Dude, straight up, Mega Man 2 is amazing. It’s the first video game that I really remember playing with the intent of beating it. Anybody who’s ever played it knows how goddamn difficult that really is, and at the tender age of three I was in no way equipped with the motor skills needed to prevail. There are so many entries in this series, but I chose Mega Man 2 because it set the bar for platformers across the board in ways that the original didn’t. That, and it turned me into a video game fanatic.
Okay, so, where to start? From the standpoint of a musician, I’m totally blown away by how incredible the soundtrack is. Like, legendary status. You don’t hear music in the old NES games that is nearly as intricate or bright. Every single menu screen, level and even the intro all have completely different music to back them up, setting the tone of the game brilliantly. Nashville natives The Protomen have even created an almost rock-operaesque epicinspired by the first six NES Mega Man games. It’s absolutely incredible and worth a listen, once a day or so.
Next comes the level design. If you’re new to the Mega Man franchise, how it works is there are many different boss characters that must be defeated. Each has their own power, and their level is designed around that. For instance, Wood Man is in the forest, and has a shield of leaves that he uses to his advantage. If you defeat the boss, you gain his power to use at any point. Here’s the trick, though: certain villains have certain weaknesses, so the order of which boss you defeat first can drastically change a battle later on in the game, depending on what power-ups you’ve already collected.
I have revisited this game as an adult, and have determined that it is still as hard as I remember, even with my ninja-quick adulty reflexes. I’ll admit it: I’ve never successfully finished this game. I’m not exactly proud of that, but I admit it nonetheless. That’s due in part to how friggin’ hard it really is, and I’m playing it on Original Mode. There’s an even harder version of the game called Difficult Mode, which is THE STANDARD DIFFICULTY LEVEL IN JAPAN. Unfathomable. Regardless, it’s still so fun to play through the levels all over again and relive my desire to defeat each adversary.
I, Conor Leigh Tubbs, declare that I shall attempt one more time to beat Mega Man 2 tonight. Wish me luck.