A Critical Look at Mega Man 5 Stages: Crystal Man

Crystal Man's Stage and Music mm5crystal_01

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Pukapucker is our first new enemy of the stage. Shooting the feet causes the head to bounce away in the direction it was facing, but taking out the head destroys both. The head is constantly moving and is thus more difficult to hit, which should put pressure on players to destroy it quickly. However, it's confined to a tight walking range so players can take their time with it, and the larger charge shot makes the point moot anyway.

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Camon simply moves forward and turns around when it hits something, and dies it one shot. It's essentially a faster and weaker Peterchy, and their placement here works fine as a wake-up call for the inattentive player.

The falling crystals are unique in gaming as far as I know, and seem deliberately designed to mess with players' expectations. In every other situation like this I've seen, the idea is to figure out what pattern the objects fall in and jump during the longer intervals. In this case, players have to jump immediately after a crystal falls, as there's enough time to make it during the short intervals. The occasional pause serves only to confuse those looking for a pattern, since to my knowledge there is none, or at least not one that could be memorized easily.

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Crystal Joe is just a slower and weaker Hammer Joe. They take a long time to charge, and not a single one can hit Mega Man unless the player jumps into their shots. After the mess of crystals and small platforms we just went through, this area has nothing to offer.

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Foojeen moves back and forth while shooting spreads of three rocks upward. This would be a problem to avoid while we ride the platform to the ladder, if we couldn't kill it from the ladder or charge shot it. We also meet New Shield Attacker here, but the only difference is two additional hit points and a new sprite.

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Bombier flies horizontally and drops a bomb once it's overhead. This is an odd choice for an area where we are falling, and there's an excellent chance for players to smack into one on the way down through no fault of their own. The next section includes a bafflingly easy to snag M Tank, and none of the enemies here can even reach us on the lower path.

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Following is a relatively simple spike drop, but we'll need to press against the left wall on the way down to get the "V" item. The Subiels here aren't too bad, as their numbers can catch a player off-guard and they're fun to dodge if you don't immediately charge shot them all.

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Lastly we have our new giant stompy guy, Power Muscler. At 13 hits he's pretty weak for this type, but he gives us little time to get those hits in and will move straight down once he's overhead, requiring a slide to dodge under. I much prefer this to the randomized jumps the others had, and this one can also be killed by staying on the upper platform.

I usually leave this as a passing comment at the end but... this stage is beautiful. Nearly every surface is animated, including ladders and boss doors, yet is done in a way that's less distracting than Flash or Gemini. The walls include areas that look like caves we can't access, there's a variety of colors to the background (the floor even gets some pink in it during the Joe area), and the large glass tubes in the distance make one wonder what the purpose of this place is.

Unfortunately, the other reason I bring the visuals up first is that there's very little to this stage worth mentioning. Pukapucker's movement mostly negates his gimmick, two of the three Mousubeils can't touch us, Bombier's placement is awful, and Crystal Joe serves only to waste our time. Camon and Shield Attacker are acceptable, but do nothing noteworthy.

The one thing I like is the falling crystals, simply because they're so maddening to figure out at first but can be moved through quickly afterward. However, it's weird that they'd put a bunch in the beginning with tiny platforms between them, then put only three more in the next area before they're never seen again.