Megaman 1, 2 and 3
Platforms: NES, Sega Mega Drive(Genesis), Playstation One, Playstation 2, Gamecube, Xbox, Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, Playstation Vita, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, Mobile Phones, Android, IOS(For 2), Steam, Sega Mega Drive(Genesis) Mini, and arcade(for 3)
Many of you must be wondering right now, why the first 3 Megaman games. There are a couple of reasons. The first reason is to cover most of the same content available on Megadrive the Wily Wars, a compilation akin to Super Mario All Stars, but with another story segment to tie the 3 games together. With that said, lets Rock.
Since story elements aren’t playing centre stage for these games in particular, allow me to lay it out for you.
While it’s not deep or complex, it’s pretty serviceable for the era these games came out. “Some point” in the present era there has been a boom in technology and great advances in Robotics.
Two prominent scientists are Dr. Thomas Light and Albert Wily. What Dr. Light had in mind was to make robots that think, feel, act on their own. Out of the Robots came Rock and Roll who went on to be Dr. Light’s Lab assistants.
Jealous of Dr. Light’s Success, Dr. Wily stole most of his robots and hacked them to reek havoc around the world in his own attempts for world conquest.
Having a strong sense of justice, Rock implored Dr. Light to rework his body to be able to stand up to Dr. Wily and his machines thus Mega Man was created.
To sum up the second game, after his defeat, Dr. Wily wanted revenge so he made 8 more specialized robots that had similar design choices as Dr. Light in concept.
Finally for the third game, Dr. Wily has claimed to have seen the error of his ways and decided to work with Dr. Light to make a large peace-keeping robot called Gamma. To get that accomplished, their collaboration went further by making 8 more special Robots to gather power crystals to help build gamma.
As a bit of interesting trivia, in japan, after the first game, most if not all of the Megaman games, have a subtitle to them.
With the first one, you can tell it was an early NES game, just by it’s looks, but it still had a lot of charm and really sold the natural futuristic settings at times.
Whilst some of the areas haven’t aged the best visually, it still makes up for it’s age by having some pretty good songs to listen to.
Megaman 2 jumps up the quality immensely and even had more detail and background elements along with an animated ending that’s rather iconic.
It’s music is still music is still considered one of the best in the series with people often still remixing a few choice tracks to this day.
Megaman 3 continues the trend of improving from it’s predecessor, by providing some really good music and some eye catching levels. (Shout out to Gemini man’s Stage)
Overall, the 3 games have worthwhile songs to listen to and get better with each passing game.
Whilst it’s pretty easy enough for people to go back when it comes to the presentation of the first three games, the first game can be a bit challenging to follow suit.
The first one is a good challenge, much like most games in the series, what holds back Megaman 1 are a few things that you may or may not forgive for being a first game of a series, from the early ages of gaming.
For starters, Megaman 1, has a funny way of utilizing invincibility frames (IFrames) IE the grace period after you are being hit by an enemy. Aside from not being long, much like his speedy comrade Sonic in his first game, no amount of IFrames will save you from spikes.
Megaman in the first game also acts like there’s ice physics in all terrains which is worse in the actual ice level. It’s also the home of some questionable enemy placement. Not entirely bad, but there are some moments where the impatient are going to be getting a lot of ‘game over'(s). Some of them range from surprise peekaboo moments from pits to moments where you may think it’s impossible to avoid at a glance.
On the other side of the coin, most of the weapons are quite fun and can be pretty useful outside of boss battles whilst having some extra utility.
Another nice thing about the game and series as a whole, even back at the era when this was not a common thing is, when you lose all of your lives, you get the option to either redo the stage or pick a different stage you haven’t beaten yet (provided it isn’t the final areas). Normally, most 8-Bit games and even some 16-bit games would just send you back to the title screen and have you start from the beginning all over again.
Another trend-setting thing Megaman did, was let the user choose the order you prefer to tackle the stages as you approach the game. At the time, this was pretty revolutionary which led to strong replay values and is a neat feature of the series.
Whenever you beat one of the main bosses of a selectable level, you get a weapon based on their designs. These weapons tend to have a bit of variety and can mostly be useful in different situations when your normal default weapon is just ‘good enough’. Another thing to keep in mind is, any weapon you gain tends to be ‘kryptonite’ in other boss fights and can be effective against more than one boss in total.
Speaking of weapons, this is just as good a time to transition to Megaman 2. While both games had a good selection of weapons you can use at your disposal as you progress, 2 has a very funny way of utilizing the weapons.
Not only were the weakness much more expansive than any other game before and after, it’s choices for some weapons are interesting to say the least.
For starters, the crash bomber, a weapon that’s mandatory to beat one of the bosses, barely has enough ammo to accomplish this task. This is particularly odd, because the other weapons are fairly generous with it’s reserves and if you run crash bomber, you either have to find a way to replenish it, or purposely get a game over and continue which could prove problematic for newcomers not in the know.
Another odd titbit is that on the late stages of the game, bubble lead suddenly becomes a weapon you might want to keep on hand. In-fact, you literally can’t even beat the final boss without the bubbles, since all other attacks would heal it to full health.
Side Note: Megaman 3 is almost as guilty of this nonsense, but at least doesn’t heal, limit what you can attack with, limited to only one boss and has means to heal weapon energy, before you have to fight, you get means to refuel any necessary weapons.
That aside, the game controls a lot better than Megaman one and it comes to any Megaman game with the 8-bit art style, it controls pretty well, and no longer treats every level like an ice rink.
From No.2 onward, the game would introduce E Tanks, or Energy Tanks. These little cans, when used, can heal the playable character to full health with 2, allowing 4 at most and 3 having no real cap if I can recall. However, in 2 alone, if you get a game over, you will lose all of your E-Tanks.
On the cusp of Megaman 2, Megaman 3 comes with it’s own interesting titbits and my own personal recommendation to the series when it comes to difficulty.
I can confidently say 3 is on the easy side and is a lot more generous with the E-Tanks.
Along with the E-Tanks, 3 introduces the slide and Rush, who acts as a means of getting from place to place easier which changes up how you approach bosses.
Rush Jet acts as a safety net that uses fuel as long as you are standing on Rush, which can be seriously abused to ensure very little fuel is used.
Rush Coil, can either be used as a safety net or (mainly) as a one use per bit of fuel trampoline.
Finally, Rush Marine which ensures no knock-back and makes underwater movement more useful.
Along with the additions of rush, even the pause/weapons menu has been revamped to give you more of a view of the level, so you can plan out your run-through of the level better and see what you need for the situation. It even gives an option to either change pages with a press of a button or to go to a “next” if you prefer a more direct approach. While we’re talking weapons, lets briefly talk about the weapons a bit.
The selection for No.3’s weapons unfortunately don’t leave a good first impression on the surface level. In fact, one of them is considered pretty useless due to range and potential ammo consumption.
Admittedly, the latter part can be bad if you hold down the button, but it leads to something interesting about the weapons.
However, with further inspection, most if not nearly all the weapons’ hidden potential can be unlocked with some allowing the player to change firing trajectory mid-shot, with another stunning enemies, and even one that acts as a decent rapid fire option when needed (to name some things).
Added as a tradition to the series, are a set of four stages before the final set of Dr. Wily stages. Granted you are revisiting old areas, but they are given some new layouts and some new aesthetics.
Another thing to note about the four stages is that you get two encounters with a robot called Doc Robot. This robot will mimic the abilities of 2 of the robot masters of the second Megaman game (2 per stage).
It might seem more challenging to have a new weakness chain to remember, but here’s some useful things to keep in mind… The all doc robot encounters have 2 weaknesses and one of those will be a reference to it’s original weakness in Megaman 2 in some shape or form. This can be rewarding to astute players and fans of the games.
Now will be a good time to mention, from Megaman 2 to 7, a password system was used for saving progress.
Incidentally, this was rather abuse-able in some of the games in the series, since you can have passwords that rig the amount of things like E-Tanks and lives you have. No.3 was one of the games that did this.
The last thing I want to talk about, is a series staple that covers the entire series and it’s sequel series. During the final stages of the game, you will have to have a round 2 with all the bosses you got your special weapons from.
While the first game sort of gradually gives you some of them as you reach the end of the game, nearly every other game dedicates a basic room for your rematches.
While not the most popular thing, or even the most loved concept, I actually see it as good game design in a way that not many of you may think about. The game is outright showing you how strong and better at the game you’ve become compared to your character at the beginning of the game.
In my opinion, boss rushes also makes for a good final challenge and is a great send off to what you’ve experience throughout the game.
Has our hero remained a well oiled machine, or has he rusted over time from his adventures?
I like to think it’s mostly leaning towards well oiled than the latter negative choice.
With the first Megaman game, if you get past some of it’s gameplay quirks, it still holds up alright. It hasn’t aged the best out of the 3, especially if you’ve already tempered yourself with other games in the series.
Megaman 2 on the other hand, aged a lot better, with it’s only sin being how it’s handles it’s weapons. Granted No.3 is only slightly better at it and to be fair with the extra production experience over time, there can be no excuse to drop the ball on a game that can cause you to have a potential play-through where you are literally forced to have a game that loops like ground-hog day because of a couple of bosses that can literally only be harmed one way. It was a mistake!
Megaman 3 aged about as well as Megaman 2, but at least has the advantage of introducing more story and gameplay elements that last throughout most of the ongoing games. They even sprinkling these elements throughout the gameplay every now and then. However, if you are not crazy about doc robot or the territory that comes with it, it might hold you back.
Overall, I can highly recommend these games, especially to those gamers who are looking for a challenge in action platformers, or prefer something with a more ’90’s Saturday morning’ feel. Thankfully, if what I’ve said wasn’t clear enough, the 3 games are available as standalone on absolutely loads of platforms with some of them having interesting extra features, what on the platform you choose to create your experience.
Megaman 1: 6.5/10
Megaman 2: 7.5/10
Megaman 3: 7.5/10