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Top Ten Worst Things About Mega Man 2's Wily Castle 4 [top ten]
 
Mega Man 2 is a classic, beloved game, and one of the most important games in the series and on the NES. But personally, it's not my favorite. And that's because MM2 harbors a dark, miserable secret that most gamers seem to willingly block out when discussing the game's merits. That secret is Wily Castle 4, a dank, abysmal place that's sure to ruin your fun with Mega Man 2. It's time I called out this stage for the absolute terribleness that it is, so strap yourself in for a so-very-negative Negative World Top Ten!
Posted: 08/30/13, 20:42:00  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 22:19:59
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This Hardhat


This guy sucks. Usually with Hardhats (Mets), you can fire at them and jump over the middle shot of their spread to get through them, but this fellow is positioned in the worst possible spot. His shot is unavoidable. Enjoy your hit. It's a minor annoyance, but one that really sets the mood for the stage. He's like the sadistic greeter at the world's worst club. "You WILL be taking unavoidable damage, so welcome to your Mega Man Nightmare!"
 
Dropping from the down-ladder into a screen of spikes
Agh, it's so aggravating when they pull this stunt in Mega Man. Climbing down ladders is slow, and the developers smartly realized this by letting Mega Man let go and drop at any time, so 99% of the time when you're climbing down into a new screen, you're safe to let go and drop quickly. Not here! There're three screens in a row that will instant-kill you will traveling downward, punishing the impatient Mega Man for having the gall to not climb down slowly. It's not the biggest problem in the stage, but it gets me on every playthrough and it's an annoying design decision.
 
The Music


Music is often the saving grace of a Mega Man challenge--at the very least, while we get an intense beatdown, we can get down to some intense beats. Someone on Wily's music team decided that they couldn't even allow us that liberty for Wily Castle 4, and stuck the worst music in the game in this very stage. It's a repetitive, perpetually-modulating loop of four notes that'll drive even the most hardened Mega Man rocker to reach for the mute button. And we just heard it in the previous level, which probably makes it worse or something!
 
Invisible floors
Invisible floors bite. I don't want to deal with guesswork in Mega Man. Yeah yeah, you can use Bubble Lead or whatever, but who wants keep switching in and out of that useless weapon? Especially during the inevitable fifth trip through the stage. And then they put them over spikes? Kiss my butt, invisible floors.
 
You're pretty much this stage's captive
Mega Man 2 lures you in with its jammin' tunes, classic Robot Masters and strong stage design…then pulls the rug out from under you with…this contribution. Not only does the stage look much worse in comparison, its placement in the game is downright cruel. By this point, you're at the home stretch, you beat all the Robot Masters, you felled a giant dragon, and you can almost smell Dr. Wily's formaldehyde-stained lab coat in the distance. You CAN'T quit. You MUSTN'T. Look how far you are! You're almost at the end! You cannot let go at this point. You must persevere through this stage and finish the game. There is no easy way out for you.

You are trapped.
 
The platform rooms
Oh geez, waiting for stuff is the pits. So I already touched on the ladders, but even if you remember to climb down slowly, you have to deal with waiting for these crazy platforms to do their thing. Meanwhile, a bunch of Tellys (the can-shaped floating robots) keep spawning in without warning in the worst possible spots, often right on top of Mega Man, dealing him unavoidable damage (or knocking him into an inescapable pit of spikes). And it's tiresome having the game slow to a crawl here as you have to wait for the platforms in each room. The only reason this isn't higher is because the Leaf Shield makes it much more manageable.
 
Sniper Joe Gauntlet


Aggh, look at this huge enemy! You're completely helpless here. For some reason, the game thought it'd be cool to throw a zillion Sniper Joes at you in the stage's final stretch, even though the theme of this stage seems to be based more about puzzles. Well, it's certainly a puzzle to try to get through this area without getting hit. This section is so poorly designed, I had to split it into three.
 
Nowhere to run
So the Sniper Joes are tough, but normally manageable. Unfortunately, the design of this level makes it…dare I use the word "impossible?" Pretty much impossible by my knowledge to get through without taking damage. And like Mr. Hardhat showed us in the beginning, unavoidable damage is poor design! You're sandwiched into this tiny sardine corridor with no room to jump over Joe's triple bullets, so the best option is to just mash the attack button while taking the hits in the face. And then prepare to do it again for the next one.
 
Never-ending Sniper Joe assembly line
What might be the worst part of this bit is that the Sniper Joes RESPAWN extremely easily--this is Ninja Gaiden levels of respawning here. You'll inevitably have to jump back to avoid the mech's upward arc of firing, and when you walk back, you'll find he's been replaced by another mech, with full health! Good luck, have fun, and don't tear your face off.
 
THE BOSS


This is it. This is the feature that makes everything else in this list much, much worse, because you're inevitably going to have to replay this stage again…and again…because of this boss.

The "Boobeam Trap," as it's called, is a sadistic torture room that sucks the joy out of your very soul. Adorned on the walls are a number of turrets that regularly fire practically unavoidable shots at Mega Man in tandem. The shots are the quickest projectiles in the game, and come from so many different angles that it's all but impossible to jump over or otherwise avoid them. They take off a good chunk of your life and come every few seconds, so you're basically on a timer to kill this guy.

To make matters worse, only the Crash Bomb can destroy this boss; none of your other weapons work. The Crash Bomb sticks to a wall and takes a few moments to detonate, and you can only fire one at a time, so you have to wait (and often take another hit) while the thing blows up. And if that wasn't sadistic enough, you have to hit with every single shot--if you miss one, or go in with less-than-full Crash Bomb energy, you have to kill yourself. I mean, in the game. (although at that point, no one would blame you otherwise…)

And that's not all! Wily's designers must have been feeling particularly vindictive because they decided to throw a bunch of Crash Bomb Walls all over this stage, some mandatory, others which are unnecessary to destroy and just meant to trick you, meaning you have to do everything perfectly, on one run, with no margin of error. And since one of them requires the use of the ultra-finicky Item-1 platforms that vanish if they're too far off to one side, you may very well run out of OTHER energy before your Crash Bombs! Which means--yep, death and subsequent grinding for Crash Bomb energy! And keep in mind to work fast on those narrow, finicky, floating platforms, because the bullets won't stop coming from the boss.

There's thankfully a glitch that makes things (slightly) more manageable--if you pause the game at the right time, Mega Man will teleport in and out of the pause screen, allowing you to evade the shots with the right timing. But it doesn't make hitting the boss any easier.

So let's say you mess up, and die. You respawn at the halfway point (before the platform rooms and the nightmare corridor), but you don't have any Crash Bomb energy left! Now, you can either kill yourself until you Game Over and do the whole thing again, or you can try to grind for energy in the pathetically tiny open spot in one of the platform rooms. There is no correct answer, only pain before you.
 
This level is just the worst, and it's a big reason I don't finish MM2 all that often. I hope you enjoyed reading this Top Ten! If, for some reason, you didn't get your fix of masochism here, you might be interested in playing a game full of levels as poorly designed as this one: Mega Man X6.

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Posted: 08/30/13, 20:42:00  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 22:19:59
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Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! This one stage, and especially the boss, drag Mega Man 2 down so much.

I think I once evaded that hard hat by approaching him, scampering back to the ladder after he shoots, and climbing back up before he advances. But I may have dreamed it as a coping mechanism, I'm not sure.
Posted: 08/30/13, 20:50:16
For a very long time I thought that for the boss you had to clear out the walls first time, die, and then come back and kill the enemies on your second try. Someone pointed out to me recently that you don't have to destroy every wall, thus making it possible to do in a single try.
Posted: 08/30/13, 20:52:32  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 21:00:31
Absolutely! This is by far the worst part of the mainline Mega Man games.

Thanks for an entertaining article! We need more stuff like this lately.
Posted: 08/30/13, 21:38:34
Awesome top ten! This damn level probably single-handedly cemented my opinion that MM3 is better.
Posted: 08/30/13, 21:55:57
It's an annoyance, but the game has unlimited continues and the level shouldn't cause too much trouble. The game is still an all-time classic and by far the best of the Mega Man NES games.
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:00:32  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 22:00:42
I agree with every one of those, especially #1. It is possible to run it without having to kill yourself and get more Crash Bombs, but it's hard (read: you need a lot of Device 1 and 3 to pull it off).
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:03:53
All great reasons why this stage is awesome.
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:07:45
Yeah this level sucks, but it's just one level. I don't think it's nearly as annoying as having to do some of the levels in MM3, which I feel is just a game that is too long. You beat the 8 Robot Masters, which is difficult in itself, and then do the DocRobots, which have incredibly difficult levels, and then some more guesswork in regards to figuring out the boss weaknesses. I just kept wanting Mega Man 3 to be over, and brute forced so many of the levels (taking hits intentionally, knowing I could likely recoup them by killing other enemies). I thought MM2 had a way better balance of pacing and difficulty.
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:11:35
@PogueSquadron
Boo. BOOOOOOOO!

I shall not turn this into a MM2 vs. MM3 thread..... I shall not..................

Posted: 08/30/13, 22:13:58
@ludist210

This is what I try to do when I play this boss, but using Item-1 is the PITS in this part. Let's take a look at that room again~



Most of these are straightforward--you have to clear two of the walls on either side, but you can go around the other three. The problem comes in that top turret... what the heck is that?? You have to basically place Item-1 perfectly so that it floats up between the platforms, then do another one from the middle platform, making for a ridiculously hard jump with such a tiny amount of space to work with. Then, you have to jump on the little piece of land at the top to be able to switch to Crash without making the Item-1 disappear. If any of the lifts touch the wall, they instantly poof out and you have to make another. If you get hit during this process (and you almost certainly will), you may fall off and have to start it over.

Like Zero said, you could always destroy the walls on your first go and refill your energy in the level with your next life, but it's still really miserable because there's no good spot to grind energy in the stage--you can either brave the ridiculous Sniper Joe corridor again, or squeeze yourself on a tiny ledge in the moving platform room to hunt out Tellys. It's like, pick your poison!
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:25:29  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 22:26:31
@TriforceBun

Or you can do it right the first time and not have to do it over.
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:27:31
@TriforceBun For that top turret, I always jumped from the platform below (the top of the 7-shaped one) to the one immediately above it. It's tough to jump out and back like that in such a tight space, but you don't have to fiddle with getting that finicky Item-1 to cooperate, either.


Also, I never knew the walls stayed destroyed after you died! Honestly it sounds tougher than doing it all in one go, since you'd have to deal with re-energizing...
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:32:50  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 22:33:15
@nate38

I'll have to try that next time. I'm familiar with doing tricky jumps of that nature in Mega Man, but they can still be a bit of a gambit.
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:36:19
@TriforceBun Yeah, especially with that turret sticking off the opposite wall, ready to knock you down if you come out too far. I wonder if it would be easier to clear out the turret below it, and then jump from THAT ledge...
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:41:40  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 22:41:57
@TriforceBun

You only really need to destroy two walls: the one on the far left (and that should destroy the cannon behind it) and the one on the bottom. The rest you can get around with Item 1 & 3 (and avoid damage by pausing/unpausing a lot). Really, Item 1 only needs to be used to get up into the gap in the floor (next to the wall on the far left), the rest is Item 3.

But yeah, the boss was a horrible, horrible design decision. I dread Wily 4 every time I play Mega Man 2 because I really don't like that boss.
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:46:29  - Edited by 
 on: 08/30/13, 23:16:50
@ploot Hey, I didn't start it, just adding my two cents :)
Posted: 08/30/13, 22:55:23
10: The trick here is to shoot right when it pops up before it gets a chance to fire. The timing of this is very exact of course, but it certainly isn't an unavoidable damage situation.

8: Totally agree, some of the worst music in all of Mega Man.

7: The first invisible floor you come across is harmless, so you're warned of them before they become dangerous. There are only a few spots too, and I don't find it a pain to use the Bubble Lead. I actually like this concept because it means you have to use one of your weapons to protect yourself, I like it when stage designs incorporate uses of your stuff.

5: Same as 7, I like how you have to make use of a weapon in Leaf Shield.

3: There's only one of these guys that's in a place too narrow to jump, not two or more. And I'm pretty sure there's a way to get around him without taking damage, but I forget at this time... been too long.

1. I actually think this is one of the best bosses in all of Mega Man for one simple reason: it gets you to think. Mega Man Wily bosses are rarely puzzles, you just tend to jump up on top of a part of them and mindlessly shoot the thing that's flashing. Here, you'll get your tush kicked if you go in guns a-blazin and don't take the time to plan your approach. It's actually possible to get through this with one Crash Bomb left; with the uppermost turret, plant a bomb in between it and the wall below it, and you can destroy both of them with one bomb. I also haven't had much trouble dodging the shots; they don't fire randomly, there's a set time between each shot, and the shot always goes towards wherever Mega Man is. So you just make sure to get to an open area and jump right when they fire and you'll leap over them. I never get hit more than twice tops, and it usually happens when I go for the last one because then I just don't care anymore. The only problem I have with this battle is that, the very next boss after this is also weak to Crash Bomb, but there's no way to have more than two left and no way to refill.

The rest of these are pretty funny, as is this concept as a top ten.

I personally think Wily 3 is the worst stage in the game.
Posted: 08/31/13, 03:56:06  - Edited by 
 on: 08/31/13, 03:57:14
@Mop it up

I'm impressed with your skills in this stage, and the boss in particular.

I do like the concept of the boss--I think a more puzzle-driven element in Mega Man has potential, but I feel it would've worked much, much better if they had changed a few key elements of the stage and battle (such as giving a viable way to refill energy between lives). Also, a lot of those elements are things you need to know going in; if, for instance, you happened to use Crash Bombs in the stage (or before), you'd have no way to win upon entering the room.
Posted: 08/31/13, 08:02:52
Great top 10!

I do agree with some points here... although I just used an energy capsule on the last boss - I never had too much trouble..and if I screw up, I would concentrate on the walls instead so I wouldn't waste too much time next life.

Also:


USE:



Easy peasy.

**
Now this isn't on Wily stage 4...but Wily himself..at the end. IF my memory serves correctly, I believe only the bubble lead hurts him. Period. And if you die and have used too much bubble, you're screwed. You can't refill your weapon meter in this crap:


which means..... you have to start back at Wily Stage 1. It's the only broken part of the game - and it's a big piece.
Posted: 08/31/13, 08:33:53
@Smerd I... am pretty sure you are wrong here. I died a bunch of times on Wily after wasting Bubble Lead my first time playing through the game and I never went all the way back. Maybe you just have to run out of lives to get full weapon energy again?
Posted: 08/31/13, 08:36:36  - Edited by 
 on: 08/31/13, 08:37:14
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