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Mega Man II

For: iPhone

Between a Rockman and a hard place

Product: Mega Man II | Publisher: Capcom | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Mega Man II iPhone, thumbnail 1
Memories often have a way of making the past seem more glamorous than it actually was. The taste of sugary cereal was enough to get you bouncing off the walls as a kid, but it's mush in your mouth when you grow up.

Mega Man II proves the rule. This enduring classic astonishingly remains relevant enough to have any gaming adult bouncing off the walls. The harsh realities of porting to an unconventional device, however, devolve the game into an unplayable mush.

Series villain Dr Wily reprises his role in Mega Man II, reviving eight robot masters from the original Nintendo Entertainment System release to battle against Mega Man. As the titular hero, you're tasked with defeating all eight dudes from the air-headed Bubble Man to the lascivious Wood Man, whose ally Quick Man also goes down like a Flash Man.

Each robot master possesses his own level and unique power, both of which you must conquer using Mega Man's killer platform skills. Flash Man, for example, holds time in his hands, one-upping Time Man who can only slow things down. Others are more straightforward, such as Metal Man, whose sharp blades have more direct combat capacity.

Working through the game is a matter of taking on each robot master in his respective domain one-by-one. Side-scrolling levels have you jumping across tiny platforms, shooting up robotic foes, and confronting the man of the hour.

It's a basic formula, and one that has been popular enough to appear in dozens upon dozens of sequels in the franchise's two decades.

Such a simplistic design would work well here on iPhone were it not for the failure to deploy feasible controls. The game area is nestled within the facade of an arcade cabinet that fills the screen, a red-knobbed joystick situated on the left and two buttons at the right, labelled 'L' and 'R'. Tapping them instructs Mega Man to shoot and jump, respectively. Swiping your thumb across the joystick makes him move.

The problems with this scheme are obvious on sight: the joystick fails to provide an accurate means of moving Mega Man.

It's unreasonably finicky to the touch, the need for precise control ignored by its implementation. Hopping between pixels-wide platforms is a mega-frustrating endeavour as a result, complicated further by enemies that pressure you into moving through levels with haste.

Sliding a finger across a touchscreen is not an adequate substitute for a directional pad, a point completely lost in the rush to port Mega Man II. This was a difficult game without control foibles; now it's an infuriating revision to one of the series' most popular instalments.

This version is practically unplayable, the poor choice of controls ruining what otherwise had the potential for retro revival.
Mega Man II
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 1 April 2009
Shockingly bad controls render this iPhone port unplayable and tarnish the legacy of one of the most popular instalments of the Mega Man series
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