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Rockman 2: Basic Master

Hack of Mega Man 2


Rockman 2: Basic Master is a complete level hack of Rockman 2 for the NES. New music, new (and old) enemies, different boss behaviors, and more.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • File: Rockman 2 - Dr. Wily no Nazo (J) [!].nes
  • Length: 262160 Bytes (2 Mbit)
  • CRC32: 30B91650
  • MD5: 055FB8DC 626FB1FB ADC0A193 010A3E3F
  • SHA1: FB51875D 1FF4B0DE EE97E967 E6434FF5 14F3C2F2




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User Review Information

Interesting, but RARELY fun or fair -- be hesitant!

Reviewed By: Lyrit on 12 Aug 2018

Yet another hack that has many interesting ideas and mechanics… and fails to keep sight of what makes a GAME. I still recommend it for hack enthusiasts, but don’t play it without savestates or turbo buttons; it’s frustrating enough as it is, and it won’t be worth it! The following review is written similarly to the style of Nathaniel Hoover; every category here is rated from -3 to 3.

+0 Story: There’s nothing – simple as that. In fact, the opening and ending of the original Rockman 2 are programmed out. So it’s not any better nor any worse than the original.

+2 Graphics: Many level tilesets are borrowed from other games, but for the most part, they look great for Mega Man! However, I do think the colors in some particular stages are a bit of an eyesore – especially Quick Man’s. The backgrounds don’t change up detail much, but they’re certainly not empty (like the original Clash Man’s). I really do question why Hornet Man’s graphics are used for Air Man’s stage, though – it comes off cheap and random, whereas Bubble Man uses several Mega Man tilesets together with different palettes to make it feel original. The enemies are mostly non-original art (i.e. derived from other Mega Man games) but look fine in of themselves – although sometimes they have pretty strange colors depending on the stage palette. All of the menus look fantastic compared to the original, from the title screen to weapon selection. Personally, my favorite stage, graphically speaking, goes to Flash Man – the colors really do the GameBoy graphics justice!

+1 Music: The music’s a real mixed bag. Some tracks go really well with their stages/events, and some don’t. Some sound great, and some are annoying and/or get repetitive quickly. Volt Catfish and Ocean Planet Aquanet fit Flash Man and Bubble Man’s stages super well and sound great – but Quick Man’s Yu-Gi-Oh music feels all over the place. The robot master boss theme from Mega Man & Bass is recreated very nicely, the short boss theme from Mega Man IV (i.e. the GameBoy game) is kind of lazy and repetitive, and the Toshio boss theme used for later Wily bosses is super unfitting and super annoying. Bardock’s theme for the boss rematch stage sounds nice and fits the mood, but really doesn’t work when it continues all the way through the Wily machine. So I really liked some of it – but kind of despised some of it.

+1 Sound Effects: Mostly unoriginal sounds, some of which are borrowed from other Mega Man games. Certainly has more variety than the original game did, and nothing ear-grating like charging up Atomic Fire or the screeches of the final boss as it’s defeated.

-3 Control: This is one of the worst parts about this hack – plain and simple. It’s fantastic that they went and patched Mega Man’s movement to feel more like the later games by removing the annoying and pointless sliding that used to occur whenever you stopped running (except it’s still there whenever you’re in a throwing-weapon pose, for some reason) – and that’s where the praise ends. The weapon selection menu is as horrible as it was in the original game – including still being able to accidentally use an E-Tank while full on health (is it that hard to patch out?). But most offensively is how the weapons work. You see, one of the “gimmicks” to this hack is that, at any time, you can press Select to instantly delete all of your bullets. Although this honestly shouldn’t be in the game, you might read this and think “oh, that’s hardly useful, anyway” – but in reality, the game constantly forces you to do this instead of just intuitively mapping things to B (the fire button). Let me explain: Item 2 (Beat), Wood Man’s weapon (Wood Tower), Bubble Man’s weapon (Bubble Wrap), and Flash Man’s weapon (Make Shadow) are ALL examples of weapons that practically never get scrolled off the screen and absolutely REQUIRE you to press Select to stop them. And yes – if you were wondering, you STILL can’t pause while projectiles are on-screen! This Select-to-delete system is a HORRIBLY lazy and non-intuitive way to make the special weapons usable. If you can already press Select to delete all on-screen bullets, why won’t you just allow the player to pause while the bullets are there anyway? If, again, you can already delete bullets by pressing Select, why can’t you just allow the player to press FIRE to delete and re-shoot Wood Tower, Changkey Shoot, or V-Sword, disable Beat, or disable Bubble Wrap!? In fact, Clash Man’s weapon, Core Burst, ALREADY lets you re-shoot just like that! I can hardly believe there’s a good excuse as to why that couldn’t have been done for the other weapons – ESPECIALLY Wood Tower, where it’s honestly super frustrating having to remember to press Select every damn time you want to shoot it again or even just access your other weapons. Also notable is the pause that remains whenever you exit the weapon selection screen and the pause whenever you refill health/ammo – sure they’re from the original game, but they still make you wait for no reason and throw off your timing whenever you’re playing. Fix these things – don’t be lazy. (Also, that frame-by-frame back-and-forth between airborne and grounded that happens whenever you’re running on the very edge of a conveyor makes it pretty annoying to jump, as there’s a 50% chance you won’t jump because you’re in the air that frame.)

-2 Stages: I GENUINELY love the interesting gimmicks and mechanics that are introduced or combined in these levels (like the variable-speed lasers combined with sticky flooring in Flash Man’s stage and the faster running speed in Heat Man’s stage), but the level design constantly makes it infuriating. Some of stuff here is borderline kaizoreally stupid and cheap stuff that comes out of nowhere and instantly kills you. Just the third jump over a pit (or technically third jump in general) in Heat Man’s stage is a great example of this: a Caricarry spawns JUST as you’re at the edge of the platform, and so if you just jump without inching closer first, you’ll get pelted by a rock and instantly fall to your death – talk about fun! And this is just one of several places where an enemy or projectile suddenly appears during a jump and sends you falling below. Or how about Clash Man’s confusing labyrinths, where sending you back to repeat screens is annoying the first time and short and boring the second time? (Also far worse when it’s repeated in the Wily castle, where the end of the labyrinth has a 50% random try-your-luck chance to send you ALL the way back to the beginning…) Besides those moments of BS, the first 8 robot master stages themselves are mostly balanced in difficulty – except the platforming in Metal Man and especially Flash Man feel almost impossible to do without using Beat. The Wily stages are by far the worst offenders, though, and repeat some of the worst and most avoidable mistakes: the final boss sends you back half-way through the stage with no extra weapon energy anywhere in sight (which is required to fight it), one of the empty checkpoint rooms poisons you over time (despite not functioning whenever you respawn in it?), the absolutely Beat-enforced section doesn’t give you weapon energy (on the same screen) in case you need it, and several levels instantly start by killing you if you don’t IMMEDIATELY move – let the player take a breather, will you? Also, I need to mention two really dumb and inconsistent design flaws. First of all, since Item 1 (Eddie) can give you E-Tanks, since Items 1-3 refill whenever you die, and since E-Tanks are no longer lost whenever you Game Over, you’re free to grind Eddie over and over at the start of any stage until you have 4 E-Tanks – then actually play the stage. (The chances of an E-Tank every time you use Eddie are stupid-low, though.) Secondly, Item 3 instantly lets you kill yourself, and whenever you do this, it refills all your special weapons – which are NORMALLY not refilled whenever you die. So remember, kids, suicide is a preferable alternative to being murdered…!

-2 Bosses: Good God do I hate the boss design in this hack. Look, there are some really interesting ideas and gimmicks here, but that’s the only reason why this isn’t a -3. No matter how much I’ve practiced, I still can’t defeat Metal Man, Heat Man, or Flash Man with just the Mega Buster and no E-Tanks! I’ve only been able to do so with Air Man and Clash Man. (I haven’t practiced the others enough to declare so either way.) And despite how stupid-hard they all are, they become easy and sometimes nearly braindead fights when you have their weaknesses. Many of the robot masters have very strange and unpredictable patterns to their movement, which is why they’re so hard to dodge. Sometimes they’re controlled by minor details in your movement – for example, Clash Man’s jump height depends on if you’re in the air or on the ground. These strange movements are even worse when compounded by Air Man or Clash Man getting stuck in the boss door and then air-walking/air-jumping as a result – or Air Man getting stuck in the floor at first and not jumping at all – seriously? Metal Man teleporting whenever he attacks is interesting, but the invincibility time he gets is too damn long and frustrating to fight. Bubble Man’s Bubble Wrap practically begs you to use a turbo controller (or V-Sword). Flash Man’s only two attacks are running into you and summoning minionsneither of which are fun nor seem to be practically dodgeable. Heat Man is BUGGY about his invincibility, because sometimes you can attack him the instant he’s out of his fire-warp, and sometimes he’ll continue to be invincible for way longer with NO visual tell. I still have no idea how you could possibly perfect-run Flash Man or Quick Man with just the buster. The Wily bosses are also lazily modified from the original – but far more importantly, they are downright unfair. Boss 1, the dragon, is probably the best dragon redesign I’ve seen – but that’s not saying much, considering all it seems to do is stand there while a single flame follows you around. Boss 2, the Picopico-kun, has an original and interesting take on the fight – if only it weren’t for the individual bots appearing out of thin air and sometimes hitting you for free. Boss 3 is a really lazy attempt at making the Guts Tank original – but kind of works, anyway, I guess. It’s smaller, resprited as a giant Met, and flies in the air. The bullets no longer bounce and are smaller. There are constantly penguins from an invisible generator. There are platforms that fly by to help you actually hit the boss. It’s boring, but fine as it is – except why do the smaller, summoned Mets bounce off of THIN AIR!? Complete lack of polish on that one. Boss 4 is a relived miniboss gimmick where you have to hit the boss with reflected bullets, which is fine in of itself – but is super annoying when given so much health and annoyingly narrow windows of time to land hits in (and is especially bad as a castle boss, because almost none of your special weapons can help you – and why can you accidentally kill the Sprinklan on the ground?). I still have no idea how you can avoid taking damage from Boss 4, the Wily machine, without killing it before it just rams into you. But by far the worst is the final boss, which combines mashing your Fire button to death with stupid RNG – for you see, the boss only takes damage from 3 weapons (spoilers: not the Mega Buster), those weapons have almost no vertical range, the boss is almost constantly above you, and it REGENERATES HEALTH OVER TIME. Either get lucky or use turbo, and it’s honestly a really boring and lame boss pattern otherwise – what a great way to close your game…

+2 Special Weapons and Items: Some are interesting, and some are boring. Some are useful, and some are liabilities (well, only one is). Overall, they’re well-balanced, though. Bubble Man’s weapon gives you straight-up invincibility, lowered gravity, and a damage “aura.” It’s useful in practically any situation – I think it may be a bit overpowered, actually. Pretty interesting and fun to have a shield that lets you jump higher like that – but damn is it annoying to press Select all the time, like I mentioned above. Air Man’s weapon is quite like Needle Cannon – it shoots a single bullet at a time, you can have 3 on-screen at a time, and it does about the same damage as your normal buster to most enemies. It also autofires if you hold the button, but like Needle Cannon, it’s nowhere near as fast as manually firing (or turbo-firing) and is thus a completely meaningless feature. Unlike the normal buster and Needle Cannon, it will “pierce” enemies if it’s a final blow on each enemy – and it also has some random vertical deviation which is often bad. It has too little ammo to be used much over your normal buster. Otherwise, some things are immune to it, and some are weak, and that’s about it – boring! Quick Man’s weapon is a pretty standard melee attack that shoots a single, limited-range projectile forward that does damage over time. It’s a little annoying that it’s over time as opposed to instant damage, though – sometimes you won’t fully kill your target. Effective and well-balanced – not exactly the most exciting thing to use, though. Heat Man’s weapon is quite like Triple Blade, except unlike Triple Blade, the projectiles arc, the angles are weird, and it doesn’t do notable enough damage to be used so often. I find it rather ineffective outside of killing eccentrically-placed enemies and Wood Man. Wood Man’s weapon, however, is truly the most useless of the lot. Sure, it obliterates enemies – but only enemies that are locked to the same ground as it and even take damage from it in the first place. It doesn’t even pierce any armor! I find it useful for killing Sniper Joes and their mechs, Sprinklans, and Flash Man – that’s it. (And other weapons kill those enemies better.) Easily the worst thing about this batch of weapons. Metal Man’s weapon has interesting ranges of vertical coverage, lots of ammo, and pretty good power. It moves in random diagonals, and when you press Up, it bolts off. Or it just fires straight if you hold Up when firing. It’s also good against lots of bosses. I’d say it’s overpowered if it weren’t for the random diagonals – which honestly, I feel are kind of an annoying reason to call the weapon balanced. It’d be nice if they let you control the diagonals somehow, and reduced its ammo to compensate, perhaps. Flash Man’s weapon is a really awkward-to-control clone that flies through walls and obliterates any enemies it affects, and thus is super-good for minibosses and out-of-reach enemies. Pretty fine as it is, in my opinion – and also the only damn weapon where Select makes sense to implement, perhaps. Finally, Clash Man’s weapon is a really awkward explosion around your body that travels up. Makes quick work of anything near or above you, but it feels a little out of place that that’s all it does – especially when we already have a melee weapon. Otherwise, it’s fine – although maybe has too much ammo? There are also the items 1 to 3: Item 1, where Eddie summons and gives you a random drop, is on paper, a nice way to give the player breathing room on harder levels – except his RNG is super damn harsh and almost always gives you small health or ammo pick-ups. I do like how fast it is to use, though. Item 2, where Beat makes you float, is pretty fun and original – except I feel like it’s used to justify some pretty bad level design. It also has too much ammo, letting you over-cheese some otherwise fair levels. It’s still annoying have to press Select to remove the bird, and it’s even more annoying when you try to use it when above the edge of the screen and it just doesn’t do the thing. Item 3 kills yourself. It causes a dumb balancing problem I previously mentioned where you can refill your special weapons, making it technically OP???

+1 Replay Value: It’s great that the robot masters have weaknesses to multiple weapons. It was in the original Mega Man 2, but really helps the replayability! Despite the fact that I can’t beat many robot master first without an E-Tank, all of the robot masters seem to be about the same difficulty to fight first, and all of their stages are certainly doable as your first (except Flash Man’s lasers require pretty harsh precision and may require you to get Bubble Wrap first). Unfortunately, there are almost no alternative paths in the game (how about the really, really pointless one in Bubble Man’s stage?), and everything in Wily’s Castle is super-lenient – unless you count doing the standard boss rush in different orders…?

+2 Polish: These two bonus points are almost specifically for the smaller engine polishes that most don’t notice, like the previously-mentioned removal of sliding while running (well, at least mostly-removed). Pause-scumming to reset vertical velocity and phase through bullets was also patched. Sprite flickering and lag are almost non-existent. Additionally, the password menu and weapon-getting screen animate faster than before – although it’d be nice if you could cancel the password input screen, yeah?

+1 Novelty: I kind of already gave some leeway on the stage and boss scores because of their novelty, but I feel like an additional point can be given because of how it makes the whole hack over-all creative and unique. (C’mon, someone do Flash Man’s gimmicks but better. Maybe also throw in ice physics, disappearing blocks, and/or water. Please?)

+0 Extras/Easter Eggs: Nothing to note, honestly, unless you count nice homages to other Mega Man games by using their assets. Except you took away the stars-to-bird trick when selecting a boss… unforgivable!

OVERALL SCORE: +3 (+10 merits, -7 flaws)

As a game, it’s just a little better than the original Mega Man 2. Would be so much better if the level design and bosses had some revision. Tatsu, you have some real hacking skill – please stop throwing it out in favor of “ha, gotcha” moments.

(Yes, I know you’re Japanese and probably can’t read this well. すみません。)

Version 1.0 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
Interesting, but RARELY fun or fair -- be hesitant!Lyrit12 Aug 20181.0Yes
A fine hack marred by the change of Mega Man's physics.8.bit.fan23 Mar 20171.0Yes
Didn't expect much, but was surprised at what I got.RhysOwens10120 Mar 20171.0Yes