Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mega Man 2 (Virtual Console) review

About the Virtual Console reviews: I'm not rating these games necessarily by today's standards, otherwise my graphics and lasting value categories would usually score very low. But I'm also not reviewing these games by their original system's standards. Think of it as a combination of the two and overall just if it's worth a download or not.

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Date Released: NES: December 31, 1988 (USA); VC: September 15, 2008 (USA)
Players: 1
Genre: Action/Platform
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

The original Mega Man may have set the basis of gameplay for the games to come, but Mega Man 2 perfected it and improved nearly every aspect of the game. But how does the game stand up today? And is it really worth a download and those precious blocks of your Wii's memory?

If you've ever played the original, you'll notice quite a bit of similarity in the two games. Mega Man looks exactly the same, moves, jumps, and shoots exactly the same, and controls perfectly once again. But there are some changes, all of them for the better. The first you'll notice right after booting up the game, is that there are eight Robot Masters for you to defeat this time (a whole two more than last time). The second is the soundtrack of the game is a step above Mega Man's and is astonishing, but I'll get to that later...

The same rock-paper-scissors gameplay and nonlinear stage order returns once again, and will continue on through the Mega Man series. But this time around both the bosses and weapons are more memorable. My favorite weapon, and hands down the most powerful weapon in the game, are Metal Man's Metal Blades, which you can fire off in any direction. The levels also are pretty unforgettable, as there's some top-notch level design put into these. The gameplay of Mega Man 2 is so polished, so incredible you have to play. Even if the sheer difficulty of it may turn some off, the trial and error style of advancing each stage will usually prove enough in the end.

As I said before, the visuals of the game are almost exactly like Mega Man, but that's not a bad thing, as the sprites and backgrounds all look very nice. But where Mega Man 2 really shines is in the musical soundtrack. The Mega Man games are known for their exceptional music, but Mega Man 2 is home to the best of the Mega Man series and some of the best video game music ever. This is mostly due to the series creator's love of music. Every stage has a different range of music and it's all some of the best 8-bit tunes you can find. The sound effects have that same 8-bit vibe of beeps and boops. The sound effects and music all blend together very nicely.

If you ran right through the entire game it would probably take less than an hour, that is if you knew ever secret, ever danger, and ever boss's weakness. But mostly you won't and that's where the depth is. You'll try the same stage over and over until you learn where ever baddies spawn point is and what every Robot Master's weakness is. Even with this taken into account, the game isn't incredibly long, but at least there's a good bit of variety in the eight Robot Master stages and four or five Dr. Wily stages.

Overall Thoughts

Gameplay: 10/10 This is Mega Man at his finest. The levels are all professionally made and polished and the controls never fail.

Graphics: 8/10 8-bit with a nice style and different colors.

Sound: 10/10 Some of the best video game music ever.

Lasting Value: 8/10 Eight Robot Master stages and five or so Dr. Wily castle levels. It may not seem like a lot, but you'll be stuck on each for a while, lengthening your game time.


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