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Showing posts from February, 2024

Mega Man 2: The Blue Bomber at his best

I didn't own a lot of NES games as a kid, but I did have Mega Man 2, and it was one of my favorites. It's full of great stages and great music. The prevailing wisdom, which I share, is that it's the best Mega Man game. Certainly it holds up very well after 35 years . Mega Man 2 follows its predecessor 's formula while ironing out all the wrinkles. The number of "robot masters" was upped from six to the canonical eight. Mega Man—the cybernetic humanoid created by Dr. Light—can face them in any order. They are Bubble Man, Heat Man, Quick Man, Crash Man, Metal Man, Wood Man, Air Man, and Flash Man. Once Mega Man has defeated, and obtained the weapon of, each master, he enters Dr. Wily's Castle. These four stages culminate in a multistage fight against the evil robots' maker, Dr. Wily. Each of the eight stages has its own theme, environment, and array of bad robots. Mega Man traverses a factory (Metal Man), an underwater area (Bubble Man), a forest (Wood

Metroid: Zero Mission: 20th anniversary

Twenty years ago today Metroid: Zero Mission reinvented the original Metroid for a new generation. Improving upon the original by leaps and bounds, it's not so much a remaster as an entirely new game.  Metroid literally defined the "Metroidvania" genre, so you know what you're getting here. The protagonist, Samus Aran, clad in her armored, yellow Power Suit, explores a claustrophobic planet. She shoots alien monsters (like the iconic Rippers and Zoomers) with her arm cannon and, collecting upgrades and new laser beams along the way. These weapons and abilities allow her to access new areas. For example, bombs destroy certain blocks and floors. Missiles open locked red doors. She must locate and defeat the bosses of the nefarious Space Pirates: the monstrous Ridley and Kraid. Doing so unlocks the final area, where flying jellyfish called Metroids try to latch onto her and drain her life. At the end, she must defeat the Mother Brain living computer, then return to her

Mega Man X: 30th anniversary

Thirty years ago Mega Man X brought Capcom's beloved blue bomber into the 16-bit era, to great acclaim. In a creative twist, Mega Man X (called X for short) is a new robot, not the original Mega Man . As with Super Metroid, Super Castlevania IV , and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past , Mega Man X uses the winning formula of remaking the original NES game but with more and better. Mega Man X, like his predecessor, faces eight robot masters, now called "Mavericks." Instead of "men," they are made in the image of animals: Chill Penguin, Storm Eagle, Launch Octopus, Spark Mandrill (a kind of monkey), Armored Armadillo, Sting Chameleon, Flame Mammoth, and Boomer Kuwanger (a Japanese stag beetle). An opening stage ends with X being defeated by the robot Vile, a henchman of Sigma, who wants to destroy humanity using something called "Reploids" (the Mavericks?). Fortunately, a "Maverick Hunter" robot named Zero jumps in to save X. He encourages