After the Lackluster Performance of Mega Man in 1987 The future of the series seemed bleak and there was no interest in Capcom to make another game in the series. The Devs however were not done with the Blue Bomber and knew that they could take the formula of the first game and expand it into an incredible game. So the development of Mega Man 2 began with the Developers not being paid to work on it. They were spending a lot of time working on Mega Man 2 in between other jobs they had at the company. Where as Mega Man was seen as a stressful game to develop, Mega Man 2 was truly a labor of love that the devs had insisted on completing. They updated the graphics, Fixed the bugs in the engine, and Expanded to 8 bosses. And when presented to capcom they decided to take the game and Release it. This is not only a review. this is the story of how the Mega Man series was almost a dead series. And how the Devs saved the series from becoming just another failed attempt at creating a viable console mascot.
After the lackluster Performance of the original Mega Man, A Sequel was not immediately greenlit. Akira Kitamura wanted to make a sequel but the Producer Tokuro Fujiwara was against it. So Kitamura Went above the Producers Head to the Vice President of Capcom at the time to get permission to work on the game. Capcom allowed the game to be made on one condition, “That they would do it on their free time and would continue to work on other projects in development at the time. The Staff spent their own free time improving the graphics, Weapons and adding in a lot of new levels. Really putting their all into the game. The stages were longer than the first games stages. The design did not feel nearly as cheap. The game still had difficulty but it felt far more fair. The Audio was fixed and no longer was the game music affected as heavily by the sound effects. Inafune was also brought into the development of the game and had a much bigger role in the Production side of it. Inafune has said of the time, “Working on [Mega Man 2] marked my second year at this, and I even got to mentor a ‘new kid’, which opened up a whole new world of stress for me,” The development time for the game was only three to four months. So if this was going to be a good game then the entire team really had to crunch for time to make the best Game that they could.
Due to the Size of the original games cart a lot of Enemy designs and assets were left out of the game and these assets were moved to the Sequel from the beginning. The gameplay System from the first was kept however they added in 3 Transportation items and E Tanks which would help combat complaints of the first game being far too difficult for people to finish. The first game obviously had no influence from capcom fans but for the second game the team asked for submissions on Robot designs and received 8,370 submissions for the game. The final 8 Robot masters were tweaked for the games final appearance of them though. They also added a easier mode for the North American release of the game known as normal while Difficult was the Core Japanese Game unaltered difficulty wise.
The Music was composed by Takashi Tateishi with Manami Matsumae helping on the Air Man theme. Yoshihiro Sakaguchi Handled the Sound Programming in the sequel as well.
Mark Ericsen Who painted the North American Artwork that had Mega Man with a Pistol instead of his Mega Buster Explained, “I didn’t know anything about Mega Man, and [after looking at the character in action] I said to the art director, ‘What is he shooting with?’ … He said, ‘Well, he must have a pistol, because I don’t see a rifle.’ … I said, ‘So, a pistol? Do you want me to do a pistol?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, let’s put a pistol in there.’ So I did what I was told and I put the pistol in there. Add to the fact that they only had, like, a day and a half for me to do the painting and what you wound up with was not the greatest result. But certainly a result that was not my fault. I mean, they told me to put the pistol in his hand!”
Right away from the very beginning you will see that the game ups it’s Presentation Significantly from the first game. The Music is Epic and Takashi really brings a lot to the feel of the game. When you Start the game you are given 8 Robot Masters to pick from as opposed to the first games 6 and again like the first game playing the Stages in a specific order makes the game a lot easier to complete. There are a lot of new ways to get through the levels. Many new enemies added to the game and although the game still retains lag like the first one it is nowhere as prevalent in the sequel.
The Bosses you will face are Metal Man, Air Man, Flash Man, Quick Man, Wood Man, Heat Man, Bubble Man and Crash man. You have a wide variety of Weapon upgrades and new ways to traverse the levels with 3 new transportation Items and E tanks that can Completely recover your health if used before you die. The Pause Glitch from the first game was removed in the second game although there is a separate trick you can use that may help you in fights against Heat Man Although the heat man fight is honestly one of the easiest fights in the game. Health and weapon refills are dropped much more frequently and more extra lives are given out also.
Once you have completed all of the Robot Masters you will be taken to Dr Wily’s Fortress where you will have 6 massive stages to play through. these stages will test how well you know how to use each of the Weapons and items you have. When you reach the top of the first stage you will be faced with The Dragon. This fight is impressive and is the most impressive moment in the game for me personally.
Like in the original game you will have to fight the 8 Robot masters again but will do this at the end of the 5th stage. After defeating them you will be able to face Dr Wily and after 2 phases of him the floor will cave in.
This final section is possibly the greatest example of using atmosphere to make the player feel the tension of the situation. There is absolutely no music. The player is falling down several screens and when you land you will have to avoid this dripping liquid which can kill you in only a few hits. simply hold right and jump through this section. There is nothing else here. the emptiness builds on what it coming next.
When you walk through the Door at the end of this hallway you will be faced with Dr Wily once again. He transforms into an Alien and this alien will move through the air in an infinite symbol. The only way to hurt him is with bubbles. If you run out of bubbles you must game over and continue to refill your energy. This fight is elegant and it really does a lot to Intimidate you. However this fight is not all that hard and you should easily take him out. The presentation is what makes this a great fight. When you defeat the alien you are then given a seizure and It is shown to be an illusion. Dr wily Begs for mercy from you once again and you complete the game. This point you are walking back home and the slide show ends with Mega Man’s helmet sitting on the hill. The Fight is over… For now.
Mega Man 2 builds on its predecessor in a way that most sequels do not. This game improves every part of the game. The Design is good, the Weapons are Creative, The Graphics are beautiful and the music is some of the Most Iconic Music in all of gaming. The game introduces a Password screen, Opening cinematic and Set the standard 8 Robot Masters. Mega Man 2 fixes all of the issues with the Original Mega Man and it’s for these reasons that I give Mega Man 2 a 9.5 out of 10. I highly suggest you play this game and again the Anniversary Collection is the best way to play it. If you are not into Mega Man and don’t know where to begin then here’s your answer. Play Mega Man 2. Make it your first. Make it your entry into an amazing collection of games.