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Glass Knuckle
12-15-2011, 07:18 PM
I mentioned before that I wanted to try this, and with all the Mega Man talk flying around, it might as well be now. I'll be playing through each of the NES games and reviewing their stages, with the help of vgmaps.com and screenshots where necessary. I'm not going to go over the story, explain the game in detail, or post as though I'm doing a single runthrough, but if anyone feels like I'm treading too close to Let's Play territory I'll take my spot in the queue. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but we'll see what happens.

I'm not really grading on a curve, but I'll give stages credit for standing out or doing something interesting for where they are in the series. The main things to look out for are:

-How well does the game teach new players to survive obstacles without killing them? This is particularly important in Mega Man since any stage could potentially be someone's first.

-How well does the stage mix threats? I'm talking about things like fighting a big enemy while a bunch of faster ones try to distract you, or fighting enemies with projectiles while jumping over pits.

-How much of a basic platforming challenge does the stage offer?

-How much choice is the player offered in how they approach obstacles?

-How well do the game's weapons factor into the player's choices?


We'll be starting with Mega Man 1 *rolls die*

Guts Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-GutsMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOZgd8LA33A)

If you don't remember the weapons in this one, here is a handy explanation. (http://megaman.wikia.com/wiki/Mega_Man_%28video_game%29#Weapons)

I'm going to avoid talking about the Magnet Beam for the most part since it's basically a "get out of platforming free" card. It can be used pretty much anywhere to great effect.

Since vgmaps doesn't show enemies or moving objects, most of my screenshots will be for that purpose.

http://i.imgur.com/RhyUB.png http://i.imgur.com/C0Xra.png http://i.imgur.com/BCzcV.png http://i.imgur.com/gcWNq.png

We start off with three...erm...*checks art book* Metalls on platforms of various heights. A nice touch here is that Mega Man starts within their attack range but not in their line of fire, so a new player can see right away what mets do. The following platform is kind of difficult to get the hang of, but the first one doesn't have a hole in the track, so players are free to stand there and watch how the next one works.

http://i.imgur.com/LqKnO.png

I like that there are multiple places where one could jump from the second platform to the third, though the third one goes on a bit too long. I'd have preferred a few staggered gaps to 4-5 (depending on where you land) identical ones in a row. I don't like the last jump, as you have to already know that you're supposed to be standing on the edge of the platform to make it in time, which most people aren't going to be thinking about while they're trying not to die on the gaps. At least it's early in the level.

http://i.imgur.com/93LJR.png http://i.imgur.com/woOMB.png

The next enemy we see is...Bunby Heli? A-anyway, these things fly forward and dive downward fast when they get close. Fireman's weapon is great for fast-moving things like these. This is a nice, safe place to see them initially and there's a health refill right after, so they're being pretty nice now. Next up is Pickelman (Ha! Sorry, I haven't paid much attention to the names until now), who throws picks at you without mercy until you kill him. There's four of them in a row and they can take a while to figure out (don't try to dodge, just move forward slowly while shooting). It may have been better to put that energy refill in the middle of these guys. Despite the platforms, there's no functional difference between fights. I'd have put at least one of them at a different height or something.

http://i.imgur.com/yyMNG.png http://i.imgur.com/Rta7K.png

The following drop is a good introduction to what we'll see much more of throughout the series. The first two screens of it have more Bunby Helis, and some will be lower than you. There are two spike traps below, but both offer plenty of time to move out of the way. The large health and extra life are nice rewards if you manage to get to them or have the Magnet Beam. The bottom pits you against one Big Eye, who I kind of hate in this game for taking so many hits and taking a third of your health bar if you touch them. The Ice weapon is useful if you can catch them in a high jump, but it's difficult to do here since he's lower than you.

And that's it. The whole level. Doesn't seem like much, and even for the first game this was a pretty short one. Aside from that Big Eye at the end, each enemy is introduced in relative safety, and everything but the mets are made easier with the right weapons. The main failing of this stage is that it offers each obstacle in turn without mixing threats. The closest it gets is making you fight Helis on small platforms, but you're supposed to fall anyway so they're actually less threatening than the first ones. It's a decent stage to start with if you make it past the moving platforms, but bland overall.

Graphics and music are serviceable for the first game, and the rocky background at least gives you the sense of being in a real place, unlike some of the others. For a mountain/mineshaft theme, it could have used more variation in the terrain during fights. The most jagged piece of the stage is where the health item is between enemy groups.


I'll avoid talking about the boss fights for now, since I'd rather compare them all together if I continue this. Again, not sure how this is going to work out, but I'll keep at it as long as there's some interest.

Sprite
12-15-2011, 07:26 PM
If you managed to do all of them, I would be very interested in a comparison/contrast between 9/10 and the NES games, and what lessons level designers as a whole seem to have learned in the interim time. I'm a big fan of 9's rooms which teach you a new gameplay concept works in a safe environment, though I wonder sometimes if that's too blatant a "let me teach you" moment. I forget, did the earlier games do that?

Kazin
12-15-2011, 07:49 PM
Hey, this is pretty cool. I'll keep reading it, keep it up! And I echo Sprite's statements about 9/10.

Bongo Bill
12-15-2011, 07:53 PM
This interests me.

Parish
12-15-2011, 08:03 PM
This is nice. I like it.

The great thing about the placement of the crazy lifts so early in Guts Man's stage is that it gives me a sense of whether or not I'm in the "zone" for playing this game. If I can make it past the broken tracks without falling, I know I'll do fine and keep going. If I screw up, it means my action reflexes are feeling "off" and I should play something with menus and turn-based commands for a while.

dosboot
12-15-2011, 09:01 PM
This sounds great. Keep going and we will keep reading and have lots more to say I'm sure :)

I also want to say something about this:

though I wonder sometimes if that's too blatant a "let me teach you" moment.

This general sort of thing in games starts to bug me nowadays, although not really in Megaman. I've never been brave enough to say it though, because clearly designing levels to cleverly teach the player should be praised, right? I can't give a perfect example at the moment of when a game overdoes it, but it comes down to those gentle introductions feeling like a waste of time when the real thing isn't THAT threatening.

Destil
12-15-2011, 09:43 PM
For some reason I always thing this stage is about twice as long with a second wire-platform section after the drop. That's more inline with later games in the series, which is possibly why I think that. Or maybe Powered Up did that? Or both?

Prinnydood
12-15-2011, 09:48 PM
Powered Up extended Guts Man's stage quite a bit, adding more dropping platforms into the mix.

Rascally Badger
12-15-2011, 09:53 PM
I have beaten every Mega Man game except for Mega Man 1. I have never gotten past those moving platforms. Never.

Prinnydood
12-16-2011, 12:10 AM
And hilariously enough you need the Super Arm to get the Magnet Beam that would make that part a breeze. At least it can be used to get through that stupid zigzagging platform section of Ice Man's stage.

Donny
12-16-2011, 12:12 AM
And hilariously enough you need the Super Arm to get the Magnet Beam that would make that part a breeze. At least it can be used to get through that stupid zigzagging platform section of Ice Man's stage.

You can actually get it using Elec Man's weapon as well. Which means doing Elec Man's stage TWICE. There is no easy solution there!

Prinnydood
12-16-2011, 12:16 AM
Hm, I did not know that. Making Gut's Man's stage easier by going through Elec Man's twice seems like a good trade to me.

Sanagi
12-16-2011, 03:33 AM
Good read. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Big Eyes are so bullshit in Mega Man 1. Wily stage 1 makes that abundantly clear.

Loki
12-16-2011, 03:47 AM
http://i.imgur.com/Rta7K.png

I think you're expected to run forward quickly and hop over the Big Eye. I'm not 100% about this as I've ever gotten past a Big eye without tanking a hit. People complain that the floaty-shoot platforms are MMI's biggest failing but them Big Eyes really are a special kind of bullshit.

Edit: Going back and giving it a shot it looks like it can be done with some careful timing but it's awfuly specific and seems a little too tight to be the "correct way" to proceed.

Brickroad
12-16-2011, 03:59 AM
Glass Knuckle just became my favorite poster.


Snake Man next!

Glass Knuckle
12-16-2011, 06:53 AM
I forgot to mention this, but another problem with that Big Eye is that there's no escape. A lot of encounters with similar enemies in the later games happen in a large flat area (allowing you to run backward and scroll it off the screen) or when you're climbing up a ladder. Here you're dropped into the room, and nobody is going to have time to jump over it and probably won't manage to kill it unless they know it's there. They could easily have put it by the boss door instead to solve that.

Thanks for the feedback. This is exponentially easier than a Let's Play, so I'll try to post one or two stages per day. I'd love to do 9 and 10, but I don't have any way to get screenshots from them and I'm not sure if vgmaps covers them (can't access it from work). At worst I could link to a video playthrough and grab stills for whatever I want to discuss. I'll see what I can do about it when we get there.

TheSL
12-16-2011, 07:14 AM
Why wouldn't you guys just run under the Big Eye? He (randomly?) alternates between short hops that would hit you and tall ones where you can waltz directly underneath.

MCBanjoMike
12-16-2011, 08:15 AM
Why wouldn't you guys just run under the Big Eye? He (randomly?) alternates between short hops that would hit you and tall ones where you can waltz directly underneath.

But to pass under a big hop, you need to commit yourself before knowing what type of jump he's going to make. Choose poorly and you'll get hit, although I suppose a 50% chance of taking the hit is better than the 100% chance you get if you don't try. Anyway, while Guts Man is usually my second stage when I play Mega Man today (after Bomb Man, who has the best music and is the easiest robot master to beat), the platforming bits used to terrify me. Once I figured out that the timing of the platforms dropping was based on the left side, where they are attached to the rail, it became a relatively easy thing to pass the stage. But the first few times were absolutely harrowing.

The Big Eyes are kind of bullshit, this is true. They basically act as an extra boss gate: don't have at least 1/3 of your life left? Try again! But those floating platforms in the Ice and Wily stages are definitely more infuriating, since they're so damn broken. I think that I've made it through Ice Man's stage without the magnet beam once in my life. Either way, I don't think I'll ever feel compelled to do so again. Magnet Beam 4 Lyfe, yo.

Refa
12-16-2011, 08:35 AM
The Big Eyes always take a large jump (which you can walk under) if you jump right before they do. I thought that was common knowledge.

Balrog
12-16-2011, 08:35 AM
Why wouldn't you guys just run under the Big Eye? He (randomly?) alternates between short hops that would hit you and tall ones where you can waltz directly underneath.

Loki
12-16-2011, 08:59 AM
The problem with Guts Man's stage too is the steps leading down to the Big Eye means that it's harder to run under him if he's using a big jump to hop up to a new level.

Stop pretending it's so easy people!

Glass Knuckle
12-16-2011, 09:20 AM
The Big Eyes always take a large jump (which you can walk under) if you jump right before they do. I thought that was common knowledge.

That's news to me!

My point was only that this particular Big Eye is in an awkward place that puts you at nearly every possible disadvantage when fighting it. That'd be fine in a Wily stage, but in this case I think it ends up being the hardest one to get past, though we'll find out for sure soon enough.

I mean, sure, most of us can get under it or kill it just fine, but I'm trying to look at this from the perspective of someone who hasn't been through it countless times already.

Brickroad
12-16-2011, 10:04 AM
I mean, sure, most of us can get under it or kill it just fine, but I'm trying to look at this from the perspective of someone who hasn't been through it countless times already.

Man, speak for your own dang self. I always get hit by that Big Eye. Those things have way too many gorram hitpoints.

TheSL
12-16-2011, 12:24 PM
Man, speak for your own dang self. I always get hit by that Big Eye. Those things have way too many gorram hitpoints.

I've seen your MM LP's! You take a lot of hits.

taosterman
12-16-2011, 12:55 PM
The Big Eyes always take a large jump (which you can walk under) if you jump right before they do. I thought that was common knowledge.

WHAT

Also I love this thread. More, please!!

Daikaiju
12-16-2011, 03:50 PM
Ooh, I could never get those platforms right. Thank God for the magnet beam.

Glass Knuckle
12-16-2011, 06:16 PM
Ice Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-IceMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1SSaF9k5lQ)

http://i.imgur.com/QEAgM.png http://i.imgur.com/sQNR9.png

Most of the ground in this stage has the usual "ice in video games" slipperiness to it. We start off fighting a few Crazy Razys. These guys die in one hit to the face, but shooting their legs three times will destroy them, causing the upper half to effectively act like a Heli. They'll also do this if they touch you or run into a wall. I like these guys. It's an interesting gimmick, and since the legs take three hits it's pretty easy to kill them without setting the upper half loose. Oh, and they'll occasionally shoot at you if you leave them on the ground.

http://i.imgur.com/IVwbM.png

The next section is a series of jumps in water (which just slows Mega Man down a little in this one) with Gabyoalls (?) on the lower parts, which travel across the ground slowly and speed up if you're on the same level as them. They can also be stunned by shooting them, but that isn't always an option. Most special weapons kill them though, which is one of the most useful things weapons do in this game. This section also has Pepe, a penguin that moves in a sine path, making this the first area with multiple enemies on the same screen. Good start so far.

http://i.imgur.com/FA7ZB.png

This is Adhering Suzy (HAHAHAhahahaaaa). It moves back and forth between two walls, with a long delay in between. They're rarely dangerous (these two move vertically), so they mostly exist as something to pump bullets into for fun.

The following screens have those dreaded vanishing blocks, and thankfully vgmaps shows all of them. Both of these rooms are designed very well. The first immediately teaches you that you sometimes have to ignore the first block that appears after the one you're on, and instead jump to the next as yours vanishes. You'll have to know where the next one will be of course, but there's no pits here so you can take your time with that. The next room is more of the same, but also teaches you that you sometimes have to jump to a block that will appear immediately above you. Again, no pits here, though both rooms have one Gabyoall in the water, which is a minor punishment for failure, but also greatly rewards having an offensive weapon.

http://i.imgur.com/JcTGJ.png

And then...this happens. These are Foot Holders, which move so erratically that they might as well not have a pattern. I just rode one of these for a while and it stayed within a certain horizontal boundary, but made its way across most of the vertical area on the screen. So...you really can't count on them being where you want them once you commit to a jump, and as an extra kick in the sack, they occasionally shoot horizontally and sometimes have shoddy hit detection. There are 8 of these, with a tiny (and slippery) platform breaking them up in the middle. I swear these things only exist to troll you for not having the magnet beam, or for using it on the previous blocks. The energy refill is probably just there because they felt bad about it later.

http://i.imgur.com/gVoH6.png

After some freebie items, there's another Big Eye before the boss door, though this one's on flat ground at least.

I forgot to mention it before, but in this game the hallways between boss doors have enemies in them. There's not a lot else to say about the horizontal ones, but this has Pepes and I think Guts Man's had Metalls.

This was almost a solid level for the first game. The few enemies it had were used well, special weapons were extremely helpful, and the block sections teach you everything you need to know about them for the rest of the series. Unfortunately those Foot Holders are just terrible. They'd be ok if there was only one at a time between solid ground, but jumping from one to another is mostly a crap shoot.

The graphics are nice though. The clouds and ice look fine, and the frozen palm trees make it look like this used to be a tropical place that Ice Man came in and ruined. You don't often get hints and what awful things the bosses are actually up to. The music has a decent melody for half of it but is kind of annoying otherwise.

Daikaiju
12-16-2011, 06:43 PM
Ice Man made me hate and dread moving blocks. SO MUCH RAGE.

Prinnydood
12-16-2011, 06:58 PM
I love how in Powered Up, Mega Man will cry out when he's slipping. It's a little thing but it's neat to see all of the Robot Masters do it in their own way too.

Ice Man's stage is tailor-made for the Magnet Beam. I've done that zig-zag platforming part exactly two times and both times were by luck.

Glass Knuckle
12-16-2011, 07:01 PM
They're all from the Official Complete Works art book.

Sanagi
12-16-2011, 08:03 PM
I always forget that MM1 always puts a final gauntlet inside the boss door corridor. It doesn't feel right, does it? And not just because Mega Man tradition dictates that the doors are the end of the level. They changed it after MM1 because it's better that way.

Destil
12-16-2011, 09:26 PM
Nevermind that when you die fighting a boss, you have to fight some mooks on the way back. You might not even start round two at full health!

Foot Holders are the single worst thing in MM1. I'd take a room with two big eyes over those.

RT-55J
12-16-2011, 10:29 PM
Fun fact: You know how by just standing on the footholders you just randomly get hit and die? The reason for this is that footholders have two turrets (one on each side) and said turrets shoot in the opposite directions of what they're supposed to.

Seriously.

Tavir
12-16-2011, 11:31 PM
Man, looking at these two levels is making me reconsider my original vote for worst 8-bit Mega Man (5). Granted, these are by a huge margin the worst levels of the robot masters (maybe the whole game?), but the fact that they just throw these difficult obstacles at you pretty much immediately? It's pretty insane how quickly the team was able to refine their technique and make such an amazing sequel.

These were the last two levels I beat as a kid. It took me a while to even realize there was a moving platform in Guts Man, since I would approach the rail, see nothing, wait a while (I had little patience as a kid), and then just try jumping for it. And I used to consider Ice Man impossible without the magnet beam.

Daikaiju
12-16-2011, 11:34 PM
I do miss the power capsule design from the first game. The blinking bulbs of the later games always felt kinda lazy by comparison...

Issun
12-17-2011, 12:14 AM
The great thing about the placement of the crazy lifts so early in Guts Man's stage is that it gives me a sense of whether or not I'm in the "zone" for playing this game. If I can make it past the broken tracks without falling, I know I'll do fine and keep going. If I screw up, it means my action reflexes are feeling "off" and I should play something with menus and turn-based commands for a while.

This is so for me, as well. Except if I'm not in the "zone", I persevere anyway, and then spend an angry twenty minutes on Iceman and/or Dr. Wily 1 because I wasn't in the "zone" and stupidly went ahead anyway.

Glass Knuckle
12-17-2011, 05:42 PM
Elec Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-ElecMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2VNoFhYL1g)

http://i.imgur.com/0ppp3.png http://i.imgur.com/YSKrF.png

We start out having to climb a few platforms guarded by Gabyoalls, pass a couple timed electric traps (shown on the map), and climb ladders with Watchers (green things in second pic) harassing us. Watchers float toward you from the top or bottom of the screen and fire lasers when they're close. Shoot left or right as they get near and they won't hit you. I like that getting the life capsule requires climbing down from the above room. After the first group of Watchers, there's a couple screens with vanishing blocks,* but not enough of them to cause headaches.

The following room with single blocks to jump across and open air below is repeated later, which would be acceptable if they'd done something different with them, but neither include enemies.

http://i.imgur.com/BakgL.png http://i.imgur.com/W6Mvz.png

The next section is split, with Gabyoalls on the left and electric traps on the right, with Watchers showing up a couple more times. You can get the magnet beam halfway up with Guts Man's weapon, and there's a few liftable blocks in the middle if you want to switch sides, though their placement isn't particularly helpful.

http://i.imgur.com/kcg8P.png http://i.imgur.com/ynXMv.png

The block at the end of the right path is a dick move, since if you can't lift it you'd have to climb all the way back to the magnet beam. There's also Blasters in this shot, which bounce around aggressively. They're not really dangerous here, and the one on top is likely to jump off if you're on the left path. The boss door is guarded once again by a Big Eye, and there's more electric traps on the way to Elec Man.

Though the level is larger than the previous two, it doesn't make good use of it. Most of its challenges are repeated, and while the split path is a nice idea, they screwed up badly with Guts Man blocks. There's also the fact that the magnet beam is required for the Wily stages, so players are going to have to do the stage over again if they can't get it. Offensive weapons are almost too good in this stage, since Gabyoalls are the main threat. A completely vertical level is a neat idea, but this one mostly wasted the opportunity it had.

The sky background is rather sickly looking, but I like that the hallway leading to Elec Man is brighter, as though he's stealing all the power from the place. I'm not a fan of the music.


*vgmaps screwed up here. There's a screen showing the first four blocks, and an identical one without them below. Only one room like that exists.

Destil
12-17-2011, 08:14 PM
I'm not a fan of the music.Thread 1 stared.

(not really)

Refa
12-17-2011, 08:29 PM
That's news to me!

My point was only that this particular Big Eye is in an awkward place that puts you at nearly every possible disadvantage when fighting it. That'd be fine in a Wily stage, but in this case I think it ends up being the hardest one to get past, though we'll find out for sure soon enough.

I mean, sure, most of us can get under it or kill it just fine, but I'm trying to look at this from the perspective of someone who hasn't been through it countless times already.

Fair enough, I'm not disagreeing with what you said about it being a design flaw. I'm just bewildered that people here didn't understand how to get through it. Or maybe they understand the concept and still find the enemies frustrating? I STILL get hit by those damn things myself.

Also, keep up the good work! Personally, my favorite level from Mega Man 1 was Wily 3, even though it wasn't really that well designed of a level

Prinnydood
12-17-2011, 08:37 PM
I have a real soft spot for Elec Man's stage. I like the aesthetic when it's not a dark blue background and the verticality still strikes me as rather unique. Elec Man himself is also piss easy even without the Rolling Cutter. Plus, the music is great and was given an excellent remix in Powered Up.

Daikaiju
12-17-2011, 08:57 PM
Elec Man's stage was pretty sweet. I always did it twice to snag the magnet beam, saving Guts for last.

Glass Knuckle
12-17-2011, 09:02 PM
Bomb Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-BombMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HdCs1dvQ7M)

http://i.imgur.com/9HKcO.png http://i.imgur.com/7CgRU.png http://i.imgur.com/ByH6f.png http://i.imgur.com/J1k1O.png

Right away, a Blaster jumps into our face. Then a bunch more. Combined with the staggered terrain, this is already among the best couple screens we've seen so far. The exploding thing is a Bombombomb (henceforth referred to as a bomb because fuck that), which would have been more fun if each encounter wasn't exactly the same.

http://i.imgur.com/siDKb.png http://i.imgur.com/210T4.png

The next section offers an upper path leading to life capsules, with Screwdrivers (Screws. They're clearly screws.) waiting below. The upper path is actually a trap, as it's much easier to go down and kill the enemies, and the health can be picked up from the other side. Not sure if that was intentional, but it's amusing at least. The Mambus (fires a series of bullets at different angles when open, can't be harmed when closed) in the next shot can be killed by shooting through the wall, which is important to know throughout the series. They're being really generous with that health now.

http://i.imgur.com/gbxfm.png http://i.imgur.com/6GCOm.png

Our first Sniper Joe jumps in (if you're somehow not familiar with these, their shield blocks your shots, but they have to move it when they want to shoot), followed by a mix of Mambus and Killer Bombs (explodes when shot). Unfortunately, this section is also identical throughout.

http://i.imgur.com/r6gP0.png http://i.imgur.com/ut6qq.png http://i.imgur.com/nSWhF.png

Next up is a variety of platforms with Gabyoalls, three small platforms with Killer Bombs chasing you across, and a Kamadoma, which fires in all directions as we cross some spikes. The first two are interesting without being too difficult, and the last at least gives us the chance to see what Kamadoma does before we try to cross.

http://i.imgur.com/8OAmb.png http://i.imgur.com/qdYzH.png http://i.imgur.com/jxHfj.png

Kamadomas continue to appear until this section, where we have an optional fight with a Joe for an extra life. His shield won't protect him while he's jumping, so we're free to stand there and fire until he dies. Another Joe guards the boss door, and inside is a vertical drop/climb filled with Adhering Suzys.

This one was pretty impressive after what we've seen. It has a great variety in both enemies and terrain, marred only by a couple instances where you'll be jumping across four of the same platform. There's bullets flying all over the place, and each Joe is fought under different circumstances. It could have placed that large energy refill later in the stage instead of the next screen after the little ones though.

The floor sprites are just boring white pipes, but those things in the background look cool. I also like the music here.

EDIT: And suddenly a bunch of <3 Elec Man posts show up. The vertical theme and split path certainly help it stand out despite its flaws, but if there's anything else you felt I was too harsh on, feel free to elaborate.

Kishi
12-17-2011, 11:27 PM
I always forget that MM1 always puts a final gauntlet inside the boss door corridor. It doesn't feel right, does it? And not just because Mega Man tradition dictates that the doors are the end of the level. They changed it after MM1 because it's better that way.

MM1 was originally going to be a Famicom Disk System game, so those corridors were placed and populated as a natural point for the game to load the bosses. Since subsequent games were designed with cartridges in mind, they had no such need, giving us the abbreviated corridors we know and love.



http://i.imgur.com/0ppp3.png

I'm surprised you glossed over this room, since it's always been irritating for me. The positioning needed to hop to the next level without walking off the edge or hitting your head on the ceiling is far too precise, and it's even worse if you don't have anything to kill those enemies.

Brickroad
12-18-2011, 01:10 AM
Seeing the levels broken down like this is just reinforcing my opinion that MM1 is the worst of the NES MM games. It's not just the Ice Man platforms, or spikes killing you through hitstun, or the nigh-unavoidable big eye monsters... it's that every single stage has that undercurrent of frustration. Most of these stages are just inane filler, broken up by one goddamn jump that you can't make consistently.

MM5 and MM6 catch some static for lame, uninspired, forgettable levels... but I'll take them over "oh god not this part again" any day.

ghosttaster
12-18-2011, 06:42 AM
MM1 was originally going to be a Famicom Disk System game, so those corridors were placed and populated as a natural point for the game to load the bosses. Since subsequent games were designed with cartridges in mind, they had no such need, giving us the abbreviated corridors we know and love.

Interesting, where'd you read that?

Glass Knuckle
12-18-2011, 08:42 AM
I'm surprised you glossed over this room, since it's always been irritating for me. The positioning needed to hop to the next level without walking off the edge or hitting your head on the ceiling is far too precise, and it's even worse if you don't have anything to kill those enemies.

I forgot how hard those jumps can be. My thoughts when doing that was "at least they were nice enough to give me three blocks of headroom." It's the jumps with two blocks of space that need to die in a fire, like if you go for the large energy refill. I really should have mentioned what a deathtrap that is, but I'm so used to ignoring it that it didn't register on my way through.

There's also a section similar to the first room (first screen after the split) if you take the left path, which is even worse since the platforms are smaller. At least you can skip that one. I noticed while looking at this again that if you try to take the left path, one of the Watchers will be coming down on your ladder, so you need to kill them elsewhere before going up. That looks like a dick move, but I kinda like that the left path encourages (and later forces) you to fight Watchers without being on a ladder, just for something different.

Netbrian
12-18-2011, 09:22 AM
In retrospect, I think that the versions of these levels in the GB Megaman 1 actually age better than the originals. Especially Ice Man.

SpoonyGundam
12-18-2011, 09:37 AM
http://i.imgur.com/0ppp3.pngI'm surprised you glossed over this room, since it's always been irritating for me. The positioning needed to hop to the next level without walking off the edge or hitting your head on the ceiling is far too precise, and it's even worse if you don't have anything to kill those enemies.

This time, I thought, I was ready.
But those stairs right at the start of the stage!
I struggled, but I couldn't climb up! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFtkDEAhWC8)

Octopus Prime
12-18-2011, 10:17 AM
In retrospect, I think that the versions of these levels in the GB Megaman 1 actually age better than the originals. Especially Ice Man.

Oh they certainly do. If nothing else, the themed gimmicks in each level make a lot more sense.

SpoonyBardOL
12-18-2011, 10:18 AM
This time, I thought, I was ready.
But those stairs right at the start of the stage!
I struggled, but I couldn't climb up! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFtkDEAhWC8)

And now you have to do Air Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opADNvgeZYY).

Because Meme.

Kazin
12-18-2011, 10:23 AM
MM1 was originally going to be a Famicom Disk System game, so those corridors were placed and populated as a natural point for the game to load the bosses. Since subsequent games were designed with cartridges in mind, they had no such need, giving us the abbreviated corridors we know and love.

Really? Wow! I had no idea. Where did you hear about that?

I'm surprised you glossed over this room, since it's always been irritating for me. The positioning needed to hop to the next level without walking off the edge or hitting your head on the ceiling is far too precise, and it's even worse if you don't have anything to kill those enemies.

YES. God I friggin hate that room so much.

I look forward to seeing the Wily levels broken down. In most Mega Man games, I'll play the all the Man levels, then quit because the Wily levels are too hard to be fun. Yeah, I know I'm a wuss, but once I've beaten the game once I don't need to go back and play those friggin levels.

Kishi
12-18-2011, 01:56 PM
Interesting, where'd you read that?

I believe it originated from some old interview. The website where I first saw it no longer exists, but I've seen the factoid posted around (http://www.giantbomb.com/mega-man/61-5251) elsewhere (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DynamicLoading).


This time, I thought, I was ready.
But those stairs right at the start of the stage!
I struggled, but I couldn't climb up! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFtkDEAhWC8)

This is great.

Glass Knuckle
12-18-2011, 06:15 PM
Cut Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-CutMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWvnbd9wcPg)

http://i.imgur.com/ElWmo.png http://i.imgur.com/w7S9y.png

Cut Man starts of with a few platforms and Helis. There's also ladders to nowhere because...they're decorative I guess? After that are two Mambus, one of which is unlikely to ever shoot near you. This screen is just a warmup though, because...

http://i.imgur.com/OaSkj.png http://i.imgur.com/QLaee.png http://i.imgur.com/51TSu.png

the next three screens are Mambu gauntlets. I like the ladder to the left in the second shot. It serves no practical purpose, but I like little choices like this since any doubt cast into the player's head is one more thing distracting them from the bullet heading towards their face. The bottom Mambu in the third shot also helps teach players that shooting through walls is helpful.

http://i.imgur.com/gmBur.png http://i.imgur.com/yHYky.png

This machine here shoots blades at you as you pass under it. Walking forward without stopping is enough to avoid damage, but a Blaster will jump into your face as soon as you're past it, with a couple more backing it up. The next screen has Adhering Suzys. Again, these usually can't hurt you as long as you don't walk into them.

http://i.imgur.com/bB6lQ.png http://i.imgur.com/7Lgd7.png http://i.imgur.com/zpqad.png

As with the Mambus, the next three screens are various configurations of Suzys. None are dangerous if you take it slow.

http://i.imgur.com/sHf8g.png http://i.imgur.com/NPq28.png http://i.imgur.com/BQMdl.png

The next blade machine doesn't have any enemies accompanying it. Not sure why they decided to make the second one easier, but those two screens just have that and a couple Helis at the other end. Anyway, the screens afterward just ask you to dodge some Kamadomas as you drop. Once more there's a Big Eye at the end, though you can escape up the ladder if it gets too close. The boss hallway just has some Screwdrivers.

I'm not sure what to say about this one. It's kinda the boring, average stage for this game. There's a lot of useless platforms scattered around, which is nice when there's nothing else to do with the space, but the Mambu screens and the drop at the end are the only ones that seem to be trying to hurt you. I think the Suzys are throwing it off, as they just aren't interesting on their own. They're best as a minor distraction while you fight something else. It's a good level to start with though.

The graphics are pretty bland, but I think the music has the best melody we've heard so far.

Kishi
12-18-2011, 08:57 PM
Cut Man's stage is the correct starting point, if only because of the first three seconds of its music.

Brickroad
12-18-2011, 09:05 PM
Cut Man's stage is so dull. Another room packed full of octobatteries!? oh boy can't wait

Zodar
12-18-2011, 09:09 PM
http://i.imgur.com/8OAmb.png http://i.imgur.com/qdYzH.png http://i.imgur.com/jxHfj.png

oh my god

those things in the background

you end the level by... climbing up into one. of course.

Kishi
12-18-2011, 09:12 PM
You actually climb down to Bomb Man's room.

. . .

MCBanjoMike
12-18-2011, 09:14 PM
I always thought "Adhering Susies" were called Octopus Batteries. Did I just make that up when I was a kid? Either way, it's definitely a better name for them.

Prinnydood
12-18-2011, 09:30 PM
I always thought "Adhering Susies" were called Octopus Batteries. Did I just make that up when I was a kid? Either way, it's definitely a better name for them.

For some reason, I remember people calling it this too.

manicmailman
12-18-2011, 09:45 PM
For some reason, I remember people calling it this too.

Mebbe this can explain it? (http://megaman.wikia.com/wiki/Octopus_Battery)

And this is a great thread; reminds me of what I did to make myself play through MegamanZXA where I wrote down my thoughts about each "level" after I beat them. Admittedly, I was looking for clear reasons to hate the game (rather than pure blind hate) since I hated the first one, but in the end came away having decent fun with it but not enough to do any of the game's extra stuff. The puzzle based game was surprisingly fun as well; too bad you needed two players just to play it.

Daikaiju
12-18-2011, 10:53 PM
I remember calling the helicopter guys Bladers. I think I got that from the Captain N cartoon.

Cut Man's stage is the correct starting point, if only because of the first three seconds of its music.

Kishi gets it.

Loki
12-18-2011, 11:05 PM
They were known as Bladers around my schoolyard too.

:itsamysteryghost:

Glass Knuckle
12-19-2011, 04:04 AM
Those are the names we got here in the states. I'm just using the translated Japanese names because I happen to have the art book handy, and because they're much more entertaining.

Glass Knuckle
12-19-2011, 10:37 AM
After thinking about the reactions here a little more, I'm curious about something. The first half of the Mega Man series has a bunch of segments that stand out for their difficulty, by requiring either heavy memorization or a level of precision beyond what the rest of the game expects. We've seen plenty of that already with the Guts Man lifts, the latter half of Ice Man, and the first platforms in Elec Man.

One-shot crazy difficulty spikes are just a thing Mega Man does sometimes, so do you prefer those segments to be front-loaded in a stage, or eased into? That is, do you like having the Guts Man lifts right there at the start, or would you have liked it better if there was an easier version of them where they are now, and the current one moved into the latter half of the stage?

Also, how do you feel about such things being there at all? Though some of them go way too far (Ice Man), little speedbumps like that are memorable. They leave a certain impact that a game with a perfectly smooth difficulty curve wouldn't. Those "how the fuck am I going to get through THAT" moments are part of the charm of NES games, so I have a hard time deciding whether something like that is unfair and a bad design decision, or exactly the sort of thing the game needed to get attention and stick in your head. Thinking back to the playground days, moments like Quick Man's stage are the things that we'd talk about most.

Egarwaen
12-19-2011, 01:15 PM
I think the really nasty stuff is best saved for right after the mid-stage checkpoint. That way, you've (probably) already passed an easier version of it earlier in the level to learn how it works, but if you fail, you don't have to slog through a few screens of not-terribly-difficult enemies and obstacles to get to the real challenge. (See: Wily 3 in Brickroad's MM10 Let's Play.)

Yeah, I'm with Nich here. Show me how the components work first, hit a mid-stage checkpoint, and then the brutal version immediately or almost-immediately after. The series gets better and better about this as it goes on (IE, Quick Man's stage is actually pretty good here) with occasional mis-steps (Needle Man Doc Robot).

Glass Knuckle
12-19-2011, 04:47 PM
Fire Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-FireMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzTiHDuGzdI)

http://i.imgur.com/U6BEj.png http://i.imgur.com/YJM7a.png http://i.imgur.com/lma8s.png

We start off going through a few corridors with Screwdrivers. There's not much to these when they're all level with you, but they at least make you walk over one of them. The next part is where things get interesting. Changkeys burst out of the lava and fly straight up off the screen, then slowly drift downward at an angle. In the meantime, you'll need to get past a timed fire trap that moves up and down. It's possible to freeze these and use them as platforms. I love it when Mega Man levels make the boss weakness extremely useful in the stage too, since you'll have to choose carefully which it's worth using on (or kill enemies for refills at the end, whatever).

http://i.imgur.com/t6SJT.png http://i.imgur.com/OWWpl.png

After a few more basic fire traps, you'll come to a different kind that works like Elec Man's traps, with the fire appearing instantly. Unfortunately, a small flame remains when the trap is off, and this deals damage. That would be fine if Mega Man didn't have so little room to jump over it on the very first one you see (unless you use the magnet beam to go over the top). You've only got a pixel or three's leeway here.

http://i.imgur.com/7pVvr.png

This screen is just weird to me. It really looks like they're encouraging me to jump down here, and if this was Mega Man 4 or 6 I'd have immediately assumed it was an alternate path. It isn't.

http://i.imgur.com/GCbHM.png http://i.imgur.com/miZ5x.png

Unless you get lucky on the timing, there's no way to get through these without standing right here or freezing them. Once again, they're really hammering you on precision in this stage if you don't have the proper items. I took a bunch of damage playing with these, and randomly discovered that items regenerate when you leave the screen, so you can fill up here (I was going to show a full health bar in the next shot, but it flickers when too many enemies show up). Oh, and that last hole? It's not a hole.

http://i.imgur.com/EC09r.png http://i.imgur.com/4ACCo.png

These screens are just a mess of Changkeys and fire. Definitely my favorite screens so far, as they're hard but they don't punish you much for not having ice.

http://i.imgur.com/04RSJ.png

Fuck this. There is absolutely no way to get through these without taking damage unless you head straight for the ladder with the magnet beam. Even ice doesn't help. I found out while messing with this that you can actually stand a good ways into the fire before taking damage, and I still couldn't get through the first one, though the second is barely possible with that trick.

http://i.imgur.com/SxObL.png http://i.imgur.com/1QHUL.png

Next up is a bunch of Gabyoalls with Killer Bombs flying around, which would be cool if it was possible to make it over the second Gabyoall without taking damage. As far as I can tell, it isn't. At this point the stage might as well just slap you in the face for not doing it last. The last bit is a few more jumps with Changkeys flying around, then (thankfully) only a couple fire traps in front of the boss door. The hallway has Screwdrivers.

I like the bits with Changkeys, fire traps, and difficult platforming, since not much else in the game combines all that. I'm even more annoyed with forced damage than I am with the Foot Holders though, so I can't really forgive that. I'll admit it's one of the better ones if played last though.

Graphics and music are average for this game.

So that's it for the main stages. I'd do a little compare and contrast here, but I'm out of time for now so I'll leave it for when we start the Wily stages.

ProfessorS
12-19-2011, 05:02 PM
I've never even considered trying Fire Man's stage without the Ice Slasher and Magnet Beam. It just seems more trouble than it would be worth really.

Prinnydood
12-19-2011, 05:55 PM
I love the music in Fire Man's stage. That bass line is extremely catchy. The actual stage isn't all that fun to play through, though. I prefer the Powered Up remix of it over the original. And I never do either without the Ice Slasher. It's too much of a hassle without it.

Refa
12-19-2011, 06:11 PM
Mega Man Powered Up's biggest failing was that it didn't have the Magnet Beam. And more costumes for Roll, I guess?

Prinnydood
12-19-2011, 06:50 PM
But Mega Man Powered Up is so well designed that you don't need the Magnet Beam. Can't say the same about the original, so I don't miss it at all.

Refa
12-19-2011, 07:56 PM
But Mega Man Powered Up is so well designed that you don't need the Magnet Beam. Can't say the same about the original, so I don't miss it at all.

Eh, I still would've liked it on the harder difficulties. Well, I guess it wasn't a big problem though.

Prinnydood
12-19-2011, 08:00 PM
Wouldn't having a Magnet Beam defeat the purpose of doing hard mode?

Kazin
12-19-2011, 08:02 PM
I'm just sad they didn't make a Mega Man Powered Up 2.

Crazy that one hole isn't actually a hole, though. Mega Man's just standing there, fine, for no apparent reason! I wonder if that was intentional or if they forgot to program in a death trigger or whatever.

Destil
12-19-2011, 08:24 PM
I'm just sad they didn't make a Mega Man Powered Up 2.Man... can we not talk about Mega Man games they didn't make for a change? Otherwise I'm going to get depressed.

Crazy that one hole isn't actually a hole, though. Mega Man's just standing there, fine, for no apparent reason! I wonder if that was intentional or if they forgot to program in a death trigger or whatever.

I would guess that there's a limitation in the engine that you can't have bottomless pits on the same screen (within one screen width, at least) of ladders you can climb down. Looking over the maps I don't see any but there are a lot of spikes on screens that contain them instead...

Brickroad
12-19-2011, 08:26 PM
MMPU's main failing is that some of the robot masters are just impossible to play as. The actual level design is great, and the way you have to use some robot master abilities (which differ considerably from Mega Man's!) to collect some of the goodies added a nice, chewy puzzle element. But then you eventually have to fight Ice Man as Fire Man, or whatever, and it's like lolno.

Regulus
12-19-2011, 08:45 PM
CWU-01P with Fire Man is hilarious. Fire Man has it pretty easy against the rest of the game, though. On the other end of the spectrum, almost nothing is fun with Guts or Oil Man.

Beta Metroid
12-19-2011, 10:43 PM
The only one that sucked to play as was Oil Man. Guts Man and Bomb Man require a slower, more deliberate approach, and I appreciated the change of pace. Plus, well-placed Guts blocks can totally cripple at least half the bosses, which makes up for his awkward fighting style. Heck, even though Oil Man was a pain, beating Fire Man on hard mode with him was one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done in a video game.

Loki
12-19-2011, 11:51 PM
I like Powered Up but they gave all the characters these bizarre personalities. Why did they make Elec Man into an effeminate weirdo?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v44/Loki213/CaptainN--article_image.jpg

Does that look like an effeminate weirdo to you?

Prinnydood
12-20-2011, 12:24 AM
I like how diverse in personality the Robot Masters are in Powered Up. Ice Man's split personality, Fire Man's Midwestern pyromaniac schtick, and Elec Man's Shakespeare-esque soliloquies are as memorable as they are weird.

Refa
12-20-2011, 12:30 AM
MMPU's main failing is that some of the robot masters are just impossible to play as. The actual level design is great, and the way you have to use some robot master abilities (which differ considerably from Mega Man's!) to collect some of the goodies added a nice, chewy puzzle element. But then you eventually have to fight Ice Man as Fire Man, or whatever, and it's like lolno.

And the Robot Masters only have one ability, so it kind of limits the amount of options you can have, which is one of the main appeals of a Mega Man game.

Really the biggest problem with PU is the boss rush. I mean, what were they thinking?

Everything else about PU is pretty awesome though. I'm glad they remade Mega Man 1. People seem to really want a PU2, and I do too, but if they were only going to remake 1 of the Classic Mega Man games, I'd probably want it to be Mega Man 1 (7 & 8 got their own high quality fan demakes anyways).

Regulus
12-20-2011, 01:10 AM
If they ever make a second Powered Up, I'd love it if they would set the vertical screen height to match the NES games.

LBD_Nytetrayn
12-20-2011, 01:31 AM
MMPU's main failing is that some of the robot masters are just impossible to play as. The actual level design is great, and the way you have to use some robot master abilities (which differ considerably from Mega Man's!) to collect some of the goodies added a nice, chewy puzzle element. But then you eventually have to fight Ice Man as Fire Man, or whatever, and it's like lolno.

Using Guts Man was the worst, due to the severe limits of how he could generate blocks. Worse is that generating them near an enemy wouldn't destroy them, leaving him in a REALLY bad position sometimes.

Even on Easy, I said "screw this."

OT: Glass Knuckle, did you get my PM?

Glass Knuckle
12-20-2011, 04:49 AM
Would you guys be interested in taking a look at how Powered Up redesigned this game before we move on to 2? I haven't attempted PSP emulation yet but I hear it's fairly easy, so if I get it running we can do that next instead.

@Loki: Oh god that's from Captain N isn't it. I forgot they used Mega Man characters other than, well, Mega Man.

Loki
12-20-2011, 05:09 AM
I'd rather go on to 2 and the rest before Powered Up.

Oh god that's from Captain N isn't it. I forgot they used Mega Man characters other than, well, Mega Man.

http://i.imgur.com/4AzCS.jpg

SpoonyBardOL
12-20-2011, 06:38 AM
Wily!

Besides Eggplant Wizard that's probably the most faithful design in that series.

Until he speaks and starts wheezing anyway.

Bongo Bill
12-20-2011, 07:01 AM
I like Powered Up but they gave all the characters these bizarre personalities. Why did they make Elec Man into an effeminate weirdo?

He wasn't effeminate; he was foppish. There's a difference.

Loki
12-20-2011, 08:08 AM
Foppish = effeminate but cool?

manicmailman
12-20-2011, 10:35 AM
Wouldn't having a Magnet Beam defeat the purpose of doing hard mode?

There's a simple solution for that: Don't use it. Just like how I don't use weapons for almost every aspect of any given MM game, except when it's forced on you (or on some of the more annoying rematches in 1). It's TOTALLY the only way to play!

I like Powered Up but they gave all the characters these bizarre personalities.


Reminds me of this old web comic (http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/030206wc).

MetManMas
12-20-2011, 11:31 AM
I like Powered Up but they gave all the characters these bizarre personalities. Why did they make Elec Man into an effeminate weirdo?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v44/Loki213/CaptainN--article_image.jpg

Does that look like an effeminate weirdo to you?

No, that looks like the Noid's crappy attempt at Elec Man cosplay.

Glass Knuckle
12-20-2011, 01:08 PM
I need to clear my head for a moment at work, so I'll go ahead and give a rough review of what we've seen so far.

Guts Man: Introduces enemies one at a time, making it too easy aside from the lifts at the start, the last of which is a bit too hard (at least for a normal stage). Also very short.

Ice Man: Decent start, vanishing blocks are done well, Foot Holders ruin it.

Elec Man: Good idea, but is marred by a lack of enemy and terrain variety, along with one badly placed Guts block.

Bomb Man: Good overall. Definitely room for improvement there, but it has plenty of energy what with all the shots and enemies flying around. Definitely the best of the lot.

Cut Man: This could have been an easier, more methodical version of Bomb Man's stage, but the Suzy rooms are extremely boring and take up roughly a third of it.

Fire Man: Making the boss weapon useful in the level introduces the first real need for resource management, while the basic design offers a strong platforming challenge. Unfortunately, a few bad enemy/trap placements make it very annoying without the proper equipment, though I'll admit they aren't as much of a barrier to completion as some of the flaws in other stages.

The weapons actually work pretty well here. Gabyoalls make damaging weapons extremely useful, Fire Man's weapon is very helpful for small, fast enemies (moreso than most shields I think), while Ice and Guts each have situational use. Not a bad mix of weapons for the first game.

Most of the enemies work out pretty well except for Suzys, which were only remotely threatening on the ladders leading to Bomb Man's room. Big Eyes are a decent concept but they needed to have a little less health than they did.

Despite the rough design work, a lot of the concepts for later games can be seen here. It's still a good game when it's working well, but when it failed, it failed kinda hard. Even then, the worst parts only needed a few tweaks to make them good. Put solid ground between each Foot Holder, remove a gap or two from the Guts Man lifts, and give more room to manuever on a few fire traps (maybe go a little easier on the first Elec Man screen too), and it would have been decent. The base mechanics and core concept of choosing stages and earning boss weapons were solid, and all it really needed was a little polish and a greater variety of enemies and objects to dodge or interact with, so it was a great starting point to build sequels from.

I'll probably wait until tomorrow to do the Wily stages, as I'm running on very little sleep today.

LBD_Nytetrayn
12-22-2011, 02:42 AM
Besides Eggplant Wizard that's probably the most faithful design in that series.

Until he speaks and starts wheezing anyway.

...how was that unfaithful, exactly?

Mogri
12-23-2011, 10:41 AM
Gonna give this thread the old bumparoo

Glass Knuckle
12-23-2011, 04:28 PM
The Wily stages have two pieces of music for all four, so here's a link to both (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02qltNPk-KY), plus the boss music.

Wily Stage 1 (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-DrWily-Level1.png)

Now, Wily stages should have a different mentality behind them. Before, each stage could be taken in any order, so it's better to design each with different challenges in mind instead of a steady progression of difficulty. Despite its problems, the first game did do a reasonable job at that. Now the game can assume that you have all of the weapons and have been through the first 8 (or 6) stages, so it's free to throw harder things at you and force you to make full use of the weapons.

http://i.imgur.com/yCdVk.png http://i.imgur.com/foQMF.png http://i.imgur.com/h5eT0.png http://i.imgur.com/P0Mw5.png

Wily's not fucking around. We immediately have to get past three Big Eyes here, two on your level and one above. Since you're not falling into the screen here, it's harder to kill them with normal bullets without backing far enough away to make it respawn. You do get plenty of room to go under them though, and if that doesn't work you can always freeze one and switch to another weapon or walk under it. Unfortunately, special weapons take forever to kill them. They take 20 shots with your standard weapon, if you were wondering.

http://i.imgur.com/X6Ksh.png http://i.imgur.com/OGAam.png http://i.imgur.com/FIEJC.png http://i.imgur.com/VdSRz.png

Do You Have Super Arm Yes/No? (answer is always yes :rolleyes:) The first two fire traps have to be frozen through the walls or with a very good shot, since if they're not level with the floor or lower you won't get past them. Not a bad section though, since it forces you to use Ice and you're not likely to run out even if you've used it to get past the Big Eyes. The next screen has a large health that requires jumping from a 2-block-wide space. Even the Magnet Beam won't help there. Going to the top of the ladder, dropping down, and continuing is very easy, but going back after missing the health or trying to get across the bottom from the start is hard. Doesn't seem like much, but it's more complex than usual for a single room with no enemies or moving traps. Again, even tiny choices offered to the player are good things in my book.

http://i.imgur.com/wJ1c7.png http://i.imgur.com/rUhbh.png http://i.imgur.com/85O46.png http://i.imgur.com/EbPOZ.png

As soon as you climb up, Blasters jump towards the ladder and there's a 50% chance one will fall down it, leading to an immediate spike death below if you don't grab the ladder again. Fire or electricity will take care of that easily. Both weapons are dominating this game for how much coverage it gives at so little cost.

Glass Knuckle
12-23-2011, 04:47 PM
http://i.imgur.com/PhyM8.png http://i.imgur.com/i5eTc.png http://i.imgur.com/ZM1Ea.png

Speaking of which, Elec Man's weapon can break blocks too. A few shots of that and one use of the magnet beam can be traded for some health here.

http://i.imgur.com/wQCQw.png http://i.imgur.com/g3SXK.png

This room is simple, but I like it. You have to jump across some spikes while killing or avoiding Killer Bombs, without letting them explode in your face.

http://i.imgur.com/GzkG5.png http://i.imgur.com/9KS4J.png http://i.imgur.com/mMd2Q.png http://i.imgur.com/9LmNP.png

NOPE

Even getting across with the Magnet Beam is tricky, since they'll be shooting at you and deal collision damage from below. I'd say it's a pretty fair challenge when you're expected to have the beam, and they even give you a little refill at the end. The problem is...

http://i.imgur.com/Pyw0l.png http://i.imgur.com/Wwfjq.png

the next room exists only to fuck you over for running out of or being bad at using the Magnet Beam. "Oh, you're out of energy? Here's a pit to jump in, dumbass."

Beyond this is one empty screen before the boss. You all know what's coming because we all died to this bastard countless times.

Glass Knuckle
12-23-2011, 05:14 PM
http://i.imgur.com/H2x1v.png http://i.imgur.com/O4f30.png http://i.imgur.com/zwWZp.png http://i.imgur.com/HqjFz.png

Gee, I wonder where the boss i-*smack*

These screens sum up the whole fight. Rocks fly in from the side to form the boss, he takes a shot at you while you try to shoot his eye (which appears in random places) in the second or so window you have, then he breaks apart and moves to the other side.

http://i.imgur.com/MHpkr.png http://i.imgur.com/7R1A8.png http://i.imgur.com/kQn02.png http://i.imgur.com/hKxsW.png

The first time is actually the hardest, since you get no warning of what's about to happen and those rocks move fast. After that, you can see them break off and have a little more time to react. Elec Man's weapon knocks off four health, all others deal two. Even so, it's a long fight since you're only allowed to get one hit in each time. Honestly, I like it. It's hard, but this fight seems to go much quicker than many of his later incarnations throughout the series. The rock pattern is the same each time, so it doesn't take that long to figure out.

I'd say this was a pretty good try for the first Wily stage ever. The only problem is the room that requires the Magnet Beam, but it's a HUGE problem. The room before is begging you to use some of it, and a lot of players might not have experimented with it much before getting here, so they ran out just from trying to get up the first hole*. The Guts Blocks don't really serve any purpose besides giving you something to use the power on, which is more a failing of the weapon itself than the blocks. Still, they could at least have given you something to throw them at. Otherwise, it does a good job of forcing you to use the weapons effectively and offers a decent challenge for the few screens it has. I don't like it as much as some of the normal stages, but it serves its purpose. Graphics are pretty standard when you get inside, but the floor outside looks weird. Why is grass growing on Tetris pieces?


*I just went back to look at that room again, and I noticed that the hole there doesn't kill you, but instead drops you to the screen below. While the refills are back, if you dropped down there because you ran out, they won't even give you enough to get over the first wall again, and there's no enemies to go back and grind more out of, so it's just a slow death anyway. I'd call it a fair section only if there was enough energy down there to refill most or all of your beam.

EDIT: You can at least climb up and down the ladder a bunch of times to get more energy refills. It's bad design since it basically requires you to take advantage of a programming limitation that was fixed for the rest of the series (I think), but at least that option prevents you from having to restart.

mopinks
12-23-2011, 05:19 PM
*I just went back to look at that room again, and I noticed that the hole there doesn't kill you, but instead drops you to the screen below. While the refills are back, if you dropped down there because you ran out, they won't even give you enough to get over the first wall again, and there's no enemies to go back and grind more out of, so it's just a slow death anyway.

can't you just keep exiting and entering the screen to make the refills respawn until you're all filled up?

I mean, it's obviously totally annoying, but you can do that, right?

Prinnydood
12-23-2011, 05:20 PM
I use the pause trick to beat the Yellow Devil and I'm not ashamed to admit that.

Donny
12-23-2011, 05:28 PM
I use the pause trick to beat the Yellow Devil and I'm not ashamed to admit that.

I don't think I've ever beaten it without the pause trick. Even if its rote memorization I have never been able to get moving rock pattern down for some reason.

Prinnydood
12-23-2011, 05:31 PM
I don't think I've ever beaten it without the pause trick. Even if its rote memorization I have never been able to get moving rock pattern down for some reason.

I know the pattern, the boss simply outlasts me. I start getting tired and slip up after the fifth or sixth hit. I can beat him just fine in Powered Up, but the NES version is so much harder for me.

Glass Knuckle
12-23-2011, 05:35 PM
can't you just keep exiting and entering the screen to make the refills respawn until you're all filled up?

I mean, it's obviously totally annoying, but you can do that, right?

This is true. I forgot about that and was just going back to fix it, but it's still hard to give the game credit for what's essentially an exploit. Unless of course they just treated that as a feature, which the nature of this particular hole seems to imply (I think the rest of the series did keep this behavior for holes. That is, if there's a screen below it you'll go there instead of dying.) I dunno, but at least that takes it from "restart the level" to "mildly annoying" so I'm glad that "feature" exists.

EDIT: I actually had a harder time with the boss in Powered Up, because I think they slowed him down. My mind starts drifting the longer those things go on, so it's easier for me when it's just at the speed I can react to.

Egarwaen
12-23-2011, 07:07 PM
EDIT: You can at least climb up and down the ladder a bunch of times to get more energy refills. It's bad design since it basically requires you to take advantage of a programming limitation that was fixed for the rest of the series (I think), but at least that option prevents you from having to restart.

not only was it fixed for the rest of the series, but consumed in-stage power-ups persist between deaths. They only respawn when you exit the stage and re-enter.

ruler26
12-28-2011, 07:03 PM
The thing about the magnet-beam required room you're talking about is that because the Magnet Beam appears to be optional in the eyes of a first time player (you can skip collecting it, unlike the rush-adapters in MM3), you can start Wily Stage 1, fight your heart out to get to the floating enemy room, spend DAYS trying to span the spike-adorned gap via those glitchy demons, and then find out that you're completely screwed because you didn't pick the darn thing up! Get a game over and get back to Elec man's stage, loser!

Am I missing something, or can that happen?

ProfessorS
12-28-2011, 07:54 PM
Though you never see an exterior shot of the Skull Castle like you do in the later games, I always liked to think that the entrance is so well guarded that Mega Man says "screw it," proceeds to run around the back of the building which only has a few Big Eyes hopping about and hasn't been mowed in weeks and just starts tearing down the walls with his Super Arm.

I love the narratives you find yourself making up in older games like this.

Dubin
12-28-2011, 08:56 PM
The thing about the magnet-beam required room you're talking about is that because the Magnet Beam appears to be optional in the eyes of a first time player (you can skip collecting it, unlike the rush-adapters in MM3), you can start Wily Stage 1, fight your heart out to get to the floating enemy room, spend DAYS trying to span the spike-adorned gap via those glitchy demons, and then find out that you're completely screwed because you didn't pick the darn thing up! Get a game over and get back to Elec man's stage, loser!

Am I missing something, or can that happen?
When I played through MM1 for the first time (on an emulator :c ) this is exactly what happened to me. And I was save-stated on that spot, of course. Gave up the game entirely for a month or so, then by pure chance decided on my second run to beat Guts Man before Elec Man.

Of course I pause-glitched through the Yellow Devil without mercy, because I was a no-good cheat who didn't beat an NES Mega Man the honest way until years later.

ruler26
12-29-2011, 12:33 PM
When I played through MM1 for the first time (on an emulator :c ) this is exactly what happened to me. And I was save-stated on that spot, of course. Gave up the game entirely for a month or so, then by pure chance decided on my second run to beat Guts Man before Elec Man.

If you get a game over in the Wily stages, does it take the player back to the level select screen? I can definitely understand why you started over, but I'm just trying to see if there's a way for a first time player to "recover" without completely starting over. If a game over takes you back to the select screen, then that means the little hole in the magnet-beam-required room is also the designer's way of saying "you missed something, so please commit suicide several times, then do it right."

Ahhh, the harshness of the first entry of an early NES game.

Glass Knuckle
12-30-2011, 12:02 PM
You're given "Continue" and "Stage Select" as options when you run out of lives, so it is possible to go back and get it.

Also, sorry I've let this sit for a while. I've had a bunch of people visiting over the past few days and I've been sucked into Minecraft again. I'll finish this up tonight or tomorrow so I can start talking about how awesome the next games were compared to this.

Glass Knuckle
12-31-2011, 05:22 PM
Wily Stage 2 (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-DrWily-Level2.png)

http://i.imgur.com/5o9Lp.png http://i.imgur.com/3NpvJ.png http://i.imgur.com/9LpoU.png

Stage 2 puts you in front of a gap with a Heli flying over it. Two more appear when you get to the edge, so it's best to wait for the second one to come to you before jumping. Not bad, but the same pattern is repeated twice more, both with a platform under the ledge you jump from so they're a little safer. Shouldn't the one without a safety net be last?

http://i.imgur.com/9zWPC.png http://i.imgur.com/AECpE.png

Here's the introduction of fake floors, complete with items to lure the player over them. The player has to fall into this one, as below is...

http://i.imgur.com/o2Tu0.png http://i.imgur.com/bjlVE.png http://i.imgur.com/t20Sm.png http://i.imgur.com/6sIqW.png

Cutman! I avoided talking about the boss fights until the Wily stages so I could look at them all together (and have all the weapons available). Unlike the rest of the series, the first game spreads them out among the Wily stages, and you don't get to pick the order.

If Cutman is far away from you, he'll run forward. When close, he'll move only by jumping. He throws a blade now and then, which always moves toward you and returns to Cutman like a boomerang. If Cutman threw it from the ground, he'll always jump afterwards, meaning you can jump over the blade and run under him to avoid it on the return. It's trickier if he's in the air, but you can usually jump between him and the blade. This is a good example of a boss fight that feels intense without actually being that dangerous. Cutman takes three bars of damage from a normal shot AND gets knocked back, so you can usually win the damage war with at least half health remaining by just standing in place and firing at him. However, his agility is daunting at first and can trick players into going on the defensive. His weakness is Guts Man's weapon and we don't have the opportunity to use it here, but it really isn't necessary. Fire also deals 3 damage, but nothing else is useful.

http://i.imgur.com/0D0pb.png http://i.imgur.com/rItcY.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/sANZM.png

The next section is kinda sad. it's the same terrain as before, but these are the only two enemies in it. That really shouldn't be a threat by now, though at least the last one has a good chance of pegging you in the tunnel. I do like the fake floor though. It's placed so that if you remember where the last one was and jump over that spot, you'll fall right into it.

http://i.imgur.com/zwgb8.png http://i.imgur.com/QytlM.png http://i.imgur.com/5MrOr.png

Next up is Elecman. Now, some of you have claimed that he's easy, and I'm not seeing it. All he does is run around and make short hops while shooting electricity, but those shots come out fast, have huge hitboxes, and deal a third of Mega Man's health in damage. There's no pattern here, he just fires whenever he wants, including multiple times in succession. Mega Man deals only one damage to him with a normal shot, so the only advantage you have is knockback. It's possible to stunlock him by timing your shots just so, but I've never done that consistently. Taking him out without a weapon or stunlocking him requires an incredible level of precision and reaction compared to the rest of the game. The high damage seems like the worst part and that could certainly have been nerfed to make him another scary boss without teeth, but there's no need for more than one of those. He could be made to move in a set pattern, but that'd make him too much like Ice Man, who has an easy pattern but deals heavy damage. No, I think the best option here would be to leave him unpredictable but give him a longer charge time on the shots. Slowing them down a little wouldn't be a bad idea either. Still, he goes down in three hits from Cut Man's weapon, so that and a little aggression on the player's part will take him out safely.

Glass Knuckle
12-31-2011, 06:07 PM
http://i.imgur.com/MQ94M.png

Again, the following section has nothing we haven't seen before and certainly nothing worthy of a Wily stage.

http://i.imgur.com/nP1kW.png http://i.imgur.com/7aAM1.png http://i.imgur.com/4YHe2.png

Can't say much for this one either, though it is probably the one place in the game where bombs are helpful.

http://i.imgur.com/5uuTI.png http://i.imgur.com/ipLll.png http://i.imgur.com/DrzNC.png

More of the same, though at least the last one forces you to drop into their path. Fire clears that up nicely.

http://i.imgur.com/8Pal5.png http://i.imgur.com/TCprm.png

These two aren't bad. You can run across the first screen between volleys, but going for the energy is harder. The next drops you into the path of more Suzys with a Mambu waiting.

http://i.imgur.com/V8p5U.png http://i.imgur.com/pITK1.png http://i.imgur.com/a0uPS.png http://i.imgur.com/tGVZu.png

The next room pits you against a Mega Man copy, who will use whatever weapon you do. The copy walks around the room while shooting at you (he'll only fire one shot at a time), and will jump to avoid your shots. I like this one, as the player has to pick a weapon to both fight with and evade. Normal shots give the player an advantage since you can shoot faster, but blades restrict his range and he tends to jump into yours often, electricity is easy to hit with for both, fire is dangerous but effective if he's crowding you, and bombs...well, you can have a bomb fight with him if you want I guess. Ice doesn't damage him but he can hit you, so that's out. Guts and Magnet Beam do nothing, but this allows you to take a breather since he won't move into the corners unless you make him jump there. If you want, you can even switch to these and wait for him to walk away to put yourself in a better position between hits. Whatever weapon you pick, he will always deal more damage with it.

Though the last part did finally put Suzys in a position to hurt you, the rest of the stage didn't do much of interest. They may have designed themselves into a corner with those pits, since making them harder to cross would have been frustrating to deal with along with the bosses. Less pits and more small enemies would have been the way to go for the first half, since it would feel more exciting and offer more chances to refill between fights. We did get to see the fake floors in a controlled environment, so there's that.

Kishi
12-31-2011, 06:21 PM
http://i.imgur.com/9zWPC.png



http://i.imgur.com/DrzNC.png

http://i.imgur.com/TCprm.png


I love the inaccessible spikes and exterior surfaces in this stage. Serving no gameplay function, they exist solely to establish a sense of structure and place for Wily's fortress, which they do very well. It practically doesn't matter that you don't get a big picture of it like in the other games.

Daikaiju
01-01-2012, 05:29 AM
Wily Stage 1 was my nemesis for the longest time due to the platform/spike hall and the Rock Monster (aka Yellow Devil). With little in the way of external sources I had to learn how to down that SOB the hard way. Took a month. Then I proceeded to finish the other stages because F&*$! you Capcom if you think I was going to restart and deal with Him again.

A year later I learned about the pause trick and there was much cursing.

Glass Knuckle
01-08-2012, 11:31 AM
Wily Stage 3 (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-DrWily-Level3.png)

http://i.imgur.com/I55jG.png http://i.imgur.com/HpeBe.png http://i.imgur.com/AxDF7.png http://i.imgur.com/xE2To.png

Stage 3 starts you right under a Suzy, and rest of this section is a series of drops with Suzys and Mambus. The second screen isn't dangerous, but the Suzys in the third start moving right away, so you have to react quick if you miss the platform. The spray of shots in the last won't hit you if you stand still. It's alright I guess, but I'm getting really tired of these Suzys.

http://i.imgur.com/CGbPg.png http://i.imgur.com/UElOd.png http://i.imgur.com/XNFSd.png http://i.imgur.com/cg65T.png

After the drops, the tunnel fills with water and you'll be swept forward just fast enough that walking backward won't quite hold you in place. This could have been a fun change from the norm; having to shoot or avoid things without being able to stop. However, all they did with it was to throw 7 penguins and 10 bombs at you. Each comes in at the same angle and, aside from a short pause between enemy types, the same timing. Jump 17 times to win. That's a shameful waste of a section they made special mechanics for.

http://i.imgur.com/EdzQU.png http://i.imgur.com/Rcpuq.png http://i.imgur.com/OHluc.png

This fight never stuck with me much when I replayed this, but it's actually an impressive design for a puzzle boss. Basically, a machine surrounded by a bubble comes out of one of the holes in the wall, moves across the room, then circles it clockwise. It will also fire three shots at you periodically. It takes ten shots to kill one, then a faster one appears. You need to kill seven of them to win. The catch is, you've got four guts blocks to work with, which can kill one of them outright. However, Mega Man cannot jump high enough to get over one without those blocks, so using them too early takes away your only means (aside from Magnet Beams) of avoiding damage against the later ones. It works on basic enemy mechanics, meaning that you can damage it as fast as you can shoot, but other special weapons won't help much. You can't freeze it though. It's an easy fight once you know what's going on since the first three or four are easy to take down with normal shots, and it doesn't deal that much damage. Still, the situation gives you a lot of options to consider in a frantic environment, so it'll seem much harder than it is for the first few tries. I just noticed that the color of the health bar changes with the color of the machine you're fighting, which is a nice touch.

SpoonyBardOL
01-10-2012, 04:06 PM
I dunno if this has officially become our 'classic Mega Man' thread, but you all should check out Rokko-Chan. (http://king-soukutu.com/flash/rokko.html)

Sanagi
01-10-2012, 04:35 PM
I dunno if this has officially become our 'classic Mega Man' thread, but you all should check out Rokko-Chan. (http://king-soukutu.com/flash/rokko.html)
This seems remarkably well-designed.

Kishi
01-10-2012, 05:36 PM
There is something very uncanny and Wrong about an ostensibly 8-bit game with smooth, SNES-style rotating sprites and backgrounds.

Serephine
01-10-2012, 05:40 PM
I dunno if this has officially become our 'classic Mega Man' thread, but you all should check out Rokko-Chan. (http://king-soukutu.com/flash/rokko.html)

This is really awesome, but holy crap Jet Man's stage can fuck right off near the end with those jumps between golden bird jet things.

dtsund
01-10-2012, 06:41 PM
This is really awesome, but holy crap Jet Man's stage can fuck right off near the end with those jumps between golden bird jet things.

Ice Shield and dash-jumps are your friends.

SpoonyBardOL
01-10-2012, 06:43 PM
I was pretty impressed with the overall quality (slightly-off jumping physics aside).

I also think I want to Perler Sprite Hockey Man, because Hockey Man.

Glass Knuckle
01-10-2012, 08:16 PM
I really want to go try Rokko-Chan, but this needs to get done...

Wily Stage 4 (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaMan-DrWily-Level4.png)

http://i.imgur.com/gBHaD.png http://i.imgur.com/dylOr.png

Nothing new to see here, move along.

http://i.imgur.com/QBSre.png http://i.imgur.com/rDVlq.png http://i.imgur.com/X2UnP.png

You could just move the bottom block to get through here, but you can also get the energy with the Magnet Beam or by making an awkward jump to lift the top block. You'll be rewarded later for saving that beam energy.

http://i.imgur.com/yDIkj.png http://i.imgur.com/xwnkO.png http://i.imgur.com/Pk4k8.png

I like the enemy placement here. Normally electricity or fire is the best choice if you need a special weapon, but the enemies here are at just the right angle for blades to hit them easily. The Gutsmen under construction are an interesting touch, though I have to wonder what happened to all of them since this is never relevant to the game.

http://i.imgur.com/pRCoW.png http://i.imgur.com/11sIF.png http://i.imgur.com/sUjL7.png http://i.imgur.com/ZdJ11.png

This is a tough one. you'll need to jump from the overhanging edge of the platform, then jump back on as it passes. That second part requires almost pixel-perfect precision.

http://i.imgur.com/1UxTL.png http://i.imgur.com/3Y6YT.png

It's tempting to jump for that extra life right away, but if you wait a moment you can grab the item next to it which refills all of your health and weapon energy. If you got the life first and didn't have any Magnet Beam left, you'll have to wait for the lift to return or jump back to it quick. Once you get the other item you'll be able to magnet your way back to the ladder easily. The teleporter here starts off a gauntlet against the remaining four bosses.

Glass Knuckle
01-10-2012, 08:51 PM
http://i.imgur.com/fH1ao.png http://i.imgur.com/NMh9g.png http://i.imgur.com/rjeoH.png

First up is Bomb Man. He moves only by jumping at various heights, and throws bombs that explode when they touch the ground. He's another extremely easy one to start with, as Mega Man can jump higher than the explosions, so simply shooting and jumping whenever a bomb is near your feet is enough to take him out. He takes two damage from normal shots and four from fire. Again, I like easy bosses to at least seem intimidating, and the explosions will certainly throw players off at first.

http://i.imgur.com/twaLG.png http://i.imgur.com/tQpb0.png http://i.imgur.com/gkWcN.png

OH GOD FIRE! FIRE EVERYWHERE! Fire Man never leaves the ground and just spams projectiles continuously with no pattern that I've ever been able to figure out. To cap it off, each shot leaves a smaller flame on the spot where it passed under you. I have no idea how to fight this other than jumping around like a lunatic and trying to win the damage race. He takes two damage from buster shots and four from ice.

http://i.imgur.com/2DIcz.png http://i.imgur.com/4rnt1.png http://i.imgur.com/nLvVT.png

Ice Man fires shots in bursts of three, which you'll have to avoid by jumping between them. He'll move back and forth but never moves to the other side, so those shots are all you need to deal with. He speeds up as the fight progresses, but otherwise that's all there is to it. Those shots hurt though, taking all but two points from what I have remaining there. He only takes one damage from normal shots and four from bombs, but electricity destroys him in three hits, so you basically get a freebie here. You'll need to be careful though, as projectiles can still hit after the boss dies.

http://i.imgur.com/mEL9Y.png http://i.imgur.com/bB0yB.png http://i.imgur.com/au3tb.png http://i.imgur.com/fDGuV.png

Guts Man jumps around the room at random. He makes the ground shake when he lands, and if you're on the ground you'll be stunned. Sometimes he summons a brick from the ceiling and throws it at you. Though it's a simple pattern to understand, it can be very difficult to deal with in practice. There's a small window for avoiding being stunned, and very little room to dodge if he gets close with a block. He also has no qualms about pressing you against the wall, and getting under him is tricky since you don't know where he's going to jump. It's a reasonably difficult fight without being too unfair. Normal shots and fire deal two damage, while three bombs can kill him. This can be a hard choices since bombs are tricky to hit with.

Kishi
01-10-2012, 09:04 PM
http://i.imgur.com/yDIkj.png http://i.imgur.com/xwnkO.png http://i.imgur.com/Pk4k8.png

The Gutsmen under construction are an interesting touch, though I have to wonder what happened to all of them since this is never relevant to the game.

It's more storytelling via level design—telling you that if you don't take out Wily now-ish, society at large is going to be steamrolled by an army of mass-produced Guts Mans. I love it.

Glass Knuckle
01-10-2012, 09:10 PM
The only thing beyond those fights is a large energy refill and the door to Wily himself.

http://i.imgur.com/78FX2.png http://i.imgur.com/pnHa1.png http://i.imgur.com/egw0H.png

Wily's machine fires shots in an arc at your current position. That's it. You need to shoot the gun itself, which takes damage like normal enemies do, meaning you can kill him as quickly as you can pump shots into him. Fire can take him down in about a second, after which parts of the machine fly off.

http://i.imgur.com/b1mKS.png http://i.imgur.com/VQ0bl.png http://i.imgur.com/NE12H.png http://i.imgur.com/QUBI2.png

The second form also has one projectile, which moves in a circular pattern counter-clockwise while also moving downward toward wherever you are (look up a youtube video of the fight if that didn't make sense). This would normally be tricky to dodge, but if you're standing where I am, every shot will circle overhead. Flame won't do much anymore, but blades still take him down fast.

So that's it. The whole first game. I'll save my final thoughts for tomorrow as I desperately need to get to bed, but what do the rest of you think of it? Does it still hold up on its own despite its flaws, or is it just a rough start to an otherwise fantastic series?

Dubin
01-10-2012, 11:27 PM
http://i.imgur.com/M7lLG.png
Thank god for customizable controls in flash games. That was a wonderfully charming and well-designed romp, especially the weapons. Vine Whip is secret best weapon.

Also OH GOD OWATA MODE IS 1HP MODE http://www.the-weaving.com/images/temp/emot-gonk.gif
Does it still hold up on its own despite its flaws, or is it just a rough start to an otherwise fantastic series?
For me, it's largely because of the haphazard and poor difficulty/level design (relative to the rest of the series). This is a game where the Wily stages can go from
http://i.imgur.com/9LpoU.png

Stage 2 puts you in front of a gap with a Heli flying over it. Two more appear when you get to the edge, so it's best to wait for the second one to come to you before jumping. Not bad, but the same pattern is repeated twice more, both with a platform under the ledge you jump from so they're a little safer. Shouldn't the one without a safety net be last?
to
http://i.imgur.com/11sIF.png

This is a tough one. you'll need to jump from the overhanging edge of the platform, then jump back on as it passes. That second part requires almost pixel-perfect precision.
Repetition/emptiness in the level design seemed to crop up again and again in your level commentary, which becomes another weakness beyond just the raw difficulty spikes.

mopinks
01-10-2012, 11:36 PM
playing a Mega Man game on a keyboard is just a disgusting concept to me. thank god for Joy2Key!

also, Rokko Chan is shockingly great!

Mazian
01-10-2012, 11:44 PM
I was hoping for a few words on the scoring system, that never-again-seen relic. Do the score bonuses shown on the level select screen correlate in any useful way to your perceived difficulty of the bosses or their stages?

The level design... well, it could be worse. I share Kishi's appreciation for the exterior spikes and so on: it's a clever way of justifying why you're crawling through these enemy-infested interior corridors instead, and I wish later games had more details like it; the closest analogue I can think of is the changes between first- and second-round stages in MM3. The gameplay part of the level design leaves much more to be desired, especially compared to its 1987 contemporaries of Castlevania and Metroid... and it's also where the next few sequels shined bright. 1 is now the original series release I replay the least: why settle for the rough start when 2 and 3 were finely tuned engines, and the rest of the NES run were never less than reliable workhorses?

Tanto
01-11-2012, 08:10 AM
How does Wily stack up to the Powered Up version? I've never finished 1, but when I played Powered Up last year Wily seemed unendingly cheap. Some of his attack configurations appear literally undodgeable.

SpoonyBardOL
01-11-2012, 08:18 AM
Today I can go through Mega Man 1 easily, but only because I have all the difficult portions memorized. The game would have broken me back in my younger days with having to beat it in one sitting. For a good portion of my Nintendo-owning life the machine was connected to the only TV in the house, and I never had my own, so games that didn't have a save/password feature were games I rarely got to finish.

Also, I never played the original Mega Man until after I had played Mega Man 5. This was because the rental store where I got my video games never got the first one, for some strange reason. So my first Mega Man experience was with Mega Man 2. Good place to start, but it meant I couldn't really appreciate how far the series jumped with its first sequel.

Red Hedgehog
01-11-2012, 09:04 AM
Mega Man 1 had a few frustrating sections, but the challenge always seemed just right to me and, more important, generally kept me interested. It is quite rough around the edges and really pales in comparison to Mega Man 2 and 3 which have really neat sections.

I really feel like I should replay 4-6 as I've only played through them once but remember just sort of wishing I was done with each of them at some point. They overall bored me.

Prinnydood
01-11-2012, 12:06 PM
I really despise the boss rush in this game because there's no health drop after each boss and because there's no choosing which bosses you want to tackle.

Really, at this point, the only reason I like this game is because of the series it spawned. In just about any other context, it's indefensibly awful on the same level as Mega Man 7.

Loki
01-11-2012, 12:10 PM
That last boss gauntlet with Fire Man right in the middle is the hardest part of the game. It's always such a slog and every time I consider replaying 1 I remember it and wise up.

Yellow Devil ain't got shit on Fire Man.

MetManMas
01-11-2012, 02:37 PM
After Mega Man 1, it's no wonder it took some convincing for Capcom to give the green light to make Mega Man 2. The collision detection is off, the Wily level designs are mostly garbage (save for the odd nifty touch), and most of the powers either do the same damage with different firing arcs or are strictly situational.

As the first game in the series I can't really hate it, but as derivative as some of the later installments get they're still more fun to play than the first game. It's not a bad game, but it's a really rough start.

Glass Knuckle
01-11-2012, 05:38 PM
Alright, so this game may have started one of the best platforming series ever made, but now that we've got the whole thing laid out on the table, so to speak, it's clear that the first one didn't deliver on that quality.

After playing through this, the thing that stands out to me most is that there are very few places where the game combines enemies or hazards effectively. For example...

http://i.imgur.com/93LJR.png http://i.imgur.com/YSKrF.png http://i.imgur.com/J1k1O.png http://i.imgur.com/bB6lQ.png

None of these situations are threatening once you know how to deal with that particular enemy. When you know how Helis behave and are used to shooting as they dive down, you could walk through hundreds more without testing anything more than your patience. The difficulty of these enemies could be increased, of course. One could make the Watchers faster and more numerous, but that would boil down to the same sort of challenge as a rhythm game.

http://i.imgur.com/nSWhF.png http://i.imgur.com/IVwbM.png http://i.imgur.com/4ACCo.png

What really makes a platformer shine is by mixing hazards in creative ways. Testing the player's technical ability is all well and good, but there's a limit to how far that can be taken before it gets frustrating. Some games try to test the limits of execution and the people who play them are looking for that, but a well-rounded game has to assume that the player isn't interested in having to make pixel-perfect jumps all the time. Screens like these work well because the hazards aren't difficult on their own, nor are they even that hard to deal with together, but each pulls the player's attention from the others, making them all seem more dangerous than they really are. That last shot is one of the more effective designs in the game. The player has to jump across small platforms with fire traps on them, which is relatively easy to do when paying attention to the timing, but then Changkeys fly up from the lava to the top of the screen and drift downward. Now the player's attention has been directed upward, and he has to determine what their paths are and move accordingly while also keeping track of the timing on those flame traps which have just become a secondary concern in his mind. It's important to note that even if none of the Changkeys are heading towards the player, they still offer a threat just by existing, since the player still has to keep track of them and the misdirection could be costly.

I'm not saying this like it's some brilliant move on the designer's part. I only bring it up because this sort of thing is a main component of a good platformer and this game is doing so little of it.

http://i.imgur.com/Rta7K.png http://i.imgur.com/QEAgM.png http://i.imgur.com/qdYzH.png

Difficultly can also come from larger, stronger, or more complex enemies, of course. Big Eyes aren't that impressive, as killing them is an exercise in button mashing and there's an element of luck involved when trying to get under them without plenty of space to retreat. More importantly, they require so much precision in fighting them that adding other enemies to the mix would be wildly unfair. Joes and Razys are better examples of a more complex enemy done well, as their behavior is interesting enough to entertain the player by itself for the first couple encounters but could be combined with other minor hazards to spice up the fight, though this game didn't take advantage of that.

http://i.imgur.com/LqKnO.png http://i.imgur.com/5o9Lp.png http://i.imgur.com/JcTGJ.png http://i.imgur.com/Pk4k8.png

In general, the difficulty of this game is all over the place, and the split mostly happens between the enemies and the terrain hazards. Every moving platform is a problem, yet even the last stages throw enemies at you sparingly, as though it doesn't trust that you've figured out how to handle one on its own by now.

http://i.imgur.com/DrzNC.png

Special weapons are helpful in this game, but there's little strategical difference between fire, blades, and electricity. Once you have one of them and can kill Gabyoalls and a few other problematic enemies, it doesn't matter much whether you have the other two. The others are all situational, but ice does get a chance to shine against Big Eyes. I think fire had the best design here, as electricity is far too strong and blades are a bit too slow. The temporary shield was a great idea and I'd like to see more weapons do something like that. Obviously no thought was given to balancing them by energy cost, as the main three all use one bar per shot, while the useless bombs cost two.

ProfessorS
01-11-2012, 05:53 PM
I've actually been playing through the NES Mega Man games recently and I think Mega Man 1 is great. If the sequels were never made, I'm pretty sure some people would see it as some sort of unsung classic. On my most recent replay, I actually enjoyed it more than Mega Man 4, believe it or not. That being said, the play control is a little stiff compared to later installments and the physics and hit detection are kinda funny. I also can't stand how Mega Man drops like a rock.

Glass Knuckle
01-11-2012, 06:08 PM
http://i.imgur.com/rjeoH.png http://i.imgur.com/tQpb0.png http://i.imgur.com/HqjFz.png

Boss fights had their problems too, but the main six did have the range of difficulty and type that works well throughout the series. There's the energetic but easy Bomb Man and Cut Man, the technical challenges of Ice Man and Guts Man, and then there's Flame Man and Elec Man who will blast your face off in seconds if you don't bring the right weapon or know exactly what you're doing. That's ok. It's good for the difficulty of the bosses to differ since it allows new players to beat at least a couple of them and take the rest out with weapon weaknesses, while veterans could try taking out the harder ones first to spice things up. My only problem with these is that Elec Man and Fire Man just went too far. I like all three bosses in the Wily stages, though I'll admit that the first could have been toned down just a bit. Wily himself is a terrible disappointment, though after dealing with the previous boss rush I doubt many players would complain about how easy he is the first time.

http://i.imgur.com/sQNR9.png http://i.imgur.com/9HKcO.png http://i.imgur.com/xwnkO.png

While the graphics are mostly bland, the game does offer a few interesting things to look at. I like that Ice Man's stage is clearly a tropical area that's been frozen over, and there's something captivating about whatever those things are in Bomb Man's stage. It would have been really cool to fight a few half-built Guts Man soldiers in the last area, but even as they are, they add an intimidating vibe to the place.

While the game is nowhere near as impressive as any other entry in the NES series, it was still pretty decent given the time it was made. We didn't have many platformers back then, and this one had a unique feel to it. Taking weapons from the bosses and using them whenever was a novel idea and was probably what helped it stand out most.

This may sound silly, but if there's one last thing I'm going to complain about, it's this.

http://i.imgur.com/on5j8.png

Screw you Suzy. You're boring. You are, at best, a decent distraction from more serious threats, but instead you had to keep showing up in rooms all by yourselves and sit around while I gunned you all down. Even in the Wily stages, the best you could do was kinda be in the way now and then, and at that point special weapons made you even more of a joke. Why were there so many of you!?

Issun
01-13-2012, 02:07 AM
All you people that can easily finish the original Castlevania, but not the original Mega Man: You mystify me beyond my capacity for language.

Sanagi
01-13-2012, 02:51 AM
I've actually been playing through the NES Mega Man games recently and I think Mega Man 1 is great. If the sequels were never made, I'm pretty sure some people would see it as some sort of unsung classic.
Definitely. In fact, the improvement from MM1 to MM2 has led me to imagine how good sequels to those other flawed gems could have been... Say, Blaster Master, or Metal Storm, or The Guardian Legend.

My feelings for Mega Man 1 are mixed. I like that at this early stage the ideas are very pure and go in all kinds of directions that would later be ruled out by the formula. Things like the Yellow Devil, while awkward in execution, are still great examples of old school hard-ass game design, the sort that makes you want to rise to the challenge. But the levels are padded out and have elements that tend to interact in annoyingly awkward ways, giving it an overall kind of romhacky feel to it. Later games are planned out so that you optimally fall into a rhythm that carries you smoothly through the obstacles, but MM1 rarely achieves this.

Egarwaen
01-13-2012, 11:25 AM
Later games are planned out so that you optimally fall into a rhythm that carries you smoothly through the obstacles, but MM1 rarely achieves this.

I think my personal biggest problem with Mega Man 1 is, amusingly, the falling mechanics. IIRC, Mega Man starts dropping like a rock when he crosses the point where he left the ground, which makes his movement unbelievably hard to predict on downward leaps. Mega Man 2 makes Mega Man's air physics much more consistent.

Dubin
01-13-2012, 12:28 PM
Again, those falling mechanics make it seem even more like a half-assed romhack compared to the rest of the series. It feels so much like they programmed vertical velocity properly for jumping only but left falling untouched, leaving the game to default to the same zipping mechanics every 2D platformer and its grandma uses to get the player character out of walls.

madhair60
01-13-2012, 12:58 PM
It's indefensibly awful on the same level as Mega Man 7.

Oh gosh. Really? Mega Man 7 is really fun. I don't get how this remark can be anything more than hyperbole.

TheSL
01-13-2012, 01:04 PM
Yeah, you can't really fault Mega Man 7 when they only had like 3 months to make the game start to finish. Its really pretty amazing when you've got that context.

MCBanjoMike
01-13-2012, 01:15 PM
Honestly, I'd much rather play Mega Man again than go back to MM7. It's ugly and lumpy, but it has heart. Plus, the music is way better.

TheSL
01-13-2012, 01:18 PM
Honestly, I'd much rather play Mega Man again than go back to MM7. It's ugly and lumpy, but it has heart. Plus, the music is way better.

Psssh. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z5oi3vWXlw)

mopinks
01-13-2012, 01:22 PM
Mega Man 7 has a lot of problems, but I definitely don't think it's lacking heart~

ProfessorS
01-13-2012, 01:53 PM
I'll tell you one thing, it's definitely not lacking in sprites that are too damn big and googly eyes on everything.

Googleshng
01-13-2012, 02:54 PM
Yeah, you can't really fault Mega Man 7 when they only had like 3 months to make the game start to finish. Its really pretty amazing when you've got that context.

Maybe if like... the developers had just learned when my birthday was and wanted to make sure they had something to give me or something, or it was their entry in some kind of speed-development competition...

Issun
01-13-2012, 04:01 PM
Just finished replaying this game. You guys are right, the Wily levels in this one are pretty uninspired. Fortunately, they're all short. Unfortunately, they front-loaded the difficulty, so the first stage is by far the hardest. It is also the least interesting. It might even be the worst stage in the original NES 6.

Another thing: when you beat Wily, if you are standing on the far left side of the screen, and you get hit by that whirling energy ball thing before Wily jumps out of his spaceship, you will get knocked back into a glitched-out version of the previous room. You cannot move. You cannot die. All you can do is reset and play the whole game over again. Or watch the ending on Youtube.

Octopus Prime
01-13-2012, 05:04 PM
Unfortunately, they front-loaded the difficulty, so the first stage is by far the hardest. It is also the least interesting. It might even be the worst stage in the original NES 6.

Interesting you said that since Wily 1 had the same sense of not just suggesting, but out-right demanding you use nearly every single sub-weapon in order to get past all the myriad threats that made Mega Man 9s Wily-1 my flat-out-favorite Mega Man level.

I guess thats the end result of 9 being a WAY better game and having a much better selection of weapons.

Prinnydood
01-13-2012, 06:27 PM
Yeah, you can't really fault Mega Man 7 when they only had like 3 months to make the game start to finish. Its really pretty amazing when you've got that context.

Did they really only have that short of a time? Then yeah, what they put out is pretty good. I still don't like the game, but at least now its weirdness makes sense.

TheSL
01-13-2012, 07:04 PM
Did they really only have that short of a time? Then yeah, what they put out is pretty good. I still don't like the game, but at least now its weirdness makes sense.

Not exactly the greatest camera phone picture, but the bit in question from the Mega Man Complete Works book from a couple years ago:

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c74/TheSL/2012-01-13195947.jpg

Loki
01-14-2012, 12:32 AM
We can talk about Mega Man 7 when we get there. Get going with Metal Man, Knuckles.

Parish
01-14-2012, 11:08 AM
Are you planning to do an analysis on the weapons? It's the one part of the recipe that hasn't been addressed yet. If you don't, I will ban you do it myself.

Mega Man (the first one) seems like a really tough game the first time you play it, but it's really one of the easiest in the series. Despite a few tough sticking points (the Guts Man lifts, the stupid floating gun platforms in Ice Man's stage, the Yellow Devil, the four-boss gauntlet), the stages are generally short and straightforward in their design. Additionally, the levels were designed to be played through without the ability to refill health on demand. Helpful as the E-tanks that appeared in later games were, I think they eventually had a negative impact on the later sequels by encouraging the designers to ramp up cheap difficulty in anticipation of players stomping their way through with energy refills, or by allowing them not to effectively balance the difficulty of the stages.

Obviously, this is a big part of why Mega Man 2 is so good -- it refines this game, carries over that early sense of design discipline, and offers a few deliberate bits of aid to help struggling players past the tough parts without making those optional features a necessary crutch.

Glass Knuckle
01-14-2012, 12:37 PM
Alright, I'm sure a lot of you we just twiddling your thumbs during all that thinking "Yup, Mega Man sure was a game, now let's hear about 2 already!" To be honest, so was I. Let's dive in and see where all that love came from. Like last time, I'll avoid talking about the boss fights until we fight them all again later. I will also be saving special weapon discussion for its own post after the first 8 stages are done, since the rest of these games are more complex.

http://i.imgur.com/SEALh.png

Mega Man 2 Intro and Stage Select (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW-sE76GrG8&feature=related)

Right away, we get some actual text explaining what's going on, some rockin' music, and a helmetless Mega Man standing on a huge tower being all cool-like with his hair blowing in the wind.

http://i.imgur.com/mKO3m.png

And look at this, actual portraits for the bosses and a nicer background! Things are looking better already, but we still need to see how it plays. As before, this site (http://megaman.wikia.com/wiki/Mega_Man_2#Robot_Masters) gives a quick overview of the weapons if you need it. As much as I'd like to go after those Metal Blades first, I'll once again be leaving it up to chance.

...

Uh oh.

Heat Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaManII-HeatMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7rMVIfHtDU)

Any Mega Man 2 fan knows how much easier this gets if we take out Air Man first, but until someone DOES kill Air Man, they won't even know that there's a way to cheat through this stage. The laws of chance are telling me to see how this works as someone's first stage, so here we go.

http://i.imgur.com/GSuNR.png

I avoided commenting on the graphics until the end on the last game because there really wasn't a whole lot to say about them, but I want to point out what a good first impression this is. The background itself looks like a curved tunnel, the foreground bricks and pipe are a lighter color and thus easily distinguishable from the background, and the molten...whatever flowing through the pipe is animated. The gap in the ceiling, while pointless from a gameplay perspective, seems to imply that we've come in from above, as though the place is underground. There's a strong sense of being in a real place and we haven't taken our first step yet.

http://i.imgur.com/X52pa.png http://i.imgur.com/yRRUP.png http://i.imgur.com/VnLtM.png http://i.imgur.com/nTCRC.png

This is Fly Boy (once again, I'm using the Japanese names from the Complete Works artbook). He's a pullstring-powered flying robot that has to pull his own string. Adorable. These drop from the ceiling, give the string a couple tugs, and rise into the air slowly. When they reach a certain height, they'll quickly jump forward and try to land on you, then repeat the process. They take five hits, and another will drop just as the first is about to leap forward.

http://i.imgur.com/Zsvl0.png http://i.imgur.com/MECWA.png http://i.imgur.com/uqnOu.png http://i.imgur.com/eCkVS.png

What really caught my attention is that if a player walks up to the edge of the pit here and stops, the Fly Boys will jump over him. However, if a more aggressive player jumps over it right away, they'll be in a perfect position to gun them down or just run under the first one. For the NEXT jump, the player has to move right away because the first set of Fly Boys are above them. These first few screens can teach a new player how Fly Boys work AND forces them into a good rhythm for beating them all with a couple good gap placements.

Glass Knuckle
01-14-2012, 12:39 PM
http://i.imgur.com/qXLIg.png http://i.imgur.com/oPcuK.png http://i.imgur.com/qUKHe.png http://i.imgur.com/C039K.png

Now Telly, who appears from those holes in the wall and slowly flies toward the player, gets involved. Note that the game didn't give us a break between enemies, it just threw Tellys in right between the Fly Boys and some tricky jumps. That's how you use an enemy that isn't dangerous by itself. A player who's moving quickly can kill or run under the Fly Boy and continue jumping without even touching a Telly until that last shot, so there's plenty of time to get used to them before interacting with one. Now, look at this.

http://i.imgur.com/r7DHD.png

There can only be two Fly Boys on the screen at once. If the player is having trouble killing them and is being followed, the last one won't appear, giving them more time to deal with the Tellys. Awesome.

http://i.imgur.com/L1HO6.png http://i.imgur.com/uKUS9.png

The next few jumps are just a matter of moving fast or carefully killing any Tellys in the way. Falling into the lava by missing a jump is instant death, but if the player is crowded by Tellys and knocked in, the invincibility will give them enough time to get out.

http://i.imgur.com/IX54T.png http://i.imgur.com/PtVsO.png http://i.imgur.com/FPFqM.png http://i.imgur.com/rKXUC.png

There's a bunch of pointless identical jumps here, a few more over a pit, then the introduction of Springers, which are just Gabyoalls with a cute animation if they hit you.

http://i.imgur.com/eEtDR.png http://i.imgur.com/u6D1Z.png http://i.imgur.com/g5jmw.png http://i.imgur.com/ITc3J.png

As with Ice Man, this is another good vanishing block room to teach players exactly how they work in a relatively safe environment. I wanted to point out that despite there being only four blocks, there are three possible ways to get through it, or four if someone wants to jump on every block. Very nice.

Glass Knuckle
01-14-2012, 12:40 PM
http://i.imgur.com/PsAZ3.png http://i.imgur.com/gx7tB.png http://i.imgur.com/eDAWY.png http://i.imgur.com/KWXog.png

Now we see a different use for those blocks. Instead of getting across a screen full of them, we have to use them to get over these pillars with Tellys flying around. The ones that force you to jump up to the next before it appears are the hardest, but the only one with a gap directly under it is a single block. This isn't bad as long as you keep the Tellys away. At the end is a Springer waiting to hit you if you don't jump right away.

http://i.imgur.com/tuLiY.png http://i.imgur.com/zLCuc.png http://i.imgur.com/h897A.png http://i.imgur.com/T8Tqm.png

Here we are, the part everyone hates. I'm not going to go over the whole thing, but the general problem here is that nothing is timed consistently, so there's no way to know when the next block appears without memorizing it. That said, the most difficult part is the first section, which can be retried since it won't kill you. The blocks over the lava all appear in sequence and don't do anything crazy, so it's safe to wait for the next and jump to it. The only one that's a real bitch to deal with is that last shot. As with the first section, you'll have to jump quick before the next one appears over your head. However, the timing is different from the first ones and even if you suspect this is coming, there's no way to know when. Learn how to get past this one jump, and the rest can be dealt with. The extra life here can only be grabbed safely with the use of a certain item, or can be jumped to if the player is getting nervous and wants to restart without penalty. It's a shame, because they could have made it an optional reward to go for during this that would make the dirty trick at the end a little easier to deal with.

http://i.imgur.com/Xy1l8.png http://i.imgur.com/vZhAu.png http://i.imgur.com/Ue1Jl.png http://i.imgur.com/ZGadG.png

As soon as we head down the ladder, a Sniper Armor jumps toward us. These take TWENTY HITS to kill, and can kill us in four hits through collision damage. After jumping, they're stop for a while and fire a series of shots (that deal minimal damage) at downward angles, moving upward. This encourages players to move up, both allowing them to leave and restart if they have trouble, and showing them the best way to win. What you want to do is drop down the ladder and shoot a few times, then jump up and continue firing from the ladder (or just catch the ladder in the right place on the way down). It'll be close, but even if you can't shoot that fast, it'll go down just in time. Scary, but in this case better than the Big Eyes from before, I think. After taking out the armor, Joe falls to the ground and does his usual thing, though he can't jump this time and his shots are very slow.

http://i.imgur.com/Xe1LG.png

There's nothing dangerous in the last screen, and the boss hallways are now just a single screen before the fight.

What a difference. The graphics and music are great, each segment of the stage does something different, very few screens are wasted, and each enemy is placed in a way that complements the danger offered by the stage instead of just appearing by itself. The Sniper Armor is an exception, but it's difficult enough on its own and is more intimidating than Big Eyes while being more fun to fight. The vanishing block bridge at the end is certainly a roadblock for some players, but the game does offer an easy way to bypass it later. Even if a new player can't get through it, it does a good job of teaching them to play better for the next stage.

Glass Knuckle
01-14-2012, 12:51 PM
I was afraid that this wouldn't go as well as I'd hoped since the first game didn't give me a whole lot to talk about, but I'm pretty confident now that it had more to do with the game. Mega Man 2 is already showing me so many little design details that I'd never paid attention to before, and I don't think I'll be able to fit a stage in one post again from here on out. I skimmed over the weapons a bit in the first game because I didn't have a lot to say about them (Basically, having a damaging weapon is a free pass on Gabyoalls, fire is great for fast things and I like the shield aspect, and ice is useful on Big Eyes. That's about it.) As I said, 2 and the rest are going to get their own post on weapons because if I didn't do that I'd be dragging these stage posts out even more.

To answer an earlier question, the points given to robot masters in the first game are randomized.

Parish
01-14-2012, 06:21 PM
Will you be touching on alternate routes in stages? For instance, Crash (Clash?) Bombs give you shortcuts through Heat Man's stage, among others, but you didn't mention that.

And I think there's a fair amount to be said re: the first game's weapons. Even in that sort of prototypical game, Capcom was experimenting with the use of weapon-use in each stage as a tip-off to which weapon would be good against the boss. The Spines at the start of Elec Man's stage make the opening screen's jumps infuriating, but they go down in one hit to the Rolling Cutter, which is the boss' weakness. Little connections like that show the amount of care the developers put into the game, even if they were sort of learning on the fly about ideal play design.

Glass Knuckle
01-14-2012, 08:07 PM
Will you be touching on alternate routes in stages? For instance, Crash (Clash?) Bombs give you shortcuts through Heat Man's stage, among others, but you didn't mention that.

I'll include that with the posts about special weapons. What I want to do is look at each weapon by itself and see how many places there are in the first stages where it's the best choice for dealing with something, or at least particularly good.

And I think there's a fair amount to be said re: the first game's weapons. Even in that sort of prototypical game, Capcom was experimenting with the use of weapon-use in each stage as a tip-off to which weapon would be good against the boss. The Spines at the start of Elec Man's stage make the opening screen's jumps infuriating, but they go down in one hit to the Rolling Cutter, which is the boss' weakness. Little connections like that show the amount of care the developers put into the game, even if they were sort of learning on the fly about ideal play design.

I'm playing through it again, and I don't see much of that. Fire is nice in Bomb Man's stage for the first couple screens, but the bombs later on actually make it a more dangerous choice and electricity can take out the row of Mambus defending the large health if you didn't kill them on the way up. Ice Man's stage barely has any enemies to speak of, and electricity doesn't really stand out there beyond just being powerful in general. Bombs, of course, aren't going to do much of anything anywhere, much less help out in Guts Man's stage. While the cutters certainly help with Spines/Gabyoalls, fire works just as well and is also great for the Watchers who come down on top of you later.

Cut Man has the blocks right there in his room as a clue, as well as a bunch scattered around his stage that I didn't even realize were Guts blocks before since not a single one is in a place where I might want to move it. Fire Man's stage lets you mess with the traps if you have ice of course, though I actually like electricity best since so many enemies will be above or below you there. I think I'll have to say that any other relation between boss weaknesses and weapon use in the levels is purely accidental if it's there at all. Of course, if you disagree, I'd love to hear why. I don't use special weapons in Mega Man games nearly as much as most people, so is the first time I've paid much attention to them in years.

Sanagi
01-15-2012, 06:30 AM
GK, I like your analysis of the Sniper Armor. I hadn't thought about it, but while their absurd toughness is not one of my favorite things about MM2 the other elements of their design explain why they're so much more fair and interesting than the Big Eyes. I'm always happy when someone can point out more reasons why MM2 is my favorite game of all time.

I don't use special weapons in Mega Man games nearly as much as most people, so is the first time I've paid much attention to them in years.
In MM2, unlike MM1, the weapons are useful pretty much everywhere, and that even applies to the lesser ones like Leaf Shield. I've thought about doing my own nerdy over-analysis of the game on that topic.

Pajaro Pete
01-16-2012, 08:15 PM
Any Mega Man 2 fan knows how much easier this gets if we take out Air Man first, but until someone DOES kill Air Man, they won't even know that there's a way to cheat through this stage.

This is a ridiculous assertion because every Mega Man fan knows Airman can't be defeated.

Glass Knuckle
01-17-2012, 07:51 PM
Crash Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaManII-CrashMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOIjzmMZi_s)

http://i.imgur.com/clddh.png http://i.imgur.com/ufU5e.png http://i.imgur.com/6g4zJ.png http://i.imgur.com/xmgsS.png

The first screen is just beautiful. At first glance it seems like one could just blast the Tellys and move on, but the top one spawns right over the ladder you need to climb to get out. Plenty of the game's special weapons could get a player past it right away, but someone coming into this stage without them will need to spend a little time figuring out how they work before climbing up safely. The solution is to draw them away without killing them, and the fact that players can climb the ladder on the right or jump straight to the middle one allow for different ways of dealing with it. This is a great setup for teaching new players all about how Tellys work.

http://i.imgur.com/QuzfA.png http://i.imgur.com/CX0el.png http://i.imgur.com/UKbnX.png

More of the same, though this time there's less leg room but the Tellys can be bypassed with little trouble.

http://i.imgur.com/UMZRg.png http://i.imgur.com/9724E.png

There are three Neo Metalls in this hallway, distinguished from those in the first game by having feet and being able to walk forward after shooting. As with many rooms in the first game, I feel they could have varied the terrain a bit if they're just going to have you fight multiples of the same enemy in sequence.

http://i.imgur.com/nlMXZ.png http://i.imgur.com/PoVNC.png

This screen introduces moving platforms. Not much going on here.

http://i.imgur.com/WwOKY.png http://i.imgur.com/NbeYk.png http://i.imgur.com/9FNUw.png

A slightly more complex one. If the player jumps on right away, he'll have to shoot one Telly and jump over another. Repeatedly shooting any that get in the way works fine too.

Glass Knuckle
01-17-2012, 07:52 PM
http://i.imgur.com/Gkhf1.png http://i.imgur.com/tRRsB.png http://i.imgur.com/SUgPN.png

This one is longer, and the Tellys remain within range the whole time, so just shoot them. Considering that the very first screen made it important to observe where Tellys spawn and lead them out of the way if necessary, it's a shame that the rest of this isn't building on that. Each of them appears at the edges of the screen and they're almost always in shot range.

http://i.imgur.com/MkCik.png http://i.imgur.com/e0L5c.png http://i.imgur.com/nml2f.png

This is Blocky, who can only be shot in the eyes and breaks apart when you do. A second shot kills him. He's the only danger on these two screens.

http://i.imgur.com/ATMXt.png http://i.imgur.com/yev4Z.png http://i.imgur.com/yUaex.png http://i.imgur.com/rLZUI.png

The next screen is mostly for effect, though players can land on the platforms if the Met above gives them trouble. It's situated in a way that forces players to jump right into its line of fire, and can walk over the gap to the middle platform if it isn't killed. Jumping over the shots as soon as you land is another option. Not a bad setup for one otherwise minor enemy.

http://i.imgur.com/ZjUVZ.png http://i.imgur.com/5VFwl.png http://i.imgur.com/8r8qP.png http://i.imgur.com/4owV0.png

We're given the choice of two ladders to climb. On the next screen, a Pipi flies in, drops an egg, and a whole bunch of birds swarm their way into Mega Man's face. Now, this only takes two health bars, but I'm pretty sure it's unavoidable without special weapons no matter which ladder you take, and unavoidable damage is the worst kind.

Glass Knuckle
01-17-2012, 07:55 PM
http://i.imgur.com/MFx3G.png http://i.imgur.com/m4Vce.png http://i.imgur.com/bs7tr.png http://i.imgur.com/XJ599.png

The next screen does the same thing, but this time there's enough room between ladders to jump to the side and avoid the birds, since they target wherever Mega Man was when they hatched. Another interesting trick is that the birds appear from whichever way Mega Man is facing. You can change this on a ladder by shooting to the left or right. From the far right ladder here, making the Pipi enter from the right makes it drop the egg into empty air.

http://i.imgur.com/PdkcJ.png http://i.imgur.com/MHnLb.png http://i.imgur.com/M7mq4.png http://i.imgur.com/TvBBX.png

That will continue to be useful for the next screen. We also see Shotman for the first time, who fires shots in groups of six, alternating between forward and high angles. After that we reach the end of the split path. Taking the other side won't allow the player to progress (without certain items anyway) but it at least leads to an E-Tank, which Mega Man can carry with him to restore all his health from the menu screen once per tank. It's a good reward for players taking the other path even if it means they have to climb up the other side, and one could jump down from here to grab it instead of climbing back down. From here, Mega Man can climb the ladder right in front of him or take a riskier jump for an extra life. At the top are three spawn areas for Fly Boys, with a nicely staggered terrain to make it difficult.

I'm not impressed with this one. The first screen introduces the possibility of using Tellys to make the player do something other than shoot everything in front of him, but never follows it up. The moving platforms could also have worked well for a more puzzle-oriented stage, but the Tellys don't get in the way much and there's nothing else there to put the player in danger. There's one good Met placement after that, then ladders with birds that force the player to take damage unless he has certain special weapons or knows a trick that shouldn't be required. The actual design of the split path is ok, since it at least gives a great reward for taking the wrong path and allows players who chose the other side to get it anyway if they're willing to make the climb once more. The last couple screens are pretty good. The tangled pipe design is interesting, but the pipes are mostly all there is (why weren't those tubes in the first couple screens used elsewhere?), and many of the screens just have a flat blue background, which looks more on par with the quality of the first game. The transition from day to night (or sky to space?) is a cool idea though. Overall, it seems like this stage was a bit rushed.

Destil
01-17-2012, 09:04 PM
We're given the choice of two ladders to climb. On the next screen, a Pipi flies in, drops an egg, and a whole bunch of birds swarm their way into Mega Man's face. Now, this only takes two health bars, but I'm pretty sure it's unavoidable without special weapons no matter which ladder you take, and unavoidable damage is the worst kind.

The only way through here without using weapon energy I'm aware of is to jump between ladders after the egg falls and pause. This resets Mega Man's position just enough that you can grab the second ladder before you fall off this screen.

Yeah, this screen sucks.

Googleshng
01-17-2012, 11:34 PM
It's also easily the least aesthetically pleasing level in the game by far.

Parish
01-17-2012, 11:52 PM
Between the music (too staccato), the verticality (climbing is too slow), and the color scheme (too much color clash between the nasty greenish pipes and cerulean sky), this has always been my least favorite Mega Man 2 level. It's not bad; I just feel like it's a perfunctory sideline on the way to more interesting stages like Flash Man and Quick Man.

Tanto
01-18-2012, 08:14 AM
Crash Man himself is also the worst of the eight, being unbelievably cheap with any weapon other than the Air Shooter.

SpoonyBardOL
01-18-2012, 08:23 AM
Crash Man himself is also the worst of the eight, being unbelievably cheap with any weapon other than the Air Shooter.

Really? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP-366TN9po) I dunno, he's more tedious than cheap, once you figure out the 'short hop then shoot' strategy.

Playing on 'Difficult', the one RM that always gave me trouble without the Buster is Wood Man. On 'Normal' you can wear him down before he wears you down pretty easily, but otherwise he's always the one that could make me go for an E-Tank whenever I do a Buster-only* MM2 run.

*By which I mean Buster-Only except for the bosses that require a specific weapon.

Larsen B
01-18-2012, 08:54 AM
MM2 is currently the only Mega Man I've finished (with MM9 being the only other one I've played) so it's nice to be talked through the levels I've experienced with a far more informed/critical eye.

What I mean is: good thread.

RT-55J
01-18-2012, 10:07 AM
http://i.imgur.com/gx7tB.png
I remember picking this stage first once and playing up to this point, only to be inside of one of the disappearing blocks as it appeared thus ejecting Mega Man straight above that pit.

What I'm saying is that playthrough did not last long.

MCBanjoMike
01-18-2012, 12:30 PM
Between the music (too staccato)

Blasphemy! I really don't understand why people hate on the music in Crash Man's stage, it has always been one of my favorite tunes from MM2. It's just so damn happy.

The Sniper Joes in Mega Man 2 aren't as intelligent as the ones in the original game; rather than waiting for you to stop shooting before dropping their shields, they just follow a simple timed pattern. When I was a kid, that really bothered me, but these days I appreciate that they don't slow down the pacing quite as much as their forebears.

Glass Knuckle
01-18-2012, 01:09 PM
I love Crash Man's tune, but the NES sounds are a little hard on the ears when they're cut that short.

I don't remember how often Joes show up in this game, but I'm fine with them being easier than usual when a bunch of them come with mechs to ride in.

I'm not sure how the block physics work so I can't explain that (though I'd guess it has to do with the direction you're facing), but I noticed that the Tellys in that shot are actually doing more of what I wanted to see from Crash Man. The one on the right has to be taken into account before jumping up the blocks, either by shooting it and going up quickly or leading it forward first.

EDIT: After Prinny's comment, I'm curious if there's any point in the series where doing a lot of ladder climbing was fun. They're fine when they're just short pieces to interact with between platforms, but I can't think of anything in the series that did more with a screen full of them then the "red light green light" game in Elec Man's stage, if indeed they were used like that again at all (I really do have an awful memory for these games despite playing them a whole bunch).

I mean, we'll get there eventually if there's more of it, but it's something to discuss now that we've seen two different takes on it.

Prinnydood
01-18-2012, 01:15 PM
I, too, love Crash Man's music, but I also think actually playing through his stage is boring. There isn't really anything to it as it's more (slow, labored) traversal than combat.

taosterman
01-18-2012, 01:49 PM
Crash Man's stage is my favorite Mega Man level. It's so deliciously videogamey.

Egarwaen
01-18-2012, 03:13 PM
I remember picking this stage first once and playing up to this point, only to be inside of one of the disappearing blocks as it appeared thus ejecting Mega Man straight above that pit.

What I'm saying is that playthrough did not last long.

It's not an obvious threat, but there's a couple bits in Heat Man's stage where that can kill you if you mis-time your jump.

Giampi
01-18-2012, 03:16 PM
It can save you as much as it can kill you; sometimes I've been caught in the same space as a block when it appears, and I end up standing on top of it as if I'd timed my jump correctly.

BeeZee
01-18-2012, 03:54 PM
It can save you as much as it can kill you; sometimes I've been caught in the same space as a block when it appears, and I end up standing on top of it as if I'd timed my jump correctly.

Most collision code from that era works by checking to see if you're inside a tile, and if so, moving you to the closest place where you wouldn't be. I wouldn't be surprised if MM2 is doing just that, and moving you to the top of the block if you're closer to that and under the block if you're closer to the bottom.

Dubin
01-18-2012, 04:16 PM
EDIT: After Prinny's comment, I'm curious if there's any point in the series where doing a lot of ladder climbing was fun. They're fine when they're just short pieces to interact with between platforms, but I can't think of anything in the series that did more with a screen full of them then the "red light green light" game in Elec Man's stage, if indeed they were used like that again at all (I really do have an awful memory for these games despite playing them a whole bunch).

I mean, we'll get there eventually if there's more of it, but it's something to discuss now that we've seen two different takes on it.
I don't think there is a point where ladder climbing becomes fun. Given that Megaman X brought two new movement abilities that made it possible to have more vertical sections, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM#t=17m00s) it still went out of its way to minimize the amount of time you have to spend on a ladder, what with all the vertical movement coming in the form of wall-climbing and dash-jumps, and the introduction of the ladder-climbing speed upgrade in X2. Even when Rokko Chan (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=12632) used vertical segments in 8 bits, the segments were based on the new protagonist's jump height rather than ladders.

Ladders are practically to Megaman what water levels are to videogames in general. (Which is ironic, considering that Megaman's water mechanics make its water levels actually fun to play.)

Issun
01-19-2012, 12:23 AM
This is a ridiculous assertion because every hardcore meme fan knows Airman can't be defeated.

RT-55J
01-19-2012, 10:10 AM
psh. Everybody knows that Air Man is trivial if you just have the Leaf Shield.

Though admittedly Wood Man is pretty hard if you can't one-shot him with the Atomic Fire.

Fortunately, Heat Man is one of the easier bosses, though Item-2 is practically necessary to get to him. And that can only be obtained from Air Man.

...

Forget everything I said and just Metal Blade everything to death.

Mogri
01-19-2012, 10:23 AM
Though admittedly Wood Man is pretty hard if you can't one-shot him with the Atomic Fire.

I'm not sure I've ever used Atomic Fire on Wood Man. My order is usually Metal > Wood > Air > anything at this point because I have Metal Blade and Item-2.

Daikaiju
01-19-2012, 10:33 AM
This is a ridiculous assertion because every Mega Man fan knows Airman can't be defeated.

Y'know... I never understood this. I always beat Airman first.

mopinks
01-19-2012, 10:34 AM
I like that two of MM2's bosses can be killed in one hit if you use the right weapon. overkill is fun!

Glass Knuckle
01-19-2012, 11:01 AM
...I've seen the Air Man meme going around for quite a while and I still can't decide if anyone involved is being serious or not.

Look, if you're actually having trouble with Air Man, do this. When the fight starts, hold Right and mash B. When Air Man stops shooting and moves to the other side, stay next to him while you can and hold Left after he starts shooting again. Don't try to dodge anything, don't jump, just walk toward him at all times and shoot. If you went in with full health you'll win with a quarter to half of your health remaining. That's assuming you're playing on difficult.

EDIT: Can't watch it at work, but if you're linking the song, than that's what I'm getting at because Heat Man's stage and Wood Man are both legitimately difficult, and Air Man certainly can be if you let him scare you into playing defensively. That is, there's probably a not-insignificant number of people out there who don't fight him without the leaf shield because they didn't try long enough without it to see through his bluff.

Octopus Prime
01-19-2012, 02:48 PM
I like that two of MM2's bosses can be killed in one hit if you use the right weapon. overkill is fun!

Three, if you have exceptional aim (and, possibly, only if you are playing on Normal)

Pajaro Pete
01-19-2012, 03:10 PM
There are also hilarious songs for other Robot Masters like Metal Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0TaaD_fj4M) and Donut Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gF9gzHg5ic).

Kishi
01-19-2012, 05:50 PM
Best (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFtkDEAhWC8).

TheSL
01-19-2012, 06:17 PM
Best (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFtkDEAhWC8).

Would have been more accurate with those damn Ice Man propeller lifts than the Elec Man thing.

Googleshng
01-19-2012, 08:12 PM
There are also hilarious songs for other Robot Masters like Metal Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0TaaD_fj4M) and Donut Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gF9gzHg5ic).

Hyadain there is never going to do Wood Man and Air Man, is he.

Octopus Prime
01-20-2012, 07:58 PM
Best (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFtkDEAhWC8).

The guy straight-up has NO luck with Mega Man games, does he?

Glass Knuckle
01-21-2012, 09:08 AM
Wood Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaManII-WoodMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIJmyE0eT-k&feature=related)

http://i.imgur.com/IjVcQ.png

Graphics! We got robot trees, trees behind those trees, grass, wood patterns in the ground and...whatever is covering the top of it! Not bad at all.

http://i.imgur.com/0lJ6x.png http://i.imgur.com/Sr93t.png http://i.imgur.com/y1rct.png

Anyway, this is Batton and Robbit. Battons wake up after a couple seconds and can't be damaged until they do. After that, they'll move toward you like a slightly faster Telly, and they take two hits to kill. Robbit alternates between taking one hop forward and shooting three carrots in your general direction. They take ten hits, and work well as a roadblock allowing any nearby Battons to catch up with you. This whole section is much more combat intensive than usual, with Battons filling the trees and three Robbits evenly spaced throughout. The enemies work very well together along with the minor terrain variations.

http://i.imgur.com/f7wY0.png http://i.imgur.com/awHlW.png

The next screen below has three more Battons, this time in a more confined space. An interesting tidbit about this one is that by starting in the top corner, leading them upward and running under is a valid alternate strategy.

http://i.imgur.com/jdo7b.png http://i.imgur.com/xB6Xk.png http://i.imgur.com/OdByy.png http://i.imgur.com/Itr5g.png

And then a giant robot dog teleports in and starts spitting fire at you. This is Friender (he's not your friend), and he takes twenty hits. This is the first example we've seen of a miniboss, which becomes a staple of the series. He's also much more animated than anything we've seen before. He paws at the ground, wags his tail, and opens his mouth wider when shooting, which was pretty impressive back then. We have to shoot at him while jumping over the fire, and the terrain works to our advantage this time.

http://i.imgur.com/mqFlj.png http://i.imgur.com/2m7Yo.png http://i.imgur.com/iheQc.png

Not so for the next ones. The second forces you to fight him while he's above you, allowing him to cover your whole standing area with fire. The third also includes a piece of the ceiling that makes jumping forward more difficult. It's a good progression of difficulty and keeps fighting three of them in a row from getting too boring. It's also possible to take down the third by jumping up from farther back and sneaking pot shots in, assuming you can jump out of a two-block high space.

Glass Knuckle
01-21-2012, 09:10 AM
http://i.imgur.com/iurRr.png

The next room just has two more Battons. We've dealt with more than that in every previous encounter with them already. They're great as a place to heal after what we just dealt with though.

http://i.imgur.com/qmM9w.png http://i.imgur.com/9v1GF.png http://i.imgur.com/TazH4.png http://i.imgur.com/LVqzj.png

Along with a nice change of scenery (we're above the trees now), we meet a new enemy. Monking jumps up to grab the platform as you approach, then jumps on top of it if you get closer or enough time passes. He'll continue jumping toward you until you kill him. He's easy enough to deal with once you know what he does, but then...

http://i.imgur.com/DVKqC.png http://i.imgur.com/OmnAm.png http://i.imgur.com/5zEdL.png http://i.imgur.com/iHcOO.png

Pipi's back! They fly overhead frequently, and we have to shoot the eggs as they fall or things get messy fast.

http://i.imgur.com/EOfVm.png http://i.imgur.com/LMpVW.png http://i.imgur.com/bGk5n.png http://i.imgur.com/y6EJR.png

The next three screens are individual fights with Robbits under different terrain conditions. This is really just a breather between the good stuff, but you'll have to get right up in the second one's face if you don't have a special weapon.

http://i.imgur.com/Xz3vO.png http://i.imgur.com/sJW8S.png

The last set of screens introduced Kukku, who runs forward and jumps every few steps. They move too fast to kill with normal shots before they reach you, but they're timed to jump just as they get near Mega Man if you stop moving when they appear.

This is easily the most combat intensive stage we've seen so far. The Batton/Robbit combo, Frienders, and Monking/Pipi combo are all solid challenges, and the last couple sections can still be problematic. The scenery is well designed and changes throughout, and the music is great. As an action-focused stage, I can't find fault with it at all.

mopinks
01-21-2012, 11:55 AM
ahahaha the robot dogs are called Frienders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casshan)??

I NEVER KNEW THAT AND IT IS GREAT

Octopus Prime
01-21-2012, 12:05 PM
This thread has given us Frienders and Adhering Suzies.

This makes this the best thread!

Prinnydood
01-21-2012, 02:22 PM
I never knew that Kukkus jumped over you. I always just shot at them and hoped they died before reaching me.

Oh, and the alternate name for Frienders is Hot Dog.

Mogri
01-21-2012, 06:46 PM
I never knew that Kukkus jumped over you. I always just shot at them and hoped they died before reaching me.

Wow. How'd that work out for you? I guess you probably had a special weapon by then anyway.

Prinnydood
01-21-2012, 06:55 PM
I had Metal Blades.

Octopus Prime
01-21-2012, 07:04 PM
Metal Blades bounce right off them

Prinnydood
01-21-2012, 07:21 PM
Exactly my point. It was the buster all the way, pretty unsuccessfully.

MetManMas
01-22-2012, 04:31 AM
ahahaha the robot dogs are called Frienders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casshan)??

I NEVER KNEW THAT AND IT IS GREAT

This is totally the new best thing about Mega Man 2.

Glass Knuckle
01-22-2012, 07:39 PM
Metal Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaManII-MetalMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si8HiBgcg_U)

http://i.imgur.com/Vplcc.png http://i.imgur.com/zDUHm.png http://i.imgur.com/AhDJm.png http://i.imgur.com/if6tp.png

The first thing we encounter here is a conveyor belt, which move in the direction the arrows on the ends are pointing and cover roughly half the floor space in this stage. There's also an E-Tank sitting right in easy reach, which is rather ominous. The first dangerous thing that appears is Press, which does exactly what you think it does.

http://i.imgur.com/iNDL3.png http://i.imgur.com/o6hyA.png http://i.imgur.com/TvY8H.png

There's five Presses in total, then we enter a hallway filled with Moles, which slowly move across the screen vertically. They take five hits and can appear anywhere in front of you. These look dangerous, but since they won't appear where Mega Man is standing, we can just move forward carefully. Once you get used to them, they're pretty much a free refill on health and energy since they never stop spawning. This gets a little trickier after throwing a conveyor belt into the mix though.

http://i.imgur.com/EBgjq.png http://i.imgur.com/NXRJN.png http://i.imgur.com/kAsTR.png http://i.imgur.com/oKhQD.png

After the Mole section, there are five whole screens of absolutely nothing interesting happening. Just wanted to point that out.

http://i.imgur.com/nBhdh.png http://i.imgur.com/ZGKzi.png http://i.imgur.com/xdWuB.png http://i.imgur.com/1IavI.png

This is Pierrobot. He falls onto a gear as we enter the screen, then both fall to the floor and he rides it toward us. You can either shoot the gear (takes four hits) and he'll fall offscreen, or kill him directly (one hit), making the gear slow down so you can deal with it more easily or just jump over it. He's a fairly interesting enemy, but only shows up by himself for this section.

Glass Knuckle
01-22-2012, 07:52 PM
http://i.imgur.com/IqFZC.png http://i.imgur.com/sbQ3j.png http://i.imgur.com/wTEi4.png http://i.imgur.com/7bbIZ.png

Immediately after those are a few Blockys, along with another E-Tank that is suicidal to go after without an item to cross the gap with. As it is, we can barely make it across from the top, bringing us into the path of a Springer.

http://i.imgur.com/hSvVq.png http://i.imgur.com/e9UEG.png http://i.imgur.com/A7qvE.png

There's a few more Springers, followed by...the boss door. Huh.

While the stage first gives the impression that it's going to be a tough trap-focused one, there's really not much to it. Aside from fighting Moles on the conveyor belt, the stage just kinda throws one thing out there, then waits for us to deal with a few of them in turn before switching to a new thing. We never have to deal with more than one enemy type at once, nor do we have to make any particularly difficult jumps, like one would expect from a stage with moving floors. That bit in the middle with nothing but a few jumps and an extra life on the side also makes an already somewhat short level feel even smaller. It makes for a decent stage to start with, but it has nothing to offer a player who's been through a few already. I like that the machines in the background are animated and the music is one of my favorites out of the entire series, but there isn't a lot else going for it.

MetManMas
01-22-2012, 08:33 PM
Yeah, Metal Man's stage is very much a starter level. You get an energy tank and a (admittedly suicidal) opportunity for a second one, the presses are damaging but don't outright kill you like some other traps do, and there's things like the drills that make a great grinding point.

It's pretty front-loaded on objects of interest, but when all's said and done it's a great place to start. Getting the most broken weapon in the game in the process is just a bonus.

Glass Knuckle
01-23-2012, 07:29 PM
Bubble Man's Stage (http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/MegaManII-BubbleMan.png) and Music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1J6M9pkQ3c)

http://i.imgur.com/CrWdq.png http://i.imgur.com/zEZ5G.png http://i.imgur.com/M7otY.png http://i.imgur.com/H1NSp.png

Our first threat here is Kerog, who immediately spits three baby robot frogs at us. These move only by jumping in high arcs, and Kerog itself does nothing except spit more out if you kill them all. The great thing about this setup is that one baby falls off right away, followed by a second on the next jump. You get a preview of how dangerous this fight is going to be on more solid ground, while avoiding most of the danger on the first one. Mega Man's normal shots go right over the babies on the ground, so you have to catch them mid-jump.



http://i.imgur.com/TtpZj.png http://i.imgur.com/hUkcd.png http://i.imgur.com/JUwtU.png http://i.imgur.com/VPsUO.png

On the next two, only one baby will fall right away, and the last one forces the action into a more confined space. Great start to the level so far.

http://i.imgur.com/OJczd.png http://i.imgur.com/OisNd.png http://i.imgur.com/0e8WX.png

...and then it has to go and ruin it. These blocks drop a fraction of a second after landing on them, and Mega Man goes into his falling animation once they do, so there's no way to jump off of them after they move. There's no warning at all, so it's just a gotcha for new players. Awful.

http://i.imgur.com/lZ8Uo.png http://i.imgur.com/1tlLY.png http://i.imgur.com/V8tHZ.png

The short drop here has a high chance of dropping us right onto a Tanishi, so there's some more pain we couldn't see coming. Tanishi moves slowly back and forth. Shooting it once will remove the shell, and a second shot kills it. The catch is, it moves faster without the shell and your shots go over it.

Glass Knuckle
01-23-2012, 07:30 PM
http://i.imgur.com/LFey4.png http://i.imgur.com/2WiT7.png http://i.imgur.com/LW1zb.png http://i.imgur.com/1Vu43.png

The waterfall and surface of the water here is animated, which looks really nice. The platform invites us to jump in to the left, leading to yet another collision we couldn't see coming. Mega Man jumps higher underwater, and the same applies to the shells. This makes them more dangerous since they can hurt you, but they can be destroyed in two hits.

http://i.imgur.com/RXQQ1.png http://i.imgur.com/cPErl.png

Shrink here moves towards us in individual movements, similar to a Blooper. He's easy enough to deal with alone, taking only three hits, but they're much scarier when we see where they're coming from. Anko continuously spits out Shrinks, takes ten hits, and can only be shot in the lure. It's a tough fight, and the spikes on the ceiling will kill Mega Man instantly if he touches them.

http://i.imgur.com/DwrK8.png http://i.imgur.com/OcQzg.png http://i.imgur.com/Vlv24.png

The corridor then gets much tighter, while M-445 rains from above. These fall straight down until they're level with you, then move sideways in a sine wave pattern. They only take one hit, but can be quite a hassle alongside the spikes.

http://i.imgur.com/OkkGJ.png http://i.imgur.com/BCOWb.png http://i.imgur.com/0WMu9.png

The next Anko fight forces us against a wall of spikes, and we're then treated to two more Keros. The babies also jump higher underwater and there's no pits for them to fall into. The second one also puts us in a tighter corridor, so the babies can't be avoided as easily.

http://i.imgur.com/fpI0e.png http://i.imgur.com/0p5M1.png http://i.imgur.com/gfJ37.png

The last section brings us back out to the waterfall, while Claws fall from the sky. Claw falls, bounces once, then walks forward slowly. They die in one hit, but since the platforms are close to the top of the screen, they come with little warning.

Aside from the falling platforms and bad enemy placement during the drop into the water, I like this one. There's a nice variety of enemies and while none of them are mixed, some of them make their own backup helpers while the others are used well with the terrain. Repeating certain enemies underwater was brilliant, since the new physics change up the fights. It uses the space it has very well, while looking and sounding great. It could have used something in the background during the underwater segment, but if you look at the stage map you'll notice a cool fishnet background for the boss fight. It's a shame that the flaws it has are such bad ones, but unlike the forced damage in Crash Man's stage, they can be easily overcome once a player has seen them.

Prinnydood
01-23-2012, 07:38 PM
I knew to be wary of those trick platforms the first time I played because they just looked so different from anything I'd seen before. I didn't know the platforms would drop so quickly, but I knew something was going to happen.

Kishi
01-23-2012, 07:41 PM
http://i.imgur.com/OJczd.png http://i.imgur.com/OisNd.png http://i.imgur.com/0e8WX.png

These blocks drop a fraction of a second after landing on them, and Mega Man goes into his falling animation once they do, so there's no way to jump off of them after they move. There's no warning at all, so it's just a gotcha for new players. Awful.

Maybe new players in the sense of "new to video games." Anyone with any existing instincts should immediately see that those platforms aren't part of the background like the white ones and prepare accordingly.

Destil
01-23-2012, 07:44 PM
True Fact: Mega Man 2 was one of the very first NES games I ever played, I believe it was the third, having rented it the week after I rented Excitebike.

I didn't complete bubble man's stage until last, because I assumed that the drop at the end of the first area would kill me, and instead turned around jumped off the ledge where those platforms used to be for some reason. I don't really know why the exit would be there, but it made sense when I was 10.

Glass Knuckle
01-23-2012, 07:59 PM
The problem with those platforms is that they drop without any warning whatsoever, drop quickly, and place you in a falling state right away so you can't jump off when they do. It's not enough to know that they're different, you have to know exactly what they're going to do. Fixing the first or the third issue there would make them at least somewhat fair.

Kishi
01-23-2012, 08:05 PM
Just sayin', I never fell for them.

Brickroad
01-23-2012, 08:22 PM
The problem with those platforms is that they drop without any warning whatsoever, drop quickly, and place you in a falling state right away so you can't jump off when they do. It's not enough to know that they're different, you have to know exactly what they're going to do. Fixing the first or the third issue there would make them at least somewhat fair.

You only die to them once before you learn what they do. I think that's perfectly fair.

dtsund
01-23-2012, 09:00 PM
It would've been pretty easy to situate the first one such that it falls through a permanent platform, so that the player gets to learn that they fall and how fast they fall without dying. This also would've opened the door to more interesting use of the things than just "hop across some of them quickly". I guarantee that this would've happened if those platforms had been introduced in Mega Man 9.

Brickroad
01-23-2012, 09:03 PM
Oh, no doubt. I still say "die-and-learn" traps are fair in a game where 1ups are plentiful and continues are infinite.

Donny
01-23-2012, 09:05 PM
It would've been pretty easy to situate the first one such that it falls through a permanent platform, so that the player gets to learn that they fall and how fast they fall without dying.

Or to first put a set over a non-deadly pit with an E-tank or extra life on the other side. The player is given incentive to jump across the platforms to learn how they work but aren't penalized with death if they fail.

Destil
01-23-2012, 09:46 PM
Anyone raging on memorization required instant-deathtraps in this game can likely do better than Bubbleman, of course.

Beta Metroid
01-23-2012, 10:48 PM
Yeah, as someone who's only Mega Man experience before the Anniversary Collection was stumbling upon a relative's MM3 cartridge in the late '90s, I'd say there's only one Robot Master stage in this game that is cruel and unforgiving to newbies, and it sure isn't Bubble Man.

Issun
01-23-2012, 11:15 PM
Oh, no doubt. I still say "die-and-learn" traps are fair in a game where 1ups are plentiful and continues are infinite.

When they are at the beginning of the level like this, yes. If a cheap death will set you back an annoying amount, then it sucks.

Also, we didn't hit the plentiful 1ups stage until Mega Man 5, and continues are meaningless in the second game because Game Over means losing your E Tanks.

Brickroad
01-23-2012, 11:22 PM
When they are at the beginning of the level like this, yes. If a cheap death will set you back an annoying amount, then it sucks.

Stages in MM2 are like five minutes long. You can't be set back "an annoying amount" unless your personal threshhold for "annoying" is ridiculously tiny.

Also, we didn't hit the plentiful 1ups stage until Mega Man 5, and continues are meaningless in the second game because Game Over means losing your E Tanks.

You don't have to start the entire game over if you lose your E Tanks. Compared to many of its peers, Mega Man practically held your dick for you.

A first time MM2 player is likely to get a game over on every single robot master anyway. What's the alternative? Never kill the player ever? That's what Game Genie is for.

Issun
01-23-2012, 11:24 PM
I was going to play 1-10 and possibly the first five X games as a 25th anniversary celebration, before I continued on to Final Fantasy. I made it through the NES 6. It's unfortunate that, as wonderful as the Mega Man series is, its action oriented entries (that's most of them) suffer from a sameness that precludes a consistent playthrough.

Here's hoping I finish the Final Fantasy shit in time to finish the Mega Man shit before the quarter-centuryversary is up.

Sanagi
01-23-2012, 11:36 PM
Flaws? Bubbleman's stage is too pretty to have flaws. You must be mistaken.

MJG
01-24-2012, 12:37 AM
I don't mind trap-ish deaths in MM games because you don't lose all that much real world time from them. Stages take less than five minutes to beat, and there's a checkpoint in the middle even, so unless you get a game over, you're only losing a minute or two. It's not like an RPG, where you might not have saved for an hour. Or a modern game, where you have to sit through a death screen, a loading screen, rewatch an unskippable cut scene, etc.

Octopus Prime
01-24-2012, 05:47 AM
A first time MM2 player is likely to get a game over on every single robot master anyway. What's the alternative? Never kill the player ever? That's what Game Genie is for.

You do not wish for not dying through a Game Genie in Mega Man 2.

SpoonyBardOL
01-24-2012, 05:56 AM
You do not wish for not dying through a Game Genie in Mega Man 2.

It's funny because Wily 4. How many of us did that happen to? Raise your hand.

Brickroad
01-24-2012, 05:59 AM
You do not wish for not dying through a Game Genie in Mega Man 2.

A lesson my friends and I learned the hard way, sir!

Loki
01-24-2012, 06:09 AM
I am neither a cheat nor or a layabout. Could you villains explain what you're talking about.

Brickroad
01-24-2012, 06:11 AM
I am neither a cheat nor or a layabout. Could you villains explain what you're talking about.

If you put in the invincibility Game Genie code, you get to the Wily 4 boss (the wall cannons that can only be damaged with Crash Bombs), run out of weapon energy, then have no way to die or exit the level. You have to start the whole game over.

Loki
01-24-2012, 06:12 AM
Oh that's too obvious. I was thinking there was something wonky it did with the code.

Octopus Prime
01-24-2012, 06:14 AM
Well, not the whole game. Just all the fortress.

Of course, its instant-death traps that are the bigger threat in the Wily stages anyway. Invincibility don't do squat to them.

Brickroad
01-24-2012, 06:21 AM
Well, not the whole game. Just all the fortress.

No, because, see, if you blow past all the robot master stages (because you are invincible) why would you be writing down your passwords?

Only a fool would do that.

I do seem to remember the Game Genie code book having a caution note about how you could get stuck if you used the code, though.

Sanagi
01-24-2012, 06:32 AM
I do seem to remember the Game Genie code book having a caution note about how you could get stuck if you used the code, though.
It was probably in a magazine, because I remember reading about this but I have never done it.

SpoonyBardOL
01-24-2012, 08:21 AM
Depending on your edition of the Game Genie manual, it might have. I can't remember what mine said about Mega Man 2 (gee, I wonder do I still even have buried at the bottom of my closet back home? I'll have to go spelunking next time I'm out there) but I do recall some cases where the manual warned that using certain codes might lead to an unwinnable state. It wasn't just copy and pasted for every game, so there must've been some thought put into which games got what warning.

Glass Knuckle
01-24-2012, 08:26 AM
Alright, so most of you don't seem all that bothered by the falling blocks. That's perfectly reasonable, since they cease to be an issue as soon as you see them drop for the first time. However, from a design standpoint, I consider this one of those things that just shouldn't be done to the player without a good reason. Other games with falling platforms sometimes make them shake a bit before doing so. That would, by necessity, make them take longer to start falling. It is understandable that the designer would want to avoid that in favor of making them harder, but in that case it is simple enough to show one of these to the player before killing them with it. Bubble Man doesn't have an extra life or E-Tank in his stage, so that would have been a perfect way to introduce one before putting it over a pit. There's also the fact that they aren't used again in the level, which makes the whole thing seem pointless.

If I seem to be nitpicking too much, it's because I can't resist jumping on something that I think is outright bad design. Same deal with Crash Man's birds, even though they don't do much damage. The actual implementation isn't an issue, certainly not as much as that bit at the end of Heat Man's block bridge or a couple things we'll see later*, but it still falls under a category of things I feel the need to bitch about when I see them.

*I don't know why I'm talking like this when you've already been discussing that exact thing. Yes, the Crash Bomb Puzzle Boss is bad and awful even though it was a pretty cool idea on paper and we'll get there when we get there.

Refa
01-24-2012, 08:57 AM
A bit late with the comments, but that's how it goes.

A completely vertical level is a neat idea, but this one mostly wasted the opportunity it had.


Capcom may have been able to make a better vertical stage than Elecman's, but I think the limitations on Mega Man's abilities meant that, well, vertical stages would be less fun than more horizontal stages. One of the cool things about MMX was that it could make traversing vertical stages fun, like for Boomer Kuwanger.



One-shot crazy difficulty spikes are just a thing Mega Man does sometimes, so do you prefer those segments to be front-loaded in a stage, or eased into? That is, do you like having the Guts Man lifts right there at the start, or would you have liked it better if there was an easier version of them where they are now, and the current one moved into the latter half of the stage?

It really depends on how hard the general difficulty is of the stage. In Guts Man's stage, after that initial difficulty spike, the rest of the stage is pretty easy. In that situation, I'd rather have the super difficult part eased into, maybe an easier platform thing at the beginning, some thrown throughout the stage before a hard one at the end. But if the stage itself is very hard and something I'm liable to be redoing a lot, I'd prefer the most annoying segment to be at the beginning.

Also, how do you feel about such things being there at all? Though some of them go way too far (Ice Man), little speedbumps like that are memorable. They leave a certain impact that a game with a perfectly smooth difficulty curve wouldn't. Those "how the fuck am I going to get through THAT" moments are part of the charm of NES games, so I have a hard time deciding whether something like that is unfair and a bad design decision, or exactly the sort of thing the game needed to get attention and stick in your head. Thinking back to the playground days, moments like Quick Man's stage are the things that we'd talk about most.

The speedbumps are fine as long as you know why exactly you died and there are clues on how to overcome it. I don't want to be stuck in a ROMhacky platformy segment for hours, not that any Mega Man game before X6 did anything of the sort.

Wouldn't having a Magnet Beam defeat the purpose of doing hard mode?

Not really. The Magnet Beam is definetely a failsafe, but it's no more helpful than say Rush Jet in Mega Man 9 was, and they didn't take that out for Hard Mode. These things just make the game more enjoyable, but unfortunately whoever made MMPU missed the point.


EDIT: You can at least climb up and down the ladder a bunch of times to get more energy refills. It's bad design since it basically requires you to take advantage of a programming limitation that was fixed for the rest of the series (I think), but at least that option prevents you from having to restart.

Hey, intentional or not, I think this is far better game design that that god awful boss in Mega Man 2, Wily 3.

I know the pattern, the boss simply outlasts me. I start getting tired and slip up after the fifth or sixth hit. I can beat him just fine in Powered Up, but the NES version is so much harder for me.

But...but...the PU version gives you far less room to manuveur, making it much more annoying, at least for you. YMMV, I guess.

not only was it fixed for the rest of the series, but consumed in-stage power-ups persist between deaths. They only respawn when you exit the stage and re-enter.

It was probably only "fixed" because that would make getting E-Tanks far too easy. I'm sure it was intentional for Mega Man 1.


Ahhh, the harshness of the first entry of an early NES game.

I love it when my games are more elitist than I am.


http://i.imgur.com/twaLG.png http://i.imgur.com/tQpb0.png http://i.imgur.com/gkWcN.png

I have no idea how to fight this other than jumping around like a lunatic and trying to win the damage race. He takes two damage from buster shots and four from ice.


Abuse a glitch where the fire underneath you dissapears when you shoot him with the Mega Buster.


So that's it. The whole first game. I'll save my final thoughts for tomorrow as I desperately need to get to bed, but what do the rest of you think of it? Does it still hold up on its own despite its flaws, or is it just a rough start to an otherwise fantastic series?

Both.

he gameplay part of the level design leaves much more to be desired, especially compared to its 1987 contemporaries of Castlevania and Metroid...

Mega Man 1 is infinetely more playable and easier to beat than Castlevania and Metroid. The level design in Castlevania may be better, but Metroid? 1? Really?

All you people that can easily finish the original Castlevania, but not the original Mega Man: You mystify me beyond my capacity for language.

CLEARLY Mega Man wasn't masochistic enough for them. The same applies for the people who can beat Castlevania III but not Castlevania I.

Blasphemy! I really don't understand why people hate on the music in Crash Man's stage, it has always been one of my favorite tunes from MM2. It's just so damn happy.

It sounds like the tutorial music in some RPG.

I like that two of MM2's bosses can be killed in one hit if you use the right weapon. overkill is fun!

Yeah, on Normal Mode. Which is for wimps.

Flaws? Bubbleman's stage is too pretty to have flaws. You must be mistaken.

Not to mention having the best music out of a game known for its great music.

Octopus Prime
01-24-2012, 09:00 AM
Not to mention having the best music out of a game known for its great music.

I think you're mistaken, he hasn't done Air Mans level yet.

BeeZee
01-24-2012, 10:14 AM
What's the alternative? Never kill the player ever?

Hardly. Never killing the player is bad design in its own right, just as killing the player without giving them the proper information to survive- the first time- is bad design. It doesn't have to be one or the other; this very same series is full of examples of doing this right. Mega Man 9 is one of the most brutal games in the 8-bit series, but it's very good about teaching you enough to give you a fighting chance before smashing you into a jelly.

Brickroad
01-24-2012, 10:33 AM
Hardly. Never killing the player is bad design in its own right, just as killing the player without giving them the proper information to survive- the first time- is bad design. It doesn't have to be one or the other; this very same series is full of examples of doing this right. Mega Man 9 is one of the most brutal games in the 8-bit series, but it's very good about teaching you enough to give you a fighting chance before smashing you into a jelly.

Except, no, every single Mega Man game has between five and seven pretty huge examples of insurmountable obstacles players have next to zero chance of passing on their first try. They're called "robot masters". The proper information to survive the boss fights simply isn't available if you don't have the right weapon (i.e.: haven't killed the proper robot master yet).

That's a lot of dying, restarting, and trial-and-error. It's the backbone of the series. You learn by failing and succeed by experimenting. Once the falling blocks kill you once, they'll never kill you again. Once you learn the path through the lasers, you'll nail it every time. Once you learn Shadow Man is weak to Top Spin, he's a pushover. And so on.

BeeZee
01-24-2012, 10:47 AM
Except, no, every single Mega Man game has between five and seven pretty huge examples of insurmountable obstacles players have next to zero chance of passing on their first try. They're called "robot masters". The proper information to survive the boss fights simply isn't available if you don't have the right weapon (i.e.: haven't killed the proper robot master yet).

That's a lot of dying, restarting, and trial-and-error. It's the backbone of the series. You learn by failing and succeed by experimenting. Once the falling blocks kill you once, they'll never kill you again. Once you learn the path through the lasers, you'll nail it every time. Once you learn Shadow Man is weak to Top Spin, he's a pushover. And so on.

Having to pick robot masters through trial-and-error until you stumble upon the one correct solution is another thing I'd consider bad design.

EDIT: I want to expand on something else here. I don't think the robot masters even fall into the category of "insurmountable obstacles" your first time. Most of them- even the bad ones, like Fire Man- are still beatable your first time through. Even if the odds are stacked against you, none of them are one-shotting you. You have some time in the battle itself to learn their tactics and find a working strategy.

That it will take most players multiple tries isn't the point. This is a good thing. The point is that players are given the opportunity to suss things out for themselves and fight back.

If a robot master ever pulls a move that one-shots the player with no startup animation and no warning, peeps are gonna call it cheap, and with good reason.

Refa
01-24-2012, 10:50 AM
Why does trial and error in and of itself equate to bad game design?

BeeZee
01-24-2012, 11:06 AM
Why does trial and error in and of itself equate to bad game design?

The minute something is trial-and-error, it's out of your hands.

Trial-and-error challenges aren't completed with skill. They're completed with brute force: you beat your head against the wall indefinitely until, somewhere in the bloody pulp in front of you, you see the solution. You're not refining your understanding of your character's mechanics. You're not learning new things about the level design or the enemy patterns you're battling. You're not even doing something as simple as grinding, where at least you have a transparent numerical goal in front of you. You're just going, and you're doing it blindly. When you finally arrive at a solution, you have to continue on in the knowledge that you didn't solve anything because you were a good player or a clever strategist. You solved it by dumb luck. Chances are, you still don't even understand why that solution worked; it just did.

tl;dr: no endorphins for you.

Mogri
01-24-2012, 11:12 AM
CLEARLY Mega Man wasn't masochistic enough for them. The same applies for the people who can beat Castlevania III but not Castlevania I.

CV3 doesn't have The Monster and Igor.

Also, everyone knows Metal Man's music is best!

Relevant:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5holgw14HQo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvgk10YlRtg

VorpalEdge
01-24-2012, 11:16 AM
Trial-and-error challenges aren't completed with skill.

clearly there are a lot of games you haven't played

Mogri
01-24-2012, 11:32 AM
clearly there are a lot of games you haven't played

For a good example, that room in Shadowgate with three mirrors. Smashing the wrong mirror kills you. You have to smash the correct mirror to proceed.

Actually, Shadowgate as a whole is pretty much a perfect example, but at least it makes failure entertaining.

Belmont
01-24-2012, 11:32 AM
clearly there are a lot of games you haven't played

clearly you do not understand the distinction between a progression in skill level that allows one to overcome challenges previously deemed as too difficult, to that of pure trial-and-error

tl;dr kawazu

Egarwaen
01-24-2012, 11:50 AM
clearly there are a lot of games you haven't played

Give me a single example of a game with a trial-and-error segment that requires skill to complete. Definitionally, it isn't possible - something that's trial-and-error is called such because it requires trial-and-error instead of skill.

Glass Knuckle
01-24-2012, 11:52 AM
Robot Masters do not work the same way because the player has a health bar. Theoretically, a really good player can walk in with full health, see what the boss does, and learn how to kill it before running out. That doesn't usually happen, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is for the player to feel that they could have surpassed something after dying to it. They need to think "man, if only I had..." and not "Whelp, you sure got me."

In short, trial-and-error is something you fall back on when other options are not available, and the alternative would be less interesting. It should not be looked at, at least from the designer's point of view, as just a normal requirement of the game.

Of course, I'm talking about this particular genre, where one has a health bar and E-Tanks and (usually) the ability to stop and look at a situation before committing to it. There are other cases, such as SHUMPS and other one-hit-kills, where it is not feasable to telegraph everything that would take a life and retain anywhere near the same level of difficulty or variety of shot patterns. In this case, "the alternative would be less interesting" applies.

My argument is that Mega Man has proven, particularly with the recent games, that it does not often need this. There are some exceptions of course. The spikes, for instance, are always an instant kill and there's no way for the player to be certain of that before touching one. In this case though, spikes are a common element to the overall design of these games and are totally worth that minor drawback, so the best the designer can do is make them look dangerous and leave it at that. Quick Man might also be arguable, since it's a unique idea that is central to the stage design. We'll take a closer look at that soon.

BeeZee
01-24-2012, 11:56 AM
The spikes, for instance, are always an instant kill and there's no way for the player to be certain of that before touching one. In this case though, spikes are a common element to the overall design of these games and are totally worth that minor drawback, so the best the designer can do is make them look dangerous and leave it at that.

Spikes visually telegraph that they're dangerous, which should be enough for most players to know to avoid them, so I think that's covered pretty well.

MCBanjoMike
01-24-2012, 12:11 PM
Spikes visually telegraph that they're dangerous, which should be enough for most players to know to avoid them, so I think that's covered pretty well.

Yeah, but those Bubble Man platforms are clearly suspicious, with their different coloring, and falling platforms are a staple of old NES platformers. Maybe you could be caught off guard by how quickly they fall, but anyone familiar with the genre would expect the change of color and texture to mean something and would be on their toes. Coupled with the fact that they only set you back about 30 seconds if you die to them, I think that they are a completely reasonable obstacle to throw at the player.

BeeZee
01-24-2012, 12:21 PM
Yeah, but those Bubble Man platforms are clearly suspicious, with their different coloring, and falling platforms are a staple of old NES platformers. Maybe you could be caught off guard by how quickly they fall, but anyone familiar with the genre would expect the change of color and texture to mean something and would be on their toes. Coupled with the fact that they only set you back about 30 seconds if you die to them, I think that they are a completely reasonable obstacle to throw at the player.

This is a fair point. The platforms in Bubble Man's stage do a very minimal amount of telegraphing. There's no denying that the spikes telegraph it better, though- what else could the big metal pointy things do except damage you? Games are full of floating platforms that are nothing more than ordinary level tiles, and they're full of floating platforms that do things besides drop, like move harmlessly in any direction, make you bounce, crumble slowly, and so on.

Given that, and given their proximity to a checkpoint, I don't think the platforms in Bubble Man's stage are a huge deal. But if we're nitpicking, then I think it's legitimate to call them a small flaw. At worst, the level wouldn't lose anything by presenting them once in a harmless setting before making them lethal, and at best, it would save a few cheap deaths.

Egarwaen
01-24-2012, 12:43 PM
Given that, and given their proximity to a checkpoint, I don't think the platforms in Bubble Man's stage are a huge deal. But if we're nitpicking, then I think it's legitimate to call them a small flaw. At worst, the level wouldn't lose anything by presenting them once in a harmless setting before making them lethal, and at best, it would save a few cheap deaths.

They're not a huge deal, but they're a notable flaw.

http://i.imgur.com/OJczd.png http://i.imgur.com/eDAWY.png

Here's another reason they're a problem. Other levels teach you that terrain that looks like that is immoveable. It's clearly different somehow, but it's mostly used to create dead ends or in the middle of other walls. Even defeating Crash Man early and learning that terrain like that can be blown up with Crash Bombs doesn't give you any indication that it'll drop out from under you.

It's a solution that's quick to learn, but it's still sloppy.

Vega
01-24-2012, 06:06 PM
Fun fact: The Moles in Metal Man's stage also appear in Legendary Wings, flying horizontally. I think there's one other enemy the two games share, but I forget which.

Is the jump next to the second E-tank in Metal Man's stage really impossible? I thought it was possible with pixel-perfect precision.

Despite the MM series' mostly sharp play mechanics, I always felt it was cheap for MM's momentum on the conveyor belt to have no effect on his jump. The Mario games always accounted for this.

Do you ever wonder how the NES MM games would have been if they'd included seamless vertical or diagonal scrolling? Or if they'd been done as a Metroidvania?

taosterman
01-24-2012, 06:11 PM
Despite the MM series' mostly sharp play mechanics, I always felt it was cheap for MM's momentum on the conveyor belt to have no effect on his jump. The Mario games always accounted for this.

Momentum just isn't part of the Mega Man formula, especially considering that he stops on a dime.

Brickroad
01-24-2012, 06:25 PM
Robot Masters do not work the same way because the player has a health bar. Theoretically, a really good player can walk in with full health, see what the boss does, and learn how to kill it before running out. That doesn't usually happen, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is for the player to feel that they could have surpassed something after dying to it. They need to think "man, if only I had..." and not "Whelp, you sure got me."

But see, this is exactly how I feel about most of the die-and-learn traps. "Okay, I survive if I ______. Now I know." Then I replay one or two minutes of level and I'm back where I was.

I'm not really interested in "theoretically". Players do not feel their way through robot master fights -- full stop. They pick a level, maybe reach the robot master, then almost certainly lose all their lives there. Then they pick a new robot master and try again. Eventually they find one they can reach and kill, and then they start testing weapons. This is the formula. This is how Mega Man games work.

We are not talking about Battletoads here, where you must accurately memorize 300 actions in a row, and then execute them with pixel-perfect precision, and if you die twelve times you have to start again at Level One. In Mega Man you fall in the hole, then learn to jump over it, then fall in the next hole.