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March 4, 2016

Mega Man

In homage to the recent release of Mega Man Legacy Collection…

You gotta be tough to beat this.
The era of the good ol’ NES was marked by a ton of challenging video games. The older gamers will remember the difficulty at the time: Many games were HARD. They were designed such, they were meant to give the player an unrivaled sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when completed. And those who can’t show the wits, the reflexes and, most importantly, the patience to achieve such a victory eventually wound up with aching fingers… or, worse even, broken remotes. By the way, I don’t recommend that.

I haven’t played many ultra-hard games in my life, though I do know there’s a market for insanely difficult games (such as I Wanna Be The Guy, Kaizo Bros., and dozens of other fan-made examples). There was Super C, which was pretty difficult, but I had the advantage of knowing it inside and out by the time I reviewed it for this site. I was practically at that point where I’d try beating the game with self-imposed challenges added to it. Another such example is the Mega Man series... especially its first installment. This game is hard for almost any player, with a lot of traps and enemies located at exactly the worst place possible. And that’s not even discussing the bosses!

This was also the time where a plot was an excuse rather than a requirement for platform games, so Mega Man doesn’t have much of a story – that is, unless we read the manual. The good Dr. Thomas Light (you know he’s a good guy, his name says so) has created multiple robots to serve mankind in different ways, but his most treasured creations are Rock and Roll, nigh-perfect androids. You could well mistake them for actual humans. His other six humanoid robots mostly serve construction purposes… however, one fateful night, Dr. Albert Wily, Dr. Light’s assistant, steals and reprograms the six construction robots, called Robot Masters, for his own nefarious purposes. See, that’s why I don't hire assistants. To fend them off, Rock agrees to be converted into a fighting robot to defeat Light’s six evil ex-robots, and finally give a whacking that Dr. Wily won’t forget anytime soon (but that won’t stop him from coming back with more robots every few years).


By the way, can I say that the American box art looks absolutely ridiculous? But I think everyone has already made the jokes about it by now. That's just me, late to the party, as ever.


A neat selection of ways to get killed horribly.
When the game starts, we can choose between all six stages: Cutman, Gutsman, Iceman, Bombman, Fireman and Elecman. When this game first came out, it had a unique concept, as you could choose in which order to play these six levels (although you had to complete them all in order to get to the final levels). However, there was a smart way to play the game; when you defeat a Robot Master, you unlock that robot’s ability and become able to use it in the other levels – and against the other Robot Masters. As a result, while you could start with any level, there was a path that benefited the player more than another, starting with a level, then using the ability learned in that level against a Robot Master who’s weak to it. For the sake of this review, I’ll do them in order. Not that there’s much to say anyway.

For a robot with explosives, it sure
isn't very impressive.
Bombman’s level is easy for the most part, but there a very annoying section with floating robots that shoot bullets in all eight directions, just on a spot where you need to carefully time your jumps to avoid falling on spikes. Gutsman’s level is a lot harder, especially at the beginning where some moving platforms tend to be straight, then fall, which cause Mega Man to go in the endless pit below. By the way, I’m sure it’s not an endless pit, because I doubt there’s such a thing as an endless pit on a construction site – unless they have an endless supply of cement to fill them up, and I highly doubt that! After which it’s Cut Man’s turn, and Cut Man’s level is still manageable if you know what to do, not to mention that Cut Man himself goes down in two hits if you use Guts Man’s ability to throw the nearby stone blocks at it.

They bring in the sparks! They're cool! They
feel hot! But don't let them kill your groove!
Next up is Elecman, with a pretty tough level before it. Random electric blasts shooting from nearby bricks? Who in their right mind would design a city like that? Elecman himself is dangerous unless you use Cut Man’s power to get rid of him quickly. Ice Man’s level is simple, but can still have surprises with sections where Mega Man needs to climb up on appearing and disappearing blocks to reach the next section, and a part where he must go across a large pit by jumping from a robotic platform to another. Phew! Last but not least, Fire Man (hands down the hardest Robot Master to defeat here) has a devilish level involving a lot of fire everywhere – who has lava just a few floors under their city??? Fire Man himself is really hard to defeat unless you use Ice Man’s blasts, as Fire Man’s rapid shooting makes your chances of defeating him with any other weapon next to nil.

Well, this wasn’t so bad. I mean, the levels had a lot of cheap tricks to make them harder, like enemies at exactly the worst possible places, many instances of platforming that were almost leaps of faith… and I must have had a Game Over on almost every level… I mean, this was hard, but it wasn’t so bad… It could have been even worse, that’s what I’m saying… After many tries the six Robot Masters are defeated, which means we can access Dr. Wily’s elaborate headquarters, the most insanely dangerous place you can think of – and if the previous six levels were any indication, the outside world wasn’t exactly the Ritz to start with.

Mega Man enters Wily’s Castle, which is not something easy with the annoying jumper robots blocking the way. The interior is just terrible trap after terrible trap, with floor spikes, floor flamethrowers and many other joyful ways to suffer. It even includes a section where you need to create your own platforms in order to move ahead – something that you can only do if you picked up an item in a previous level. Finally, after some grueling platforming (but nothing impossible), we reach an empty room… and blocks start flying from the left to the right, forming a yellow humanoid shape.

That’s Yellow Devil.

Fuck.

...Oh... shit.

Don't ever thinking of seeing the Yellow
Devil... reforming. Sorry, my puns get 43%
worse when I'm in a tough boss panic.
Those of you who ever played the first Mega Man know about this thing, hands-down the hardest boss in the game. It has a lot of hit points, and you have a short time window to hit it in the eye, after which it splits into squares again and reforms at the other side of the room, always keeping the same pattern but trying its damndest to hit Mega Man. This boss is so hard that cheating is considered a perfectly legal way to defeat it: Just shoot with Elec Man’s weapon and, as the blast hits its eye, press Select multiple times so that the electric shot will deal multiple times its regular damage. But since it needs great timing, it’s still pretty hard.

And since I need to beat a game’s Story Mode in order to review it, I need to get past this thing. Damn! I lost again! Let’s see if I can get this to work… Ah, fuck! Alright, I can try again. Whoops, now I’m dead. Crisse d’osti de tabarnak! I gotta replay through this hard level… then reach the boss… almost there… Shit! I must finish this goddamn game to report on it! I must beat this Devil.

Must beat it.

Must absolutely, positively, entirely, insultingly, finally defeat this motherfucking Yellow Devil. The six Robot Masters? Piece of cake compared to this thing. Must defeat it. Must defeat it. Must deFUCK! Must defeat it. Must defeat it. Must defeat it.

Faut que je le batte, faut que je le batte, faut que je le batte.

Must.
Defeat.
It.
Must.
Finish.
Review.

Can I do this? …No, no, I can’t! This is impossible! But I have to. I have to. I have to, I must, I can. Even the cheat is hard to use against this little shit!

Must. Defeat. It. What the Hell are my readers gonna think of me if I give up, what are they gonna say if I stand down and stop the review right here right now, if I don’t play through to the best of my capabilities, what are they gonna say, I’ll be a joke, I’ll be mocked by everybody, it’s like I need their approval no matter how stupid it may be for me to give a damn about what people think of me through those idiotic reviews of mine, I don’t know, look I need to beat this thing it’s too important, I must defeat Yellow Devil, I must finish this goddamn review I will not sleep I will not eat I will do nothing but play until this thing is defeated until the game is beaten I have to be able to do this at some point I should I can and I will because I must, I have to, this is so difficult but I have to carry through even if that means I cannot actually finish the review I must I must I must I must I must I must I must I must I must I must I must I must I must

I must