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.
Harvest Moon, or the modern equivalents My Time At Portia and Gleaner Heights, ask a lot of my time. The average Harvest Moon like is close to forty-to-sixty hours long, and because video games have that pacing problem where things start to plateau after the first ten hours with nothing drastic or new happening till the very end, I have a particular itch I can’t scratch. There exists distinct merit in the limited village-building aspects of all these games that I value over the farming simulation and villager-gifting player-loop. The Rune Factory games and the mining parts of Stardew Valley are a middle ground, but that’s not enough. The key is for the village aspect to be almost separate to the core of the game, like how it’s probably worth it to do the real estate campaign in Yakuza 0, but it’s not necessary. Wait, Breath of Fire II has a town sim?
The last Breath of Fire on the SNES, Breath of Fire II, centers on rebuilding an old dilapidated cottage into the player’s home base, called Township. After being accused of stealing from a wealthy man in the town of Hometown (a lot of BF2’s translations are goofy like this), sad dog Bow goes with protagonist Ryu into hiding. While Ryu goes off in search of the real thief to prove Bow’s innocence, Bow is joined by other characters to rebuild Township. This becomes a cool subplot for Ryu, where party members, like the tough but bored armadillo man Rand, will recommend leaving them behind to help expand Township. Ryu eventually goes to the town of Capitan, the carpenter center of their world, and can hand pick a preferred village design. Opinions include boring 12th century high fantasy brick house, treetop cabins like Fortree City from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and the actually cool Mughal style.
Is the party scared or embarrassed, cause they are all looking away from me? Exhibit 1.