A Critical Look at Mega Man 6 Stages: Wind Man

Pandeeta here will be familiar if you remember the gachapon machine from Mega Man 4. It fires arcing shots most of the time, and switches to straight shots when Mega Man gets close. So close, in fact, that if you ever see these you're probably getting hit by them. The second one can give us a little more trouble, as players need to jump close to it to attack, though the Jet Armor can handle it.

The Twin Roader in the next room gives us another familiar setup, moving forward down a few steps as we enter the screen. Simple enough so far.

Pandeeta again. Normally having a ladder in front of an enemy like this is an advantage, as we can shoot from it to avoid forward shots. Pandeeta won't fire straight from here though, and the arcing shots make the ladder the most dangerous place to be, so this is a good position for it. There's also a health pickup behind a breakable brick, which isn't very useful this early in the stage unless this Pandeeta gives someone a lot of trouble.

The next room is much more interesting. The fans on the floor push Mega Man upward based on his current velocity, so a player can easily hit the ceiling by jumping into their range, but will only be slowed if already falling. We'll need to learn how to use them to fight the out-of-reach Cannopeller, which launches large shots in a slight downward arc that explode against the wall. We can destroy the projectiles, and a single well-placed charge shot will finish it.

The new Cyber Gabyoall is a little harder to predict than its predecessors, as it jets toward Mega Man when at the same height, but can only do so for a short period before slowing down again, meaning it can stop at a bad time. The Power Armor can destroy these outright, giving us easier access to yet another large health item.

Now we're getting into the meat of this gimmick. We need to navigate multiple fans and Gabyoalls while fighting a couple Cannopellers along the way, and the last Gabyoall works as a nice distraction from the spikes waiting to kill anyone who jumps too high over the last couple of fans. Luckily, the Cannopellers are low enough to be destroyable without using the fans, and we can also stand on the edge of a fan as a safe spot. Both armors make this much easier, and by this game's standards it's a tough challenge for normal Mega Man.

Here we see the other new trick for this stage. These platforms rotate to the other side when stood upon, meaning we can use each one twice while moving across. It's a shame the E Tank requires the Jet Armor to get to, as any previous game would have given the player a slightly tougher platforming challenge instead.

One thing I appreciate about this area, though, is that the platforms are spaced just close enough that the whole thing can be done without waiting for them to switch, giving cocky players a faster option. It's also nice that a fan was included here, since I like to see these gimmicks mixed up a little.

My memory is slipping after so many games, but I think having to slide under a Gabyoall is a new one. It's neat that Jet Armor can bypass it I guess, but it's not exactly something that needs to be bypassed, nor is the threat of doing it a second time going to scare any players away from that extra life, unless they're also just sick of picking up health items by now.

Also, more pandas. The spikes would be threatening if someone tried to jump down to attack the second one, but they can easily be taken out with charge shots.

There have been a few cases in previous games where we could take out a big stompy guy from complete safety, but hiding in a doorway is a fun new way to do it. The Twin Roaders appear on stairs again, but as each takes three hits and we drop into the room from above, they have a much better chance at catching someone off guard this time.

Next up is... more pandas... again. The fans make it a slightly different situation, but we've already been through much worse with them, and the one panda we would have to fight from the fans can be easily bypassed by climbing up the ladder immediately. Of course, we have to end with one more large health item because once this stage starts doing a thing it just doesn't stop.

So... that was it. Pandas. Nine pandas, to be exact, taking up nearly half the stage. It's a shame, because the fans and flipping platforms were neat, and the fans even had a really strong section right after their introduction, but it feels like the designer just didn't know what to do after that. One more good use of the flipping platforms and a couple more unique enemies would have nailed it, but instead... pandas.

Also, four large health items and four small ones, totaling 48 restored health points, of which Mega Man only has 28. I get that not all of them are reachable by normal Mega Man, but that has got to be the most I've seen in a stage.