Retro Game of the Day! Mega Man 2
Mega Man 2 by Capcom, released for the NES in 1988. Or rather -the NES was constructed especially in anticipation that someday Mega Man 2 would be designed to run on it, and maybe some other games too.
MM2 is one of those "Greatest of the Greats" in the annals of videogaming history. It's almost silly to even write about it, as it's a game everyone knows and loves and reveres. It's sort of like writing a review of the air - if air were awesome.
Nevertheless, the game was a follow-up to the sleeper hit (and likewise excellent) first game in the series, and improved on its predecessor in nearly every way. Better graphics, better music, better characters, better stage design, password back-up. If there's one place in which MM2 faltered, it was perhaps that is was a little too easy (the first game was a bit of a beast by comparison!)
For the people in third world countries who have never seen a TV or video game, here's a quick primer - Mega Man 2 is a platformer featuring a little boyish robot who bears more than a striking resemblance to Astro Boy. Armed with a pea shooter, he must conquer 8 different stages and their "robot master" bosses - in any order, as selected by the player. Beat a robot, and obtain his MP-powered weapon. Each robot has a counter (weakness of a single other robot's weapon), this can be quickly discovered by looking online but c'mon! Where's the fun in cheating?
This game screamed quality from the first previews that were printed. Huge, colorful enemy sprites dressed up the initial screenshots, no other NES games looked quite like this. The first mega Man adventure was surely impressive, but looked absolutely clunky compared to this stellar sequel.
Each world was marvelously designed and lovingly rendered, in a fashion that few games outside of anything bearing a name other than "Super Mario Bros." ever would be. The game oozed love and replayability, and it's certainly one of the games I had to play through over and over again just because it was so much fun from start to finish.
I'll take this moment to recommend a rock band now - there's more then a few bands who make it their shtick to play cover bands of old NES chiptune music and the like. Mega Man 2 has to be one of the most covered NES soundtracks ever, and no band does it better than a group known as The Megas. These guys crafted an entire album lovingly devoted to Mega Man 2, all of their songs are based on each robot and level - and they've done a hilarious job of fleshing out each characters' personality in song. Air Man is bent on world-destruction and raining terror from above "who only has the power to push others away," Flash Man is a closeted admirer of Mega Man, Bubble Man is a self-loathing robot ashamed of only being able to fire pathetic bubbles at his rival. the band's hilarity is only matched by their production quality. See for yourself as they perform at the Good Hurt in Venice, CA this coming weekend (Sat Dec 19). No, I am not connected to the band, but you can bet I am extremely excited to see this show! Check out another up-and-coming videogame coverband Tanuki Suit Riot who will be opening for them, while you're there!
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