Also available on 3DS via Virtual Console
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 07/23/2021 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Mega Man II on Game Boy is, in a lot of ways, just more of Dr. Wily’s Revenge. It’s not a carbon copy, though, as it does make some noticeable improvements. Most noticeable among these improvements is the length. From what I’ve read, a lot of the complaints with the first Game Boy Mega Man game were that it was too short with only four Robot Master stages and two Wily’s castle stages (the last four Robot Masters were just straight boss fights, no stages). This is remedied with Mega Man II. Whereas Dr. Wily’s Revenge had a total of six stages, Mega Man II has a total of ten.
The game does keep the basic design philosophy of its predecessor by synthesizing bosses and stage themes from two of the NES games, this time having the first four Robot Masters come from the NES Mega Man II and the last four come from the NES Mega Man III. Taking design cues from Mega Man III on NES, Mega Man II on Game Boy includes the ability to slide as well as the inclusion of Mega Man’s robot dog friend, Rush, along with the use of Rush Coil, Rush Jet, and my personal favorite of Rush’s abilities, Rush Marine.
This game’s Mega Man killer boss is Quint, and the weapon you get from him is actually my favorite in the game. It’s a giant pogo stick, and while his three forms keep this weapon from letting you totally cheese the boss fight, you can use this pogo stick to take out one of Dr. Wily’s forms in a couple seconds. It’s totally stupid but totally awesome. That one weapon honestly is enough to set this one above Dr. Wily’s Revenge because it just seems so much more random and creative than any of the weapons in that game.
I played without sound to avoid disturbing folks around me (I was in public for this playthrough and didn’t have headphones with me), but friends have told me that the music and sound effects are just awful in this game – a tinny, high pitched nightmare. I can’t comment on it myself, but I figured I’d at least mention what I heard second-hand. As for the visuals, everything is identical to Dr. Wily’s Revenge – NES sprites in black and white. It’s got fewer BS traps and ambushes than the previous game did, but it’s still pretty tough due in large part to how little room you have to maneuver given the large sprites. Still, though, that’s tough to avoid with the size of the Game Boy screen. All in all, it definitely feels more fair than the previous game, but it’s no walk in the park.
Mega Man II for Game Boy is a lot of fun and a definite improvement over the original game excluding the audio design, but it’s still got some rough patches. Difficulty feels a bit artificially high thanks to the large sprites, but the game’s Mega Man killer boss is cool, and they definitely fleshed out the length more vs the previous game. All in all, it’s a definite improvement, but it still doesn’t stand up to the NES originals.