For years I’d heard about how the Mega Man games were shining jewels in the crown of the NES, but unfortunately my experience of the first game wasn’t particularly great. I did have fun with it, but primarily because it was obnoxiously hard and I found that funny. It was the kind of experience I wasn’t really keen to have again any time soon, so I never really invested in the broader Mega Man series. However, after having a really good time with Shovel Knight, which I knew was partially influenced by the Mega Man, I decided to give it another go.
As is often the case when I haven’t enjoyed the first game in a series, I’m really glad I came back for the sequel because it was fantastic. On the surface, it’s very similar to the first game – visually it’s almost identical and you start the game with a choice of Robot Masters to face: Bubble Man, Air Man, Quick Man, Heat Man, Wood Man, Metal Man, Flash Man and Crash Man. Each one has a level related to their power (like a forest for Wood Man, an underwater level for Bubble Man) and when you go through the level and then beat the Robot Master in a boss battle, you unlock their power which is helpful for the other stages.
The biggest difference is that this game balances its difficulty. It’s not ridiculously hard from the get go and, in fact, only gets really hard towards the very end of the game. The rest of the time, there was just the right level of challenge, which allowed me to truly appreciate the vibrant and colourful world that I was traversing. On top of all that, the game has a fantastic soundtrack (just like its predecessor) and I was able to enjoy it as a really well made 2D platformer.
I now see why the Mega Man series is among the most highly regarded on the NES. Without a doubt, this is one of the best games on the console. If you enjoy NES games or retro gaming in general, I strongly recommend this game, I’m sure you’ll love it!