Mega Man 5 update

I finally got around to giving Mega Man 5 a second (or fourth) chance last night. Except not really. I was feeling too lazy to dig up my cartridge so I just popped open an emulator. And I was feeling too lazy to actually go to the other room and get a USB game pad, so I just played with keys. Despite what lying liars like Scott Sharkey might tell you, key control for NES games is not acceptable! So I don’t think this playthrough counts.

However, the unexpected surprise ending to this tale of nothingness is that it prompted my girlfriend to ask if she could play. It bears repeating here that she is a person who does not do gaming, wherein “do” is a word meaning “have any involvement whatsoever with.” Occasionally she’ll catch me off-guard with a “I used to love… what was it called? Lode Runner?” But mostly our relationship is founded on her politely pretending that my job description is “writer” rather than “writer about video games.” And it works pretty well. But something about Mega Man 5 caught her attention — the graphics, for one. She finds modern games far too complicated, and while I admired her chutzpah in fighting her way through the first two and a half stages of Halo a while back I’m also fairly certain that the intricacies of the game’s control scheme cemented her determination to never, ever play anything involving 3D space again. But hey, Mega Man is the opposite of Halo — simple, colorful, appealing. I can see where it might catch the eye of someone who hasn’t spent any time gaming for the past few decades.

So I decided to dig up my USB controller after all and start her out on easy mode in Mega Man 2. I figured that’s probably the easiest possible way to get into the series. It didn’t go so well, though. I found these screenshots on my desktop this morning, apparently captured by accident as she fell into pits and mashed the screen cap button in her efforts not to die:

I saw a lot of that last night. After about 15 minutes of not making it past the initial air devil gauntlet in Air Man’s stage, she insisted I help her by telling her when to jump. Have you ever had to navigate someone through each and every jump in a platformer, receiving an indignant accusation of failure every time your guidance led to another untimely demise? Our relationship has survived many trials and challenges over the years, but ten minutes of me sputtering “GO NOW!” and her more-or-less following my commands about a second later nearly destroyed us.

But we made it. We came out of it alive, and still together. I would like to thank whoever invented save states, because this single innovation may have saved our relationship. Eventually, after many many state defrosts over the course of 45 minutes, she made it to the end of the stage… and proceeded to blow my mind by wiping out Air Man in a single try.

I’m absolutely positive there’s a lesson about Mega Man 9 in here, but danged if I know what it is.

24 thoughts on “Mega Man 5 update

  1. That reminds me of playing 2 player co-op Katamari with my ex. It. Was. AWFUL. She was good at the game and so was I, but combining those efforts was a nightmare.

  2. Hah, I taught my girlfriend to play Ticket to Ride on XBLA last night, and she loved it. TAKE THAT.

  3. Air Man was the first Robot Master I beat in MM2. I went on to beating Metal Man first when I’d play through it, but I liked taking out Air Man, then Crash Man.

    I really liked Crash Man’s stage music, is why I did this.

  4. lol… This sounds so familiar. Except that I’m always the one being directed.

    “You’re not doing it right!”

  5. Aww…That’s a cute story! Did she like Mega Man in spite of all the falling?

  6. Urge to post the “Can’t Beat Air Man” video… Rising.

    Save states are a glorious invention indeed!

  7. But that’s impossible. You can’t defeat Air Man. Nobody can dodge his tornado. Even if you attack him from behind or with rapid-fire he will blow you away eventually. In order to win she must have filled her E-Tank and saved it till the very last moment.



  8. “Did she like Mega Man in spite of all the falling?”

    I can’t tell. She swore and cursed the entire time, but she also wouldn’t stop playing and seemed disappointed when my battery ran out. So… maybe?

  9. awesome. two things:
    1) airman ga taosenai
    2) girls have boobs on the front

    [pre-submit edit] nemo incognito is cleverer and faster than I am :(

  10. I’m actually making my way through Mega Man 2 for the first time right now. Easy? Please. The challenge and cheap deaths I’m experiencing are almost reminiscent of the japanese Super Mario Bros. 2. I’m playing starting with Flash Man at the moment. Then Quick Man, and now I’m on Wood Man. Help me.

  11. I always left Quick Man as one of the last. There was some recommended order to take out the bosses in Nintendo Power way back when (I think) and that’s the way I always went through the game. Other than that, the only thing I remember is beating Metal Man and having ridiculous fun throwing gears EVERYWHERE.

  12. SEanEF,

    I wore out my Maxx (I think that was the name of the controller) throwing those things in every conceivable direction.

  13. So, I remember Ray saying that Mega Man 4 is actually good. Does this mean that Mega Man 5 is the immediately awful one, or is it more just that the series stagnated after 4??

  14. I think it’s another sign that the original Mega Man series has the power to cultivate infrequent players rather easily. I also think it bodes well for Mega Man 9’s sales.

    If she is interested in other Mega Man-style games with a little less frustration attached, you should have her play The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse. It’s another Capcom platformer that I taught my sister to play way back when.

  15. Toby, it gets easier the more you play (like most games, I guess). I remember renting Mega Man 2 when it was released and never being able to get through Quick Man’s stage. I’m currently playing through MM: Anniversary Collection and I finished Mega Man 2 in a few hours, one playthrough.

    But! Don’t let Parish or anyone fool you!

    Mega Man 3 > Mega Man 2.

    Yeah. I said it.

  16. The couple that saves states together, stays together.

    As long as it’s not in Guts Man’s conveyor belts.

  17. True, I have played MegaMan 2 several times in my life, but the pull that the unique art style has on a person is obvious from those screenshots of yours. I mean, one screen doesn’t even have MegaMan in it, the other he is falling to his death. Yet, something deep inside is telling me that those pictures are pretty and I want to see more, even if seeing them leads to lots of frustration.

  18. Say, Parish, you’re a Mac user, right? Can you recommend a good NES emulator?

    (I qualify “good” to mean one that doesn’t involve Richard Bannister porting an open-source emulator, not releasing his own source, and asking for $30 if I want features that Windows users get for free.)

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