A Critical Look at Mega Man Stages: Dr. Wily Stage 4

At long last, we reach Wily Stage 4.

Nothing new to see here, move along.

You could just move the bottom block to get through here, but you can also get the energy with the Magnet Beam or by making an awkward jump to lift the top block. You'll be rewarded later for saving that beam energy.

I like the enemy placement here. Normally electricity or fire is the best choice if you need a special weapon, but the enemies here are at just the right angle for blades to hit them easily. The Guts Men under construction are an interesting touch, though I have to wonder what happened to all of them since this is never relevant to the game.

This is a tough one; you'll need to jump from the overhanging edge of the platform, then jump back on as it passes. That second part requires almost pixel-perfect precision.

It's tempting to jump for that extra life right away, but if you wait a moment you can grab the item next to it which refills all of your health and weapon energy. If you got the life first and didn't have any Magnet Beam left, you'll have to wait for the lift to return or jump back to it quick. Once you get the other item you'll be able to magnet your way back to the ladder easily. The teleporter here starts off a gauntlet against the remaining four bosses.

First up is Bomb Man. He moves only by jumping at various heights, and throws bombs that explode when they touch the ground. He's another extremely easy one to start with, as Mega Man can jump higher than the explosions, so simply shooting and jumping whenever a bomb is near your feet is enough to take him out. He takes two damage from normal shots and four from fire. Again, I like easy bosses to at least seem intimidating, and the explosions will certainly throw players off at first.

OH GOD FIRE! FIRE EVERYWHERE! Fire Man never leaves the ground and just spams projectiles continuously with no pattern that I've ever been able to figure out. To cap it off, each shot leaves a smaller flame on the spot where it passed under you. I have no idea how to fight this other than jumping around like a lunatic and trying to win the damage race. He takes two damage from buster shots and four from ice.

Ice Man fires shots in bursts of three, which you'll have to avoid by jumping between them. He'll move back and forth but never moves to the other side, so those shots are all you need to deal with. He speeds up as the fight progresses, but otherwise that's all there is to it. Those shots hurt though, taking all but two points from what I have remaining there. He only takes one damage from normal shots and four from bombs, but electricity destroys him in three hits, so you basically get a freebie here. You'll need to be careful though, as projectiles can still hit after the boss dies.

Guts Man jumps around the room at random. He makes the ground shake when he lands, and if you're on the ground you'll be stunned. Sometimes he summons a brick from the ceiling and throws it at you. Though it's a simple pattern to understand, it can be very difficult to deal with in practice. There's a small window for avoiding being stunned, and very little room to dodge if he gets close with a block. He also has no qualms about pressing you against the wall, and getting under him is tricky since you don't know where he's going to jump.

It's a reasonably difficult fight without being too unfair. Normal shots and fire deal two damage, while three bombs can kill him. This can be a hard choice, since bombs are tricky to hit with.

The only thing beyond those fights is a large energy refill and the door to Wily himself.

Wily's machine fires shots in an arc at your current position. That's it. You need to shoot the gun itself, which takes damage like normal enemies do, meaning you can kill him as quickly as you can pump shots into him. Fire can take him down in about a second, after which parts of the machine fly off.

The second form also has one projectile, which moves in a circular pattern counter-clockwise while also moving downward toward wherever you are (look up a YouTube video of the fight if that didn't make sense). This would normally be tricky to dodge, but if you're standing where I am, every shot will circle overhead. Flame won't do much anymore, but blades still take him down fast.

So that's it. The whole first game. I'll save my final thoughts for next time, but what do the rest of you think of it? Does it still hold up on its own despite its flaws, or is it just a rough start to an otherwise fantastic series?