Part 3: Dust Man
As I do not fail to mention right at the start, this stage is a bastard. The very first thing a novice player will do is get smacked in the face by HAHA SHIELD OUT OF NOWHERE. You think I exaggerated when I said that shield attackers could be very surprising and are among the most dickish recurring enemies. Having gotten over that shock, the aforementioned player will jump over the first hole, only to get smacked right down in by the pop-up dude who says hello.
I hate those fuckers. What kind of game design is that anyway. At least it's at the start of the stage, but damn!
After you've been properly introduced to the concept of this stage not fucking around, it's a gauntlet consisting of more of the same; if you know what's coming, it's not too bad, but the first time is a real kick in the balls. Still, surprise shield is in effect and may get you.
Our first big enemy appears; not too bad, if you've got a good trigger finger. Or special weapons, I suppose, those are made for dealing with big guys after all! Then another hard part starts.
The cubes aren't even a problem except for the atrocious slowdown they cause, I think they're more to show that the programmers could do that. I think that you don't even have to stop for them to appear. No, the problem are the helicopter heads that are a real pain on even ground, coupled with spiked ground that you really don't want to fall down to and unstable footing...yeesh. I'm very glad to have a trusty better-than-you-thought weapon here.
Parts like that is why I'd like to have buster-only videos, they convey the danger far better.
On that subject, big thanks to whoever left it in my mailbox for doing the Buster video. That the original turned out unuseable was really no fault of his, and he apologizes with his first solo LP video, I think that deserves commendment.
After a few filler rooms, we're greeted with the room most people really hate the stage for, as if it needed more reasons! The crusher is intimidating as all hell, which will make paranoid players spend ages trying to get all of the trash cleared up, only to die at the last part where every time going in could be your last. It's actually clever in its evilness, using the respawning Met at just the right spot to force you to deal with him every time you come back from risking your life, serving as actually a nice reminder that you might want to hurry up out of there asap. If you play this stage a few times, you'll realize that the amount of trash you really have to take out is actually fairly small; I don't think the speedrun even stops in the room. Still, not taking your time is extremely risky.
Most of the time, you'll default to taking longer than you have to, that's pure psychology, and this is what makes it a pain. It's really not that bad, but it seems like it is, and that makes all the difference.
Dust Man's stage in MMIII on the Gameboy, though? One of the most finely crafted pieces of pure, unadulterated I've ever seen in a Mega Man game. I strongly suggest every one of you to find a password online, try the stage and cry bitter tears. Maybe I'll even show it to you some day.
And that's all I really have to say about the stage.
Look at this guy's face and tell me that you seriously think you'll have trouble with the boss when selecting his stage from the selection.
I even had to use the exact same colours as for the introduction title card because he only has one colour. It follows what Capcom did ingame, at least.
Damn, that's one worthless Robot Master. Just imagine him actually trying to suck up stuff in his oversized hose. He'd have to push his face to the floor and crawl around on all fours, probably get kicked in his pathetic butt all the time by the cool guys.
I'm sorry and I feel like the worst bully but DAMN.
As for actual strategy...try not to scream at the screen too loudly when he chooses to use his powers of sucking the fourth time in a row, making your charged shot plunk off him uselessly again. The Dust Crusher can easily be jumped by...yeah, just jumping; timing is a bit tricky, the only really tricky thing about him. If you're far enough away from him, sliding works too, as shown. His third attack is jumping and has 0% chance to hit Mega with, maybe when you're drunk, stoned and playing with your feet. No Vicas jokes.
- Gachappon: Vending machine robot. If you say so. They have two modes of attack: Firing a straight shot from the bottom, or launching a bullet from the top. The latter is more dangerous. I don't know if it's random or dependant on where you're standing in relation to the enemy; suspect the latter. Not really a problem in my opinion. They're rarely placed in tricky spots. In this game. Looking at the monochrome version again.
Jumbig: Has the exact same behaviour as most jumping enemies: Either high or low, can be slid under or taken out with either a steady stream of bullets or a good special weapon. Like the one we just picked up, incidentally. I prefer shooting them because I suck at the timing to slide under the low hop. Starting out with a charged buster shot helps to take them out quickly enough even if you're no button-mashing master.
Met EX: Two variants seen here: Jump and Dance. The former is far more dangerous, as they combine their tough-to-dodge bullet pattern with mobility of their own. Latter is sturdier, though. Not much more to say about Mets, I'd say. They're always amongst the most difficult to deal with enemies; counterpoint of course: Shoot them just as they come out.
Shield Attacker: Surprise Shield is not something I want to get for my birthday. Sadly, it's only in about three weeks, so the stage didn't ask.
Bug Copter: Damn annoying little buggers (sorry)! After flying straight, they lose their means of flight (okay...) and still stay airborne to tail Mega. Enemies that chase you around no matter where are always a pain to deal with and a prime argument for shield weapons; those take two hits from the buster, making them especially annoying. The barrage of them in this stage is among the worst, though.
Up'n'Down: I really, really hate enemies of this type and I especially hate that Capcom decided that it was a good idea to have those assholes and bring them back in every subsequent classic title! The first time you encounter those, you are going to die. They're always placed so that an unsuspecting player will get knocked into the pit. Why no preview where it's safe? Fuck you, that's why. And then you either get paranoid over every single subsequent jump, or die more often without a single fault of your own. The second argument for shield weapons in one stage, and damn, is it a good one.
Those are trial-and-error gameplay at its finest. Forgive me my rant, but it's really something that should have died out after the arcades got obsolete. And certainly not being continued to the present date.
The way to deal with those particular guys is either to let one shoot up and jump quickly (but not too high!), or take it out right as it appears and jump before the next one comes up. It forces waiting anyway and breaks any kind of flow in an already glacially paced level. Seriously fuck those guys.
- Dust Man - From one of the best songs last time, we get one of the worst. This tune is very bland and boring. At least it fits the level perfectly, eh? It also sounds just off to me, quality-wise. Dunno. Like it was played through a dust filter.
At least you can remix it into something awesome, as the Buster video shows.