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Mega Man = Kusoge? [roundtable]
 
I might very well be demodded or even banned for this, but it needed to be said.

I've never had much of a history with this series, to be honest. It's kind of a blind-spot in my otherwise thorough 8-bit childhood. I probably played Street Fighter 2010 ten times longer than I played all of the Mega Man games, combined. (And let me tell you, the year 2010 did NOT live up to my post-apocalyptic expectations.) So I have no nostalgia about the series, good or bad.

I was mostly introduced to the character through Mega Man Zero (and Battle Network) on the GBA, which I loved. Great stuff. Oft-recycled, but still great. Lots of abilities, a nice mobile character, good level design... yeah. And, unlike most others, I also enjoyed Mega Man: Network Transmission on the Gamecube. The random attacks put a weird, interesting spin on the gameplay.

I've also rented Mega Man X4 (pretty good!) and X7 (pretty shitty!). So I had a pretty good impression of the series, overall. When the Mega Man Collection came out, I thought, "What the hell! The reversed controls won't bother ME, since I have no preconceived notions!" No wait... I picked up the PS2 version for the extra music options. Nevertheless! I got a few levels into Mega Man 1 and my memory card died (and, with it, my desire to turn on the PS2).

So I picked up a PSP a little while ago (!) and started playing Mega Man Powered Up, a title that had always fascinated me, due to its inclusion of level editing and sharing, as well as several cool bonus extras, like being able to play as any boss character. I "powered" through the game over the course of 2 or 3 days of commuting, and...

In an alternate universe where this franchise never existed, if it were released today, I think it would be utterly savaged. I mean, the movement of the main character is SO LIMITED. He jumps like he has a load in his pants and he CAN'T EVEN DUCK. But the levels aren't designed around the limited controls. They seem to be designed to make you curse them even further! Enemies that fly above you, enemies that don't start attacking until you're right on top of them, enemies that spray bullets in all directions, enemies that are BELOW the range of your default weapon, such that you can't even shoot them without jumping from a lower level. I mean, hell, even Rolling Thunder had more mobility options, and that dude controlled like he had TWO loads in his pants!

And then Capcom makes you platform with those stiff, crappy controls. Not just normal platforming! Annoying, trial-and-error platforming, often with death as your reward for experimentation! Many of the jump distances leave almost no margin for error, and that Gutsman stage... I hate its fucking guts, man!

As a bonus, when you finally trial-and-error your way through the level, you have to spend your last couple of lives just figuring out which weapons are effective against the boss and praying that you've beaten that level already. (Bosses usually took at least a couple of tries to beat in the NES days, though.)

So, yeah. I'm exposing this franchise to the harsh light of the modern day. Mega Man is a kusoge.

Good music, though.

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Posted: 03/09/13, 04:12:01  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/13, 05:54:32
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Banned "or even" demodded? I think a ban would include a demodding by default, no? HMM.

INTERESTING.

I had to look up what kusoge is. Dang. Yeah well... YOU'RE A KUSOGE.
Posted: 03/09/13, 04:34:25
so you suck at the game too? I love mega man 2. I've played most of the gameboy ones, 3, 4, and 5 on nes actually i think I've play almost all of them. 9 was too difficult for me. The x series I really liked
Posted: 03/09/13, 04:40:25
I'd say a straight up knee capping would be called for myself.

But really compared to Castlevania, Mega Man controls like a dream and compared to Ninja Gaiden the enemy placement in Mega Man is easily manageable.
Posted: 03/09/13, 04:40:58  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/13, 04:42:39
The side-only buster is part of the challenge design! Hitting flying enemies and low enemies requires precise timing and planning! Or some help from a robot master weapon. And you don't have to kill every enemy, sometimes it's best to just let them pass you by and hope for the best!



The rest of your post I don't necessarily disagree with, as long as you're referring to Mega Man 1 (and even 2 to an extent). The NES games start out VERY tough, sometimes for the wrong reasons, and then get much more forgiving as they go.

The original has the roughest platforming, and the bosses can kill you in like three hits. It's probably the toughest game in the franchise (that isn't a total pile of shit, e.g. X6).

Mega Man 2 is definitely more forgiving and less buggy, but there are still cheap sections like the Quick Man lasers that are infuriating until you perfect them, some enemies who seem to have tons of HP (the Sniper Joe mechs) and the robot master weapons are mostly useless (except for the Metal Blades which straight up break the game). The robot masters might be the toughest in any game, too: they're not as powerful as the Mega Man 1 bosses, but they're less predictable and their attacks are very hard to avoid.

Mega Man 3 is more fair than 2 and has more feasible weapons and Rush's assistance, but still fairly demanding. The Doc Robots levels before Wily's Castle are a pretty tough difficulty spike.

And then once you hit Mega Man 4, the games are no harder than any other mainstream NES platformer. Mega Man 5 is an absolute cakewalk, and Mega Man 6's Rush Jet Adapter is an enormous help when platforming, and you have it from the beginning of the game if I'm not mistaken.

And then there's Mega Man 9, which I think hits the perfect balance between tough and fair thanks to brilliant level design. There are definitely sections that are tough, but nothing ever takes you by surprise, and the bosses are powerful but have very clear patterns. Mega Man 10 is the same way, but it's not quite up to 9's level (in basically every respect).


So yeah, if the original/Powered Up is too tough for you (and there's no shame in that at all), I say hit up Mega Man 4 and see how that goes. Then you're ready for the next level of the classics (2, 3) and the perfect glory of Mega Man 9.



And I'm always surprised by people who can tolerate Mega Man Zero but not the classics. MMZ is FAR more punishing when you die or need help: using Cyber-elves or a sub-perfect performance actually results in getting crappier weapons from bosses, or sometimes not at all! The game gives a guy who can whip through the level without getting hit even better weaponry, and holds it back from the guy who struggles and really NEEDS the extra firepower! And the tiny screen-view, miniscule starting health meter, and plethora of spike-traps means you'll die plenty from things you can't see coming. And you even have to grind for your equipment to get better!

I dunno. There are things I like about the Zero games, but I don't understand the widespread acclaim for them compared to other paradigms of the series, and I think the ZX games improved on them tremendously but got none of the love.

(I too enjoyed Mega Man Network Transmission, but I don't think of it as a terribly good game.)
Posted: 03/09/13, 05:05:41  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/13, 05:09:14
Zero said:
Banned "or even" demodded? I think a ban would include a demodding by default, no? HMM.

INTERESTING.

I had to look up what kusoge is. Dang. Yeah well... YOU'RE A KUSOGE.

That was the first and only thought I had after I read the first sentence, haha. Didn't even read the rest cause that hurt my brain so much.
Posted: 03/09/13, 05:10:08
@chrisbg99 Oh yeah I forgot to mention this. For its time Mega Man had some of the best controls outside of 1st party Nintendo games. And it's one of the few original NES games that is still awesome today.

STILL.

AWESOME.

TODAY.
Posted: 03/09/13, 05:24:13
@Zero@Xbob42
I dunno what you crazy guys are talking about. Maybe you should take some crazy pills, or something.

Y'know. To cure your craziness.

@Wellsy529
Do I suck? Hmm... I was able to handle the platforming, eventually. Just not in a totally consistent manner. (Part of that could have been the PSP D-Pad, though.) Rather than 'fun', I might describe the platforming as 'frustrating' or 'annoying', though.

I DID end up cheesing my way through the bonus bosses on Powered Up, though, just to see the end so I could play something else. Was that Yellow Devil thing in the original game? FUCK THAT SHIT. Easy Mode.

@chrisbg99
The Castlevania controls may be stiff, but the platforming doesn't demand nearly as much of the player. Most of the difficulty comes from platforming while being assaulted with certain types of enemies (read: Medusa heads). And Ninja Gaiden may have devious enemy placement, but Ryu is a living weapon, rather than a robot pincushion.

@nate38
I did eventually realize that, hey, maybe I wasn't SUPPOSED to kill every enemy. But it goes against my every instinct as a gamer! I forgot to mention the areas with those red things that move in two directions that are only the width of two red things. Irritating! But I guess that you're just supposed to avoid them.

Do many people value Zero over the original series? I love how you can 'skate' as a replacement for walking in that game. Also, due to the issues that you mentioned, I actually played each level in the first Zero until I could clear it (including the boss) on one life. I did the same for Network Transmission, because I mistakenly thought that it had a similar system.

I won't say Network Transmission was a perfectly balanced game, but I don't really understand why it received so much hate. It was certainly a pretty and playable action game, and I found it to be quite a lot of fun.
Posted: 03/09/13, 06:08:29
I remember feeling that Network Transmission had level design that was both bizarre and uninteresting somehow, though it's been so long since I played it that I can't remember much in specific. And the whole card-powers thing seemed strange, too. I still enjoyed it, though. Because Mega Man.

Anand said:
@nate38I forgot to mention the areas with those red things that move in two directions that are only the width of two red things. Irritating! But I guess that you're just supposed to avoid them.
You mean the tiny things on the ground that move faster when you're on their X-axis? Yeah those are a staple of the series. You can usually shoot them to make them stop temporarily though.
Posted: 03/09/13, 06:20:44  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/13, 06:22:36
No, I mean when the little red plus sign guys patrol very narrow areas... It's hard to explain in words.

I want to play Network Transmission again, as well. I remember not really understanding the widespread disdain when I first played it (aside from the random card thing, which, again, I appreciate the wackiness of).
Posted: 03/09/13, 22:32:58
I hate when people act like "limited" controls are some kind of design flaw. That's like saying hockey being played on ice is a design flaw. Nah, it's what separates the wheat from the chaff.

You, Anand, are chaff.
Posted: 03/09/13, 22:37:50  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/13, 22:38:12
Maybe your thoughts on the series have to do with not growing up with it. Mega Man was easily my favorite game series as a kid, so I got used to the controls and level design. I hated NES Metroid and Castlevania though; I think Mega Man is much easier and more fun to control than those games are.

@Jargon To an extent I agree with you. The Resident Evil games in particular always receive complaints about their controls, but I think they work wonderfully for what they set out to do. I have no issue dealing with them, or the camera angles.
Posted: 03/10/13, 00:44:36
@Anand Oh, those. With the eyeballs in the center or whatever that either move up-and-down or left-and-right. Those usually aren't too tough, just annoying to deal with.
Posted: 03/10/13, 01:47:02
Oh, Anand..

Even Mega Man 2? My soul weeps.
Posted: 03/10/13, 02:38:19
@Anand

Considering how easy it is to get mutilated by anything and everything in Ninja Gaiden given even the slightest mistake, I'd still say that any Mega Man is far more forgiving than any Ninja Gaiden.

If Mega Man enemies were as cheap as the enemies in Ninja Gaiden, the "tough" part of Gutsman's stage would have you jumping from platform to platform while avoiding constantly homing in eagles while enemies that instantly respawn throw shit at you.
Posted: 03/10/13, 02:53:23
You should try out Mega Man 3 or beyond, at least there you can slide, which is sort of like ducking. The limitations of the normal weapon are supposed to encourage you to use the special weapons, which usually have more range/firing options. I don't exactly disagree with you though, or at least, I think the games are mostly one of those "You had to be there" type games and don't hold up all that well. Decent, but not great, though not bad.

Coincidentally, the manual for the original Mega Man game actually states that you can crouch, which is of course a flat-out lie.

Posted: 03/12/13, 01:21:44
I just played the first Mega Man recently for the first time apart from a few little 3 minute plays of it at Cons and things and I enjoyed it but stopped at Wilys Castle because of the cheapness of it. Good game but is hard to play now. Enjoyed it enough though to eventually get the other games in the series.
Posted: 03/12/13, 01:42:29
@Mr_Mustache
I haven't played 2 yet. I'm still on 1!

Have y'all played Powered Up, by the way? It's pretty impressive. Except for the remixed music. The 8-bit stuff is way better.

X-pert74 said:
Maybe your thoughts on the series have to do with not growing up with it. Mega Man was easily my favorite game series as a kid, so I got used to the controls and level design. I hated NES Metroid and Castlevania though; I think Mega Man is much easier and more fun to control than those games are.
Haha, I'm pretty much the exact opposite, having grown up with Metroid and Castlevania. I don't have as much nostalgia for Ninja Gaiden, even though it was one of my first cartridges. Perhaps because I was always mildly disappointed that it was so different from the arcade game?

@Jargon
I don't mind limited controls. Hell, I like Ghosts'n'Goblins! I just think that the level design in Mega Man 1 demands more of the controls than they are comfortably equipped to provide. Or something. Really, it's just one or two jumps per level, but those jumps are where all of my lives were lost!

@Mop it up
Hey, that's an awesome factoid! If only...
Posted: 03/12/13, 02:08:53
@Anand

Mega Man 2 is on NES, GCN disk, VC, and 3DS VC - play it now..then come back and talk to us.

You can't play the first game and think it's worse then Castlevania's Cheap ass deaths/control schemes.. Sure MM1 is tough - it's very tough, but not - this control style is restricting me tough.

I'm not a fan of MM1 really - and I do see most of your points - but try the second game. You owe yourself that much.
Posted: 03/12/13, 05:24:01
@Anand

Wait, you haven't even tried Mega Man 2? You think you can "expose the franchise" based on the first game? Pssh.
Posted: 03/12/13, 05:31:08
Oh, Anand. You crazy guy you. I love reading your impressions of games. You're such an odd gamer. I mean, you really liked Network Transmission? How bizarre! I didn't like it, but it didn't stop me from finishing it.

Oh well, at least you enjoyed the Mega Man Zero games. Which were awesome.
Posted: 03/12/13, 23:52:39
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