Reviews

Mega Man II Review

For those who appreciate the Mega Man franchise, Mega Man II for the iPhone is a wonderful way to take a trip down memory lane. It just so happens that Mega Man II on the Wii’s virtual console is my go to platformer to cleanse my virtual palette after playing too much of a current generation game. There is simply something comforting about the simple array of colors, outstanding music and focused game mechanics. Now that Mega Man has made the jump to the iPhone, I find myself taking nearly every possible chance to beat one of the game’s eight robot masters. The fact is, Mega Man II is simply a wonderful side-scrolling platformer that may turn off newcomers to the series due to its perceived difficulty and comparatively poor graphics. For those who are not familiar with the Mega Man series of games, they are focused around the player fighting against eight robot masters and eventually the nefarious Dr. Wily. During the journey, Mega Man collects the powers of the enemies he destroys which can be used in future stages.

mmtwo2My biggest fear was that Capcom would not be able to execute on the control scheme. As of the most current update, I can assure those sitting on the fence that the controls have been reworked to what I think is an optimal layout. One will likely find that the controls while in portrait orientation are frustrating and cramped. Trust me on this one, just play the game in forced landscape mode. Unfortunately, in order to accomodate the on screen controls Capcom has had to keep the amount of screen real estate devoted to the actual game at a smaller size than I would have liked. I am holding out hope that Capcom will one day experiment with tilt controls, as blasphemous as that may sound.

Mega Man 2 holds up surprisingly well on the small screen, but this is through the eyes of a veteran of the series. Newcomers may not like this game as much as those who harbor nostalgic feelings towards it. In fact, by modern standards, the game can be overly difficult and shallow. Gamers used to new offerings such as Castle of Magic can easily be put off by the old school gameplay and visuals. So while it may be worth looking into simply to appreciate a bit of gaming history, I would say that Mega Man 2 is mostly geared towards those who already know they like it.

Capcom has tried to make this version of Mega Man 2 more accessible, adding an Easy mode and an all new controls. The new controls feel odd to those used to playing the game on the NES so fortunately Capcom has included the “classic controls”. Though not perfect, the new control scheme does allow new players to grow accustomed to Mega Man by enabling auto fire and adding a bit more float to Mega Man’s jumps. I do not feel that these updated controls and more laid back difficulty are enough to earn the attention of non-fans. After handing the game over to a friend, they were left puzzled why I would play something so, “old and hard”. Their words, not mine.

mmtwo3This is where the lite version comes in. Mega Man 2 is one of my all time favorite games, and I want as many people as possible to play and enjoy it. The reality is that many people today will justifiably not appreciate what many long term gamers hold in such high regard. Mega Man 2 is indeed an old, simple game. So do yourself a favor and try out the lite version, and if you happen to like what you play, the full version is available for five U.S. dollars on the App store. Those who are already Mega Man fans, just go ahead and skip to the full version.

Graphics/Presentation

While I find it to be pleasing to the eyes, Mega Man 2 looks undeniably ancient. Also, there must be something Capcom can do to maximize the game’s size on screen.

2-stars_sm

Audio

Mega Man games traditionally have stellar music, Mega Man 2 is no exception. Even by today’s standards, I find the music in Mega Man 2 to be outstanding. There is iTunes support, but I suggest going with the in game soundtrack.

4pt5-stars_sm

Controls

This is the best feeling d-pad I have used on the iPhone to date, and I have no problem executing some of the more difficult platforming sections of the game despite the lack of buttons.

4-stars_sm

Gamelife

Mega Man 2 lends itself to portability quite nicely. Beating a stage, or even the whole game, does not take much time. I find that the game is highly replayable due to the catchy music and fun weapons, others may just be done after one playthrough.

3pt5-stars_sm

Final Score

3pt5-stars

Despite the game being a personal favorite, the experience to the average user may seem slightly archaic. The fanboy inside of me gives it five stars, the realist inside of me ended up winning.

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  • Torbjorn Kamblad, Sweden

    Tried the lite version and I really understand your difficulties rating this title. It takes me back to my childhood where I really loved it, and as you mention it hasn’t aged that well in this port. Great review.

  • http://www.pyrosmile.org Matt Dunn, USA

    Great review. I can totally understand the “battle” inside. :) It’s too bad they didn’t spruce up the sprites. That would have been awesome.

  • Nathan Mustafa, USA

    I actually don’t mind the sprites, I just would like to have more of the screen devoted to them, but I am strange as I actually prefer the NES MM visuals over the SNES.

  • Milce La Rate

    I really agree: this is no game for people born after 1984 (or those who were on the SEGA side of gaming life back then ;) )… I really loved the NES and Gameboy versions of the Megaman Franchise (I never kinda accustomed myself to the “new” lok on the SNES). The NES/GB games were always hard but never unfair.

    I’m completely content with the graphics – even the smaller screen (it seems to be a 1:1 port of the NES graphics). The virtual D-Pad works good enough (although of course not as precise as a real pad would).

    It would be a five-star in my eyes if not for one thing that bugs me (and is not mentioned in the review): although the game looks quite low-tech, it seems to be really CPU-hungy. There are times when you experience heavy slowdowns that can become quite annoying. I’m playing on the 3GS so I reckon it might be even worse with older iPhone models.

    A workaround is to set your phone to airplane mode – the game seems to become considerably faster and much more responsive. An interesting question might be, why the game is so computationally expensive – do they emulate a full blown virtual NES console? This could be not so far off actually – there are several NES-emus for MacOS…

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