Mega Man Zero 2
|Mega Man Zero 2|
North American cover art
Mega Man Zero 2, known in Japan as Rockman Zero 2 (ロックマンゼロ2, Rokkuman Zero Tsū?), is a video game developed by Inti Creates and published by Capcom for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) handheld game console. It is the second video game in the Mega Man Zero subseries of Mega Man video games. It was also released the same day in North America as Mega Man X7 was.
Mega Man Zero 2 follows the same basic format as its predecessor, Mega Man Zero, being a side-scrolling, platform action game. Once again, players take control of the Reploid known as Zero, and lead him through various levels in the battle against the forces of Neo Arcadia.
The controls are identical to that in the previous game, with players given the option to assign functions to the buttons they are most comfortable using. The weapons are also identical, with the exception of the Triple Rod, which has been replaced by the similar but somewhat more complex Chain Rod.
Cyber Elves are present in the game, and function in the same manner as they did in the previous game. However, unlike the first game, in which four specific Cyber Elves could be transformed into health-storing Sub-Tanks, two of the four Sub-Tanks are now hidden in various stages as collectible items, as they were in the previous series, while the remaining two must be unlocked using Cyber Elves.
While the first game in the series had the player select missions from a list, Mega Man Zero 2 returns to the traditional Stage Select option found in the Mega Man and Mega Man X games, although you can only select from four at a time. In addition, whereas Mega Man Zero had a large, interconnected world, none of the stages in this game are linked.
New features added to the game are Forms and EX Skills. Forms are unlocked by completing various tasks during a mission, such as destroying a set number of enemies with the Buster Shot. Forms alter Zero's abilities in various ways, such as increasing the power of certain weapons or making him more resilient. However, they also tend to decrease performance in other areas, such as lowering attack power for increased defense or removing special attacks of the Z-Saber to enhance the Buster Shot. EX Skills are unlocked if a player completes a mission with an A or S rank, allowing the player to give Zero's weapons the properties of the bosses he's defeated.
Players begin the game with the Buster Shot and the Z-Saber. After the introductory mission, Zero is granted the Shield Boomerang and the Chain Rod, which replaces the Triple Rod in the previous game. As with the previous game, the player can unlock new attacks and abilities for the weapons through repeated use. There are fewer upgrades in this game; the Z-Saber has a total of four upgrades, while the rest only have two.
- Buster Shot - Also known as the Z-Buster, this weapon is a pistol with long range, but weak attack power. Its two upgrades unlock the full charge potential while decreasing the charge time.
- Z-Saber - Zero's trademark and most versatile weapon, albeit also the one with the least range. Each upgrade adds a new technique.
- Shield Boomerang - A shield which will reflect or negate certain enemy attacks without harming Zero. When charged, it can be thrown as a weapon. Zero cannot dash when it is being used, unless he is wall-kicking. It can be leveled up two times, increasing its range each time.
- Chain Rod - Replacing the Triple Rod from the first game, the Chain Rod is a combination of a spear and grappling hook. It can be used to latch on to most walls and ceilings, which Zero can either drag himself to or swing from to cross over pits and other obstacles. It can also be used to drag crates and enemies closer to Zero, or into pits if applicable. Certain enemies can also have their weapons dragged out of their hands, making them easier to defeat. Its two upgrades unlock a spinning move similar to that of the Triple Rod.
Cyber Elves function in the same manner as the previous game, being single-use aids with either temporary or permanent effects on Zero or the game's levels. They are hidden throughout the game as well as dropped by enemies. The use of Cyber Elves penalizes the mission score. There are three types of Cyber Elves:
- Nurse - These are concerned with improving Zero's health, by increasing the life energy gauge or dropping life energy.
- Animal - These primarily concerned with improving Zero's abilities. They can help boost agility and some provide backup support during battle.
- Hacker - These are capable of rewriting Area and Mission data. Some are capable of cutting the level Boss' HP in half, others turn all enemies into Mettaurs or remove them entirely. There are some that can remove the danger of one-hit-kill zones such as spikes and lava permanently, or raise rank to A for one level.
While certain Elves can be used immediately, the larger Elves need to be fed crystals in order to be used. The cost for doing so is significantly less than it was in the previous game.
Although there is no longer a category specifically for the rare cyber-elf from the first megaman zero game, there are still some rare and powerful elves around the game. They also do not need to be found after beating the game, or find and raise the other elves.
This game introduces the concept of Forms, which can be earned by meeting certain criteria throughout the game, ranging from killing twenty enemies in a stage with a dashing slash technique to getting twenty-five energy capsules in one stage.
- Normal Form (Red) - Zero's default form, equipped at the start of the game. It has basic stats in all areas, offering no benefits or weaknesses. It uses the standard three-hit Z-Saber combo of "back, forward, overhead".
- Energy Form (Yellow) - This form causes enemies to drop energy capsules more often. The Buster Shot and Z-Saber get an attack boost, but speed is sacrificed. It is unlocked by collecting 35 energy capsules in a mission.
- X Form (Blue) - Based on X's buster-reliant fighting style in the Mega Man X series, the X form increases the firing rate and power of the Buster Shot, but reduces Zero's Z-Saber skills to the basic forward slash. It is unlocked by killing 50 enemies with the Buster Shot in a mission.
- Defense Form (Green) - The Defense From increases Zero's defense while decreasing the attack power of the Buster Shot, Z-Saber, and Chain Rod. The Shield Boomerang gets an attack boost. It is unlocked by killing 20 enemies in a mission with the Shield Boomerang.
- Erase Form (Pink) - The Erase Form allows the Shield Boomerang to nullify enemy shots (instead of causing them to rebound as the shield normally does), but like the X Form reduces Zero's saber skills to the basic forward Slash. The Z-Saber also erases enemy fire. It is unlocked by using the Shield Boomerang to rebound 30 shots back at enemies in a mission.
- Active Form (Orange) - This form increases Zero's speed while limiting his saber skills to a simple back slash. However, this form enables Zero to perform rolling attacks with the saber while jumping or dashing. The rolling attacks, while not very powerful, can strike multiple times. It is unlocked by killing 20 enemies with the Z-Saber's dashing slash attack in a mission.
- Power Form (Purple) - The power form increases Zero's attack while sacrificing some speed. This form also negates the three-hit Z Saber combo in favor of a single overhead slash. It is unlocked by pulling 30 objects (enemies or crates) with the Chain Rod in a mission.
- Rise Form (Silver) - The Rise form almost identical to Zero's base form, but alters the final slash of the in the Z-saber combo to a slightly faster rising slash. Zero is also given a speed boost. It is unlocked by killing 20 enemies with a jumping slash in a mission.
- Proto Form (Black) - A reference to Zero's black armor in the Megaman X series, this form has many similarities with the black armor's later renditions and boosts Zero's attack power but makes him take twice the normal damage from enemy attacks. New, compared to the attack and defense modifier, this armor locks his skills with every weapon at their basic level, and removes the charge ability for every weapon except the Shield Boomerang. It is unlocked by beating the game once then playing Hard Mode, where it is made into the player's default form and no additional forms can be unlocked.
- Ultimate Form (Maroon) - The Ultimate Form gives every benefit of the other forms without any of the drawbacks, being functionally identical to the Ultimate Mode in Mega Man Zero. As with the Ultimate Mode, this form allows the player to input simplistic, Street Fighter-esque commands to execute charged attacks instantly. It is unlocked by beating the game after using and feeding every Cyber Elf.
Another new addition to the series is EX Skills, which are similar to Mega Man's ability to copy powers from the bosses in previous series. Unlike the previous series, however, Zero has to have an A or S rank going into the stage to unlock the bosses EX Skill. Unlike Mega Man's copy ability, which required weapon energy to feed the attacks, EX Skills modify Zero's weapons, adding new abilities or replacing their normal abilities with an ability similar to the defeated boss. For example, the Buster Shot can be modified to fire a long-piercing beam instead of its normal charged blast, while the Z-Saber gains additional moves such as a powerful rising slash.
Mega Man Zero 2 uses the same ranking system as the previous game. The player is given a grade from F to S based on their performance, which is calculated using the following factors.
- Mission - How well the mission was completed, usually passing or failing.
- Clear Time - How quickly the mission was completed.
- Enemy - How many enemies were destroyed in the mission.
- Damage - How much damage was taken during the mission.
- Retry - How many times the mission was retried (akin to how many lives were lost).
- Elf - How many and how advanced Elves were used. The less, the better. Elves with permanent effects will continuously penalize Zero for the rest of the game, even after a New Game Plus has been started.
As with the first game, a "New Game Plus" can be played by beating the game and loading the completed save file. In the new game, Zero will start with all activated Cyber Elves used from the previous game still in effect (the penalties, however, will still remain). Zero will also get to keep any EX Skills and alternate forms that he earned in the previous game. Additional modes can also be unlocked under proper conditions.
Hard Mode is unlocked by beating the game once. To play, hold L when selecting to start a New Game. In Hard Mode, Zero starts with the "Proto Form", which doubles his attack strength but halves his defense and locks his weapons at their basic level. Zero also cannot earn any EX skills or alternate forms. Beating Hard Mode will unlock a special "Image Gallery" option. Hold L and Select when selecting New Game to enter it.
Unlike the other games in the series, there is no Ultimate Mode to be unlocked. However, an "Ultimate Form" can be unlocked by leveling up and using every Cyber Elf in the game. It increases all of Zero's stats and also allows him to use full-charge attacks instantly by means of simplistic button combos.
Two Player Mode
If you have two cartridges and a link cable, you can link two G.B.A.s and take part in a two player game. There are three modes available to take part in:
- Time Attack - Set a goal somewhere in the stage. After three tries, the player with the shortest time to the goal wins.
- Enemy Battle - Defeat the most enemies from the generator within the time limit.
- Get Item - Collect the most items from the map within the time limit.
One year has passed since Zero defeated Copy X. He has since spent his time wandering the desert defeating multiple Pantheons. Zero wearily makes his way through a sand-storm wrapped in a tattered cloak. As the sands die down he is once more being chased by enemies. Despite being in disrepair, with cracked armor and broken weapons (his rod and shield are useless), he once again charges into the fray. Zero eventually collapses from exhaustion after defeating a mechanical scorpion boss, and is found by Harpuia, one of the three surviving members of the Four Guardians (Phantom self-destructed trying to stop Zero's assault on Area X).
The three Guardians have assumed command of Neo Arcadia, with Harpuia as the leader. Copy X's death was covered up, as the humans revered him as their savior. The Resistance is now being led by a reploid named Elpizo while Ciel continues her work into a new form of energy that will hopefully eliminate the need for war.
Zero is covertly delivered to the newly completed Resistance Base by Harupia, where he is repaired. He learns that Elpizo is planning a frontal assault on Neo Arcadia, as he doesn't believe in Ciel's plan. Unable to convince him to call it off, Zero is left to do busy-work in the meantime. Elpizo's assault fails miserably, with himself as the only survivor. Driven mad by this, he declares his desire to harness the power of the legendary Dark Elf, which had brought about the Elf Wars a century ago.
Elpizo, using the powers granted by unsealing a portion of the power of the Dark Elf, invades Neo Arcadia and single-handedly breaks into the temple where the body of the real X, revered by all in the utopia, is kept. It is revealed that X had ended the Elf Wars by sealing the Dark Elf away with his body, thus leading to his disappearance. Despite the Guardians' and Zero's best efforts, Elpizo succeeds in destroying X's body, which unseals the Dark Elf, and Elpizo begins to absorb its powers.
Zero manages to stop Elpizo from unleashing the Dark Elf on the world. As Elpizo lies on the floor dying, he apologizes for everything he's done. Amazingly, the Dark Elf saves him by turning him into a Cyber Elf and convincing Elpizo that she is not truly evil. As the two elves depart, Mega Man X himself arrives and tells Zero about the Dark Elf. She was originally made to be a savior, but was cursed by a man named Dr. Weil.
Mega Man Zero 2 was the seventh best-selling video game in Japan during its week of release at 53,839 copies and climbed to the number one spot the following week with an additional 25,283 copies sold. The game appeared on Famitsu magazine's top 30 best-sellers list for the following four weeks. By the end of 2003, Mega Man Zero 2 had sold 158,479 copies in Japan alone.
A common remark is that the game has not changed much in its formula since its predecessor, though they do acknowledge that improvements have been made to the stage select menus. A general complaint is the difficulty of the game, with one reviewer expressing concern that the difficulty would put some people off the game.
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