Do you have a game that you just love going back to and replaying? When you think back to a game that has a lot of good memories for you, what game comes to mind?
For me, that game is Mega Man 2 on the NES.
This game embodies what I really enjoy most about video games in general.
- It’s easy to pick up
- It’s challenging, but not unfair
- The music is awesome
- The controls are responsive
- The graphics were pretty good (at the time)
- And the US version box art suffers from being game box art from the 80’s
Nothing quite like a realistic interpretation of 8 bit graphics...
All in all, this game punches me right in the nostalgia organ.
The game gives a little bit of a backdrop to the story, but as an 8 or 9 year old, I didn’t care – I just knew I was a robot that got to blow up other robots and steal their weapons!
I first played Mega Man 2 at a friend’s house – we had no idea with level to choose first, so we just keep guessing until we found one that we could actually beat.
One of the great things about this game is that it is non-linear, so you have complete freedom for which of the 8 robot masters you want to face first.
There are a few different orders that I have heard recommended over the years, but as I kid, I had a very simple strategy: Start with the stage that has the most awesome music first! For me, that was Bubble Man.
I remember renting a copy of the game (remember video/videogame rental store that you actually walked into?) and meticulously writing down the passwords on sheets of folded paper, as I progressed through the game. I even made a little 2”x 2” booklet, with a cover and it was done in color.
When I finally made it to Dr. Wily’s castle, it seemed even more difficult to pass the stages with the even more difficult bosses. I will also point out that the music for Dr. Wily’s first stage is simply legendary, so if you have yet to hear it for some crazy reason, go do so.
I’ll wait here.
See? How awesome was that?
I have lost count of how many times I have played through this game, but I can reliably complete the game using one life (but a few e-tanks). Even so, this game has not lost it’s fun factor, and it feels like I notice something new about it each time I play through.
I encourage you to check it out, if at all possible on the original hardware – NES. With 1.5 Million copies out there, I’m sure you can find one at a good price.
There are several other releases of the game:
A mostly unmolested port on the PS2 or Gamecube – as part of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection (This will get you all the Numbered Games in the Mega Man series, and a few other bonuses)
A small screen, slightly broken version for the iOS (just $.99)
A fun remake on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive included as part of the Wily Wars compilation – this one is a bit more rare, and more of an investment, but the updated graphics and music make it worth it for the Mega Man fan.
Note: the Game Boy version of Mega Man 2 really is a completely different game (4 of the Robot Masters are the same, but the stages are redesigned as is the music)
That’s not a complete list of all the ports, but it is the most common.
Summary – Mega Man 2 is a MUST HAVE for any gamer, no matter what platform you choose to play it on, this is an excellent example of classic gaming at it’s finest.