Megaman: Day in the Limelight 2 is Even Better
Megaman: Day in the Limelight is an excellent fan game and well worth your time. It incorporated everything enjoyable about the Mega Man series in a fashion superior to many of Capcom’s own attempts. So… what do you do with a sequel? Where do you go from here?
In this sequel, you play as the eight robot masters from Mega Man 2 and run through levels based on those from Mega Man 3. But this is no mere bonus level pack; the primary addition is that once you complete a level, you unlock the robot master used for that level and can switch to him at will for the rest of the game, which was probably inspired by a similar mechanic from the Nintendo DS game Mega Man ZX.
You have more versatility than the first Day in the Limelight due to being able to change to the character that suits your current situation. Run around as Quick Man, protect yourself as Wood Man, double jump with Heat Man, hit enemies beneath you with Metal Man. This means that there are fewer character-specific areas and traps compared to the first game, but it also means that you have more options at all times, like a Mega Man game should be.
The various weapons are familiar but have extra uses that aren’t immediately apparent at first glance. Crash Man’s can disable the bear trap things in his stage, Bubble Man’s can destroy the lightning pods in Spark Man’s stage, Wood Man’s leaves can clog many an apparatus, and Air Man’s can push objects (and sometimes enemies) in one direction or another. This prevents the levels from being simple A to B endeavors and transforms them into much more varied and fascinating experiences.
Quick Man is clearly the best of all the eight playable robot masters. He runs faster, jumps higher, and has an easily spammable weapon. His only weakness is a shorter period of mercy invincibility after receiving a hit, which will happen less often if you’re any good at dodging. After unlocking him I usually only switched if I needed a certain ability to progress or avoid lots of damage.
And much like how the hornet enemies in 3 are weaker and less frustrating versions of the bird enemies from 2, and how Shadow Man’s weapon is a nerfed version of Metal Man’s, Metal Man himself in Megaman: Day in the Limelight 2 is not as powerful as you would hope. His 8-way weapon is still very useful, but it no longer pierces enemies or walls. Instead, it has a similar feature to the Wheel Cutter from Mega Man 10 where it sticks to walls and spins around for a little while, except you can’t climb stuff with this one. It was an interesting way of keeping Metal Blade from being as overpowered as it was in Mega Man 2, but also a bit of a disappointment. I would have preferred buffing the other six characters instead of nerfing Metal Man and then making the enemies that much harder. But that’s a minor quibble and one that does not detract from the game as a whole.
Megaman: Day in the Limelight 2 finally lets you play the Doc Robot stages for the four other robot masters in 3. These additions are highly imaginative compared to, say, most of Mega Man four through six. The stages in general are longer than the originals though not as long as they were in the first Day in the Limelight. But they still offer plenty of surprises and challenges, like the need to use Air Man’s weapon to manipulate many different objects in Snake Man’s stage. A lot of thought was put into making this game more entertaining than the average ROM hack, and it shows. The challenge comes from finding the best way past obstacles and finding the bosses’ attack patterns, not pixel-perfect jumps or enemies that deal way too much damage per hit as is so many common in other fan games.
Bosses are simply a blast. Not only do they have unique stages designed for the designated character for each stage, but they present quite a few tricks that will challenge the skills of experts who have played through the NES Mega Man games a quadrillion times. Especially entertaining is the final boss, an 8-form Wily robot that requires proper use of every single robot master. One of the best and most memorable final fights I’ve ever seen in any game.
Controls are still as perfect as they were in the NES Mega Man games. I never felt like I had a death that was anything other than my fault. Compare to something like Mega Man 10 which is crammed to the brim with instant death traps that are totally unavoidable unless you already know what’s coming up next. The wonky ladder controls from the first game are even fixed.
Now there’s an “exit to stage select” menu, which comes in handy if you’re hunting down the optional wavy tile things. Collect twelve of them for a secret prize: [blackout]Dr. Wily’s ship. As a playable character. Something I’ve been waiting about 25 years to try out.[/blackout]
This is how you make a sequel. Fusion Fangaming has somehow captured Elec Man in a bottle for the second time. I can’t think of any significant problems with Megaman: Day in the Limelight 2. The new levels, foes, and graphics (some taken from unused parts of the original Mega Man 3 ROM) are all faithful to the originals without being pointlessly nostalgic. This game hits all of the buttons and delivers a fantastic package. I’m constantly impressed at how good everything in these two games are. I’m looking forward to Fusion Fangaming’s future works, because at the moment they have a perfect record.