Part 6: Pharoah Man
One of the better stages to start out this, it's also generally one of the better ones and all-around fun. The first part can get annoying if you don't realize that there's nothing stopping you from taking the scorpions out by just shooting constantly, the nasty insects from above don't help, but it shouldn't get you killed. Coupled with the quicksand, an interesting gauntlet.
If trouble should have arisen, getting the Balloon is a full heal, so barring more trouble on the treck to it, it's a good idea. It will skip out a bunch of level including an E-Tank, though, as shown. But I really love how they took the big hole that's actually going to lead you forward through the stage and hid an upgrade by going right; this is what I was constantly alluding to during earlier LPs. It's a good idea, and a precursor to many more hiding places like that in games where much more stuff is to be found.
Even without Dive Missile's goodness, the Mummies shouldn't be too big of a problem. As they take so long to kill, dodging the head is mandatory, but it moves slowly enough to be plenty avoidable. Bugs are nasty as always, though. Another reason to skip with the Balloon if you're having trouble.
(if this sounds like a walkthrough, you'd be correct, because people get into trouble a lot in the races. So read those update posts! I'm here to help!)
The "moving platform over dangerous terrain" thing is old as dust, but seeing as Mega Man games most of the time are actually quite light on having stage design elements that we've seen countless times before in other platformers, it's very gladly forgiven; I actually like sections of that kind a lot because Mega controls so well that platforming is smooth as hell and you have lots of tools to take out enemies, whereas in a Mario or Sonic game rides like that are dangerous as fuck and can become very frustrating.
I also find it very interesting that the shots they fire as you near them are both a curse and a blessing; if you don't get hit, that's fine, seeing as they're designed so that clearing the shot will also make you the jump. If you do get hit, though, you're probably jumping too late to not land in the spikes anyway, so the invincibility saves your ass! If you're quick on your feet, you can still make it on top. Again, this takes out a lot of possible frustration from jumping into the spikes for the tenth time (you've all been there), which I really appreciate.
That's basically it for the stage, though. It's short but sweet.
Pharaoh Man is easily the funnest boss to fight in this game, mostly because he doesn't have competition. And I didn't forget a word there, he's literally the only boss who isn't on rails from start to finish and/or an annoying evil bastard. I really dislike MM4's Robot Masters on principle, and that this fight is the best of the bunch should lend gravity to my argument. A matter of personal opinion, of course, but jeez.
Pharaoh Man is a very strange fight, because he's at one second jumping around like a madman, shooting out small Pharaoh Shots and being hard to dodge because of it (most notably the first jump at you which is always the same, it's of course avoidable but I didn't bother), and the next second he's standing around charging his comically ineffectual blast while getting shot in the face.
If he jumped all the time, he'd be a hefty challenge, certainly not on par with Shadow or Needle Man, but one of this game's hardest bosses due to unpredictability. As he stops every now and then to give you all the time in the world to unload on him, it becomes a matter of luck if he wants to be nasty to you or a complete and utter pushover. Especially if he decided it's a good idea to chain four charges back-to-back without rethinking the consequences of standing perfectly still. Then again, I'm glad they didn't make him invincible while charging, or Dust Man would have to give up his "most annoying fuckhead" award.
Strategy boils down to "hone your reflexes", which, frankly, is my favourite kind of strategy because having the slide means that fights should be geared towards fluidity, speed and quick thinking. Not using it to get into the same specific position every time the boss repeats his pattern again. Also don't get hit by his body (hurts) or his charged shot (people will laugh at you like they should at me).
Sorry for ranting, I'm kinda tired.
- Battonton: Rarely will you be hoping for them to unfold sooner than in this stage. Making their invincible form into an obstacle that you will have to wait out if you like it or not (you won't, because you're on a platform that's moving you towards spiky death!) is a stroke of brilliance, especially considering that they've been the same way in MM2, where they basically were...just there. Waiting to be Metal Bladed.
Thank God that Rain Flush ignores their impervious coating, eh?
Haehaey: The fuck are you supposed to pronounce that? "Desert Fly" (the image title) may be the blandest name ever, but it gets the point across. Stuff like that is what made me doubt the usefulness of those enemy bios at the start, because it's the pinnacle of nerdiness (too much for someone who plays games on the internet, yes) to use the impossible Japanese names for the enemies if you're talking about the game. Fortunately I'm only presenting them here. Seriously there's LPers out there who are all like "yeah the Heyheys sure are annoying in this stage, but nothing compared to the Sasoreenu" and I'm like what the Christ shut up.
Oh yeah, those guys fly above and drop random pellets. It's kinda annoying, but they're FLIES, what do you expect? Certainly not what you'd expect when you hear Haehaey oh God here I go again.
Hover: Now we're talking sensible names. Those guys are kinda helpful, but will shoot Mega before he tries to set foot on them. Double-edged sword, as explained above. Nothing to add really. I like their design, it's delightfully goofy.
Mummira: Just like this one! They pop out hidden behind...secret doors or something, shoot their head after a second and vanish again, fortunately keeping the damage they already took. Just like with the Skeleton Joes, they can only fire in two specific angles, as we can see in the video by the guy who's above me but only manages a 30 degrees downwards direction. With six shots to kill, they're among the thoughest enemies! As already mentioned, most harder-to-kill ones take four, to balance the Buster. Exactly two charged shots, especially considering their vanishing for a moment, during which you can charge, is geared perfectly towards the new weapon as well.
Fortunately for the impatient man, they're critically weak to Dive Missile for some reason.
Sasoreenu: *sigh* They'll spawn in certain places under the quicksand, and indefinitely, correct me if I'm wrong. So don't dawdle there! Four shots to kill, but weak to lots of special weapons. Absolutely no problem if you run and gun it, also can be jumped over but that's kind of tricky.
Taketento: Only appear if you don't get the Balloon. The ground here is level, so they're not nearly as dangerous as in Dust Man's level, but still, generally always a pain because of their numbers and the homing behaviour.
- Pharaoh Man - This reminds me a lot of Top Man, in that I like it a lot because it's so full of action, but I never remember the melody. Still a great tune.