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Weird Mega Man Weapons September 21, 2009

Posted by Tim in Uncategorized.
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And now for something completely different.

I’ve been playing through my second favorite franchise lately (favorite is Zelda, of course) and have thoroughly enjoyed the retreat back into the simple joys of childhood. The times when you were a little excited when you got sick because that meant you got to play NES all day. Sidescrolling days.

And I couldn’t help noticing, rounding up my run through Mega Mans 1-7 and X-X3, that just about every game the creators got a little too carried away. In fact, along with staples like a shield weapon and a jump upgrade, it seems one of the staples for each game was a new WTF? weapon. I’ve combed through and – in classic Mega Man fashion – picked my top 8 weirdest weapons. Here they are, in order of white-guy to wah?

8. Wire Coil (Spring Man, MM 7)

Mega Man 7 is easily the strangest of the standard set, as it follows the NES script with SNES flair. Way more upgrades than necessary clog the game, but the weapons retain a classic feel (I’m especially a fan of Junk Shield, the best take on the shield in the series). A couple get strange though (sound is a weapon?), especially the Wire Coil. Mega Man throws out two bouncing springs in opposite directions. That blow up. And he can charge them too… making them bounce even higher. Which, sadly enough, comes in handy in the final boss fight of the game. [Corollary to the WTF weapon staple: the lamest weapon in the game will be Wily’s/Sigma’s weakness.]

7. Crystal Hunter (Crystal Snail, X2)

Another Mega Man staple is the cold-themed weapon (Ice Man, Blizzard Man, Freeze Man, Chill Penguin, etc). X2 breaks out of that with Crystal Snail. His weapon doesn’t freeze anything, it fires some goo that magically traps enemies in crystal blocks. I’m not complaining – you can them climb on them to reach stuff – but it’s weird to a have a weapon that… doesn’t actually cause damage.

6.  Gravity Well (Gravity Beetle, X3)

I used the Gravity Well three times playing X3. Once to fight the boss who is weak to it, once to use its charged ability to reach an upgrade, and once to test it and confirm that it is absolutely worthless. It fires a (small) shot that slides at its own pace through the level, passing through any obstacles. Anything that it encounters is toast, but anything it misses is a problem, because you can’t defend yourself while the well is on screen. Odd, dumb.

5. Charge Kick (Charge Man – MM5)

Now we are slipping into the classics, and the classic weirdnesses. In Mega Man 3 the designers decided you should be able to slide. In Mega Man 5, they decided to weaponize it. After beating a robot-man-train, Mega Man inherits the ability to hurt things by diving into them feet first. Not helpful, ultimately, but a good try. Too bad the X’s never returned to this idea, I think they could have made it work.

4. Pharaoh Shot (Pharaoh Man – MM4)

Not all weird weapons are duds. Pharaoh Shot is probably my favorite weapon to appear on the NES games. It also pioneered the idea of charging special weapons, and in fact is the only weapon that can do damage while charging. I’m not sure what Mega Man is supposed to be firing with this, miniature suns or more likely balls of sand (the horror!). At any rate, if you charged a large version of the shot would collect above your head. Once fully charged, it could take out a lot of enemies without dissipating. And if you found a nice long corridor to slide along (like in Ring Man’s level), you could put a good half-screen length between Mega Man and the faithful ball of sand. Very weird, but very fun and useful indeed.

3. Super Arm (Guts Man – MM1)

If you’ve played the series, you knew he’d be up there. The Super Arm let’s you pick up specialized blocks and throw them to do damage. The game even drops some in a few boss chambers to keep things interesting. Three things make this truly a weird weapon: it does no damage on its own (the blocks do), you could only use it in the most limited of circumstances when such blocks showed up, and the blocks didn’t #@%!ing regenerate when you died, which made fighting Cut Man… difficult. [On a side note, Guts Man shows up in, uh, how many Mega Mans? 4?]

2. Top Spin (Top Man – MM3)

Top Spin was a terrible idea implemented terribly. In a game where the basic way you incur damage is coming into contact with an enemy, the game designers gifted you with a weapon in which you hurtle your body at your enemies. Add to that the fun of how quick the Top Spin attack lasts, giving you a very very narrow window of opportunity to deal and receive damage instead of only receiving damage. And, to top finish it off, if you succeeded in doing damage, it comes at a major cost to your energy meter. Top Spin is the black stain on a game that otherwise might have been my favorite in the series [Mega Man 4’s better balance and charged Mega Buster win out].

1. Metal Blade (Metal Man – MM2)

Surprised, aren’t you? Well, I’m right.

Metal Blade behaves like a typical Mega Man upgrade. In fact, I’d argue that it is the classic Mega Man special weapon, dealing more damage than the Mega Buster at not too big of a cost (and in a game that just loves to give you recharge capsules), and multidirectional to boot. I even read a review of Mega Man X once where the reviewer opts for Mega Man 2 over X as his favorite in the series specifically because of this weapon. It truly is great.

But it breaks three rules: the cardinal rule of Mega Man special weapons, and two rules that are so basic you’ve never even thought about them. The cardinal rule is, of course, that each acquired weapon is the weapon of choice for one other boss in the game. Metal Blades is the weapon of choice for not one, not even two, but three boss fights. What? And the two more fundamental laws of the Mega Man universe? First, no weapon – except the super secret ones of the X series – can ever take out a boss in one hit. And second, no weapon is the weakness against its own boss. And yet there it is… when you encounter Metal Man anew in Wily’s Castle, pull out Metal Blades and one shot wipes him out. That’s so weird that I honestly didn’t believe it for myself reading a walkthrough online. And yet… it’s true. Without a doubt, that boss fight when you find yourself flinging the boss’s own weapon at him to see him disappear in a puff of smoke with one stroke is the weirdest moment in the entire series. Not even playing as Zero or getting Street Fighter moves comes close to the weirdness.

i. Beat

But then again, that’s just a weird feature of Metal Blade and not actually the weapon itself. So if you are still insisting that the Super Arm should have won out, I offer you Beat (really, you can have him). Beat shows up starting in Mega Man 5 and is mercifully left out of the X-series. You whistle for him and he comes and takes out bad guys without you ever lifting a finger (only in Mega Man would you have a dog that helps you fly and a bird that does the fighting). Beat makes for the most bizarre final fight, as well, in Mega Man 5. Wily appears and reappears in random places, but Beat has a sixth sense and hovers in each spot waiting for him to show up. Call him into action and you can literally drop the controller while Beat wins the game for you.

And there you have it, the strangest weapons Mega Man ever wielded, and the nerdiest post I will ever right (I hope).

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Comments»

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