Review by Bouchart

Reviewed: 10/20/16

It's an easy game, not a bad one.

Mega Man 2 for the Game Boy is not a direct port of the NES Mega Man 2, but it isn't an entirely original game either. Instead it borrows heavily from Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3, with some minor amount of original content. The game is often criticized as being one of the weakest or worst Mega Man games, but it is more accurate to say that it is one of the shorter and easiest of the series.

The plot is described only in the instruction manual, as the game itself has very little written text. Dr. Wily steals a time machine and travels over 37 years into the future. In the mean time, Rush and Mega Man discovered some of Dr. Wily's robots in the present. There isn't much plot or exposition, but this isn't out of the ordinary for Mega Man games.

On starting a new game, the player can select one of four levels, corresponding to levels and bosses from Mega Man 2 on the NES: Crash Man, Metal Man, Wood Man and Air Man. As with most Mega Man games these levels can be completed in any order, though some orders will be easier than others. Mega Man can run, jump, and shoot his buster There are no charged buster shots, as was the case in Mega Man 2 and 3. Unlike Mega Man 2 and 3,.the player can slide to avoid projectiles and bypass some obstacles. Defeating a boss unlocks a special weapon, with its own weapon energy meter. Certain bosses and enemies take more damage from certain special weapons. Also scattered around the stages are energy cans. The player can hold up to four and they can be used when needed to fully replenish health.

After defeating the first four bosses, a brief scene plays and the player can now choose from one of four stages, corresponding to stages from Mega Man 3. The bosses are Top Man, Magnet Man, Needle Man and Hard Man. After finishing these four stages, next is a simple boss fight, and then the final stage of the game and final boss. Unlike other Mega Man games, there is only one Dr. Wily stage instead of the usual three or four. The game also lacks a "boss rush" where the player fights all of the previous bosses in succession.

Each of the game's levels resembles their NES counterparts, but there are some changes here and there. In general, the changes make the levels easier and less complicated, probably as a conscious decision. Stages have a good amount of spare health and weapon energy powerups too. In addition to special weapons the player can gain three Rush abilities after defeating certain bosses. They include the Rush Coil, which lets the player jump very high, the Rush Jet, which allows the player fly around at will, and the Rush Marine, which lets the player move underwater more easily. The Rush Jet makes some of the harder platforming areas in the game trivial. In fact, the game probably has fewer areas with spikes and pits than most other Mega Man games. There are few difficult jumps, and they are easy to bypass. The Rush Marine is mostly a gimmick since there are only three underwater rooms in the game, and one can be navigated normally.

The game's special weapons aren't that useful outside of boss fights. The Leaf Shield is useful at times, since it can kill a swarm of weak enemies easily, but other than that the normal buster shots work very well. The Metal Blades from Metal Man's stage aren't as horribly overpowered as they are in the NES version. It's very possible to play through the game without using the special weapons at all other than boss fights.

Mega Man 2 has a reputation for having poor music, and to a degree that is true. A few songs sound like they are suffering from bad sound compression, or have too high of a pitch. The level select music and the music in Magnet Man's state are good examples of this. But the music shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. There are some good songs, such as the title theme, the theme to Wood Man's stage and the theme to Air Man's stage. It's a bit disappointing though, since Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge, the first Game Boy Mega Man game, has better overall sound quality.

The game does not have a save function but it does have passwords. A skilled player can finish the game under an hour, and with some practice, about forty five minutes.

Overall, Mega Man 2 is a good entry point for younger audiences or those who think the main Mega Man series games are too difficult. Veterans gamers might dislike this, but since it's short and easy they might want to play through it once anyway.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Product Release: Mega Man II (US, 02/28/92)

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