For anyone who grew up on gaming in the late 1980s and had an 8-bit Nintendo, we all have certain games that we connected with. For many of us, one such game was Mega Man 2. Released in June 1989, Mega Man 2 rocked my world. It truly captivated my imagination. The ability to pick your stage, take enemies’ weapons and the fact that you’re a freaking robot made this game an absolute slam dunk. There’s not much left to say in 2016 that hasn’t already been said thousands of times before, but I still wanted to talk about this game for a bit. It’s an incredibly nostalgic piece of gaming history for me. Remember that intro? It set the mood perfectly and haunts me to this day.
I remember the first time I saw this, my eyes popped. I never really played the original Mega Man, so this stage select business was brand new to me. Back then all the games I had played were done in a linear fashion. The game had a set order of levels and you had no choice but to follow that order. Not so here. Capcom gave us the freedom to pick and choose. Of course, as we would come to find out, there was a method to their madness. The bosses all had a special weakness that required another boss weapon. So there was a hidden order if you will, but it’s always nice to be given a choice.
I selected Wood Man first because I liked his burly look. That plus I figured it would take place in a forest type level. I’ve always had a thing for forests in video games, even way back in 1989.
Who could ever forget the sleeping bats? As soon as you get near them they spring to life. The purple hare was always a favorite enemy of mine. It wasn’t big or tough enough to be considered a mini boss, but it was strong enough to sustain a few bullets. I love enemies that are a notch above cannon fodder. Of course, the big bad wolf/dog creature and his flaming breath is an image that has been burned into our memory banks, pardon the pun. Classic stuff.
Watch out for the bird which if not killed early on drops an egg that could be bad news for ya. Love the random sprinting chickens.
After defeating Wood Man, you take his weapon Leaf Shield. Discovering the proper order of a Mega Man game is all part of the charm and fun.
It’s your classic typical icy level where the surface is slippery. Ah, these images bring back such fond memories of a simpler time. I *hated* that robot rider with a burning passion. He always seemed to zap my health without fail each and every damn time.
One of my favorite things about fighting Flash Man is that his battle zone isn’t a straight flat surface. I like all the different tiers there. It just makes the fight that much more interesting.
This was one of my lesser favorite levels but it still has its moments. The giant spiked crane reminded me of Contra and the conveyor belt added a decent gimmick to this stage.
Those Metal Blades are deadly, slicing and dicing anything caught in its path. They become yours after you send Metal Man back to the scrap heap.
Like your typical forest and icy levels, you have your obligatory sky or air level. I’ve never been a big fan of these stages. Not crazy about instant game overs!
Those squiggly worms were a good place to “farm” for goodies. That big guy there tries to suck you in [Sounds like your standard Saturday night *rimshot* -Ed.]
One of the joys of playing a Mega Man title is figuring out which boss weapon works best on another boss. It’s a game of trial and error. Keep in mind too that back in 1989 there was no internet. There was no GameFAQs. And there was no YouTube. You couldn’t just find out the solution in mere seconds. Back then it was a real battle of wills. You traded secrets with your buddies on the playground. It was just a sign of the times. Signs from a bygone era.
When I was a kid I struggled with this stage. Hey, I was 6, OK? I always seemed to get hit by those damn floating Tellies. Especially right at the top just when I’m about to leave that bloody screen forever. Later you come to this makeshift ride with more annoying Tellies.
I remember watching my brother and his friends getting this far. I never could back in 1989. It’s funny how certain levels haunted us as kids, but we can now dominate as adults. The same applies for vice versa.
I watched in sheer awe as my brother and his friends made short work of Crash Man. I remember thinking to myself that they just accomplished the impossible. Ah, the innocent of youth.
I *hated* those laser beams. I never could get past them back in the day. I liked how the screen was dark except for when that enemy chucked his flaming ball.
Alright, another boss fight where the surface isn’t flat! [Wish I could say that about my wife… *rimshot* c’mon now what the hell -Ed.]
Ah, the mandatory water stage. I think pretty much everyone has the image of that giant robotic fish firmly implanted in their brains. One of my favorite things about any Mega Man game is reaching the boss zone. I loved the giant Dr. W sign and the “health bar door.” Come on, just look at it. It looks like your health bar!
Don’t jump too high! It made this fight a little more challenging than normal.
Those bloody Tellies are back to haunt me. And there’s your token disappearing block jumping section. Over a death pit, of course. Of course.
Heat Man’s weakness, surprise surprise, is Bubble Man’s Bubble Lead. Even I was able to figure that out as a kid. Thanks Battle Beast. Water always beats fire!
After defeating all eight robot masters, it’s time to head to Dr. Wily’s evil fortress. This reveals a series of more levels to further extend the game.
Some of the more iconic bosses in Mega Man history right here. They blew my mind back in the day, particularly the King Kong wannabe. He took up like half the damn screen!
It’s the final fight! Against Dr. Wily! *laughs* Right, because Capcom and “final” go hand in hand, and I’m not talking about Final Fight, either.
There were a total of six Mega Man games on the NES. People often debate over the years which one is better: part 2 or 3. My answer remains the same throughout the years, Mega Man 2. Maybe it’s nostalgia talking, but Mega Man 2 just hits a sweet spot for me that very few NES games do. Even to this day, I find it to be highly playable — it’s held up well over the years. If it weren’t for Contra and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, this would be my favorite Nintendo game. From the impressive visuals to the music to the whole novelty of it all, Mega Man 2 stands as one of the finest 8-bit video games ever created. Its lofty place in gaming history is firmly cemented.
I think back to the year 1989 and remember how excited my friends and I were playing Mega Man 2. Discovering each boss’ weakness, figuring out the best path to take and beating the boss with one pellet of health remaining… these were all part of the joy of playing any given Mega Man title. All those Saturday mornings spent in Ben’s garage that summer of 1989 provided a plethora of fond memories. It was the thrill of banding together as a group of friends and playing the game well into the afternoons. When we couldn’t just find out secrets and tips with one simple click. Those were some great times from a bygone era. Those memories stay with me to this day and I can’t help but reminisce about them whenever I think of the greatness that is Mega Man 2. Hats off to you, Capcom. This sequel truly made the Blue Bomber a force to be reckoned with.