A Critical Look at Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge Stages: Dr. Wily Stage 1

Having completed the main stages, the Carry item appears in the player's inventory. With no indication that this has happened, it's good that the first screen gives us a reason to check it out, since we have no other way of getting up there.

Carry creates a platform that stays in place for a while, draining energy as it does so. We're unable to create another until it disappears, but the slow drain means that we can use less energy by leaving the screen quickly. A nice trick to this room is the ability to place it carefully between the two items and grab both before it vanishes.

Suzy actually works well here, with the upper one unreachable by regular shots, making us choose between killing it with special weapons first or avoiding it while using Carry.

The game quickly reverts the progress it just made, filling yet another room with Suzys to blast through. This Sniper Joe fight is baffling as well, with the fans acting more in our favor than his. The Big Eye gets a more beneficial room, but is less of a hassle now that we have the necessary firepower to deal with it.

Mole was never an exciting thing to fight, but this area is short enough to refill Carry (assuming a new player wasted a bunch while learning it in the first room) without overstaying its welcome.

This is where Carry's best quality shows itself. Mega Man instantly creates the platforms below him, finally giving players a way to save themselves from a bad fall, and the designers took this as free license to make falling areas that would be wildly unfair on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

That inviting gap between the energy refills leads to death, and choosing the wrong side leads to a hit avoidable only with Carry. Having to fall through a timed trap while the platform you're standing on is about to vanish is a neat situation, but the presentation feels more pointlessly mean than thoughtfully crafted.

On the next screen, we find that the left side has its own problems, with a Changkey Maker taking up all the space we might have landed on. Using Carry above it takes precise timing, and its projectiles can be dangerous from below or across the room. If a new player managed to make it through all that safely, they're almost certain to need Carry on the screen below.

That Joe looks normal at first, but jumping will cause it to jump too, and it backs off if you run forward, potentially finding some allies if you let it live that long. Its shield doesn't work in the air, making this a short and frantic fight. Its a shame we didn't see more Joes this active later in the NES series.

Nothing here we haven't dealt with before.

The Mets get an upgrade here as well, switching to the walking versions. This particular setup shows just how dangerous that spread can be, while the next room offers some rewards for making an awkward jump through an electric trap. The energy refill is a bit tougher to get, since we need to use the middle platform to hop back out.

Players hopefully used that energy for Carry, because we're forced to use it once here, and can get a lot more refills by using it twice in the next screen. The next drop is a little more forgiving, which is a strange choice considering that the previous screen like this was earlier in the level where players would be less used to Carry, and the design of this area leads players to the left more easily than the Changkey Maker screen.

This is another good way to mix electricity and fans, providing a challenge for those who want to do it normally, and an opportunity to use Carry after the initial jump to avoid the fan. The next enemies add some variety, and Pipi is another good source of energy refills...

...which makes this section completely pointless. There was no need for two Mole tunnels in one stage, and this one is twice as long.

This extra life is our final test with Carry. As far as I can tell, Mega Man is a pixel or two away from being able to reach this with one Carry, so the player will need to jump and make another just as the first disappears. An excellent decision on the designers' part to make Carry stop rotating for a moment before it does so makes this easier than it sounds. It's a better indicator than sprite flicker, given how much of that goes on normally anyway.

The final drop leads to something nobody should have expected to see this early, but its appearance here means we can now cover the game's bosses... next time.