Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge

Developer: Capcom
U.S. Publisher: Capcom
U.S. Release: December 1991
Genre: Platforming
Format: 2-Megabit Cartridge

Based on: An eye for an eye. Also: The emerging rave/house culture of the late '80s, when the art form of the remix was in its infancy.

Games | Game Boy | Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge

Article by wumpwoast | August 11, 2007 | Part of the 8-bit Mega Man series

It's been remarked just how economical Capcom was being when they started making Mega Man on the Game Boy. It's all the same enemies from the NES games, the same old Robot Masters, and like clockwork, Dr. Wily wants all your base to belong to him.

In retrospect, however, the Game Boy installments can be considered the final evolution of ideas Capcom first attempted on the NES. So, if you're a gamer looking to trudge through the history of 8-bit platforming games, and you have keen enough eyesight to play an original Game Boy or Game Boy Advance, the portable 8-bit Mega Man titles are actually better than their NES counterparts.

With only six stages to work with, Mega Man Dr Wily's Revenge exhibits some of the best level design in any Mega Man game. And although it would appear on the surface this is a case of "less is more," in truth Dr. Wily's Revenge is packed with ideas. One gets the impression that the quick and unpredictable buzzsaw blades or revolving scissor obstacles in Cut Man's stage would have been in the NES Mega Man if they'd only had more time. And Ice Man's stage, with falling icicles that must first be dodged and then used as platforms, is as clever as the original stage was irritating.

Another point in this game's favor is that it steals many of the best ideas from the NES Mega Man 2, both retrofitting them into the original stages and using them in new and interesting ways once you reach Dr. Wily's castle. The ember-flinging torches that illuminated the darkness in Quick Man's stage now have their proper home in Fire Man's stage. And Metal Man's drill bit-infested passageways now serve as tension-builders deep in Wily's fortress.

Wily's stages are nearly as difficult as in the original Mega Man, but so much more fun. The first stage is a lovingly-constructed playground for the Rolling Cutter, Thunder Beam, and Fire Storm. Particularly satisfying are the shielded Sniper Joes, which have no hope when the Rolling Cutter gives them the reach-around, and the aformentioned drill bit passages, where the Fire Storm keeps you safe and yields all the items you could ever want.

Even the disappearing blocks have found a good home -- in Wily's final orbital station, where such extended feats of platforming skill and memorization belong. By this point you've earned a handful of weapons from NES Mega Man 2's bosses, although why Mega Man needs to get equipped with two boomerangs and two fire weapons is a matter of debate. A unique mirror-wielding Robot Master, Enker, was added alongside the eight oldies -- a trend in the Game Boy series that would continue until the fifth game's completely original ensemble.

Those bouncing, seeking, sonofabitch buzzsaw blades return throughout the Wily stages and at the final boss. If the famous multidirectional rotary Metal Blade weapon from Mega Man 2 is the best weapon in the series, perhaps it is ironic that Mega Man's single toughest stage adversary is itself a buzzsaw blade. And when the worst thing you can say about a Mega Man game is "damn it, I wish I had the Metal Blade," you know you're playing a classic.

It bears repeating that Dr. Wily's Revenge is fairly brutal, as all good revenge ought to be. So make sure to bring your best game to the table -- otherwise you'll want an easier starting point to hone your skills.