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Game Hints and Tips: Rockman 2

Rockman 2: In this game, Dr. Wily introduces his own eight Robot Masters. Taking place some time soon after Rockman 1, the sequel begins with a view of Tokyo and its mountainous backdrop at night. In the foreground, we see a large building. As the prologue unfolds, the angle pans up the building until we see Rockman standing on top, helmetless.
So begins the second Rockman game. By far the easiest of all Rockman games, it is also one of the most fun, mostly because of its bouncy music, its ending, and the graphics.
Robot Masters: There are eight of these this time (from now on, all Rockman games will feature eight Robot Masters). Once again, the order in which Rockman fights them--following the story-- and the order in which the player should fight them is different.
Rockman's order of defeating Wily's eight robots is as follows:

Metal Man
Air Man
Bubble Man
Quick Man
Crash Man
Flash Man
Heat Man
Wood Man

Although the Robot Masters can be beaten in almost any order with equal ease, the quickest way I've found is this:
Flash Man
Quick Man
Metal Man
Bubble Man
Heat Man
Wood Man
Air Man
Crash Man

The weapons obtained form each defeated Master listed above work in a cycle. In other words, you could start with any Robot Master and go through the list in this order and the weapons you acquired would work well on the next Master. However, the way in which I usually go is this:
Flash Man
Metal Man
Wood Man
Bubble Man
Air Man
Crash Man
Heat Man
Quick Man

Once again, I would like to stress that the order is not nearly as important in this game as it is in the other Rockman games.

Special Features/Tricks
Rockman 2 has a few special tricks and features.
First of all, it is the first Rockman game to introduce a password system which will allow the player to essentially "save" his or her game and come back later to continue from the same point. Note: The furthest level that any of the passwords in the Rockman games will ever take you is to the first stage of Dr. Wily's castle--and often not evne that far. The only exception I have found is Rockman 7.
In this game, Energy Tanks are first introduced. Very useful and often life-saving, Energy Tanks allow the player to recharge Rockman's life back to full. Rockman can only carry 4 Energy Tanks in Rockman 2.
Also, in the American version, this is the only NES Megaman game to feature a difficulty setting. On the Easy setting, the game is a breeze. On the difficult setting, it's about comparable to the other Rockman games. The only difference between Difficult and Easy is that monsters in general take more hits to destroy on Difficult than on Easy. Also, some robots react differently to getting shot; the rolling hermit crabs on Bubble Man's stage and the stacked barrel robots on Metal and Crash Man's stages are two examples. On the Japanese Rockman 2 the game is always on difficult.
Finally, the trick: although this game doesn't feature an on-screen pause like Rockman 1, and thus doesn't allow the player to do multiplied damage with a single shot, it offers another quirk. You can pause using the Start button--when you do so, you bring up your weapons subscreen.
No, that's not the trick. The trick is that when you rematerialize after pausing, you are invulnerable in your vertical "teleport" mode. This means that if you are about to get hit with a bullet (or whatever) pase right before the bullet hits you. When you resume the game, the bullet should pass right through your insubstantial form! This only works for about half a second after you have resumed play.
Also, if you hold down the B button after selecting a Robot Master on the Stage Select screen, the moving stars in the background will turn into birds!
One thing about Rockman 2 that annoys me is that the weapons you take from your enemies always turn out worse than their version, which is a change from Rockman 1, whenyour replicated weapons were virtually identical to the vanquished Robot Masters'. This unfortunantly begins a trend of giving you weapons that are worse than the original that is not broken for several games.

Enemy Tips

Flash Man
Weapon
: Flash Stopper
Strategy: Easy--Flash Man will just run back and forth across the room, making short litle leaps. From time to time, he'll activate his Flash Stopper and fire a round of plasma charges at Rockman. Just keep hitting him with your normal plasma (Metal Blades work really well when you see him again). His biggest strength is his terrain. Once you defeat Flash Man, you will not only acquire his weapon, but an item, from Dr. Light--Item 3--which is a wall-crawling vertical transport platform.

Quick Man
Weapon
: Quick Boomerang
Strategy: The biggest pain in his level is the multitude of death rays. I'm not sure if they're supposed to be lasers or fires streams (their reappearance in Rockman 7 on the SNES makes me think they're probably supposed to be fire), but they blast from the sides of the screen, moving down from the top. If you get hit by one, you're dead. Luckily, you have the Flash Stopper, so you can freeze time and get through the screens. Warning: don't use the Flash Stopper the first time these flame walls appear: wait until after you go through the midpoint where the lights fade on and off.
Quick Man himself can be half-defeated simply by activating the Flash Stopper. Once that's done, Rockman can easily finish him off with a few plasma bursts.

Metal Man
Weapon
: Metal Blades
Strategy: Metal Man pretty much mirrors Rockman's moves: jumping when you jump, firing when you fire, etc. Once in a while, for lack of something better to do, he'll toss a few blades at you without provocation. Watch out: whenever the screen flashes, that means that Metal Man has switched the direction of the conveyer belt's motion. Once you defeat him, you'll get the coveted Metal Blades, which is the most useful weapon in the game.

Bubble Man
Weapon
: Bubble Lead
Strategy: The most difficul aspect of Bubble Man is his level. At the beginning is a row of blocks which fall after you have stepped on them. Be careful to get across the chasm they bridge quickly, or you'll end up following them! Also, Bubble Man has an obsession with multipointed spikes; they line the ceiling of every part of his level (where there is a ceiling). One touch an you're dead, so be careful.
Bubble Man himself is rather a pathetic excuse for a Robot Master: his one strength is his room. If you jump too high, you'll hit the spikes (remember that in Rockman 2--unlike Rockman 1--being nuderwater mysteriously makes you jump higher. This is another aspect first introduced in this game that continues throughout the rest of them.) Bubble Man himself will merely leap around dropping bubbles and firing a few plasma shots for variety. Remember, teh Metal Blades can be fired straight up, so you can hit him while he's in the air without risking hitting the deadly ceiling.

Heat Man
Weapon
: Atomic Fire
Strategy: One thing about Heat Man's level deserves mention. Near the end is a huge chasm bridged by those insanely annoying disappearing blocks that were introduced on Iceman's stage in Rockman 1. It is not impossible to cross this gap without Item 2, but it is difficult. My suggestion is to defeat Air Man before you come here.

The main difference between Heat Man and Fireman is that Heat Man's weapon isn't as dangerous. However, he can blast across the room in a streak of gold, doing a bit of damage. Just use the Bubble Lead against him and he'll be even easier to kill than Bubble Man! Defeating Heat Man will earn you the Atomic Fire and Item 1--another vertical transport platform. However, this one--unlike Item 3--needs no wall to climb in order to go up. It is moved by a propellor on its underside.

Note: Heat Man's weapon, other than the Mega Buster, is the only one in any of the NES Rockman games that can be charged by holding down the B button.

Wood Man
Weapon
:Leaf Shield
Strategy: Wood Man's wepaon is the first in a long line of shields. From now on, every Rockman game except for 3 will have a rotating circular shield that protects Rockman from damage. Wood Man himself is invulnerable while he is cloaked in his shield, unless you use a Crash Bomb. Once his shield is gone, Metal Blades or Atomic Fire work well agianst him.

Air Man
Weapon
: Air Shooter
Strategy: Oooh, scary name for a weapon. Well, don't scoff. The Air Shooter (in Air Man's use, at least) is an effective weapon. It blows you back a ways, making movement difficult. Just get up close to Air Man and use the Leaf Shield a few times, and this Robot Master (one of the few who has no neck) is history. Defeating Air Man will earn you his Air Shooter (worthless, except against Crash Man) and Item 2--a jet-sled which is revived later as the Rush Jet Adaptor.

Crash Man
Weapon
: Crash Bombs
Strategy: Don't be fooled--although he's a piece of cake to kill with the Air Shooter (at most, 4 hits) you're in for a load of trouble if you came with only your plasma buster. Mostly, he'll jump and throw time-bombs down at you. Be careful of him.

Skull Castle!
This time, Dr. Wily has the castle divided up into 6 levels. As usual, each on is guarded by some sort of robotic maniac. Note: I don't know the real names of these guardians, so I just have my own.

First Guardian:
Dragon Mech

Strategy: Get on the top block on on the right side of the screen when it finally stops scrolling right. Switch to Quick Boomerang and hit the dragon repeatedly in the eyes. His first shot will knock you off the block and onto a lower one. Get back up onto the top block and hit hit him again--you should be invincible for a short time.

Second Guardian
the Moving Boxes of Death

Strategy: This is one of the weirdest enemies I've seen in a Rockman game: basically, you fall into a room from the ceiling. Soon, pieces of the wall detach themsleves in box shapes and attack Rockman. Just use the Metal Blades to knock them out of the air.

Third Guardian
the Guts-Dozer

Strategy: Okay, so I lied--I do know the real name for this one. Basically, he's a lot easier to kill than he looks. Just run right up and jump on his treads and fire the Quick Boomerang at his eyes (why is it that that seems to be the only vulnerable spot on a lot of Rockman enemies?) If you give it a chance, the Guts Dozer will do this cool thing where it moves its gargantuan fists and spits out a metool (those little hard-hat guys).

Fourth Guardian
Super Cannons
Strategy
: Come to these guys with at least 2 lives; it's very difficult to kill them in one life. Here's the deal. There are impenetrable shields guarding each one of the Super Cannons. Take these out with the Crash Bombs first--then die. Yes, die. You see, the only weapon which can hurt the Plasma Cannons is also the Crash Bomb, and you will be too low on energy to finish them off in one life. The answer--on your next life, refill your Crash Bomb weapon energy and return to the Super Cannons' room. This time, if you blew up all the shields, they'll remain gone. Now you can spend your energy on wasting the cannons!
Of course, you can use the Items to scale the shields and kill the Super Cannons without dying. If you do so, be aware that you can only use the Crash Bombs to destroy 2 shields or you'll run out of weapons energy.

Stage Five: the Teleport Room

In all Rockman games from now on, Dr. Wily's castle will feature a teleport room in which you must defeat each of the Robot Masters again. Here's the layout for which hatch leads to which Master.

. . .. . .
. . . . . . . . .

Dr. Wily
First Form
: Dr. Wily's first armored mecha looks sort of like a pinkish-purple steel Nike. All you need to do is hit him a few times with the Crash Bombs or Metal Blades and his armor will go to pieces.
Second Form: Inside the armored mecha is a smaller vehicle in which you can see Dr. Wily himself. Once again, Crash Bombs and/or Metal Blades work well. Once you've defeated him, the floor will explode, dropping you into the dungeon and final stage.


Third Form: This is Wily's weirdest form! At first glance, it appears that Dr. Wily turns into a green-skinned alien with pulsating red innards. Don't be fooled--although the background creates the illusion of motion, the alien moves in a figure 8 pattern an dis easily dispatched using the Bubble Lead. Once again, the weapon which turns Rockman gray and white is the one that destroys Wily in the end. This game also starts an annoying pattern of making the least practical and most useless weapon the one that destroys Wily.

Ending

Warning: don't read this if you want to find out the endng for yourself!
Gee, it turns out that the alien you saw wasn't Dr. Wily at all--just a holographic illusion being controlled by the good Doctor from a booth on the side of the screen! Once the holographic projector breaks down, Dr. Wily will perform his amazing "leap out of the burning mess and beg for mercy while bowing down" trick. It's great.
This is my favorite Rockman ending. Partly, it's because of the sentimentality--it was the first Rockman ending (or any game ending for that matter) that I ever saw. Still, it's cool.
On the right side of the screen, Rockman trudges through all sorts of different weather, while on the left side, a framed picture of a valley (near Rockman's house) is shown while the seasons progress. Rockman changes his armor's colors to accord with the weather and his mood (for those of you who don't think Rock has emotions--hah!) "Autumn" finds Rockman walking amidst falling crimson leaves in his Atomic Fire armor. In the "Spring" scene, Quick-Boomerang blossoms fall while Rockman wears his Quick-Boomerang armor. In the "Summer" scene, rain falls on Rockman as he wears his Air Shooter armor.
Finally, Rockman stops and gazes into the sky of a sunny spring (I think) day. Then the scene expands to show his abandoned helmet lying on the grass of a peaceful field. This is my favorite ending partly because there are no words leaving you free to make up your own story, and partly because of the "human" side of Rockman that is protrayed--the side that hates fighting and would rather be out walking in the fields than holding the responsibility of the world in his hands.
Okay, so maybe that's reading a little too much into it. (I can see you rolling your eyes out there!)
Overall, this is a cool game, and a worthy addition to the Rockman series.

Ratings:
Game Play
: 7
Graphics: 6
Ending: 9
Difficulty: 4(American/easy setting)/7(Japanese/difficult setting)

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