Review: Mega Man 2 (GameBoy)

By Drew Wilson

We review our first Nintendo Game Boy game that shares a similar title to a very well known Nintendo game – Mega Man 2. Did this game port well to the game boy? We look into this.

Mega Man 2 was released to the Game Boy in 1992. The game is a side scrolling action game. It appears to be merely a port to the Game Boy so that those who own the portable gaming device are able to get a chance to play this game.

What did port well was the graphics. Despite the smaller screen space allotted to the game, much of the detail was retained in a reasonable manner. Another thing going for this game is that it also retains some of the strategy involved in picking the right weapon for the right boss – each weapon is awarded for each corresponding boss is defeated.

Some elements of the original Mega Man 2 levels are also retained in this port – although the levels are reduced in numerous ways in the porting process. A number of areas also present an interesting challenge to the player.

Having said all that, there really isn’t a whole lot going for this game. When you get to the stage select screen, you’ll only see four of the bosses from the original Mega Man 2. You’ll probably think that this is a compromise where portions of the original Mega Man 2 are axed to save space for the cartridge. Then, you’ll get part way through one of those levels and think, “Hang on, I thought that was from Mega Man 3?”

Indeed, large portions of Mega Man 2 were axed, yet, portions of Mega Man 3 were added. By this point, I am questioning what the designers of this game were even thinking when they put together this game. Eventually, it became clear to me that this is a Mega Man game with a bit of an identity crises. Is it a port for Mega Man 2? Is it really a Mega Man 3 port? It’s really a strange mishmash of the two that really makes little sense. If you want a useless weapon when going against bosses, it’s Woodman. Most bosses are immune to the leaf shield attack to begin with and I wasn’t able to find any boss where this weapon was effective which made me wonder what was the point of adding this boss in the first place.

When you get through the four bosses, you’ll get to Dr. Wiley’s castle. If you’ve played the original NES series, you’ll look forward to trying to get your way through the castle levels. Then, when the cinematics are over, you are dropped down into a pit where there are four more bosses awaiting you. Instead of the original four bosses you faced previously, they are all bosses from Mega Man 3 (complete with their own levels). Once you fight your way through all four, you’ll face off with some weird boss with a jackhammer (an ability you’ll get once you defeat that boss – again, this really makes little to no sense if you’ve played the original series). After that, you face off with a multi-phase final boss, then get treated to an ending. Um… what?

The audio was another thing that was puzzling to me. While there was melodies thrown in, it was mostly emulated high hats. The further you got into the game, the faster those high hats were struck. In contrast, the sound effects were decent, although whenever Megaman landed, the sound effect accompanying the landing just didn’t sound right to me. I thought it should have been more like the effect of the original Mega Man 2 sound rather than a beep sound.

Overall, this game started me off with a, “Huh, that’s different” and had me asking, “what were the designers thinking when they made this?” throughout the rest of it. Some design choices are understandable, but most of the design choices are extremely puzzling and strange. While some of it provided a challenge, there’s a lot that didn’t make a whole lot of sense throughout the game. There are a lot of great games released on the Game Boy, and there are a lot of great games in the Mega Man series, but this just isn’t one of those games.

Furthest point in game: Beat game on normal difficulty, but didn’t continue playing after that.

General gameplay: 8/25
Replay value: 1/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 38%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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