A Critical Look at Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge Stages: Elec Man

Right away, we're introduced to a new hazard. This fan only blows Mega Man backward in the line in front of it, so we can jump to get through faster. An easy enemy on the platform above would have made this matter more and filled out the room, but for the first screen, this'll do.

Vanishing blocks return, and this area eases us into them well. There's no trick to it beyond the third platform being below and behind the first, and we can even reach the third right away if we wait. Jumping from the second to the fourth is less viable than it would have been in most of the Nintendo Entertainment System games, as there's a longer pause between a previous block vanishing and a new one appearing.

These electric traps act just as they did in the first game, but that tiny platform between the ladders makes the first jump much harder than necessary, particularly since missing it will send Mega Man into the spikes below.

This is another good use of these blocks. The room asks us to deal with the classic trap of one appearing over Mega Man's head, but the first and last appear together for just long enough to hop across, giving us a choice of timing challenges to attempt. Failure here is also more likely to lead to a safe drop than not.

The next electric trap is a little easier than the first, but this room is also more dangerous to fall into from above. Three blocks are spaced between us and the ladder, but only one will be out at a time. We only need the first two, but the interval between them is long enough to make the timing tricky, and we have a fan to deal with as well.

As is so often the case, all of these Suzys can be shot without putting Mega Man in danger, and a player would have to be very impatient to get hit by them. Kaminari Goro returns, throwing bolts straight forward and generally being a little easier to deal with than the Mega Man 2 version. There's no tricks to this encounter like one moving behind you, just three in a row between here and the ladder.

Suzy is still wasting our time, but the vanishing blocks appear in yet another unique setup. Here, we only need to wait for one to appear that we can jump from to reach the ladder, and any of the four choices will do except the one closest to our side.

The next two rooms are easy filler, and while they introduce foreground clouds, nothing of interest is done with them in this stage. Next up is our true test of stage hazards, with the player forced to time a jump through the electricity, then stay on a small platform in front of a fan until it's safe to move again.

With the Mets' shots being faster and closer together, taking them out immediately is important. They give us more time to do this than most NES variants, so this screen isn't as tough as it looks. Neither the Suzys or vanishing platforms offer us any trouble in the following room, but the electric traps on the ladder should be a familiar problem.

Since this game seems stuck on the idea of falling to the boss doors now, this dangerous ladder climb now leads to one last segment, starting with a Big Eye. This time we have a good shot at fighting it, as we have the full length of the screen to work with and a ladder for escaping if needed.

The stage winds down with two final Mets, serving as an opportunity to find healing items before the boss fight.

The best qualities of this stage are in the way it mixes up our encounters with its hazards. Each set of electric traps and vanishing blocks is unique, except for one repeat on the final climb, and the fans mix well with both. Goro serves as an interesting break in the middle, and the Big Eye fight is a good follow up to the long climb.

There are two points of unnecessary difficulty, one being the first jump through an electric trap, and the other the long fall we're likely to take while learning the timing on the platforms in front of the fan. Both of these would have been acceptable had they not led to death or a chance of losing multiple screens of progress.

Unfortunately, this stage is littered with Suzys, and none of them are used as anything more than filler. This one has enough content to be decent despite that, but it's a shame to see a second game make the same mistakes with those things.