The Inherent Dangers of the Virtual Console

Or, How Mega Man 2 Made Me Weep.

megaman2_2

 

When Mega Man 2 came out on the 3DS virtual console a while back, I nabbed it straight away. I had fond memories of it when I was younger and these days it’s generally considered one of the greatest games ever made, so i picked it up, installed it and started playing it.

Wow.

This game is hard.

Thing is, back in the day, when I was but a mere 10 years old, I don’t remember it being so hard. Hell, I remember breezing through it without the aid of performance enhancing drugs like red cordial. Has modern gaming made me soft?

Maybe. Maybe not. The problem with retro gaming services like the virtual console is that when you download a game from way back when, you’re usually downloading it warts and all. This means downloading and playing a game from before a time when game designers had really refined their art, and had the space to fit in extra stuff that might’ve made things fairer.

To name but some of the dangers you’ll face while trying to defeat Dr. Wily, Mega Man will come across giant frogs that spit out tiny frogs with a seemingly impossible jump distance and whose jump always seems to land exactly on you. He’ll face “leap of faith” jumps into pits that may bring you to the next part of the level or may result in death. He’ll face enemies that have the incredible ability to just pass through floors and walls. And he’ll face his own limitations… like an inability to crouch. And graphical glitches galore.

If a game was released in this state today… even a purposefully retro game likeMutant Mudds, people would pan it. And rightfully so. A difficult game can be fun, as long as there’s an inherent sense of fairness involved. Mega Man 2 has no sense of fairness. It’s just hard because of sloppy and/or lazy programming and design choices that have no place in this day and age.

Some games are timeless. The original Super Mario Brothers game is still eminently playable today. Others are not. Mega Man 2 definitely falls into the latter category. Many modern reviewers gave this VC release absurdly high scores like 10/10. To each their own, I suppose, but remove the rose coloured glasses and you’ll see this game for what it is.

A relic of a bygone age.

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Categories: opinion

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2 replies »

  1. Megaman 2 is one of the easiest in the 8bit series, IMO. ‘Normal’ mode was added to the non Japanese versions, to make it easier (the original difficulty in Japan is ‘hard’ mode from the rest of the regions).

  2. I did not know that! Still, I found this insanely hard on VC. I don’t know if it’s the more, shall we say, “quaint” features of its programming or me getting soft or a combination of the two, but playing through it today was slow going.

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