While we don't have our full inventory yet, we've reached the Wily stages, and that means it's time to check out our weapons.
The utility of this one hasn't changed much, being useful against enemies slightly above or below, and the best choice for raw damage. Its range has been greatly reduced, but in this game's more confined screen area, it's still enough to get the job done. Attempting to use this at the end of Ice Man's stage is particularly fun, as we can kill Sniper Joe and Scworms in one hit, but need to slide dangerously close to the edge to do so.
This is also just as useful as before, dealing acceptable damage with the fireball, but adding much more with the shield when close to enemies. While the Cutter is a little stronger, this is good for a wider variety of situations.
Bunby is an exception though. While the shield would seem like a good idea against them, the barrier tends to be in the wrong place when jumping and firing at them, leading to a hit.
This one isn't as helpful as it used to be, compared to our other options. The arc of the horizontal shot causes it to miss low enemies often, and its damage is random enough to make it unreliable. The best trait it has is the area it covers, and this game hasn't thrown much at us yet that another weapon couldn't handle better. The shot is slow enough to take out a series of Bunbys as we follow it, but it's not much better than jumping and shooting randomly with the Mega Buster.
The star of the show. As before, this is able to freeze an enemy, then Mega Man can switch to another weapon to destroy them. Being able to do this against Big Eye, Joe, or Changkey Maker trivializes some of the toughest parts of this game, and except for electricity, it can freeze the game's moving traps as well. Using this against Changkey Maker is also the only way to get rid of it before it attacks.
Unfortunately, it's less helpful against fire than it used to be. Freezing a flame pillar on our level or a falling Changkey in a spot where we can safely jump it requires better timing than avoiding it in the first place. The only vertical flame this helps against is the one slightly above where we stand, which can be frozen before it appears. Aside from reaching the large health, being able to stand on a flame is of little use to us, compared to the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Fire Man's stage.
As with their original versions, this is a fine collection of weapons. With less room in front of us to attack from a distance and the reduced fire rate, being able to deal heavier damage quickly is a powerful upgrade. Any one of them can carry a player through a stage, making the game much easier once we can beat at least one boss.
While other games in the series have done some interesting things with more situational weapons, it's best that any stage the player completes give them an advantage here, considering this game's higher difficulty and excessive number of strong enemies.