I love it when a game comes together.
This is it, folks: Mega Man 2, the Great One. Nostalgia has doubtlessly elevated this seminal NES game to obscene heights in your mind—perhaps as high as the opening scene’s skyscraper—but rest assured, that praise is still deserved. While the original game (also available on the 3DS eShop) introduced most of the series’ core concepts, it was Mega Man 2 that refined them and provided the framework upon which all future Mega Man games would be built. Now that it’s up on the eShop, it’s well worth picking up.
The portable format may seem sacrilegious at first, but you’ll soon appreciate the presence of restore points when dealing with the game’s cheaper moments. Heat Man’s disappearing block run, Quick Man’s laser maze, and that goddamn security room boss in the last Wily stage all benefit wholesale from the ability to try again without wasting precious lives. You’ll also be able to conserve E Tanks with some practice, although the game’s final deluge of boss battles (including several fights with Dr. Wily himself) will nevertheless drain your resources. Some of the series’ most memorable Robot Masters and music are in this game, as well as the most powerful and easily abused weapon in the entire franchise: the Metal Blade, which kills almost everything from any direction.
It’s not ALL wine and roses, however. No improvements were made to the underlying programming, so all the slowdown, stutter, and flicker you remember is captured here. This makes certain sequences more difficult than they should be. It’s hard not to feel cheated when you’re killed by the Mecha Dragon because you didn’t see the fireball it spit at you. The game starts flickering anytime there’s a big sprite onscreen, so the most epic Wily Castle bosses phase in and out of existence constantly, to some irritation. Still, there’s something to be said for powering through these technological hiccups—it builds character!
My opinion of what the “best” Mega Man game is fluctuates between this game and its sequel (Snake Man FTW), but I’m overjoyed to play this on my 3DS. I never bought it on Wii Virtual Console because I have the Mega Man Anniversary Collection. Unfortunately, the Wii doesn’t display the NES emulators, so while I can hear all the action, I just see a black screen. So I’m happy to have a working version of this legendary game, and you should be, too. This is an obvious “must-buy,” people.