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6 minutes ago, Lord_Brand said:

After playing Mega Man 2, 3's weapon selection feels very restrictive in comparison. In 2, you had Leaf Shield to deal with Pipis; in 3, no such weapon exists for the Su Bees.

I'm going to reply to everything you said; I'm just cutting the quote to keep this from being too long.

Yeah; 3 is a bit restrictive compared to 2. But I think all three games so far have had their share of good weapons and terrible weapons. Let's not forget that 2's time-stop weapon had no off switch and left the player unable to attack in any way. In terms of support items, I think 3 is the best overall with the 3 different Rush abilities, though they are far from balanced in terms of usefulness (the sub is situational at best). Rush Coil is far better than the temporary platform/elevator items in 2 and Rush Jet is really good in general.

Yeah; Gamma Phase 2 is basically the only situation in which Top Spin is unambiguously useful. Outside of that, it can spin into some spikes for all I care.

Yeah; Proto Man's weakness to Hard Knuckle really doesn't matter since he's an extremely easy fight every time except the Hard Man stage.

 

I see; that would explain why thought the game needed padding. As far as padding goes, it isn't the worst. At least it's interesting to use the new weapons on the old bosses, and at least the stages are remixed when you go through them the second time.

…It took me a while to get that pun.

Thanks. I don't mind weapon swapping during battle too much, mainly because I often end up needing to go into the menu anyway to use an energy tank.

I see. So... Proto Man's actions are just as incomprehensible if the player does have context; I honestly wasn't expecting that. I went through the whole game thinking, "This has to make sense in context". My guess, going from something in the Proto Man documents in the Legacy Collection about Proto Man mysteriously disappearing and having a faulty energy core or something like that, was something along the lines of that he was helping Wily to get his core fixed but was always loyal to Light and a good guy; hence him saving Mega Man at the end. But I honestly had no clue.

Well, aside from the fact that Mega Man 4-through-11 exist, I knew it wasn't the end of Wily due to his flying saucer appearing in the end credits (Proto Man could've been piloting it, but he doesn't need to since he can seemingly teleport great distances).

By the way, speaking of credits, I don't know if I encountered a bug or if this is just how the game ends, but 3's credits never ended. 1 and 2 had very quick credits, and once they ended, it went back to the game's menu (if I recall correctly, since I distinctly remember being able to save after beating those games). But for 3, the credits reached the point where it had "Made by Capcom" on the screen, and then it just stayed there with the text blinking and the music continuing to play. I waited several minutes to see if the credits would end on their own before ultimately saving and quitting the game.

Also, what was that grid that appeared after every stage? The one where seemingly random parts of it would be filled by a blue or a pink dot after every stage?

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52 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I'm going to reply to everything you said; I'm just cutting the quote to keep this from being too long.

Yeah; 3 is a bit restrictive compared to 2. But I think all three games so far have had their share of good weapons and terrible weapons. Let's not forget that 2's time-stop weapon had no off switch and left the player unable to attack in any way. In terms of support items, I think 3 is the best overall with the 3 different Rush abilities, though they are far from balanced in terms of usefulness (the sub is situational at best). Rush Coil is far better than the temporary platform/elevator items in 2 and Rush Jet is really good in general.

Yeah; Gamma Phase 2 is basically the only situation in which Top Spin is unambiguously useful. Outside of that, it can spin into some spikes for all I care.

Yeah; Proto Man's weakness to Hard Knuckle really doesn't matter since he's an extremely easy fight every time except the Hard Man stage.

I see; that would explain why thought the game needed padding. As far as padding goes, it isn't the worst. At least it's interesting to use the new weapons on the old bosses, and at least the stages are remixed when you go through them the second time.

…It took me a while to get that pun.

Thanks. I don't mind weapon swapping during battle too much, mainly because I often end up needing to go into the menu anyway to use an energy tank.

I see. So... Proto Man's actions are just as incomprehensible if the player does have context; I honestly wasn't expecting that. I went through the whole game thinking, "This has to make sense in context". My guess, going from something in the Proto Man documents in the Legacy Collection about Proto Man mysteriously disappearing and having a faulty energy core or something like that, was something along the lines of that he was helping Wily to get his core fixed but was always loyal to Light and a good guy; hence him saving Mega Man at the end. But I honestly had no clue.

Well, aside from the fact that Mega Man 4-through-11 exist, I knew it wasn't the end of Wily due to his flying saucer appearing in the end credits (Proto Man could've been piloting it, but he doesn't need to since he can seemingly teleport great distances).

By the way, speaking of credits, I don't know if I encountered a bug or if this is just how the game ends, but 3's credits never ended. 1 and 2 had very quick credits, and once they ended, it went back to the game's menu (if I recall correctly, since I distinctly remember being able to save after beating those games). But for 3, the credits reached the point where it had "Made by Capcom" on the screen, and then it just stayed there with the text blinking and the music continuing to play. I waited several minutes to see if the credits would end on their own before ultimately saving and quitting the game.

Also, what was that grid that appeared after every stage? The one where seemingly random parts of it would be filled by a blue or a pink dot after every stage?

The ironic thing is, had Top Spin been programmed to make Mega Man invincible (at least to projectiles and collision damage) during its use, it would probably be remembered as the most broken weapon in MM3.

I don't think that's a bug, some of the early MMX games have credits like that as well. I won't spoil them for you of course. :P I'm looking forward to when you play those as well, if you decide to play them.

That grid is the password system. Yesirree bob, long before you whippersnappers had save states and flash drives, us old fogies of the 80s and 90s had to write down passwords to resume our progress - unless we were lucky enough to play a game cartridge with a save battery on it! MM3 wasn't the first entry in the series with the red-dot-blue-dot grid password system, either - Mega Man 2 introduced it, but you only got your password at the game over screen, which given the availability of save states I'm guessing you didn't see. MM3 has your password show up after every stage, in case the player can't clear Capcom's behemoth in one sitting. 4, 5, and 6 use that same system, while 7 moves on to a new grid with numbers instead of dots. 8, 9, 10, and 11 all use conventional save files.

As a little heads-up for Mega Man 4, I recommend starting with Toad Man. He is by far the easiest boss in the series. After jumping a few times, he'll perform a dance that summons Rain Flush, which is unavoidable, but if you shoot him while he tries to use it, it interrupts the dance and makes him jump a few more times. Heck, shoot at the right time and he won't even jump, he'll just keep trying to dance. Keep shooting him and he'll never get to attack. As a reward, you get the Rain Flush, which damages everything on screen. Just make sure you watch your Magic Weapon Energy meter!

Edited by Lord_Brand

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18 minutes ago, Lord_Brand said:

The ironic thing is, had Top Spin been programmed to make Mega Man invincible (at least to projectiles and collision damage) during its use, it would probably be remembered as the most broken weapon in MM3.

I don't think that's a bug, some of the early MMX games have credits like that as well. I won't spoil them for you of course. 😛 I'm looking forward to when you play those as well, if you decide to play them.

That grid is the password system. Yesirree bob, long before you whippersnappers had save states and flash drives, us old fogies of the 80s and 90s had to write down passwords to resume our progress - unless we were lucky enough to play a game cartridge with a save battery on it! MM3 wasn't the first entry in the series with the red-dot-blue-dot grid password system, either - Mega Man 2 introduced it, but you only got your password at the game over screen, which given the availability of save states I'm guessing you didn't see. MM3 has your password show up after every stage, in case the player can't clear Capcom's behemoth in one sitting. 4, 5, and 6 use that same system, while 7 moves on to a new grid with numbers instead of dots. 8, 9, 10, and 11 all use conventional save files.

I'm not so sure about that considering its extremely short range and it only being able to be used while in midair, but I'm not exactly skilled at these games, so I'll take your word for it.

I see. Hm... maybe. As I said earlier; it was the Battle Network games (and the Star Force games as well) that I played a lot, as the first two series were before my time, and I only got the classic Mega Man Legacy Collection because I've long wanted to try the classic games (mainly because I used to play Mega Man & Bass, but also to see how the franchise began) and because I heard a lot of good stuff about the Legacy Collection as a collection. I might consider playing Mega Man X after doing a bit of research about it and seeing if it would be my cup of tea or not.

I see; that makes a lot of sense. Yeah; I did not see it for Mega Man 2, partly thanks to the save states, but also thanks to playing 2 immediately after playing the much jankier and more difficult 1.

Well, I'm going to be playing 4 next. Since 3 introduced the slide technique, I have to ask: was 4 the one that introduced the charge shot? I found myself missing it a lot, as there are a lot of places where it would've been useful.

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38 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I'm not so sure about that considering its extremely short range and it only being able to be used while in midair, but I'm not exactly skilled at these games, so I'll take your word for it.

I see. Hm... maybe. As I said earlier; it was the Battle Network games (and the Star Force games as well) that I played a lot, as the first two series were before my time, and I only got the classic Mega Man Legacy Collection because I've long wanted to try the classic games (mainly because I used to play Mega Man & Bass, but also to see how the franchise began) and because I heard a lot of good stuff about the Legacy Collection as a collection. I might consider playing Mega Man X after doing a bit of research about it and seeing if it would be my cup of tea or not.

I see; that makes a lot of sense. Yeah; I did not see it for Mega Man 2, partly thanks to the save states, but also thanks to playing 2 immediately after playing the much jankier and more difficult 1.

Well, I'm going to be playing 4 next. Since 3 introduced the slide technique, I have to ask: was 4 the one that introduced the charge shot? I found myself missing it a lot, as there are a lot of places where it would've been useful.

If it allowed you to just pirouette your way through projectiles and midair enemies, that would have more than made up for the short range, trust me. Just wait 'til you get to Mega Man 9...

The X series mostly plays like a faster and smoother version of the Classic series. Instead of a slide, you get a dash that can segue into faster and farther jumps (though in X1, you'll have to find an upgrade for your legs before you can use it). You also get a wall slide and wall kick that lets you cling to and climb walls by tapping jump repeatedly while pressing against the wall. Just those two changes makes a world of difference. On top of that, you get Armor Part upgrades found in capsules hidden in four of the eight Maverick stages (Mavericks are the MMX series' version of Robot Masters, like Chill Penguin and Storm Eagle) that expand your abilities further. Once you start X1 and clear the intro stage, I strongly, STRONGLY recommend playing Chill Penguin's stage first, as one of the capsules is laying right in your path, and you need its upgrade to find the other three.

Also, when playing the intro stage itself, the boss at the end (a purple dude who looks like Boba Fett piloting a blue mech) can't actually be beaten. He's a hopeless boss fight by design. He's basically unavoidable, so your health will go down quickly enough for him to fire a spark-like shot that stuns you and ends the fight. Let the spark hit you, and a cutscene will play which introduces the series' de facto badass. After that, you'll be able to tackle the Maverick stages. Just wanted to let you know ahead of time so you don't end up spending an hour trying to beat the boss. Also, not to spoil anything, but you'll fight the same boss later on, and the same rule applies there: He has to hit you with the stun shot to advance the plot. After that, you'll finally be able to give him the butt-whupping he's had coming all game.

Suffice to say, Mega Man X is Mega Man but cooler and (at its best) even more fun. There's a reason they chose Mega Man X as the core series for Mega Man X DiVE (a smartphone game that I also recommend. If you decide to sign up, let me know what handle you pick and I'll add you as a friend if you like. That way, we can send each other energy for playing stages as well as invite each other for co-op or PVP matches. I go by Bcrossfire there).

Indeed, Mega Man 4 is the game that introduced the charge shot to the series! Though it's a little different from what you'd expect. In MM4, the level 2 charge shot is more of a bolt, while MM5 and on use the large spherical shot you might be more familiar with (the MMX series features the charge shot as well, in fact each game has at least one upgrade for it!). As another heads-up, Skeleton Joe enemies must be defeated by a Charge Shot to defeat them permanently, otherwise they'll just collapse into a pile of bones then reassemble. Speaking of skeletons, Skull Man has a peculiar behavior where he won't move at the start of his fight until you do. If you move left or right, he shoots. If you shoot, he jumps.

Keep your eyes open for secret side paths in Dive Man and Pharaoh Man's levels. Each leads to a secret item! If you have trouble finding them, let me know and I'll give you hints.

I gotta say, introducing a new player to the Mega Man series is fun. I'm such a series veteran now that it's refreshing and even thrilling to see someone genuinely new to the franchise (at least, the part of it that I'm more familiar with) experience it. You're in for a treat!

Edited by Lord_Brand

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@Lord_Brand I see. Thanks for the info.

I'll keep an eye out for those secret side paths in those two stages.

11 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

Speaking of skeletons, Skull Man has a peculiar behavior where he won't move at the start of his fight until you do. If you move left or right, he shoots. If you shoot, he jumps.

…Then what does he do if the player jumps?

 

11 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

I gotta say, introducing a new player to the Mega Man series is fun. I'm such a series veteran now that it's refreshing and even thrilling to see someone genuinely new to the franchise (at least, the part of it that I'm more familiar with) experience it. You're in for a treat!

I see. I think I still prefer Battle Network overall, but that's mainly because I really like the combination of tactics and action, and I'm not really used to side-scrollers. Battle Network and Star Force resonated more with me. But I can easily see what made classic Mega Man special to a lot of people.

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3 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

…Then what does he do if the player jumps?

If you jump in place, nothing. He only reacts when you move left, move right, or attack. That said, you might be able to bait him into jumping into your shot by jumping then shooting.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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This week I played Shinobi for the PS2. It's the same classic arcade series whose third installment on the Genesis I may have declared to be "the best Genesis game ever" many years ago . I don't think I can stand by that comment, but it is a must play for Genesis enthusiasts. This is one of the first Sega published games following the sinking of the Dreamcast, and was developed by the team that pumped out Skies of Arcadia and the Sakura Wars series. Wow, and they managed the R&D transition from that to a 3D action game? For the most part it was an uncharted genre unless you were willing to fall back on being a Mario 64 or Zelda clone. Shinobi released after the original Devil May Cry, and I think that game comes out as the better white knuckle action game with its stellar combat variety. What this game can boast over Devil May Cry is a 360 degree camera control and freer air movement and combat. And both games have oppressively edgy/angsty protagonists whose story you will not care about. Shinobi's most vital mechanic is this chain system where the game keeps tracks of how many enemies you've killed recently and ramps up your damage exponentially in order to finish off everything else for a cinematic, synchronized blood explosion.

It didn't take long to discover a fool proof strategy for every boss fight. Run around and wait for them to spawn a bunch of small enemies, engage your invincibility power so that you can't be interrupted. Chain as many of them together as you can before turning on the boss for massive damage. Some bosses become invulnerable the moment after they're hit, but it's not much of an issue. You can indeed one shot almost any boss in the game with a chain of 8 or 9 kills in my experience. It's a pretty unique battle system, but there's no other viable alternative that I can think of. Trying to evade and counter attacks doesn't get you anywhere fast since your base damage is so pitiful.  And that's really my only issue. The game's only about five hours long, but it doesn't have the combat variety to warrant even that much time. Most of my moment to moment gameplay was alternating the dash and slash buttons while holding down the lock on button, in order to safely approach and kill targets for my combo chain.  In Shinobi, the only way they shake things up is having a string of enemies over a bottomless pit. Hitting somebody while airborne refreshes your air dash, so you can cross these gaps the same way Sonic can with his homing attack in his 3D games. Wall running is pretty fun for traversal too, until a random camera shift botches your next air dash and sends you in the wrong direction to your death. It's pretty obnoxious to die to a bottomless pit in a game with no checkpoints until you reach the boss. But I guess I should be grateful that the game has no extra lives to worry about.

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@Lord_Brand Well, I just completed Mega Man 4.

In a number of ways, the game is a refinement over 2 and 3: the plot is easy to understand without an instruction manual thanks to the simple intro, the doctor that Wily forces to help with his evil plans is a more understandable secondary antagonist than Proto Man (and Proto Man is an outright good guy in this one, which clears up some things about his actions in 3), that doctor's castle is a much better between-the-robot-masters-and-Wily's-Castle content than the stage remixes from 3, and Bright Man's version of Flash Man's ability has an off switch (albeit a somewhat clunky one) and doesn't leave Mega Man unable to attack. Moreover, none of the weapons felt situational-at-best; they all were at least decent projectiles.

That said, I do have a few problems with it; most of which are areas where I felt the game broke something in an attempt to fix it. Part 1 of the Wily Machine fight is overall an improvement: it sticks to the right side of the screen and gives the player just enough room to reasonably be able to move around and dodge, and its weak spot takes effort to hit without being annoying, though I did find the first phase very easy to beat without taking any damage by simply standing near the machine and jumping & shooting only after it stops firing. The second phase, however, was a frantic mess. Remember how I liked the second half of the Wily Machine 3 because the player could use rush Jet to maneuver around it? Well, you can't in this game, so the Wily Machine goes back to being as terrible as it was in 1 and 2. Speaking of which, the Rush Jet was seriously nerfed, and not in a good way. I suspect that there were places where Rush Jet in 3 was considered game-breaking, but their attempt to nerf it just made it clunky, unrefined, and something I almost tried to avoid using. Support items in general are worse this time around: Rush Submarine went from something I rarely used to something I never used, the balloon is basically the elevator platform from 2 but somehow even worse (and redundant because there's nothing it can do that Rush Coil can't), and I didn't get any use out of the wire item, though that one may be because I didn't figure out how it worked until I got to Wily's Castle. Finally, though this is a very small issue, we went from ladder-crawling enemies that could be destroyed in 3 to ladder-crawling enemies that can not be destroyed in 4.

Finally, for neither good or bad but still worth mentioning, I did like the addition of the charged shot, but I didn't find it as useful as I thought I would. It was somewhat useful, and it made me realize just how much I default to the rapid-fire button whenever I'm using the standard mega buster, but I get the feeling that I will like the charged shot more in 5 and 6.

 

Anyway, I was recently looking at the game Shovel Knight, as I remembered that being a very well-received tribute to NES-era side-scrollers like Mega Man and The Adventure of Link, and I was wondering if you would recommend it to someone like me who really is rather new to old-school 2D side-scrollers.

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21 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

Anyway, I was recently looking at the game Shovel Knight, as I remembered that being a very well-received tribute to NES-era side-scrollers like Mega Man and The Adventure of Link, and I was wondering if you would recommend it to someone like me who really is rather new to old-school 2D side-scrollers.

It's tight platforming, but not super hard or anything. Checkpoints are fairly spaced out and all you lose on death is some gems, which you can reclaim if you make it back to where you lost (and provided the flying gem bags are in reach). I beat the original Shovel of Hope mode once, it wasn't too bad, although I wasn't playing with any kind of achievements or speed running in mind, that is beyond me. And I made it to the end of each of the three DLC campaigns, but never mustered the will to finish them.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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18 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

It's tight platforming, but not super hard or anything. Checkpoints are fairly spaced out and all you lose on death is some gems, which you can reclaim if you make it back to where you lost (and provided the flying gem bags are in reach). I beat the original Shovel of Hope mode once, it wasn't too bad, although I wasn't playing with any kind of achievements or speed running in mind, that is beyond me. And I made it to the end of each of the three DLC campaigns, but never mustered the will to finish them.

I see. Thanks for the info.

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2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Speaking of which, the Rush Jet was seriously nerfed, and not in a good way. I suspect that there were places where Rush Jet in 3 was considered game-breaking, but their attempt to nerf it just made it clunky, unrefined, and something I almost tried to avoid using. Support items in general are worse this time around: Rush Submarine went from something I rarely used to something I never used, the balloon is basically the elevator platform from 2 but somehow even worse (and redundant because there's nothing it can do that Rush Coil can't), and I didn't get any use out of the wire item, though that one may be because I didn't figure out how it worked until I got to Wily's Castle. Finally, though this is a very small issue, we went from ladder-crawling enemies that could be destroyed in 3 to ladder-crawling enemies that can not be destroyed in 4.

Yeah, Rush Jet's free movement in MM3 trivialized platforming sections, so starting with MM4 they made it focus more on horizontal movement while Rush Coil is supposed to be your go-to choice for vertical movement (not that it's any substitute for free-form flight). Regrettable, but understandable. Rush Marine would be most useful in Dive Man's stage, which is almost entirely underwater, but your Special Weapons are generally more effective against enemies, so I can see why you might not have used it much. MM4 was Rush Marine's last appearance in the series thus far; MM5 switches to just the Coil and Jet, and 7, 9, 10, and 11 all feature the Coil and Jet as well.

Speaking of MM5, a little heads-up: Rush Coil in that game works completely different from how it does in basically every other game in the series. MM5 Rush Coil looks like one of those spring-bellied animal rides you used to see outside stores like Walmart, and instead of launching you upward like the other Coils do, when you jump on him he jumps up with you standing on him as a platform, which you'll then have to jump off of. It'll take some getting used to.

As for the Balloon and Wire items, the Balloon Item is designed for more precise platforming as it doesn't launch you upwards like Rush Coil does, while the Wire Adapter's greatest use is against Wily Machine 4 phase 2 (the one you had trouble with). I should have told you how to use the Wire ahead of time. My apologies!

And yeah, it sucks that the ladder enemies aren't destructible in MM4. Did you try using Flash Stopper on them? They should still be susceptible to its effect.

2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Finally, for neither good or bad but still worth mentioning, I did like the addition of the charged shot, but I didn't find it as useful as I thought I would. It was somewhat useful, and it made me realize just how much I default to the rapid-fire button whenever I'm using the standard mega buster, but I get the feeling that I will like the charged shot more in 5 and 6.

I concur. One thing to be aware of, though: If you get hit while charging a shot in MM5 or MM6, you'll lose the charge. MM7 and later titles thankfully do away with that nonsense. As an upside, your Charge Shot is highly effective against the Robot Masters in MM5, to the point you may end up preferring it over their weapon weaknesses. Napalm Man in particular takes just as much damage from the full Charge Shot as his own weakness.

Another heads up about MM5: Its weapon selection is considered one of the weakest in the series. About the only weapon considered truly worth using outside of boss fights is Gyro Attack, which is basically Magnet Missile if it allowed you to choose when the projectile goes upward, giving you a lot of control. Based on what you said about weapons that allow you to attack from multiple angles, you'll love Gyro Attack. And Gyro Man isn't that hard, so you might want to go for him first.

MM5's transport item is Super Arrow, which you receive upon defeating Star Man. Imagine Item-2, but it can also deal damage to enemies (Wily Machine 5 is even weak to it), and it sticks in walls for a short time, allowing you to use it as a platform. Be aware that it drains energy pretty quick while riding it, however.

Keep an eye out for the MEGAMAN5 tiles, each of which is hidden in one of the Robot Master stages. Once you have all eight, a certain robot bird will become available for you to summon as a homing attack drone who may just prove helpful against the final boss... The easiest of the tiles to miss is in Wave Man's Stage, where you'll have to perform a jump at the right time during the waterbike segment to grab it. Yes, that's right, MM5 has a mandatory vehicle section! With a midboss no less!

MM5 is generally considered the weakest entry in the series, between its underwhelming weapon selection, the arbitrary changes to Rush Coil and the charge shot, and the forced vehicle segment. Even the first four endgame bosses are kind of lazy (though nonetheless tough). Thankfully, most of the game is at least easy enough to balance out the flaws. I just want to make sure you go in knowing what to expect.

Did you know that Archie produced a Mega Man comic series? I own every issue (Worlds Unite and Battle Books notwithstanding). You might enjoy giving the series a read, if you can track it down.

2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Anyway, I was recently looking at the game Shovel Knight, as I remembered that being a very well-received tribute to NES-era side-scrollers like Mega Man and The Adventure of Link, and I was wondering if you would recommend it to someone like me who really is rather new to old-school 2D side-scrollers.

I've played it some, and I'd say it's a fine enough platformer to try. I recommend getting the Treasure Trove Collection, that gives you the original game, the three DLC campaigns, and a brand-new versus game all in one (and I only found out about that after buying my brother a card for the King of Cards campaign, believing it to be the original game with King of Cards as additional content).

Edited by Lord_Brand

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@Lord_Brand Thanks for the information and for the heads up about the Rush Coil.

No apologies necessary; I had my laptop next to me and didn't bother looking up how the wire item works.

No, I didn't try the Flash Stopper on those enemies. I have an unfortunate habit of not using the items except when necessary or when I know there's an item refill. It's the old video game item paradox: useful, therefore never use.

 

Huh; 5 is considered even weaker than 1? That's good to know in advance.

I knew about those comics. Eh; I don't really read comics.

 

Thanks again. Yeah; I was wondering whether to get the treasure trove collection or just the main game, so thanks.

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26 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

Huh; 5 is considered even weaker than 1? That's good to know in advance.

Well, in many ways it's better than 1. It has more presentation, better graphics, more refined gameplay, etc. But none of its weapons are Thunder Beam-good. Here's the breakdown of each Special Weapon in MM5, spoilered in case you want to find out for yourself:

Spoiler
  • Gravity Hold - Full-screen attack that deals low damage and doesn't allow defeated foes to drop items.
  • Gyro Attack - Projectile that can change direction once, similar to Magnet Missile except you control when it changes direction.
  • Crystal Eye - Large projectile that splits into three smaller bouncing projectiles which do the same damage. You can only fire one at a time.
  • Napalm Bomb - Explosive that bounces along the ground. Better than Hyper Bomb, but worse than the other explosive weapons in the series.
  • Power Stone - Sends out three boulders in an outward spiral. Very difficult to hit anything.
  • Charge Kick - A weaponized version of the slide that at least makes you briefly invincible. To use it, hold down and press the shoot button. Better than Top Spin, though that isn't saying much.
  • Water Wave - Imagine a faster Bubble Lead that blocks shots and runs out of energy surprisingly fast.
  • Star Crash - A shield weapon that can be launched but disappears after one hit from anything. Also has a wide radius, so it's easy for stray shots to waste energy.

Where Mega Man 1 was an ugly-looking game with a great weapon, some good weapons, and a couple bad weapons, Mega Man 5 is a great-looking game with one decent weapon and a bunch of meh to bad weapons. Of the NES games, this is the one that feels the most "phoned in".

Edited by Lord_Brand

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4 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

Well, in many ways it's better than 1. It has more presentation, better graphics, more refined gameplay, etc. But none of its weapons are Thunder Beam-good. Here's the breakdown of each Special Weapon in MM5, spoilered in case you want to find out for yourself:

  Reveal hidden contents
  • Gravity Hold - Full-screen attack that deals low damage and doesn't allow defeated foes to drop items.
  • Gyro Attack - Projectile that can change direction once, similar to Magnet Missile except you control when it changes direction.
  • Crystal Eye - Large projectile that splits into three smaller bouncing projectiles which do the same damage. You can only fire one at a time.
  • Napalm Bomb - Explosive that bounces along the ground. Better than Hyper Bomb, but worse than the other explosive weapons in the series.
  • Power Stone - Sends out three boulders in an outward spiral. Very difficult to hit anything.
  • Charge Kick - A weaponized version of the slide that at least makes you briefly invincible. To use it, hold down and press the shoot button. Better than Top Spin, though that isn't saying much.
  • Water Wave - Imagine a faster Bubble Lead that blocks shots and runs out of energy surprisingly fast.
  • Star Crash - A shield weapon that can be launched but disappears after one hit from anything. Also has a wide radius, so it's easy for stray shots to waste energy.

Where Mega Man 1 was an ugly-looking game with a great weapon, some good weapons, and a couple bad weapons, Mega Man 5 is a great-looking game with one decent weapon and a bunch of meh to bad weapons. Of the NES games, this is the one that feels the most "phoned in".

Well, I just completed Mega Man 5 before I read this. I found all the weapons at least somewhat useful, though the napalm mine and the rock attack were very tricky to use accurately. My favourite, though I didn't use it often, would have to be the charge kick, simply because it's an upgrade of the slide that damages opponents and makes Mega Man invincible for the duration of the dive.

Yeah; I could definitely feel that it was phoned in. It wasn't bad, but if it were a song, it would be the kind of song that just goes in one ear and out the other.

Next is the last game in the collection: Mega Man 6. After that, I'll decide whether or not I want to play the second part of the collection. These are some good games overall; I'm just not sure if I'm enjoying them enough to want 7, 8, 9 and 10. I'm really enjoying them, but I don't think I've become a classic Mega Man fan. Does that make sense?

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3 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Well, I just completed Mega Man 5 before I read this. I found all the weapons at least somewhat useful, though the napalm mine and the rock attack were very tricky to use accurately. My favourite, though I didn't use it often, would have to be the charge kick, simply because it's an upgrade of the slide that damages opponents and makes Mega Man invincible for the duration of the dive.

Yeah; I could definitely feel that it was phoned in. It wasn't bad, but if it were a song, it would be the kind of song that just goes in one ear and out the other.

Next is the last game in the collection: Mega Man 6. After that, I'll decide whether or not I want to play the second part of the collection. These are some good games overall; I'm just not sure if I'm enjoying them enough to want 7, 8, 9 and 10. I'm really enjoying them, but I don't think I've become a classic Mega Man fan. Does that make sense?

Huh. After your account of Top Spin, I was sure you'd hate Charge Kick. But it would seem the invincibility does indeed make a difference.

For Mega Man 6, I recommend starting with either Wind Man or Plant Man, as they tend to be the easiest bosses. Centaur Man's not a bad first pick either.

MM6 introduces new functions for Rush, the Power and Jet Adapters. The Power Adapter allows you to charge up mighty punches able to smash cracked walls and blocks, while the Jet Adapter allows you to fly upward for a short amount of time. However, they don't allow you to use Special Weapons or slide while they're active. You get the Adapters upon defeating Flame Man and Plant Man.

There are also four BEAT tiles to look out for this time, in Tomahawk Man, Yamato Man, Knight Man, and Centaur Man's levels. However, you don't find them hidden within the stages themselves but rather receive them upon defeating the hidden bosses. You see, those four Robot Masters each have a fake who you'll encounter following the conventional path through their stage. You still get the Special Weapon for defeating the fake, and you can beat the game without ever fighting the real deals, but you won't get the BEAT tiles unless you defeat them. To reach them, you'll need the Power and Jet Adapters. Since you probably got Beat in MM5, I'll let you know that he works similar this time, but he is a bit nerfed. You'll want to try a different weapon on the final boss, just saying.

Also, look out for a hidden room in Tomahawk Man's stage hidden behind a cracked wall. A certain somebody will give you the Energy Balancer in that room, which allows you to recharge whichever Special Weapon needs Weapon Energy the most as long as your current weapon is full or you don't have one equipped. The Energy Balancer is such a useful item that they brought it back in every subsequent mainline Classic entry and incorporated its function into the X series from the get-go.

Overall, MM6 is better than 5. Its weapon selection isn't the greatest, but it's functional and better than 5's at least.

I definitely recommend Part 2. 7 and 9 are two of my favorite installments for good reason. Here's a general idea of what's waiting for you if you decide to get Part 2:

Mega Man 7

Spoiler

The series' move to SNES, with larger sprites, better animation, and better music. The gameplay is described as a bit slow and sluggish compared to the NES games, but that's partly due to the fact the sprites are larger, and so the action has to be slowed down a little bit. The game still moves at a snappy pace.

This is the first Classic game with an intro stage. It's pretty short and easy. Bass makes his debut here.

The Robot Masters are split into two sets of four this time. The first set will be available after clearing the intro stage, while the second set becomes available after clearing an intermission stage.

MM7 features a shop for the first time in the console series (MMIV for Game Boy introduced shops to the series proper). Along with Life and Weapon pickups, you can also find bolts that serve as currency (years before Ratchet & Clank on PS2, even!). You can buy E-Tanks, W-Tanks, extra lives, the Energy Balancer, and other cool items. However, the unique items can all also be found in the stages using Rush Search.

On that note, the Rush Coil and Rush Jet return, and are joined by Rush Search, which summons Rush to dig in the area in front of you. You can find some nice items this way, including Giant Bolts worth 100 regular bolts.

Mega Man 8

Spoiler

Even better graphics than MM7. In fact, you'll recognize the visual style as the exact same kind MM&B used.

The game has animated cutscenes, though outside of the animated intro (which you can only see upon beating the game, thanks to the collection skipping straight to the title screen), they kinda suck thanks to poor, poor voice acting.

Special Weapons are now mapped to a separate button from your buster, allowing you to keep one handy while still being able to use your buster as well.

The Robot Masters are again split into two sets of four, though this time there isn't any real connection between the two sets.

Most stages are split into two halves, with an opportunity to save between them.

Several Robot Master stages have midbosses in them, far more elaborate than any seen in past games. There's even a midboss theme!

The Rush Coil is gone and Rush Jet is restricted to specific shmup sections. Rush's new functions are Rush Question (basically Eddie's job stolen by Rush), Rush Cycle (dang near useless, mostly good for getting one giant bolt in Clown Man's stage), Rush Bomber (Rush drops explosives from above) and Rush Charger (Rush drops health and weapon pickups of varying size). A major downgrade, in my opinion.

There are collectible giant bolts hidden in each stage, including the intro stage (which is replayable for precisely that reason). You can spend them at the game's shop to purchase upgrade parts.

There are two snowboarding segments in the game, and they will teach you to hate the words "Jump" and "Slide".

Mega Man 9

Spoiler

A return to the 8-bit days visually, though the cutscenes are far more elaborate than anything the NES games did.

Rush Coil and Rush Jet return (thank goodness!), and this time they unlock after clearing a specific number of stages (rather than specific stages).

E-Tanks and W-Tanks are back (again, thank goodness!), and this time there's also an M-Tank (works like the S-Tank from MM7, but if you use it while your energy meters are all already full, all on-screen enemies are turned into 1Ups).

The shop is back to selling items for bolts like in MM7 (yet again, thank goodness!), and there are some new items to buy too.

We get our first (and so far, only) female Robot Master, Splash Woman! Her weapon is good, too. As a matter of fact, I'd recommend going after her first, both because she's one of the easier bosses (watch out for her trident though, it hurts) and because her weapon is so good that you'll probably end up using it in place of your buster once you get it.

Speaking of weapons, MM9 offers a FANTASTIC Weapon selection, easily the best of the series! Though none of them may be quite as good offensively as Metal Blade or Thunder Beam, a lot of them come dang close, and one of them is actually better than Metal Blade and Thunder Beam if you know the proper uses.

Despite all this shining praise, however, there is one knock against the game: Mega Man can't charge shots or slide. For whatever reason, they thought it'd be a good idea to bring him back to his MM1-2 days despite the game retaining many other post-MM2 conventions such as Rush and the store. It's a good thing the Special Weapons are good enough here that you probably won't miss the charge shot as much.

Proto Man is playable, and he does have the charge shot and slide, though he doesn't get any cutscenes or dialogue and his shop has fewer items and higher prices. His shield blocks projectiles while he's jumping, but not while standing on the ground.

Mega Man 10

Spoiler

MM10 retains the 8-bit look and thus uses the same basic engine.

This time, Proto Man and Bass are also playable, and they get their own story cutscenes and dialogue to boot. You'll be happy to know that Bass plays almost exactly like he does in MM&B, multidirectional rapid fire and double jump included. Once again, Mega doesn't have the charge shot or slide while Proto Man does, which is annoying.

Enker, Punk, and Ballade from the Game Boy series are back with their own Special Stages, and upon defeating them you get to use their Special Weapons in the main game as well as their Special Stages. They even form their own minicycle, with each being weak to another's weapon.

The Robot Master selection is back to being all male, which is disappointing since Splash Woman opened the doors to female Robot Masters.

The Special Weapons are a step down from 9. Not completely terrible (though Thunder Wool is jank), but a little underwhelming after the awesome arsenal 9 featured. Still some neat stuff in here, though. Better than MM5, at the very least.

10 has three difficulty settings - Easy, Normal, and Hard, with the latter being unlockable.

Overall, I'd say MM7 and 9 alone make Part 2 worth it. If you liked Bass in MM&B, then you'll probably also enjoy 10.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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10 minutes ago, Lord_Brand said:

Huh. After your account of Top Spin, I was sure you'd hate Charge Kick. But it would seem the invincibility does indeed make a difference.

For Mega Man 6, I recommend starting with either Wind Man or Plant Man, as they tend to be the easiest bosses. Centaur Man's not a bad first pick either.

MM6 introduces new functions for Rush, the Power and Jet Adapters. The Power Adapter allows you to charge up mighty punches able to smash cracked walls and blocks, while the Jet Adapter allows you to fly upward for a short amount of time. However, they don't allow you to use Special Weapons or slide while they're active. You get the Adapters upon defeating Flame Man and Plant Man.

There are also four BEAT tiles to look out for this time, in Tomahawk Man, Yamato Man, Knight Man, and Centaur Man's levels. However, you don't find them hidden within the stages themselves but rather receive them upon defeating the hidden bosses. You see, those four Robot Masters each have a fake who you'll encounter following the conventional path through their stage. You still get the Special Weapon for defeating the fake, and you can beat the game without ever fighting the real deals, but you won't get the BEAT tiles unless you defeat them. To reach them, you'll need the Power and Jet Adapters. Since you probably got Beat in MM5, I'll let you know that he works similar this time, but he is a bit nerfed. You'll want to try a different weapon on the final boss, just saying.

Also, look out for a hidden room in Tomahawk Man's stage hidden behind a cracked wall. A certain somebody will give you the Energy Balancer in that room, which allows you to recharge whichever Special Weapon needs Weapon Energy the most as long as your current weapon is full or you don't have one equipped. The Energy Balancer is such a useful item that they brought it back in every subsequent mainline Classic entry and incorporated its function into the X series from the get-go.

Overall, MM6 is better than 5. Its weapon selection isn't the greatest, but it's functional and better than 5's at least.

It's not just the invincibility; using the slide is far more intuitive than trying to jump just near enough to an enemy and attack, and since it uses the slide, it has much better range.

Funny; I started Mega Man 6 earlier today, and I ended up starting with Flame Man. Centaur Man ended up being my second-to-last opponent, with Wind Man as the last.

I have used the adapters. The power adapter is good for getting rid of cracked blocks and mobile spike enemies, but otherwise not worth it. The Jet Adapter is great; it kind-of reminds me of using Treble in Mega Man & Bass, and in a good way.

I learned about the BEAT tiles online, and I made sure to get all the BEAT tiles. I also made sure to get the Energy Balancer.

Yeah; MM6 is definitely a lot better. When it came to stages in 5, the only two I really liked were 5 were Charge Man's because I liked how a lot of it took place on a train and there was a lot of attention to detail, and the fake Proto Man's castle; also for more novelty reasons. With 6, the stages have almost all been rather neat, with all of them using their themes rather well. The only one I'm not so sure about is the Centaur Man stage, simply because it seems a bit ill-fitting: why does Centaur Man have what is essentially a water stage? The only connection I can think of between centaurs and water is that the centaur Chiron in Greek Mythology trained Jason, whose main story is him journeying on a ship called the Argo, and that connection is extremely tenuous.

Anyway, the bosses so far have been fairly fun (Knight Man in particular stood out as a good boss fight), and their weapons have been fairly useful.

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2 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

Yeah; MM6 is definitely a lot better. When it came to stages in 5, the only two I really liked were 5 were Charge Man's because I liked how a lot of it took place on a train and there was a lot of attention to detail, and the fake Proto Man's castle; also for more novelty reasons. With 6, the stages have almost all been rather neat, with all of them using their themes rather well. The only one I'm not so sure about is the Centaur Man stage, simply because it seems a bit ill-fitting: why does Centaur Man have what is essentially a water stage? The only connection I can think of between centaurs and water is that the centaur Chiron in Greek Mythology trained Jason, whose main story is him journeying on a ship called the Argo, and that connection is extremely tenuous.

Anyway, the bosses so far have been fairly fun (Knight Man in particular stood out as a good boss fight), and their weapons have been fairly useful.

Centaur Man is said to be from Greece, so I'm guessing the stage is meant to be a reference to Greek temples and the like.

Heck yeah, Knight Man is my personal favorite of the MM6 set! Helps that he gives you a good weapon, too.

A neat detail about the BEAT stages (also known as the "Warrior" stages, in contrast to the "Element" stages): Once you beat one of those stages, that stage will change colors every time you visit.

By the way, I liked your earlier analogy comparing MM5 to a song as the series is influenced by music (it's called "Rockman" in Japan for a reason), thus the analogy is highly apt.

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1 hour ago, Lord_Brand said:

Centaur Man is said to be from Greece, so I'm guessing the stage is meant to be a reference to Greek temples and the like.

Heck yeah, Knight Man is my personal favorite of the MM6 set! Helps that he gives you a good weapon, too.

A neat detail about the BEAT stages (also known as the "Warrior" stages, in contrast to the "Element" stages): Once you beat one of those stages, that stage will change colors every time you visit.

By the way, I liked your earlier analogy comparing MM5 to a song as the series is influenced by music (it's called "Rockman" in Japan for a reason), thus the analogy is highly apt.

I suppose. I guess I just didn't notice any Ancient Greek imagery in the stage.

Yeah; he is a good boss fight, and his weapon is pretty good. I can't help but wonder how it would've worked if the weapon had included a shield like the one knight man has, though that probably would've been overpowered.

That is a neat detail.

I already knew about the music influence: Rock, Roll, Bass, Treble; it is a bit on-the-nose... but me using a music analogy was a complete coincidence. I'm glad you liked the analogy.

 

Anyway, I completed Mega Man 6. I have to say, of all the obvious fake-out main villains in 4, 5, and 6, Wily posing as a mastermind called "Mr. X" that was supposedly using Wily, by wearing a dark cloak and goggles, has to be the silliest of them, and I can't tell if that was deliberate. One reason I think it might've been deliberate would be that it comes after 4 had "this brand new scientist is causing trouble" and 5 had "Proto Man is seemingly behind this" after 4 confirmed that Proto Man was good the whole time, so they are in decreasing order of plausibility.

The Wily Machine was a lot better in this game than in the previous one, though the Wily Capsule fight wasn't.

The energy balancer was convenient in that it meant I didn't have to swap weapons to decide which one to restore.

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1 hour ago, vanguard333 said:

I suppose. I guess I just didn't notice any Ancient Greek imagery in the stage.

Yeah; he is a good boss fight, and his weapon is pretty good. I can't help but wonder how it would've worked if the weapon had included a shield like the one knight man has, though that probably would've been overpowered.

That is a neat detail.

I already knew about the music influence: Rock, Roll, Bass, Treble; it is a bit on-the-nose... but me using a music analogy was a complete coincidence. I'm glad you liked the analogy.

Anyway, I completed Mega Man 6. I have to say, of all the obvious fake-out main villains in 4, 5, and 6, Wily posing as a mastermind called "Mr. X" that was supposedly using Wily, by wearing a dark cloak and goggles, has to be the silliest of them, and I can't tell if that was deliberate. One reason I think it might've been deliberate would be that it comes after 4 had "this brand new scientist is causing trouble" and 5 had "Proto Man is seemingly behind this" after 4 confirmed that Proto Man was good the whole time, so they are in decreasing order of plausibility.

The Wily Machine was a lot better in this game than in the previous one, though the Wily Capsule fight wasn't.

The energy balancer was convenient in that it meant I didn't have to swap weapons to decide which one to restore.

Imagine if you could have gotten Proto Man's shield as a bonus item to recreate the effect.

As TV Tropes puts it, "the fact it's so obviously Dr. Wily under that disguise makes this an Actually Pretty Funny moment for some fans. It's so lazy it 180s around to being brilliant." It would certainly be in tone with MM9 and MM10's plots, which are themselves quite self-referential to the fact it's always Wily who did it.

If you pick up Part 2, be sure to let us know! I'll be eager to see how you take to 7 through 10!

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17 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

Imagine if you could have gotten Proto Man's shield as a bonus item to recreate the effect.

As TV Tropes puts it, "the fact it's so obviously Dr. Wily under that disguise makes this an Actually Pretty Funny moment for some fans. It's so lazy it 180s around to being brilliant." It would certainly be in tone with MM9 and MM10's plots, which are themselves quite self-referential to the fact it's always Wily who did it.

If you pick up Part 2, be sure to let us know! I'll be eager to see how you take to 7 through 10!

That could've been neat.

Yeah; it is funny. I just can't figure out if it's intentionally funny or not.

Sure. I think, right now, I'm probably just going to wait for a sale before purchasing any more games and try finishing some games that I have yet to finish (namely Three Houses).

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@vanguard333 In the meantime, if Mega Man X Legacy Collection Part 1 is on sale, you might want to check that one out too, as MMX debuted shortly after Mega Man 6. Mega Man 7 released shortly before Mega Man X3, so X1 and X2 would actually be next in chronological release date.

Regarding the X Legacy Collection, Part 1 is definitely the better deal as you get X1, X2, X3, and X4 all together, while Part 2 has X5, X6, X7, and X8, which aren't quite as good as the first four (X8 is the best of Part 2 in my opinion, though). Both Parts include a Gallery section with lots of art and info, including story context for the games, though the X games do a much better job of conveying their story anyway.

Starting with X2, you have more replay value than the Classic games with alternate endings or at least events (X2 doesn't really have an alternate ending, but the endgame plays out slightly differently based on whether you complete a certain sidequest) as well as optional boss battles.

Instead of Challenges like the Classic Legacy Collection, the X Legacy Collection has Hunter Medals you can score by achieving various feats while playing the games normally. This ranges from simply beating the game to assembling the full sets of armor in each game to fully upgrading all playable characters in X7 and X8. You'll probably be able to complete a good number without having to try too hard.

One thing to be aware of is that, though the X series' best games are arguably better than most if not all Classic games, its worse games are far, far worse. As in yes, the worst X games are worse than Mega Man 1. X6 and X7 are generally considered the two outright "bad" X games, though X5 has its flaws too. But, I don't want to scare you off from trying the series, I just want to make sure you're aware of what's coming if you do decide to try them. Suffice to say, the first half is generally the better half, though X3 is a bit of a step down as well due to some questionable design decisions, while X8 is in many ways an improvement, especially over X7, with the only real egregious points being the design changes as well as the amount of grinding required to buy everything (which is mitigated by the Metal Generator you can find and then buy in the Lab for 5,000 metals).

Overall, the series is worth trying, both the highs and the lows. I definitely understand if you want to wait until you can get them on sale of course, that's what my family did after all.

Also, if you own a 3DS or Wii U, you might be able to buy the Game Boy Classic games as well as Xtreme 1 and 2, which I'd suggest just for the novelty. I hear Mega Man IV and V are especially good, with IV having introduced shops to the series (the currency in that game being P-Chips) and V featuring a brand-new group of robot bosses, the Stardroids. And if you ever get a chance to play Mega Man Legends 1 or 2, I highly recommend those as well. They're a completely different beast from Classic, X, or Zero, being 3D adventures with more than a few RPG elements. There's also a spinoff, the Misadventures of Tron Bone, though I've never played it. But I've heard good things about it, so if you get the chance to play that as well, you might wanna check it out.

Speaking of spinoffs, Classic has quite a few to his name, including Mega Man Soccer for SNES, Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters for Arcade (available in the Anniversary Collection for GCN and PS2), and a racing game titled Mega Man: Battle & Chase for PS1. There's also Mega Man Powered Up and Mega Man Maverick Hunter X for PSP, which are remakes of the original Classic and X games which were planned to launch updated reboot series of sorts but tragically failed to sell well enough, causing plans for future remakes to get canned (maybe if they'd picked Nintendo DS or Wii over PSP, they would have fared better. Seriously Capcom, Sony's systems are where Mega Man started to fail; why did you pick them for the series' comebacks?).

Being that you're a Battle Network fan, you might wanna check out Mega Man Network Transmission if you can track it down. Basically, a marriage of 2D Classic gameplay with Battle Network setting, characters, and Chips that takes place between BN1 and 2. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but you might appreciate how they adapted BN elements to the 2D gameplay with which you are now familiar.

Whew! As I'm sure you've figured out, this series has a lot of games, across a wide variety of platforms. I hope I'm not overwhelming you here, there's just a lot of Mega Man games to try. If you're open to fangames, you might also check out Mega Man Unlimited, developed for PC by MegaPhilX.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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This week I finished up a playthrough of Persona 4 Golden. This is not the first time I played the game, but it is the first time that I reached the end. I'm willing to bet anybody willing to read this has already played this massive game, so there's no need for a full overview or preface, I'll just mention the stuff that stood out to me. Spoilered for length, and a few mild spoilers about your party members.

Spoiler

 

P4 is a big step up from 3 in terms of Battles - well if your background with 3 is either of the PS2 versions like mine was. If you're coming from P3 portable, then there's not too much in the way of huge changes. Being able to finally control your party members directly is huge. And I also like that you can pick which skills you want them to retain, even if your experience with other SMT make it immediately clear what skills are better than others and why. Also, when fusing new personas, you get to choose which skills they inherit, rather than furiously rerolling the results like you did in 3 until you get something you're okay with. There are probably plenty more small annoyances like that which were addressed, but it's been a long time since I played 3 and for all I know, the real innovator was one of the half dozen other PS2 SMT games, rather than P4.

Persona 4 fancies itself as a detective novel, but I think that's a damning comparison to think about while playing. Among standard JRPG fare, P4's writing is finely middle of the road, and doesn't fit into a genre that's all about the careful sequence of events and information building suspense and intrigue. Persona 4 will put the mystery on hold for entire hours to show you superfluous moments between characters that don't build up anything or even advance their individual stories in a meaningful way. Thank god for the fast forward skip button, by the way. Reading the bulk of the game's dialogue made my eyes glaze over, and the furious tapping or skipping of some scenes may have left me ill equipped to judge the game's writing on a pure technical level - so I won't. Unengaging dialogue speaks for itself in the professional world of writing, and I'm not going to play the job of Editor unless somebody is willing to pay me.

The first time I ever heard of this game - or any game with SMT in the title, was an Extra Credits video in the late 2000s about how good the LGBT representation in P4 was. Wow, have standards changed. Because the fact is Kanji and Naoto are 100% straight. At least with the intervention of the player character. The underlying throughline of Persona 4's character arcs is teenagers accepting the flaws in themselves and becoming comfortable with who they are. That's pretty wholesome, but can that ever be compatible with Naoto's supposed trans narrative? She felt like, acted like, and wished she were a boy since she was young, and over the course of the game that part of her slips away entirely. And when it's first revealed that she is a girl, there's this collective sigh as Kanji realizes his infatuations with her are technically heterosexual. I'm not saying this game is homophobic, or supports conversion therapy, because it's not that simple. I'm just surprised that people still cite this game for its LGBT moments when it's definitely a farce by the end. Even the heterosexual characters spend most of their time fretting over how they're going to prove their manliness or femininity in order to be more likable to the presumed straight male player. Think about how well you handled emotions and sexuality in middle school, and that tends to be pretty close to the perceived reality of adult male Japanese people writing jrpgs. But yeah, I won't deny that it's rare we're even exposed to topics like this in a JRPG. Whether it's 2008 or 2021. 

Playing the game reminded me of an interview I read earlier this year with Ryukishi07 (most doujin authors go by their little screen names, and he's apparently a big one over in Japan). The interview was conducted in 2013, and concerned visual novels, but I think absolutely applies to something like Persona 4. He talked about the importance of avoiding 迷走 (Meisou) which is when the players loses track of what's happening in the story. Either because it's hard to understand something or they managed to miss important details by unintentional skipping ahead in the dialogue sequence. Writers will have characters repeat basic facts about what's going on so that nobody playing the game will fall behind and miss any of the drama or intrigue. Plenty of that in Persona 4, often leading me to think my time is being wasted reading so many reminders in the dialogue. When there's a Confirm the Situation option, you'd think they'd just put all the reminders in there. The interview also talks about the 'Switch' of most games. This is referring to the big twist, a major character turn. Often one supporting character revealing themselves to be the villain all along. Considering who done it in P4's whodunnit...yeah that definitely came out of nowhere. R7 laments that these big twists are getting more and more outlandish as experienced players start to anticipate them. No kidding. I'd much rather have a Switch that I see coming through foreshadowing, then a Switch trying hard to be the last thing I'd suspect.

What else...the characters are kind of flaky aren't they? I don't just mean the usual gameplay-segregation nonsense of character growth within social links being disregarded in plot-relevant scenes. Since the player can't be counted on to have seen those social link events. That can occasionally be bad, but I'm mostly talking about the social links as self contained narratives. Everybody flaunts this supposed character growth they've undergone by the end of the game, but I often asked myself what they're talking about. Naoto considers quitting the detective stuff, then reconciles that she'll just have to deal with law enforcement as a woman. Rise considers quitting her career, then crawls right on back. Yukiko considers leaving her town and family business, then crawls right on back. Teddie is too stuck in his own mind space to point at any tangible development. Yosuke got over the death of his crush, but still treats women like a creep and casually bullies his underclassmen Kanji and Naoto because Japan's gross social hierarchy allows you to do that. 

Anyway, I can't say that I enjoyed my time with Persona 4.I know I was totally into it ten years ago, but I've since grown out of it. And that's fine! If there's one takeaway I had from Persona 3 and 4 when I was younger it's the importance of self discovery and self improvement. Grinding out those social stats, working hard to improve relationships and understand where people are coming from. It was inspiring to stop and think that I could be doing the same thing in real life and that I ought to put down this 100 hour RPG and get on it already. I like to hope that's why I never finished this game in the first place. The things we liked when we were younger can still be an important part of our growth even if they don't define who we are now. In that respect, Persona's pretty cool isn't it?

 

 

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8 hours ago, Zapp Branniglenn said:
Spoiler

What else...the characters are kind of flaky aren't they? I don't just mean the usual gameplay-segregation nonsense of character growth within social links being disregarded in plot-relevant scenes. Since the player can't be counted on to have seen those social link events. That can occasionally be bad, but I'm mostly talking about the social links as self contained narratives. Everybody flaunts this supposed character growth they've undergone by the end of the game, but I often asked myself what they're talking about. Naoto considers quitting the detective stuff, then reconciles that she'll just have to deal with law enforcement as a woman. Rise considers quitting her career, then crawls right on back. Yukiko considers leaving her town and family business, then crawls right on back. Teddie is too stuck in his own mind space to point at any tangible development. Yosuke got over the death of his crush, but still treats women like a creep and casually bullies his underclassmen Kanji and Naoto because Japan's gross social hierarchy allows you to do that. 

 

[about character growth in P4G, no endgame spoilers]

Spoiler

Yeah, I've been playing P4G on and off for the last *checks steam* 5-6 months after playing the original years ago and I can't really disagree with this. A lot of the social links have a structure of "I want to change! ....no actually, I'm fine with who I am."

I find that it works for some characters: Yukiko doesn't so much hate the work at the inn, but loathes that everybody assumes that she'll take it over - so when she discovers that her parents fully support her plans to move away to study, it's not too outlandish that she reconsiders.
And I actually like that Kanji's sexuality is kept ambiguous, even though my cynical butt can't help but think that this is to no small parts so that a) Naoto is bangable by the self-insert MC but b) they don't dare to explicitly show a character that is homo- or bisexual. But I love how Kanji accepts that his love for ""girly"" stuff doesn't make him weak or less "manly", and how you find other characters in his social link who reinforce that.

But I didn't like Naoto's social link and actively despise Rise's ("I'm not just Cutesy Dumb-Dumb! ...no actually, Cutesy Dumb-Dumb is part of who I am!"), and it's true that a lot of the time, social links seem to be about accepting what is, and not about changing what you don't like about the status quo.

 

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