by Ryan C.
It’s almost Mega Man’s 25th anniversary! Don’t act surprised, how could I not write up another article about the Blue Bomber. Instead of reviewing a game that you know how much I love, I figured I would just have some fun and play through the original game once more and write a little walk-through. It won’t be a complete guide, rather it will be me talking about each level, if I am having a hard time at a part, or just funny moments that happen. So turn on some classic tunes and join me in the play by play of the first Mega Man.
Bomb Man Stage
Every time I start out I always pick Bomb Man. I find him the easiest to take care of and he is pretty weak against the default Mega Buster, so my advice is to start with this chump. Upon starting the level, I was introduced to some jumping screws that hurl themselves at a high speed. These enemies aren\’t tough, but they are easy to get hit by. After these were some bottomless pits, but each one spews out an enemy that rises and separates into 4 segments that explode on contact. Each of the pits are pretty close together, so get ready to avoid anywhere between 4 and 12 explosives. This is a nice start, not even a minute into the game and already these jumping screws and projectiles are wrecking me. If that wasn\’t enough, immediately afterwards are some turrets that can fire high speed bullets in 5 directions, and like the previous section, there are numerous turrets grouped together. I hope you like avoiding bullets that cover the screen because this game certainly does.
After clearing this long stretch of hallway comes basic ladder climbing and platforming where I found some health, unfortunately I had to clear 4 wall clinging turrets to get it, meaning I probably could have avoided it altogether and kept the same amount of health, but live and learn. Upon regaining my lost health came another long hallway that introduced the shielded bad guys that can only be harmed just before they fire their weapons. If you can get the timing down they are not so bad, but I did take some damage. Once I killed him the game introduced a Bullet Bill type enemy that has a wavy pattern similar to the Medusa Heads in Castlevania. If you shoot them, they explode and respawn; if they go off the screen, they respawn. Top this with those enemies that come from the bottomless pits and it can be a challenge, but I found if I kept moving and shooting then they couldn\’t touch me. Once I cleared this there was a ladder to climb and some platforms to jump over with spikes underneath. One of those Bullet Bills started chasing me, but the secret here is to let it go ahead of you and not shoot it, or else it will just respawn behind you again.
In case you forgot how much the game loved having projectiles shot in every direction, the next segment involves jumping on small ledges over spikes with enemies that fire in all 8 directions and respawn infinitely until you finish the part. Thankfully, after this part you can jump down into a small area and snag a free 1up. After getting my reward for dealing with this bullet hell styled level, I was off to fight the boss. I always found it weird that in this game there are a few rooms before the boss fight, whereas every other game just has a corridor before the encounter. I also forgot how short the level was, I will have this game done in no time.
Climbing down the ladder towards Bomb Man and there are enemies that move back and forth. Careful timing is the key here, but the first one hit me so I fell the rest of the way, not exactly great strategy but it got the job done.
Like I said before, Bomb Man is not hard, he jumps around and throws his bombs in an arc that are easy to avoid. I died here because it has been awhile and the explosion was big enough to reach me. On my second try at almost full health (got hit on the ladder again), I successfully destroyed him and made my way onto Guts Man.
Death Count: 1
Guts Man Stage
Similar to Bomb Man, Guts Man is not that hard of a boss. His weakness is the bomb weapon as it can kill him in three shots, but the bombs take an eternity to explode so I find it just as easy to shoot him with my default weapon.
The level starts out with some stairs to climb and the hard-hat enemies that can fire three bullets at a time. For some reason, I never bothered learning of the enemies’ names, so you’ll have to excuse my mediocre detailing of the enemies. After the stairs comes the infamous “rail platform” section. For those who do not know, there are rails with moving platforms on them that will drop if they go over a broken section. The timing needs to be perfect; otherwise you fall to your death. After playing this game so many times I generally don’t have an issue with this part anymore and only died here once.
When I got on solid ground again the game sent out three dive-bombers that stay high up in the air until you’re in range and then attack rapidly. They are cheap, annoying and took off a bit of health, but if you get past this then the hardest parts of the stage are thankfully over with. Once I climbed more stairs I met some evil miners that threw their pick axes at me. They can take a great damage of damage before they die and they need to be killed before you can jump to their platform.
In the final stretch of the level you are given a choice of falling down one of three pits. I wanted to go down the most leftward path, but those pesky dive-bombers knocked me into another one where I got some free health. That was nice, but the way I originally wanted to go had a 1up. Next up is my least favourite enemy: a pogo-jumping, one eyed, steel behemoth of a monster. One touch by them and 1/3 of your energy is gone. I could have stayed and fought but I took the wussy way out and ran underneath him when he jumped high enough. Once I fled I found myself at Guts Man’s door; low on health and no spare lives I did my best against him but died anyways. After doing the whole stage again and dying once more on the rail platforms, I killed Guts Man and was on my way to the next stage.
Death Count: 3
Elec Man Stage
Elec Man’s stage is unique in that it focuses on vertical platforming with an abundance of ladders and stair like jumps. The first screen involves three platforms with enemies that move faster if you’re on the same ledge as them. They are tricky to avoid but with careful timing they can be bypassed with ease. In fact, timing is everything in this stage, more so then any other thus far. From the enemy placements to the environmental hazards, this stage can be relatively easy or downright devious.
Anyways, passing the first screen will introduce the hazard of electricity shooting out from the ends of platforms. If you’re not careful they can knock you back, but the timing is consistent and are easy to avoid when jumping. The hardest part is the next two screens when I found myself climbing ladders with six incoming enemies. During these parts, three enemies will rise from the floor and three descend from the ceiling. Once they get in range of you they will fire two beams, which are hard to avoid, and getting hit will mean a drop down a few screens. While that seems like it would be annoying (it is) the next section features disappearing/reappearing blocks. How it works is a block will appear, and then the second one, once the third one appears that first will disappear. Straightforward in design, but devious in its execution and I fell down multiple screens at this part three times in a row. There is absolutely no trouble to tell how pro I am.
If you can pass all this nonsense then you will be given a choice as the level separates into two paths, right or left. I recommend going right to avoid enemies, but you will still have to avoid electricity beams. After this you can go left or right again and this time I went left, as all I had to do was climb the ladder in sync with the electricity beams. Once you get near the top there will be those annoying screw enemies that will knock you down, but in my case – killed me. What you got to do is sit tight near the bottom of the screen and let the screw just kill himself like an idiot.
At this point if you’re tired of ladders the game will finally give you some left to right platforming for a bit, but then it is straight back to ladders and vertical climbing again. There is an item that is required to beat the game in this level after the ascent continues, all you need is Guts Man’s power arm to lift the blocks to get it. What it does is make platforms to jump on. It is only necessary in two parts of the game, but it can make some levels easier. With the ability to make platforms, I ingeniously decided to call it that Platform Gun. With one more ladder left and that giant pogo tank-like enemy avoided like a boss, I died on Elec Man and got a game over.
To save you the time, I kept breezing through the level only dying once due to the electricity beams. When I finally made it back to Elec Man I use the Guts Man arm to throw those boulders at him, but they do very little and I kept dying repeatedly on him. After a lot of deaths and temper tantrums I realized I messed up the order and Elec Man’s weakness is actually the Rolling Cutter from Cut Man. The game just trolled me by having boulders in the boss room. This stage is to be continued…
Death Count: 11
Cut Man Stage
I took my failure to heart and decided to conquer Cut Man’s stage. It has one of the most memorable tunes in the series and it perfectly fitted my mood. The stage started off with some platforming and those pesky dive-bombers, but they did not faze me in the least. The level then went vertical, with ladders, wall turrets and enemies that move back and forth in their basic pattern.
To be quite honest, the only think I could think of while playing this stage was how much I was going to kill Elec Man when I got his weakness. I was on a vengeful path, taking minimal damage and kicking maximum ass. Even when the game rolled out the burly pogo-jumping tank, did I take damage? Of course not, I was on a mission and would not stop until I had Elec Man dead.
After climbing all the way up and passing some fortresses that shot out scissors, and climbing all the way down on the other side, I engaged Cut Man and defeated him in two hits with Guts Man strength. With scissors in hands, I made my return to Elec Man and settled the score.
Death Count: 0
Elec Man Stage re-visited
It was on like Donkey Kong. After ploughing through the level once again and taking only 2 hits, I finally beat him. Sweet sweet victory was mine. Forget Dr. Wily, I beaten Elec Man, my personal vendetta was complete.
Death Count: 0
Ice Man Stage
Before I even selected this one I knew I was going to come out rotted. This level infuriates me to no end, no matter how many times I play through it, I wondered if this time would be any different.
With a name like Ice Man, you can expect a lot of the ground to be covered in slippery ice and to be fair, the level is not that hard until the end. Starting off I made my way to the right climbing stairs and killing robot penguins that move in a wavy pattern. This part is pretty easy and after this are two rooms with the appearing/disappearing blocks again. I often hear a lot of people say how hard it is, but there is nothing to worry about. Sure there is an enemy on the ground, but it can be killed with the Rolling Cutter. There no spikes, no timer, nothing at all to worry about so if it takes you an hour, so be it; just figure out the pattern and do it.
What always got my blood boiling was the next section. It involves jumping on platforms that move and shoot bullets. Their movements are irregular, they shoot randomly and if you do get hit then it will most likely be a instant death in the bottomless pit where all this takes place over. Sometimes you think you can make a jump and the platform will move out of the way, or just shoot your ass down. If that is not enough, towards the end they send out the penguins again. This part is the worst and I always spend at least a half hour on it, but I got extremely lucky and only died once. Imagine that.
Right after this mess of a section you fight Ice Man, and the Elec Man beam kills him in three shots.
Death Count: 1
Fire Man Stage
For some reason, I always loved Fire Man’s song. It has a different vibe to it, but I absolutely love it and it fits the stage well and will probably be stuck in my head all day.
Starting off I found myself climbing up ladders and zig zagging my way up the screen, blasting turrets and then zig zagging downwards. The next room involve some platforms over fire pits, with flame pillars shooting up from the floor and fire enemies raining down from the ceiling. The platforms are narrow enough that one hit could of sent me straight down into one of those pits.
I am pleased to say I did not die here and then I climbed the ladder to do some vertical platforming. This room has some health behind the flame pillars, but obviously I didn\’t need them. In the next section there is a combination of horizontal and vertical fire beams; some of the roofs are low, which made the fire hard to avoid sometimes. Before leaving this area I picked up more health and starting making my way downwards, whereupon the enemies that rain down knocked me into the lava. Luckily, this was the checkpoint room and actually spawned me a little further from where I died. I avoided falling in again and started climbing upwards once more, where I found some fire being shot through a tube. I had to cross through the tube twice, getting hit both times in the process. I always get hit here and I hate it.
After clearing another hallway and avoiding more fire pillars and raining enemies, I made my way to Fire Man where I died straight away. A defeat made more insulting by seeing another game over screen. I wanted to take a break from this playthrough after the robot masters, so I played through the level again, dying once by being pushed into the lava near the beginning. When I made it to Fire Man again I just unloaded the Ice Beam into him, it was a close call because he was using the same tactic as me, but thankfully I came out on top and the way to Dr. Wily was open.
Death Count: 3
So ends part 1, tune in Monday (Dec 17) where part 2 will be put up.