Mega Man 2 is an NES action-platformer released by Capcom on July 10, 1989 in the United States. It's the second game in the popular, long running Mega Man series. It expanded on the groundwork laid by the original, adding a variety of new features and polishing up existing ones. Additionally, the game improved upon the presentation and graphics of the original, setting new series standards, and further developing the style that would come to define the franchise.
To date, Mega Man 2 remains the best selling title in the franchise. Many of Mega Man 2's new features would become series standards. It is generally considered to be one of the best Mega Man games, even as one of the best video games of all time by some, and as a result of this reputation Mega Man 2's general design would influence even Mega Man 9 some 20 years later, among other games. The game has been re-released numerous times, in many Mega Man compilation games, on cell phones, and on the Wii Virtual Console.
As told by its opening crawl, Mega Man 2's plot is essentially a revenge story. Angered by his defeat a year prior, Dr. Wily worked feverously on a new set of eight robots and has his sights set on destroying Mega Man and disgracing Dr. Light; if world domination results as an effect of this, so be it for Wily. However, Mega Man's strong sense of justice cannot let Wily's plans commence and sets his sights on the evil scientist and his creations.
While battling against the eight new robots, Mega Man is assisted for the first time directly by Dr. Light's intermittent construction of various platform tools -- they eventually become a requirement when the blue bomber infiltrates Wily's castle. With Dr. Wily's robot creations left a pile of scraps, Mega Man enters the mad scientist's lair only to find that he was actually an alien being. However, in the first fake-out of the series, it is revealed the alien was just a hologram. Outmatched, Dr. Wily begs for Mega Man's forgiveness and mercy.
Mega Man 2's ending sees Mega Man slowly walking through a cycle of seasons before finally returning to the green hills near Dr. Light's lab. It is left to interpretation whether or not he is pondering his existence as a fighting robot, is just enjoying the calms of nature, or something else entirely.
Mega Man 2 saw a number of gameplay improvements over the original. Some of them are directly tied to Mega Man himself including tighter controls, a lessened damage knockback, the ability to stand on spikes during hit invulnerability, and decreased inertia during falls. Mega Man 2 is also the first game where water affects Mega Man's jump. Another introduction in Mega Man 2 is that of Energy Tanks, which completely refill Mega Man's energy and can be found in certain stages throughout the game. Mega Man can hold up to four of them at a time. A password feature was also introduced for the first time in Mega Man 2. The US release also has two selectable difficulties; the "Difficult" option was the default setting for the Japanese version. Difficult increases enemies' durability, amongst other minor differences.
The Item devices built by Dr. Light are another new feature built off the idea of the Magnet Beam from the first game. The three Items have increased functionality including wall-scaling, air platforms, and a rocket sled that would eventually become Mega Man 3's Rush Jet. Many of these items can make certain difficult parts of the game easier, such as being able to completely skip the disappering block section in Heat Man's stage with the Item-2 rocket sled. As a result, players were allowed more semblance of strategy to their stage choices depending on their play styles.
The larger number of Robot Master weapons Mega Man can acquire also have greater usefulness compared to the first game -- most weapons have some kind of use outside of direct offense. The Bubble Lead runs across the ground and can detect pitfalls; the Leaf Shield can indefinitely protect against small enemies such as birds; the Time Stopper can freeze the deadly beams in Quick Man's stage; and the Crash Bombs can destroy certain wall types. That's to say nothing of the value of the Metal Blades, which can be thrown in eight directions from a nearly limitless stock.
Robot Master Stages
Like Mega Man 1, Mega Man 2 allows the player to choose the Robot Master stages in any order, though Mega Man 2 adds in two extra Robot Masters for a total of eight, which would become the series standard. Battles with the Robot Masters take place in closed square rooms and after defeating one Mega Man adds their special ability to his arsenal. The order in which one acquires special abilities can make it easier to progress through the game.
DWN-009: Metal Man
Metal Man's stage consists of a myriad of metallic menaces in the form of conveyor belts that can either hinder your speed or hasten you into a pit; dangerous toothed grinders whose chains are even dangerous to the touch; saw blades that can suddenly bore out of the ground; and clown robots that balance atop rolling gears.
Metal Man himself uses a conveyor belt in his boss room that he can change directions at will. He will stand on one side and throw three Metal Blades at a time. It should be noted he seems to be much less adept at using them than even Mega Man. He is weak against the Quick Boomerang (and later on, his own Metal Blade).
DWN-010: Air Man
Air Man's sky fortress is fittingly set amongst the clouds over a bottomless abyss, so precise jumping is a key prerequisite for success. A series of horned faces called Air Tikkis act as both platforms and dispensers of smaller versions of themselves throughout the stage, along with a sequence where Mega Man must progressively claim a series of cloud platforms from their lightning-chucking owners.
Once you reach the master of air, his Air Shooter blows forth one of a few patterns of miniature tornadoes whose force will push Mega Man back against the wall. Air Man will change sides after a couple rounds of air shooting. He is weak against the Leaf Shield.
DWN-011: Bubble Man
Bubble Man's waterfall paradise quickly goes to hell amid a dive underwater infested with frogs, huge lantern fish that spew shrimp, jellyfish, and crabs. The bigger danger, however, is the spikes lined on the watery ceiling that require Mega Man to make some pretty accurate jumps in cramped spaces.
Bubble Man is able to attack with an arm cannon along with his bouncing Bubble Lead, and like the stage, his own room contains ceiling spikes. However, they should not be a danger considering he is weak against the ever-versatile Metal Blades.
DWN-012: Quick Man
Quick Man must have spent his entire budget on the couple instances of his infamous instant-death laser traps, as the other parts of the stage are sparsely challenging despite the occurrence of some flame-throwing fireheads that appear nowhere else. The Time Stopper will work wonders against the lasers for those who don't wish to test their reflexes.
Mr. Speedy can fire his Quick Boomerangs somewhat unpredictably, but the real danger is the rate at which he zips around the screen and becomes nigh-unavoidable. If you haven't used the Time Stopper to get past his defenses, a full charge of it can knock off half his life. In the time that takes to work, however, you probably could have killed him quicker with Mega Man's arm cannon.
DWN-013: Crash Man
A spindly tower-like structure is what Crash Man calls home. Metalls camp out here along with an infinite amount of those spinning tin can dudes that spawn along a sequence of grid-patterned moving platforms that would otherwise be rote boredom. The stage climaxes in a long ladder climb made more difficult by birds that drop their egg-hatched spawn at you.
Crash Man is a superb jumper, but even better is the accuracy at which he hurls his Crash Bombs at Mega Man, forcing him to constantly be on his toes. Crash Man's jumps are his downfall, as he is weak against the ascendency of the Air Shooter.
DWN-014: Flash Man
An ice stage that isn't made of ice, the slippery surfaces of Flash Man's jeweled corridors are most notable for offering an alternate path if you can destroy certain barricades with the Crash Bombs. If you can't, however, some Sniper Joes and their giant hopping walkers will try to keep you from reaching their frail master.
Flash Man is able to halt time for a brief period with his Time Stopper. Despite this ability, he is One of the weakest Robot Masters ever and is vulnerable to pretty much everything. Stand in place and throw Metal Blades at him for maximum humility.
DWN-015: Heat Man
Like Fire Man from a game prior, Heat Man's stage contains a large amount of flowing lava that provides a good incentive for Mega Man to make good on his leaping. The stage's real claim to fame is the large number of disappearing blocks that span a chasm of fire and death.
The flames of Heat Man's rage, however, may incinerate you. He can chuck a few firebursts before zipping at Mega Man in an ignited state. Sense would dictate Heat Man wouldn't like being hit with the Bubble Lead and indeed, he does not.
DWN-016: Wood Man
Wood Man's forest base features a synergy of all the things you would normally find in the woods including the first appearance of the recurring Bubble Bat enemies, carrot-firing robo-rabbits, fire-breathing dogs, monkeys that hang around and flip out, and roadrunners that totally fake Mega Man out.
Wood Man's Leaf Shield defends him from all attacks. When he throws it off of himself, leaves also fall down from the top of the screen and are difficult to avoid. When vulnerable, his weakness is the Atomic Fire -- a totally charged version of it will totally ruin Wood Man's day, if you catch my drift.
Dr. Wily Stages
Once all the eight robots are defeated, Mega Man automatically proceeds to Dr. Wily's castle. It consists of six stages. Mega Man 2 was also the first game to feature an external map shot of Wily's castle.
- Stage 1
The first stage takes Mega Man to the perimeter exterior of WIly's castle. It is the first instance where he is required to make use of his special Items. The boss is the Mecha Dragon, which chases after Mega Man before finally stopping to fight. An easy we to defeat the dragon is to jump on the top block and use the Quick Boomerang. If you do get hit by a fire ball, you will fall onto another block.
- Stage 2
Now inside the castle, Stage 2 revisits some obstacles from Flash Man's and Metal Man's stages. The boss is a sentient room that breaks apart to reform robots that attack Mega Man.
- Stage 3
Stage 3 is a dirty, watery stage that marks the first instance in the series of a spike-lined descent. The boss is the Guts Dozer, a huge tank that resembles Guts Man. The easiest way to defeat this boss is to jump on the the front end and use the Quick Boomerage on its face.
- Stage 4
The fourth stage is perhaps the trickiest of all. The beginning features numerous pitfalls that Mega Man will have to make deft use of the Bubble Lead to avoid, while the latter part sees the return of the grid platforms from Crash Man's stage. The boss is a number of timed turrets that require the Crash Bombs both to defeat and to destroy the barricades some of them hide behind. Resource management of the Bombs is key.
- Stage 5
Another first that appears in the fifth stage is the teleporting hatch room where Mega Man must refight all of the Robot Masters. After clearing them, Wily appears, only to retreat and cause the floor to fall out under Mega Man's feet.
- Stage 6
The game's final stage is a silent fall followed by a leaky corridor of some kind of deadly acid. After battling a mutated Wily alien, the real Wily admits defeat to Mega Man.
When Mega Man's sales did not meet expectations, Capcom decided not to make plans for a sequel. At the insistence of Keiji Inafune and his team however, they managed to make a deal that allowed them to work on Mega Man 2 in their spare time from working concurrently on another title. This work of passion resulted in Mega Man 2 being much more polished than its predecessor and launched Mega Man as one of Capcom's signature franchises.
Mega Man 2's music was composed by Manami Matsumae (Manami Ietel), Yoshihiro Sakaguchi (Yuukichan's Papa), and the stil-elusive Ogeretsu-Kun. It is seen as some of the best in the series. It is by far the most remixed Mega Man game on sites such as OverClocked Remix, and a vocal rendition of Dr. Wily's castle theme was a Japanese internet meme called Okkusenman.
In Japan, the soundtrack was released on CD as part of boxset that included the soundtracks to Mega Man 1-6. It shares its disc with the first Mega Man.
Mega Man 2 was originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System but was later released on the Sony Playstation, The Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console as well as a version for mobile phones. It also appeared in the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for the Gamecube, PS2 and XBOX. Capcom released a version of the game for iPhone and iPod Touch on March 25 2009. It's based on the mobile version released in June 2007.
Notes / Trivia
- Mega Man 2 is the first game in the series to remove the proper "pause" functionality, which was responsible for a very useful exploit in its predecessor.
- Man Man 2 changed the appearance of the health and energy pills from how they appeared in its predecessor to their appearance that has persisted throughout the series ever since.
- Mega Man 2 introduced energy tanks, allowing Mega Man to carry a maximum of four. Future games would up this maximum to at least 9.
- Mega Man 2 introduces two unique weapon types which are almost lazily replicated in future games: the shield (Wood Man's Leaf Shield) and the time freezer (Flash Man's Flash Stopper).
- Holding down the A button when selecting a robot master replaces the star field with a flurry of tiny birds during the robot master's introductory sequence.