A Critical Look at Mega Man 5 Stages: Dr. Wily Stages 3 and 4

So here we are once again in the final stretch. Before we move on, let me draw your attention to this big empty room with one of the easiest enemies in the game sitting on the far side. It might have worked as a nice troll if there was a Bitter over there, but as it is, it just looks like they forgot to finish it.

The teleporter room is a little flashier this time, but the main difference here is that the bosses are all fought in their original rooms. Gyro Man's cloud might have had something to do with that decision, but Drill Man got to bring his dirt with him in the last game, so maybe they just thought the old way was too bland.

The Wily Press is very simple, as Wily's machines go. He moves back and forth, stops, and moves downward while the floor moves up. Only the top half of his sprite can be damaged, and while he's weak to Star Crash, it's easier to stick with charge shots. The player only needs to stay near the middle, and either slide to the side or jump the spike pit depending on which side Wily stops.

This is a little weak for a final boss, but we still have two more to go. The previous two games had a two-stage fight followed by a single battle, so if we compare this to only the first half of Wily Machines 3 and 4, it holds up well.

Wily Stage 4

Now here's an interesting predicament. We haven't met Dachone without a ledge between us before, and it will happily chase Mega Man back to the start if we let it. This imposes a time limit on what used to be a fairly easy enemy for its size, and its downward projectiles now have a chance to hit us.

One oddity about its behavior is that it won't start walking until we get close or fire at it (holding a charge also counts), which is more relevant here than its previous appearances. Twin Cannon also gets a small chance to hurt us here, as walking too close before firing will allow its shot to hit first.

With three attacks, this is the most active Wily Machine we've seen yet. It can fire bouncing balls at various arcs or fast homing missiles, or even try to suck us toward the machine itself. It can also move forward now and then during any of these. The balls tend to miss if Mega Man is standing still, but as Wily Machine 5 can only be hit in the mouth, they often get in the way while jumping to do so.

He also has a weakness to the Super Arrow, and if a player hasn't found a use for it by now, this is its time to shine. It can be used for more than just damage though, as it's able to stick to the back wall, giving us a way to escape his projectiles for a moment.

Wily Capsule Music

Wily's Capsule trades its ability to hide in the darkness for a more complex attack pattern, starting with a shot fired at the ground which splits, follows by a ring of projectiles that move outward and back in. Most of this can be avoided by staying near the center and running away when he appears, but there's little time to react if he appears directly overhead or near the ground.

Normal shots are effective this time, but he can also be hit with a variety of special weapons (but not Power Stone, oddly) for one damage, and the flash from Gravity Hold can show us where he's moved to early. He also takes two damage from Beat, allowing the player to focus on dodging and giving us one last reward for finding him. Another perk of using Beat is that if he locks onto Wily but doesn't catch him before he vanishes, he'll move to Wily's new position as soon as the ring of shots disappears.

I couldn't leave this without one more use of the Super Arrow, so here's a way to avoid a particularly nasty position. Somehow, being at the edge of the screen got Mega Man stuck in the arrow instead of standing on it.

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The series has clearly settled into a pattern at this point, with Wily fighting in a skull-themed robot followed by his teleporting capsule. While I liked his trickery in Mega Man 2 and his stolen giant robot in 3, this isn't a bad way to do things. Moving two fights to the end was also a good move, since the player has to fight the first one after dealing with the Robot Masters again.

Both the Machine and Capsule have more going on this time, even if the capsule is on the easy side, and throwing loose Dachones at us was better than what the last couple games were doing in these sections. The lack of free items is also fair, given that the fights are split more evenly and we don't need a special weapon to win. Not a bad end, overall.

I'm still not sure what to make of this one and I have a few more in-depth things I want to talk about before we move on to Mega Man 6, so the overview post will have to wait a little longer. Feel free to discuss it in the meantime.