Okay students, class is in session. Please pull out your Nintendo and plug in Mega Man 2 for today’s lesson of Games You Should Have Played. If you do not already have a copy of Mega Man 2 on the NES, it is available in the Mega Man Anniversary Collection released on the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox, and is currently on the Wii’s Virtual Console for a grand total of 500 Wii Points, otherwise known as $5. Yes, this one will only set you back $5.
The Mega Man franchise has somewhat of a stigma nowadays since it constantly releases an update every year that doesn’t seem enough like a totally new game to justify the purchase. Back in the times of the NES there was only one Mega Man series and it was just called Mega Man. The first game came out and became a standard for the use of a non-linear progression through the game (you could choose any of the 6 stages to play through in any order), and each Master Bot you defeated rewarded you with a new weapon.
The Master Bots were each weak to one other weapon, so by beating Guts Man you get the ability to throw rocks, allowing you to defeat Cuts Man extremely easily. This is known as the Rock, Paper, Scissors style of gameplay that Pokemon would later go nuts with.
The first Mega Man game is good, but it wasn’t until Mega Man 2 that the franchise took off and became a legend. Instead of just 6 Master Bots, there were 8 (the series standard). Levels were perfectly designed, bosses were interesting, the difficulty was just hard enough without being overly frustrating, and the game was just fun, the most important factor in all games.
This is a game I’m going to consider a skill-building game. To be good at platform shooters, this is one of the games to start with. When you develop the needed skills here then you will be a stronger gamer in the future. No tutorials, no holding your hand through the stages, nothing to make it overly complex.
This is a proving ground for young gamers. The older generation had to prove their worth on the field of Mega, now it’s the new generation’s turn. Mega Man 9 may be out on Wii Ware, Xbox Live Arcade, and Playstation Network, but Mega Man 2 shows where it got its roots.
Go find a copy of the game and at least get to Wily’s castle for the absolute best track available on the NES. Kids, the music in this game is so deeply imbedded in the minds of older gamers that we’ve considered having these songs played at our graduations, weddings, and funerals. Respect the classics and indulge.
You won’t have to spend more than a day to power through the game in one sitting, though it does have a password system for the scrubs who need a few tries or have other things to do in between gaming sessions.