the screen and try to figure out which would be weak to which. If you tried to tango with Crash Man before you got Air Man’s weapon? Good fucking luck, in all probability he’d destroy you and make you wish you’d have picked Metal Man as your first boss and worked your way to Air Man before even thinking about going to toe to toe with him. Was it a struggle? You’re damn right it was. But there was this intense satisfaction in creaming Crash Man or Quick Man when you finally realized you had the right weapon to blast him into next year.

Alright, now let’s get into the game itself. You have to realize for a game that was released in 1988…these 8-bit graphics were really good. Each stage had its own personal feel that just sucked you right into that specific world and let you know right off the bat what that Robot Master’s specialty was. Take for example, my favorite, Metal Man. You are thrown into what looks like a factory and you are surrounded with rusted colored motors moving in the background. Conveyor belts move you back and forth just as you’d imagine in some grimy factory somewhere in a backwater country. ALL of your foes are metal based except for these creepy looking clown things that ride a top of rolling metal wheels. As you make your way through the stage metal drills begin to erupt from the ceiling and the floor. You know what to expect from Metal Man before you even get to him and he doesn’t disappoint. He jumps when you jump and when you attack he attacks with three razor sharp metal buzzsaws that make the appropriate sounds for a buzzsaw. Every stage, save for maybe Crash Man his stage is just weird…play it and you’ll understand, is like that. There is so much detail put into these little worlds that you can’t help but fall in love and have favoritism among the Robot Masters.

The other thing that will ALWAYS set Mega Man games, in my opinion, in a league of their own…is their memorable soundtracks. Every stage had a memorable tune to it and it had one that days later you found yourself humming. Mega Man 2 was one of those games where you could just turn it on and the Title Screen music was so catchy and epic that you could easily lose yourself in just that before you even press Start. EVERY Mega Man game is like this, Mega Man 2 is not the exception.

The gameplay is excellent, it wasn’t like the older games where you could “slide” or do charge up attacks. You had two buttons; Jump and Fire. If you beat a Robot Master you could change your weapon, if you got an E Tank you could refill your life. That’s it. But, really, that’s all you needed. Are there gaps that seem impossible? You bet your ass there are. Like I mentioned, there is a specific spot in Heat Man’s stage where the blocks appear and re-appear at regular intervals. You mis-time a jump or forget the combination? You’re dead because beneath you is a river of lava that will kill you. In Bubble Man’s stage when you’re underwater your jumps go much higher, BUT, the ceiling is lined with spiked orbs that kill you in one hit. It gets rough, but not impossible.

The story is dicey at best from what you can pick up at the title screen. When I was a kid I had no clue what any of these robots had done wrong or why Mega Man had to pick them off one by one, I just knew it was fun. But, you kinda also have to remember the time period. This was back when platform games weren’t really supposed to have a story, they just needed to be fun and marketable to kids. As the games went on you do get more of a look into Mega Man and why he does what he does, but in Mega Man 2…you really don’t get much in the story department at all.

So, that’s what I have to say on Mega Man 2. I realize it wasn’t really a review and it did turn into sort of a nostalgia trip where I gave the “Big Rub” to Mega Man 2. But, it really was a big part of my childhood because even my Dad played it at the time. Can you imagine one of your parents playing a video game? I know, crazy right? It was THAT epic back in those days. So, take this for what you will. For my next trick I’ll be taking a look at Mega Man 3. I’ll try to get that into more of a review based theme, unless you guys liked it more like this format where I just sorta reminisce about why I love Mega Man games.

If that picture doesn’t scream awesome and how old I am, I just don’t know what will.