Happy 25th Birthday Mega Man! 25 years ago today the world saw release of one of the finest NES games ever made and the start to one fantastic franchise. For those who missed part 1, that can be found here. With that said, here is the four Dr. Wily stages.
Dr. Wily Stage 1
This level starts out with three of the pogo enemies in a row, but at this point I have the Ice Beam so I just froze them when they jumped high and walked under them. The boss of this stage is tricky, so whatever trick you can find to make the level easier should be exploited to its fullest. Immediately after these guys are a pile of boulders that need to be moved and then some stairs with low ceilings. Between each ledge is a fire pillar and the best way to get past this part is to freeze them and use them as makeshift platforms.
The next room has some free health but the low ceiling makes the jump difficult, so naturally I messed up and didn’t get it. Upon climbing the ladder you will be in a long hallway with more boulders to move and those fast screw enemies. The good news here is that the boulders will kill most of them with a single toss. The next room after climbing a ladder down will have some narrow platforms with a low ceiling, and to top it off a Bullet Bill enemy will always be coming towards you, making it extremely easy to be knocked back into the pit of spikes.
If you can get passed the last section unscathed then the moving platforms that shoot will make their annoying return. There are only three of them and for some reason they never gave me as much trouble as Ice Man’s stage usually does. Remember that Platform Gun you got all the way back in Elec Man’s stage? Now comes the first time where you need it, as a wall is blocking your way and a ladder is just out of reach. In case you run out of ammo you can always go to the previous screen and farm the item pick-ups to restock on ammunition. I recommend you also make sure your electricity gun is maxed out too as the boss is after this section.
Clay Man is hard in how long the fight lasts rather then just being difficult. You can only attack him once per turn, and each time you attack he will separate into blocks to reform on the opposite side of the room. The pattern in which the blocks move is always the same, so it comes down to memorizing when to jump out of the way and when to stay still. There is a glitch here to make it easier though, and that is when the electricity hits his eye, pause and unpause the game as fast as you can to make it count many more times. I, of course, did not use this glitch. I beat the game enough times that I should not have to rely on dirty tricks anymore. That said, I died on Clay Man four times.
Death count 4
Dr. Wily Stage 2
This stage started off with some easing platforming, but it was made hard by dive-bombers from above and below you. One of them killed me right away as I was making a jump and it pushed me back into the pit. With this section, the best way to deal with the enemies is to equip the Elec Man beam as it shoots up, down, and straight in front so as soon as they close in for the attack, fire the beam to take care of everything on screen.
Another interesting thing about Mega Man 1 is that instead of having a room before Dr Wily with eight teleporters for a rematch against the eight robot masters, this game just throws in the bosses through the stage. I fought Cut Man here after the dive-bombers but this time there were no boulders to throw at him so I died on my first attempt. He actually is not too hard; just keep firing at him with your normal buster and avoid his scissor attack.
After this fight was more easing platforming but with turrets that shoot in five directions this time. This section was much easier as the timing for when they shoot is consistent and it is not as challenging to destroy them. Upon clearing this part I had to fight Elec Man again, and needless to say wrecked him with the Rolling Cutter
At this point is becomes clear that this level is just the same routine over again with platforming followed by a boss. Once I beaten Elec Man I had more jumps to conquer, and the enemy here was the ones that rise from the bottomless pits and explode into separate pieces. They are a bit difficult to avoid due to their numbers, but the good news is they don’t do that much damage. Instead of the level’s final boss right after this, there are some ladders to climb down with enemies that move back and forth in their basic pattern. Once again, the Elec Man beam does wonders here and makes quick work out of all the enemies.
The boss here is actually one of the hardest in the game. Maybe there is a secret to beating him efficiently, but it took me four tries to destroy him. The reason it is so hard is because a machine clones you, and whatever weapon you use, he uses. The way I finally managed to beat him was unload all the Elec Man beam ammo I had, followed by the Fire weapon. It is a really intense, pulse pounding battle as he will use the same strategy and constantly move towards you. It is simply exilerating and feels like an accomplishment when he is bested (not saying the rest of the game isn’t satisfying).
Death count 5
Dr. Wily Stage 3
This is by far the shortest stage in the game and it surprisingly does not make up for it in difficulty. There are a few screens where you must work your way down, avoiding wall and ceiling mounted turrets and the enemies that move back and forth. As always, the Elec Man beam is the preferred weapon, but really any weapon is helpful here. I took a few hits due to the shear numbers of all the potential threats, but this section is over in a jiffy.
Once the vertical descent is complete there is a long hallway that gets flooded with water. All this means is that it is constantly pushing you, making you run fast while the robot penguins charge at you. It is easy to get hurt due to their post death explosion but with proper timing, jumping and shooting will make short work of this hallway.
The boss is in the next room and can be a pain if you are stunned like me. I died on it three times because it did not seem like any weapons hurt him. The boss is a machine part in a bubble that will circle the room and shoot bullets at you. Each time you destroy one another will take its place and move faster. There are four boulders in the room that will kill one each, but after that you must attack it head on. When attacked with a weapon, it does not seem to be taking any damage, but the best way to deal with the remainders is too mash that fire button as fast as you can when it rolls along the bottom of the screen. Unless you are a world champion button masher you will probably take a few hits, but hopefully you can destroy all eight of them before they kill you. It may not be the best strategy, but it will get the job done.
Death count 3
Dr. Wily Stage 4
Here we are, the final stage of the game and this playthrough. To start off on the wrong foot I died two times in a row on the very first screen. It involves three very simple jumps and climbing a ladder. Sure, those enemies that rise and lower from the floor and ceiling respectively show up, but they didn’t even faze me. I missed the ladder twice due to me not pushing up in time on the control pad to grab onto it. Let this set the tone for how much I died on this level.
If you can get past the torturous notion of grabbing a ladder then you will find yourself in a long hallway of turrets, but as usual, the Elec Man beam will take care of this section with little trouble. After climbing some ladders (don’t worry, they are on solid ground this time) there will be another rail platform similar to Guts Man stage. There is only one of them this time, so I jumped on it and the section where the platform drops was so big that I panicked and fell into the spikes below. The second attempt I just missed the platform entirely. The third try I used the Platform Gun so I could jump on them and walk over to the ledge I was suppose to go on, but I fell through a tiny gap before the ladder and died. I have no idea why ladders were so hard to me this time.
Admittedly, I was becoming pretty angry at this point, but once I managed to get through these parts I had to fight the remaining bosses. Bomb Man was first and always easy to beat. Next was Fire Man, and I can never get the pattern down for him; he just keeps firing randomly and always taking off a fair bit of health. Ice Man is third and while he is easy to beat, the controls freeze up for a split second once he is defeated; this caused me to die many times as his last missile just killed me when I couldn’t move. Last up is Guts Man and while not particularly hard, he is just a pain as I was always low on energy.
To sum it up quickly and embarrassingly, I died on Bomb Man zero times, Fire Man zero, Ice Man four times, and Guts Man six times.
Thankfully, there is a checkpoint after these bosses, giving you some mercy before you fight Dr. Wily. He has two forms; the first one is weak to fire and the second form is weak to electricity. The only difference between the two forms is the type of projectiles they fire. Form one will shoot many small bullets while part two will fire one big rotating bullet. He is not the hardest final boss ever, but I still managed to die on him eight times.
To be honest, before I beat the game I had to take a break, so I ended up walking to the local comic book store to pick up the newest issue of Deadpool. Once I came home after some air and read the comic, I picked up the controller and beat the game after two deaths. In short, Deadpool is the man.
Death count 23
Total Death Count: 54
After playing through Mega Man for the first time in awhile, I remembered why I love the series so much. Unless you play the games constantly, there is always a challenge to them after a small break. There are tons of games from my childhood that are considered hard that I can pick up now and plough through, but Mega Man always gives a challenge. Depending on my personal mood, some sections offer more resistance then others but it always feels like a fresh experience no matter how many times I play through. Maybe one day Capcom will make another Mega Man series, or make part 11 with updated features rather then banking on pure nostalgia (as great as 9 and 10 are), but until then, we have numerous games and genres to sink our teeth into and have fun while doing so.
So here’s to 25 years of pissing gamers off and making them enjoy every second of it.