Hello, friends. This weekend was my anniversary and the first pre-season NFL games, so I haven't really gotten anything written for an update this week. Oops.
Though I have been working on some playing, at least. I've also been having plenty of health funtimes so everything is difficult right now lol. But I'm working on ... Mega Man, which takes a while just to get the content for one entry (you'll see why when I post it~), and of course, playing FF5. I'm almost at the end of unsaga already, so I don't really have much playing to do there.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 came out, and I got it with... this weird app that pays you for playing games, which I did for about a month and got $20 from it. So I've been replaying Mega Man 9 a lot, because I really love that game, and there are a lot of fun challenge things in it.
I also have been messing around with stage orders in it a lot. Before, I always started with Galaxy Man because the stage is pretty easy, and you can do a lot of fun stuff with Rush Coil in there, so you don't really need any special weapons or items. The Black Hole Bomb is also a very powerful weapon, so I always had it from the start. So when I first started playing, I of course just started there again, but I decided to mix up my play order and try to get some of the other weapons earlier on. I used to always do Tornado Man near the end because I liked having the Rush Jet for the rainy part with the weird lift things. And I'd go to Plug Man usually last because I thought Plug Ball was a pretty worthless weapon.
So this time, I started trying to prioritize getting Tornado and Plug done early, to see what kinds of stuff I could do with those weapons. Tornado Blow is ridiculously powerful -- a bit overpowered, even. It's a screen cleaner that works on almost everything, and it has enough weapon energy to use it five or six times per stage I think? And that's if you don't refill the energy at all...
Anyway, it was a lot of fun utilizing it either way. What's the most fun about it, though, is that not only does it clear enemies from the screen, but it also makes you jump higher since the wind is pushing you upward! It's a lot of fun and there's a lot of places where you can skip climbing ladders or going through certain platforms by utilizing this, which makes it a ton of fun, and pretty interesting, as it changes the way you play parts of many stages.
The Plug Ball, though, is way more useful than I thought! Ground-roving weapons tend to be some of the least useful in the series, as they're usually poorly balanced, moving slowly and not even dealing decent enough damage to the only enemies it actually can hit.
Plug Ball, however, is not like this! It goes very fast, you can have three on the screen at once, it climbs walls and ceilings, and it dishes out quite a bit of damage! It also can hit rapidly back-to-back, so you can quickly shoot out three of them and destroy an enemy that takes three shots right away.
This makes it great for enemies that crawl on the ceiling, enemies up on ledges, enemies on ground below you, enemies that pop out of holes... and even just some regular enemies that happen to die quickly from it despite the ground trajectory not being necessary to fight them.
So I really wanted to get the Plug Ball earlier in the game after discovering this, but the problem is that I also like to create stage order routes that include getting all of the unique items in each stage, and in MM9, this includes the large screws laid around each stage. And to get one of them in Plug Man's stage, you need the Hornet Chaser... But then a big problem with Hornet Man's stage is that there's a mid-boss that takes forever to defeat without using a special weapon...
Well, I discovered that it's actually not bad at all to fight the Hornet Man midboss with the Magma Bazooka, even if it's not as fast as the Concrete Shot (though the Concrete Shot can be much slower depending on where the thing pops up, so Magma Bazooka is actually a bit more reliable). And Magma Man's stage is actually pretty fun to do with only the Tornado Blow! So I was able to get to go to Plug Man's stage fourth and utilize the Plug Ball for the rest of the game.
I even ended up going to Galaxy Man's stage second to last (with Splash Woman being last since Trident Laser is a bit superfluous) and it's actually quite fun to utilize the various weapons and items there.
Now I'm "working on" a stage order for Proto Man. I thought it was going to end up being exactly the same, thinking that the differences between the two characters wasn't big enough to really change the stage order, especially since the special weapons are identical between the two, and that's generally the main thing I consider when choosing the order of stages.
But it actually was quite different... Proto Man has a slide and charge shot ability, and I will admit that I really have underutilized both, so it's interesting to see what kinds of things I can do with those. But there a few more important differences: Proto Man has access to the Jet right from the beginning (something I had forgotten about), there are no screws in Proto Man's game since he doesn't have access to the shop, and the "trick" you can do where you stand right on top of a Sniper Joe and shoot with your arm extended through the shield so it thinks you're shooting it in the back doesn't seem to work with Proto Man (or if it does, it's ridiculously more difficult to pull off).
I was using that Sniper Joe "trick" as part of a way to get through Tornado Man's stage (it's not necessary, but it's more fun and definitely a lot more interesting than just standing in place and waiting for him to drop his shield...) so it's not really that great to go to Tornado Man's stage first. But not having to pick up screws means that Plug Man's stage is more easily accessible from the start! The biggest "problem" here is that there are some really obnoxious parts later in the stage that are way better with special weapons. The Black Hole Bomb could actually take care of all of this, so it's possible to get to Plug Man second that way, at least. And the Plug Ball could take care of one of the Sniper Joes in Tornado Man's stage at least... and now that I'm thinking about it, possibly both of them (and it would actually be really fun to use it on the second one, I think!)
Also, it might be possible to make Plug Man's stage not so bad to do first if I utilize the slide, charge shot, and jet. I haven't actually tried that yet; I just thought of it while writing this. I just kinda messed around playing a couple stages with Proto Man so far.
Anyway, sorry for no big updates this week. Maybe I'll write something later tonight...?