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RELEASE DATE (NA): March 26, 2009 GENRE: Platformer
// review by SoyBomb

You Got... Awful Game!

Mega Man 2 has been unanimously declared as the game that gave the series the necessary push into fame. A sincere leap over its rough but lovable predecessor, Mega Man 2 delivered sharp graphics, an immediately catchy soundtrack, and perfect controls suitable for its unique style of platforming gameplay. It was the game that spawned an entire franchise with its numerous spin-offs and endless support from fans even today. So when it was announced that the elementary entry to the Mega Man series was coming to iPhone/iPad, I'm certain there were shouts of glee tossed about in the homes of many nostalgic individuals.

But when it was released, those shouts of glee quickly turned into curses of rage. What... the hell... HAPPENED?!

I'll tell you what happened: Mega Man 2 was ported to a "console" where it doesn't belong. Oh, granted, the game LOOKS pretty authentic. Amidst a nice-looking arcade-style border lies a screen that mirrors the NES original admirably in all its 8-bit glory. It would be hard to find any differences visually between the two. And the sound, though unfortunately and obviously looped from a recording, is as authentic as you're going to get from the iPhone/iPad if you want genuine NES music (though I'm not sure why it starts in OFF mode). But that's not where the problems are at all.

Everything LOOKS kosher, right?

It's the control scheme that just ruins the experience altogether. Capcom's site for this port boasts (as a feature, no less) that you can "utilize virtual arcade controls to control the blue bomber." That's a load of complete horse manure. It's more like "virtually no control at all for your blue bomber." Let's face it: this game wasn't meant for clumsy finger controls. You get an ersatz arcade-style joystick on the left side for moving Mega Man around, but it's pretty inaccurate and the slightest shifts of the thumb results in our hero shuffling in a completely different direction. I fell off too many platforms that way, resulting in a filthy vocal tirade worthy of a Gilbert Gottfried standup set. And then there are the actions buttons (called L and R buttons, even though they're NOT directional), which are NOT aligned the same way as on the original NES. They're placed diagonally, the A button higher and to the right of the B button. This is incorrect, and whoever thought this arcade-style placement was a great decision should be dragged into the street and paddled with a pizza roller. Using the jump and fire buttons is extremely uncomfortable and strong affects how the game plays -- which is already horrible. And that's not even including the oversensitivity of the touch controls; I can press OUTSIDE the button area and still get a response. I jumped when I didn't want to jump. And, of course, when I DO want to jump, I don't. What's up with that? Bad gameplay leads to a bad game. I realize that Capcom updated the app to include a landscape mode to make things easier. Well, that's how I played it, and no, it still plays like a lost child at the mall: disoriented, confused, and distracted by pointy mannequins. Wait, huh?

Capcom also happily claims "rebalanced gameplay for the iPhone experience." That is to say, they added an EASY mode for newcomers where everything deals infinitesimal damage and you can pretty much defeat any boss without the need for special weapons. That's great because you wouldn't be able to maneuver against the Robot Masters with those awful controls anyway. I don't dare try this on Normal or Hard mode, because it was a nightmare just to get through here. Some of the enemies have different attack patterns, too, though I can't for the life of me explain why. Once again, the developer has diddled with the classic game a little too much. And maybe I'm wrong, but "rebalanced" doesn't mean "added framerate problems". How the hell can a program from 1988 have slowdown 13 years later? And why, on Capcom's lovely website, do they state that you can "conquer 9 unique bosses, each with a unique weapon"? What's the ninth weapon you get? Hopefully, it's a hammer to smash your screen in anger.

Mega Man 2 has its share of challenges on the NES, but they can easily be overcome with some good reflexes and patience. Mega Man 2 on the iPhone/iPad... well, you pretty much need dumb luck to get through this. The series is known for pixel-perfect controls, and this little program severely lacks the one aspect it actually needs to be good. It's a terrible app. Thank goodness it was on sale for 99 cents, but even that was a waste of valuable money. I could've snagged a sweet Taiwanese RPG with horrifically poor Engrish dialogue for the same amount and had more fun. If this is Capcom trying to revive its tarnished reputation for mistreating the Mega Man franchise, then we're all doomed. Avoid this terrible app. Dare I say it: it's a crapp.

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