In a gray underground maze in a room without windows, it floats high above the ground. Eyeless, with a completely gold body like a holy monument, I shoot it till it falls over and bursts into crystals. I leave and then reenter the room. The figure is back, but while it might run away when I shoot it, it never defends itself as it explodes once more. I repeat this over and over again. Called the King Miroc, this enemy was how I grinded my way through Megaman Legends 2.
I first played Megaman Legends 2 on my uncle’s PlayStation as a kid. He didn’t have a memory card, which would have come in handy when we played ninety percent of the first Ape Escape in a single day. This meant that I played through the first thirty minutes of Megaman Legends 2 multiple times. I have the first big part where Megaman must put out robot monkey Data’s cooking fire, imprinted into my memory. The best part was when the bathroom door explodes into a tunnel of flames. Having to do that sequence over and over again, I learned that how fast I put out the fires meant Megaman had to spend less money later to rebuild the living room and kitchen. The first town, Yosyonke City, was this dreary, effecting place as a kid, with its snowy tundras and quiet bar. I love its one abandoned house that is never discussed by anyone that sits outside the bounds of the city. I remember fighting the first boss over and over again until I beat it, with each lose meaning I would have to start the entire game over. I finally beat it at one point, but the rest of the game eluded me.
Tan with rust and missing one of its seven-feet long obelisk arms, the Hanmuru Doll still strikes fear. Massive, but mobile, the Hanmuru Doll’s single red eye is impartial to my fate as its still-working arm pummels me flat. I Game Over and realized I had to redo everything, as I had not passed my first save point. This was the moment I realized that Megaman Legends was not going to let me take it easy. I often lament on this site the lack of modern 3-D adventure video games being released now, thus why I decided to go back 20+ years and return to Megaman Legends. I am rather bad at video games, which for the case of Megaman Legends, might just be me pushing against the series’ history with being difficult in general. I wanted worlds to explore and characters to engage with, and I certainly got that, but Megaman Legends really pushed me. But I had to do it for that sweet summer child, Megaman Volnutt.
Megaman Legends has an easy mode, but it’s locked and only for players who can beat normal difficulty under a few hours. Megaman Legends has a type of game difficulty reminiscent of another Capcom game, Resident Evil, where the best weapons are treated as post game bonuses. Why is the unlimited rocket launcher and unlimited magnum for players who can beat Resident Evil under a certain amount of time? A player would already have to be amazing at the game to complete such a task, so what is the genuine reward in completing something difficult, only to let you do it again but easier? Give those weapons to the player who did not sign up for a head smashing evening. Resident Evil 2 and 3 figured this out by giving easy mode extra starting health and ammo.
Coming up with things to discuss on this site, without dusting off the old chestnuts of RPGs, point-and-clicks, and late 90’s and early 2000’s FPS, is not easy. You write what you know. But as of last year, I have been really getting into resource management games (the internet seems to call these open world survival action-adventures, but that is too long), including Astroneer, Subnautica, and TheSurvivalists. Granted, calling them resource management games make them sound like factory simulators like Satisfactory, and the perfectly named Factorio. Whatever they are called, these games do provide distinct single and multiplayer experiences.
These types of resource management games, while similar on paper to farming sims, such as Harvest Moons, Stardew Valley, or Gleaner Heights, tend to share a different thematic start. Instead of inheriting a farm from a dead or dying relative, the player crash lands on a planet, a deserted island, or a deserted island planet. The Lost in Blue series (or Survival Kids for the five people on this planet who somehow own and played possibly the rarest GBC game) feel like the progenitor of this type of game. Lost In Blue follows different teenagers who find themselves trying to survive on a desolate tropical island. Food and water need to be consumed to keep the player alive, usually in the form of fresh coconuts and river water. Good news was that as early DS games, Lost in Blue were not as long as the RPG-length sagas the average resource management game requires. Bad news was that as early DS games, Lost in Blue was controlled mostly through the stylus (a pain for those who wanted to do extra combat damage in Magical Starsign). Gameplay focused on constantly tracking vitals and building up a home base that lessens the strain of said vitals start here. But these teens cannot stay on the island forever, they will need to step out of their comfy cave and somehow leave the island. Finally leaving the base continues in later resource management games as a common end goal.
Wouldn’t it be wild if punching alligators was just incorrectly calculated as being the most effective way to hurt them in Lost In Blue? Like how the butterfly net in some Zelda games works on bosses.