Time to look at one "cool" weapon within the arsenal from Mega Man 1, the Ice Slasher!
Damage Data: The numbers represent the amount of hits it takes to kill each enemy. If there is a zero, then the enemy isn't hurt by the weapon.
The Ice Slasher is obtained by defeating Ice Man, and is a utility weapon that fires a shard of ice that goes straight in front of Mega Man. Any enemies that are hit by the projectile are frozen in place for four seconds. While enemies are frozen Mega Man can switch to another weapon to kill the helpless enemy. You can only have one shot on the screen at a time, and each shot consumes one bar of energy, thus giving you 28 uses to a full bar of weapon energy.
The Ice Slasher has absolutely no killing potential on normal stage enemies, but the fact that you can switch weapons to kill an enemy that has been frozen in place more than makes up for it. One interesting thing to point out is that Gaboyalls aren't frozen by the Ice Slasher for the full four seconds, but are rather stunned by it for two seconds as if you hit it with the Mega Buster. This would suggest that Gabyoalls are the only stage enemy who are actually "hurt" by the weapon.
Another feature of the Ice Slasher is that it ignores enemy defenses, and because of that you can freeze Sniper Joes and Pickel Men through their shields. Metools, Mambus, and Blasters are also frozen inside of their protective shells. While these enemies are frozen, their shields no longer protect them, so you can shoot right through their defenses.
There is an exception, however, if you freeze a Sniper Joe or a Pickel Men while they're standing on the ground with their shield up, you'll have to wait a moment for them to lower their defense before you can damage them. Oddly enough, they'll lower their shields while frozen. If you freeze them in the air, though, you can shoot right through their shields.
Outside of enemies, the Ice Slasher can also freeze the vertical flame traps found in Fire Man's stage and Dr. Wily Stage 1. This allows Mega Man to get power ups that are out of reach, or to bypass an otherwise tricky situation. Just be sure to freeze the flame before it reaches its highest point, otherwise you won't be able to jump on top of it without getting on a higher platform first.
The best bosses to use Ice Slasher on are Fire Man and... well, that's about it. The Ice Slasher will also hurt Dr. Wily during his first phase, but for only one point of damage, and thus isn't worth using over something you can fire faster or would do more damage with.
So where would be the best place to use this weapon? Well, you could argue that it could be used anywhere since (with the exception of Gabyoalls) you can freeze every stage enemy. If you want to take minimal damage, you can try freezing everything and killing them before they have a chance to get you. However, freezing every enemy is inefficient and causes a lot of pausing to switch between weapons.
Often times you can easily go through most areas with minor enemies using a powerful weapon like the Thunder Beam or even the standard Mega Buster. The Ice Slasher does have a handful of areas where it can really shine, and the places where the Ice Slasher can be the most useful are...
On the Pickel Men in Guts Man's stage. These guys take 10 hits to kill with the Mega Buster, and while you're trying to kill them, they will throw a barrage of pick axes at you. Using the Ice Slasher will not only leave them open to be destroyed, but also save you the trouble of dodging their pick axes.
Sniper Joes are another very good choice, since as with the Pickel Men, they also take 10 hits to kill with the Mega Buster. Sniper Joes are only found in Bomb Man's Stage and can take awhile to kill since they tend to hold their shields up for awhile. When they lower their shields, it's only to fire at you. Using the Ice Slasher will make them drop their defense and allow you to destroy them without dodging their shots at the same time.
Further into Bomb Man's Stage, there is another good area to use Ice Slasher because the Killer Bullet(s) will constantly respawn as you try to work your way over to the ladder on the left. Destroying the Killer Bullet will only result in it respawning again, but freezing it will give you enough time to get up the ladder to the next area without it getting in your way.
Immediately after climbing the ladder mentioned in the previous area, you'll end up here. This is another great place to use Ice Slasher because, once again, this area has an enemy that will constantly respawn. You can use the Ice Slasher to freeze the Mambu as you work your way across the small platforms to reach the other side of the spike pit down below. Freezing the Mambu will also prevent it from respawning throughout the rest of this area.
Likewise, there is a similar situation in Dr. Wily Stage 1. You can freeze the Killer Bullet at the top of the screen and make your way to the ladder at the bottom without it potentially knocking you into the spikes as you cross through the middle section.
As mentioned before, you can use the Ice Slasher on any of the vertical flame traps if they tend to be troublesome for you. Again, just be sure not to freeze them when they are at their highest point, otherwise you won't be able to jump on top of them without jumping on to a higher platform first.
And last, but certainly not least, perhaps the very best use of Ice Slasher is to get past the Big Eyes that you'll come across throughout the game. These monstrous robots take 20 hits to kill with the Mega Buster and can do a lot of damage to Mega Man. With the Ice Slasher, however, you can freeze them when they jump into the air and run under them. This is especially helpful during the opening stretch of Dr. Wily Stage 1.
So where does the Ice Slasher slip and slide into place at when compared to the rest of the weapons from Mega Man 1? As a utility weapon, it's very good. The fact that it doesn't hurt any stage enemies isn't a big deal since you can switch weapons to kill the frozen enemies, but it could be a little more useful on bosses. None of the bosses (not even Fire Man) are frozen by the Ice Slasher, and only two in the whole game are even damaged by it. Even though it's very energy efficient and can immobilize all stage enemies, you're probably better off using other weapons for the majority of the stages and saving the Ice Slasher for the tougher, more durable enemies.
Overall, I would rate it as the third best weapon of the bunch. An excellent utility weapon for bypassing some of the most annoying enemies in the game.
Redmage 1987 is a member of The Mega Man Network's User Content Submission System, and the views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mega Man Network.