Mega Man II

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File:Mega Man 2 - NES - USA.jpg
North American box art.

Mega Man II is an action platformer made by Capcom, released for the NES in 1988, and the the second game in the Mega Man series. Like the first, the game is broken up into stages, each ending with a boss. Dr. Wily was defeated by Mega Man in the first game, but he built eight new robots and is once again trying to conquer the world.

I first saw this game in a Nintendo strategy guide and thought it looked amazing, so I asked for it for Christmas and got it (around 1990). The first time I played it, I started in Quickman's stage, because the strategy guide suggested his weapon for a lot of the sections in the game. Naturally, I got my ass handed to me! After a lot of trial and error, I eventually learned a better stage order and now I prefer: Metalman, Bubbleman, Woodman, Flashman, Airman, Heatman, Crashman, Quickman.


I own this game for the NES and have beaten it on both normal and difficult skill levels.


  • Overall: 9/10
  • Best Version: NES


  • The graphics are colorful, well-drawn, and highly detailed for such a low resolution.
  • The music is extremely good, some of the best for the platform.
  • The game is difficult without being unfair and even has a difficulty setting for less die-hard players.
  • The ending cut scenes and staff roll is a fantastic way to finish the game.
  • Each of the bosses, despite being quite primitive, has a unique style which can be felt in their stage, fighting style, and weapon.
  • The bosses in the first four Dr. Wily stages are quite clever. The Mechanical Dragon is especially terrifying, well-drawn, and a good challenge.


  • The boss weapons are very unbalanced. Some weapons, like Lead Bubble only have two real uses in the game, while Metal Blade is so versatile, it's best to use it for most of the game.
  • The disappearing platforms from the first game are back, and even worse than before. Luckily, the Items 1-3 make them a little easier to deal with.
  • Later in the game, you have to deal with a lot of instant-death spikes and pits which are a lame way of increasing difficulty.
  • The Dr. Wily boss stages are pretty uninspired using drab colors and using mostly repeated enemies.


  • Nothing, this game rocks.

Box Art





Game Design

This is my running commentary on the design of the game for each stage.

Stage Commentary
Introduction This game has one of the best NES introductions. The music is not only phenomenal, but it hearkens back to the ending theme of the first Mega Man. The story is ridiculous, as 2000 didn't seem that far into the future even in the 1980s! The cityscape in the distance makes great use of the limited tile set. The stage select with closeups of the bosses is very attractive, and the music continues to be good.
Airman Stage When you first come in, the bright blue sky and the large animated clouds in the background really clue you into your location. The glassy look on the platforms is also a great artistic effect. I don't quite get the little red tikkis in the floor though. The giant floating Tikki (goblin) platforms are not only visually appealing, but make for a great test of patience. The Lightning Lords are really cool and are pretty difficult without a vertical weapon like Metal Blade (I suggest this weapon for the entire stage). There is a great moment of panic when you fly behind the cloud and lose your position as an enemy shoots at you. The egg-dropping bird (Pipi) fits perfectly here, and the obscuring clouds help make it more complicated. The vertical interlude with the Scworms seems unnecessary. Then, there is a nice change up where you have to jump from one Tikki platform directly to another. This requires a little bit of patience. The Fan Fiends are great enemies and make the pits here particularly treacherous, but there is a bug in the game where they often disappear. Ending the level with Pipi over pits adds to the difficulty of the first encounter. I love the music, it's one of the best electric guitars on the entire NES. The only thing I don't like about this stage is the amount of pits, they are a cheap way of increasing difficulty. Airman himself is a pretty straight-forward boss. His Air Shooter is very difficult to avoid, but he can be dispatched without too much trouble using the Mega Buster, but the Leaf Shield is the most useful as it stops his weapon and greatly hurts him. The Air Shooter has limited use in the game. It's good against the Sniper Armor and Crashman, and that's about it.
Bubbleman Stage This one begins with a wonderful fully animated waterfall background (simulated through palette swapping). The Croakers are great large monsters, well drawn and kind of annoying with their tiny babies. The falling platforms are a cheap trap for the first time you play, but once you're aware of them, they're not too difficult. The designers did something special for the Crabbots, for those players favoring Metal Blade, hitting them knocks their shells off at you, a great trick. The spiked ceiling and walls for the majority of the rest of the level are pretty annoying, but they do teach precision control. The giant angler fish that spits prawns is very well-drawn. The robotic jellyfish which are definitely not Metroids (because they're M-445 not SR-388!) again encourage the Metal Blade. More pits with the Snappers, more cheap death. While I adore the music, the majority of the level is instant death, which I don't like in games. Bubbleman himself is a joke when faced with the Metal Blade, and his Bubble Lead is pretty useless in the game save two bosses.
Crashman Stage The mesh of pipes with the giant metal spheres is a great background tile set for this stage, though I don't care much for the sickly green color. The starting two rooms with Telly inching slowly toward Mega Man is a pain without the Metal Blade, as it the three platform rooms (Item-1 can speed up these screens). Like most other stages, Metal Blade is encouraged. I like the tall climb with the Neo Metall hanging out on a precarious edge because if you do take a hit, there are blocks to catch you, and even if you miss them, you still don't die, you just have to take the damage. I like how the stage slowly turns darker as you climb past the atmosphere in the ladder maze. The Pipis and Shotman keeps this part interesting, and an Energy tank and 1-up can be picked up (Item-1 makes this easier). The Prop Tops just before the boss are easily killed with Metal Blade. This level, again, has fantastic music, and doesn't suffer from tons of instant-death. Crashman is probably the most difficult boss to defeat with the Mega Buster, but he's especially easy to kill with the Air Shooter. The Crash Bomb is useful on one boss, entirely necessary on another, and helpful for taking out obstructive walls elsewhere in the game. However, its slow fuse means it's not very helpful as a general weapon.
Flashman Stage I don't quite understand why Flashman's stage has an icy floor, but it certainly adds a nice layer of complexity. Most of the stage is pretty bereft of enemies, which is kind of nice when you're slipping all over. The first section just has a few Shotmen adding to the complexity. Metal Blade is preferred for the bulk of the stage. Having Item-1 or 3 will get you a 1-up and if you also have Crash Bombs, you can skip a Sniper Armor. You will memorize the optimal fall path down the several screens after a few attempts. I like to avoid the Blocky and Shotman and take the Scworm route while staying above the second Sniper Armor. The last section rewards careful jumping. If you fall, you're stuck facing several Sniper Armors, but if you succeed, you win an energy tank. No matter what, you'll have to face at least one Sniper Armor. Air Shooter takes out the armor, and several weapons work on Sniper Joe. Overall, I'm not a huge fan of this level. I like the color palette and changing lights, but the entire level uses a single tile set. The music is good, but not one of my favorites. Like most of the enemies in the game, Flashman is easily annihilated with Metal Blade. His Time Stopper weapon is useful in Quickman's stage and for fighting Quickman himself, but not much else.
Heatman Stage This is another stage with a lot of instant death from pits, although the lava pits aren't quite as bad because if you take a hit before falling into them, you won't immediately die. The beginning with the Prop Tops and Tellies is a nice introduction and isn't too difficult. As usual, Metal Blade is the preferred weapon. Once you pass the large gap, you have to deal with a few Spring Heads which can easily be killed with Bubble Lead. Down the ladder you will encounter the disappearing bricks. You can bypass them with Items 1 or 3, or just learn the pattern, it's not too tough. Just be sure to kill the Spring Head first! The next section is like the first, only with more deadly jumps (it's good design to teach the player earlier, give them a respite, and then increase the difficulty). Crash Bombs will make it a bit safer. Next, there is a large section of disappearing blocks over lava and a pit. Item-2 can skip this mess, or you can risk it. It's not too difficult to learn. Take out the Sniper Armor with Air Shooter, and then prepare for Heatman. Overall, I find that stage to be a bit bland with the same tile set and enemies throughout, and all the falling death is rather cheap. The music is alright, nothing special, and Heatman is pretty easy with Bubble Lead. Without it though, he's not much harder, it just takes a lot longer. Atomic Fire has a couple uses on bosses in the game, and the charging ability is a nice feature, but it depletes too rapidly to be fun to use.
Metalman Stage I love the animated background gears and pistons as well as the foreground gear tiles. The conveyor belts definitely fit with the mechanic style of the level and the first energy tank is a nice freebie. It was an interesting design choice not to feature an enemy for the first couple sections, just the pits and the Presses, and even the Mole screws don't feel like enemies as much as hazards. Since players often use the Moles as a place to recharge their hit points, it's kind of a funny jab that the designers end the section with the conveyor which makes avoiding them much harder, so they often can't leave unscathed. The Pierobots are a fun enemy, but a little too weak to ever pose a threat. If you have Item-1 you can get the 1-up here. More easy Pierobots and a tough jump. The stairs with Blockies is a great spot for them. The energy tank near the pit is a trap if you don't have Item-1 or 2. I like how they designed several sections to make use of the Items throughout the game. The placement of the Spring Heads near the door is nice, and I often take a hit if I'm rushing. I like this stage because it has a fair amount of difficult enemies and jumps, without overdoing it on either. Unfortunately, the tileset never changes, the color scheme is a bit ugly, and the music is only so-so. Metal Man himself is one of the best boss robots. The changing conveyor makes the battle dynamic, and his Metal Blades are tough to avoid. Unfortunately, his weapon is so useful it almost breaks the game.
Quickman Stage I like the cyan on dark read, and the tile set is pretty good looking, even if it's plain. Good use of a bonus for those who enter with an Item. Like pretty much every other stage, the Scworms encourage Metal Blade from the start. The lasers are fun at first, but they very quickly become tedious. Until the player memorizes the order, they will probably use the Time Stopper, which means they won't have it for Quickman, kind of a douche move. The Hotheads lighting up the dark tunnel is quite creative, but they're not exactly difficult to defeat. More lasers that are even harder than before are not welcome. I would prefer something other than Sniper Armors before the boss gate to help replenish the Time Stopper. This is my least-favorite level because there isn't much to do but avoid lasers, even the music isn't that great. Quickman is a killer boss. The Time Stopper will cut his life in half, but even then, he's very hard to avoid with his speed and Quick Boomerangs. The Mega Buster is my preferred weapon.
Woodman Stage
Dr. Wily Stage 1
Dr. Wily Stage 2
Dr. Wily Stage 3
Dr. Wily Stage 4
Dr. Wily Stage 5
Dr. Wily Stage 6