Following up my Mega Man 5 NES blog is another blog about an underrated Mega Man game: Mega Man II for the original Game Boy.
This game is considered by many to be the worst Game Boy Mega Man game and one of the worst games in the franchise, usually only ranking above the worst of the worst (like the Mega Man DOS games). Many still like the game, but some have said several negative things about it and the game's ratings are low for a Mega Man game. Common criticisms include high-pitched music, the game being too easy, and somewhat poor level design. The game introduced a new character named Quint, who is not really a favorite among very many fans of the series.
The game was developed by Japan System House (later known as Blox), a company who had no prior experience working on games in the series. It was also rushed, with the Japanese version of the game (Rockman World 2) being released only five months after the Japanese version of Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (Rockman World). This would be the only Mega Man game the company ever worked on, as the company that developed the first Mega Man Game Boy game (Minakuchi Engineering) also developed Mega Man III, IV, and V.
While Mega Man II is a flawed game and Capcom was wise to hire Minakuchi Engineering to develop the rest of the Mega Man games for the original Game Boy, I have to say that it is still a reasonably good game. I agree that it is the worst Game Boy Mega Man game, but there are a few things about it that make it stand out. A few good ideas that, in my opinion, should've been used in other games in the series and others that should've been used more often.
Why Mega Man II For Original Game Boy is Pretty Good
1.It is fun sliding around in the Mega Man 2 stages
Mega Man didn't get the slide until Mega Man 3 for the NES. This game combines characters and features from both Mega Man 2 and 3, meaning you can slide in the stages that have the Mega Man 2 bosses.
2.Rush Marine is actually useful
In most of the few games that it has been in, Rush Marine isn't very useful. Rush Marine only works in water, and Rush Coil and Rush Jet work just about anywhere...including in water!
The one exception is this game. In this game, unlike Mega Man 3, Rush Jet doesn't work in water. Rush Marine, of course, only works in water and there aren't many stages in the game that have water sections. But in the few water areas the game does have, Rush Marine really comes in handy. You can use it to get passed spikes and enemies in Woodman's stage, or ride it instead of jumping on the disappearing blocks in Top Man's stage.
I don't really mind that Rush Marine was removed from later Mega Man games, but it's still nice to see that it is useful in one Mega Man game.
3.The Teleporters in Dr. Wily's Fortress lead to other stages
When I first played this game in the early 2000's, what surprised me the most about it were the Teleporters in Dr. Wily's Fortress. In most of the Mega Man games, they lead to rooms where you battle clones of the first eight bosses/robot masters (or six, in the case of Mega Man 1 on NES). In this game they don't just lead to another boss battle, they lead to more stages (with passwords given for each). The game retains the idea from Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge by featuring bosses from the next NES Mega Man game, with four bosses from Mega Man 3 since the other four from Mega Man 2 are fought in the first Game Boy Mega Man game. This trend would continue with Mega Man III and IV on Game Boy, but with the last four regular bosses being in regular stages instead of Dr. Wily stages.
4.The game has some nice little touches
Despite being released only a few months after the first Game Boy Mega Man game, Mega Man II has some nice touches you don't see in most other Mega Man games (only some of the later ones). For example, if you call Rush, open the weapon screen, and select something else, you still see him teleport away. He doesn't just disappear if you open the weapon screen, unlike a lot of other Mega Man games. Another detail is when Mega Man rides on the spinning tops in, where else, Top Man's stage. In Mega Man 3 for NES, he just faces whatever direction he's already facing while on the tops. In this game he faces different directions while on the tops, as if he's really spinning around in a circle. The way he spins is not as detailed as when he stands on the spinning platforms in Stone Man's stage in Mega Man 5 for NES, but it is still somewhat of an improvement over Mega Man 3. The Mega Man logo on the title screen flashes, something that isn't included in Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge but is included in the other Game Boy Mega Man games.
5.You can use Mega Man 2 weapons on Mega Man 3 enemies
As mentioned above, the game has features from both Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 for the NES. In addition to being able to use the slide in stages with the bosses from Mega Man 2, you can also use weapons from Mega Man 2 on enemies from Mega Man 3.
6.The game is a little weird sometimes
OK, maybe this isn't a reason why the game is good. But I thought I'd point out that it is also a little strange. Like in this section of Crashman's stage, some enemies only appear if you run to the right and back. Otherwise, they don't appear.
7.Some of the music is great
That's right, I'm praising some of the music from one of the most criticized Mega Man soundtracks of all time. The title screen music is memorable, and a remixed version of it is included in Mega Man Anniversary Collection (it's one of the remixes included in the "Homage to Mega Man" music track). The music tracks in Hard Man's and Needle Man's stages sound...interesting.
The credits music is one of the saddest music tracks I've ever heard in a Mega Man game, but is also kind of catchy and makes you feel like you've accomplished something.
8.The final stage is interesting
While technically all of the stages are different, most of them reuse a lot of graphics and ideas from Mega Man 2 and 3 on NES. The final stage is the only all-new stage in the game, and it is kind of interesting. Look at the clocks in the background. While time travel is involved according to the story in the manual, the background features melting clocks that are similar to the painting "Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali.
This is also another stage where Rush Marine is useful.
Another underrated Mega Man game with some good ideas. I'm not saying that everyone "hates" Mega Man II on Game Boy, but over the years I have noticed that it gets bashed somewhat. Sometimes a little unfairly. While Capcom made the right choice to let Minakuchi Engineering develop the rest of the Mega Man games for the original Game Boy (they had more experience and a better understanding of what the series is about), I think the development team that worked at Japan System House deserve some credit. Considering they had very little time to make this game and didn't know much about Mega Man, I think they did a good job. This is coming from someone who's been a fan of the series for over thirty years.
Mega Man II was re-released as a Player's Choice game in 1998, which doesn't surprise me at all. It is a good game.
It is also the perfect compliment to a blue Game Boy Pocket.
The SNES's Super Game Boy and the GameCube's Game Boy Player are also great.
Edited by MegaMan52
Fixed typos and added pictures and videos