Music! Ah, at last we reach the part of the game that I just cannot get enough of! The soundtrack for Mega Man 2 consistently ranks as high as the game itself and with good reason! I wish I was more musically oriented and skilled to be able to adequately explain how epic this soundtrack is. Takashi Tateishi’s work is a superb example of what one can do when properly motivated and truly pushed the NES to its very sound limits. Much like Manami Matsumae did with the original Mega Man, Tateishi created a thrilling soundtrack that not only excited players, but fed their feelings of accomplishment.

The opening track accompanies the series’ first in-game narrative, revealing the back (and extremely basic) story of the first game, but as we meet with Rock again, a new theme begins. This theme is exciting, its energetic, its vibrant, and it gets you pumped to leap into action! Each track feeds a specific emotion, such as “Stage Select,” where we’re treated to a sinister movement that warns us of the impending danger within the eight Robot Masters’ stages. Or “Weapon Upgrade,” which is a fitting celebratory theme for the defeat of a boss and the acquisition of their weapon. It’s all just so perfectly orchestrated.


And then, there’s the individual stage themes. Folks, I just…I don’t have the words. The individual themes are so epic! Wellllllllllll, except for Crash Man, who’s theme grates on my nerves and just drones on and on in my ears. But, shoving the no-handed-psycho aside, we’re still left with seven other incredible stage themes. If you can’t guess, Metal Man’s theme is one of my favorites. And how could it not be? The industrial based composition perfectly fits the stage itself, creating a solid connection between the traps, enemies, and environment.


And it doesn’t end there, oh no, no, no, because Wood Man and Bubble Man’s stages both employ the same technique, eliciting an emotion to create a fun experience while serving out a fitting track; however, if there is one track alone that serves to represent this game, it has to be “Wily Stage 1 & 2.” As I said before, this single track is possibly the most iconic in the entire Mega Man series as a whole. The combined sound of electronic rock is so inspiring and compelling that you can’t help but get excited when this piece begins! It’s no wonder the development team saved it for your opening attack on Wily’s Fortress…

Once you’ve listened to the soundtrack itself, you simply must check YouTube. Just type in any of the Robot Masters’ names and what you’ll find is a slew of extended tracks, remixes, rock covers, metal covers, strings covers, orchestrated symphonic pieces, even full on bands making songs out of the tracks! Jonny Atma’s GaMetal, FamilyJules7x, and The Megas are some of my favorites and, if you give them a listen, I guarantee you’ll come to love them as much as I have.


Overall, this is without a doubt one of the greatest sequels in video game history as it follows the basic tenet of a sequel: “More, but Better.” The gameplay improvements alone make this game worth playing, but it’s the near perfect gaming experience the development team created that makes Mega Man 2 an absolute must play. This game is challenging without being unforgiving, fun without being too easy, and fulfilling in and of itself.

Major changes were made between this game and its predecessor that helped to create this incredible experience. The opening narrative provides us with a better understanding of why the Blue Bomber is fighting Wily. The support items offer different options in overcoming obstacles and are awarded by defeating the Robot Masters, unlike the Magnet Beam in the original game which had to be located within Elec Man’s stage. E-Tanks gave players a bit more leeway in battle and allowed them to continue the fight without having to give up a life. The graphics were crisper (hard to believe, I know) and used even more of the available colors in the NES pallet. This game introduced a password system that not only saved which power-ups you’d won, but also your E-Tanks! And ultimately (and possibly most important of all), a vastly improved gameplay balance which did away with the ridiculous difficulty the original was so infamous for.

Yet just because there are so many positive things to say about this game does not mean there aren’t negative things about it. For one thing, Metal Blade is positively game breaking in both ability and capacity. 112 shots from a weapon that can quickly and easily take out three Robot Masters plus three more bosses that take extra damage from it (including Wily’s Machine #2)! While I personally think it’s a lot of fun literally shredding your enemies, it does take away from the challenge by having so many enemies weak to a single power. Furthermore, the fact that you have so many shots with the damn thing means strategy is basically out the window.

The balanced gameplay I mentioned above apparently did not extend to every aspect of the game. Case in point, Heat Man and Quick Man’s stages. What the hell were they thinking with these?! Yes, it is possible to clear both of the ridonculous traps in either stage without using a power-up or support item, but holy hell! I’m good, but I’m not that damn good! And yet, other stages (such as Crash Man and Flash Man’s) became so simple, any potential challenge has all but disappeared. The balance should have been worked into all sides of the game, not just in battling the Robot Masters.

My final gripe is a personal one, but it’s something that I just don’t get. Why weren’t we able to go back and repeat stages? I mean, I guess I can understand that the team didn’t want players being able to stock up on E-Tanks before tackling the Wily Fortress, but still, we’re only able to carry 4 tanks as it is and there were only about 9 in the whole game. Some E-Tanks couldn’t even be reached without a support item, so there were times you had to just go without. In later entries, this would be changed, but I feel this is a detractor.

All that being said, this is still my favorite NES game and the top contender for my favorite Mega Man game ever. The right level of difficulty, incredibly fun gameplay, characters you can love and/or hate, and music you just can’t get enough of make this game an absolute must play. And in case you missed it on NES back in 1988 or on PS2 in 2004, Capcom just released the Mega Man: Legacy Collection for 3DS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and even PC. Don’t miss out on this classic!


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Sai & Stormy are writers, gamers, and full time nerds. Sai can often be found with a comic in one hand and a game controller in the other. He specializes in the history/mythology of comic books, legends of video games, and sculpting figurines. When Stormy is not fully immersing herself into her 80's childhood fandoms, she enjoys making cosplay, desperately tries to get her old Nintendo games to work, and will do whatever it takes to make time to read her favorite books. They live somewhere down south where it gets very hot with a boneheaded dog named Melvin.