Dr. Wily's castle begins with a straightforward run through projectiles and fast enemies. This pairing works great to frantically shoot through, and using a turret with destroyable projectiles here lets us enjoy taking everything out with Junk Shield.
The notable detail here is the purple platform in front of Mega Man in the first image, which is solid, but could be seen as part of the foreground. While not a serious problem, mistaking this for something we can run through will set us up to take damage from the falling shots. At least the Frisk Cannon's placement helps clue players in.
We've seen this type of pit-enemy setup plenty of times now. As is often the case, one of the holes (the one behind Mega Man in the last image) is empty. Keeping Junk Shield on trivializes this, though that might as well be a given statement by now.
Here we have the new gimmick for this stage. These platforms spin when on the threaded parts of the track, dumping us off. In addition, standing on one turns out the lights. We need to continuously jump to see, which can easily throw off a player's timing when avoiding the gaps. This room is safe, giving us a chance to get used to it, and we have the option to skip it entirely with Rush.
The light mechanic is expanded on here, with the entire floor turning them off when we touch it. Delupipi is harder to avoid when we're not sure of the terrain, and Boufooh takes further advantage of our confusion by trying to pull Mega Man into the pit here. Some heavier firepower is useful to get rid of them quickly.
We're not pushed too hard here, with no Boufoohs near the last pit and a chance to collect some items. Trio's placement by the ladder is excellent. The ladder extends downward further to give us more reaction time compared to similar setups in previous games, the spikes make the player nervous to drop down, and Trio's head can make dropping more difficult if we let it jump down from its platform.
This is where the moving platforms get serious. Every surface turns the lights off, and Tripropellan's shots further encourage frequent jumping. The added distraction makes it that much tougher to watch for the gaps, and there's a lot of extra rail and unneeded platforms to further confuse things.
The correct jumps are simple to make at first, until that last platform. We have a small window to jump after it passes the first gap (shown in the last image), then we have a Tipropellan to shoot at as we cross another gap, and failing to destroy it quickly gives it a chance to shoot us as we ride next to it, with the hitstun possibly causing a fall. Luckily, the platform will catch us again if we're standing on it as it crosses the third gap.
This is still very dangerous, as a player will probably be holding right and attempting to jump, and the small drop will still cancel the jump. If anything, this is where Beat, the Super Mega Man Adaptor, and even Proto Man's shield are most helpful so far.
While this vertical area looks complicated, it's much easier to deal with. Gobots is less of a threat, and we only need to make two major jumps here; once to avoid the small gap above the spikes, and again to make it over a larger gap to the ladder. We can choose the platform to either side for the second gap, though it's easier to reach the ladder from the right.
This E-Tank is devious. We need one of our other tools for gaining height, as Rush Coil will send us into the spikes.
Bass confronts us here, showing us his strength by firing a shot that passes safely over Mega Man's head if we don't move.
He has a simple strategy of jump and shooting, occasionally pausing to prepare a charge shot. The staggered floor makes him tough to avoid, and our weapons deal two damage or less. However, if we found the Super Mega Man Adapter, it can hit for six damage, trivializing the fight. Without it, this is a direct shootout with less of a clear pattern to find, as Proto Man had.
Roaches aren't much of a final gauntlet, but we at least get the chance to take out two of their houses in one shot with Scorch Wheel.
Guts Man's upgrade is complete, giving us one of the toughest boss fights we've faced so far. He can only be damaged in the head, is immune to most of our weapons, and only takes two damage from the Super Adapter's charge shot, which can't home in on him anyway.
He has two attacks, but both will seem unfairly difficult without a lot of practice. For the first, he'll slam into the floor to make a large rock fall. The slam does not affect our movement, but he follows by ramming the rock into the opposite wall, and there is very little room to jump over it. As he does this, the ceiling will start to collapse until it reaches the height shown here, giving us less time to see the rocks coming.
The Adapter makes itself useful here mainly for jumping over this, as we won't need to slide in this fight. The only comfort here is that the rocks don't drop against the far wall.
Guts Man G's second move is to rush forward. We can slow him down with normal shots, but we barely have time to stop him before he can grab us, throwing us into the ceiling for high damage. Jumping will avoid the grab, but he'll still dash into the wall to deal collision damage. It's possible to jump over him on the way over and back with the Super Mega Man Adapter.
His weakness, technically, is Slash Claw. It deals two damage directly, but if we can hit a rock with it before he does, it'll slide into him instead for four. This is almost as hard to do as jumping over it, unless it falls next to us, but at least the Claw will destroy the rock regardless.
The light mechanic is a neat idea, and is spread across a good progression through the stage. Aside from the odd Gockroach hallway, the enemies here felt appropriate for their areas, with a simple high-action segment to start with, and good pairings with the stage obstacles. The moving platforms get a little tough at the end of the horizontal segment, but it's nothing a player shouldn't be able to handle by now.
The real problem here is that the stage contains two boss fights, the latter of which is likely to cause new players a lot of problems. Knowing the weakness is only half the battle, as getting close for hits with the Slash Claw will be dangerous. Bass is a simple fight with the Super Mega Man Adapter, but without it, player's are likely to get frustrated having to do this again after losing to Guts Man G.