Part 9: Gravity Man
A good stage with a nice idea behind it that sadly isn't used in any really groundbreaking way and is also extremely easy. Sums it about up.
The first part is completely unthreatening - if you don't rush in like a madman, why would you get hit? Obviously, it's meant as kind of a tutorial for the enemy types, but...do you really need that for a stage that's about three minutes long, with like one more meaningful appearance for each type?
The gravity gimmick itself is nice in that it actually changes your slide controls, and the sideshooters also flip along with Mega, though you can break that a bit as shown. However, for everything else, the normal gravity applies. Shoddy programming, in my MM5? I mean, obviously it would have been harder to like fake flip the screen so that the normal gravity is now coming from above and powerups and the like would fall upwards, but would it really have been worse than programming in specific cases for what the flipping works for...and make it look lazy as hell? The answer is that you might be kind of stupid for thinking they actually care about us finding out that they phoned this one in by this point.
Just like I did this sentence jeez.
Key points: I hate surprise spikes as much as ever, and especially the ones before the boss door are nasty. Good thing the level is a complete non-issue otherwise. The letter is extremely easy to get, you shouldn't have problems. If you miss it, you can always go back like I did in the (terrible ughhhh) old video.
That's...about it, really. A romhack of MM5 called Wily's Dream Space (Dectilon and Phiggle's LP of it is linked in the OP if you're curious) shows how you could expand on the gravity concept in tons of ways if you applied actualy creativity to the level design. Here, it's more or less just visual - now you walk on the floor, then you walk on the ceiling, oh boy...
Except for the boss fight, of course!
What an ugly sprite. Really though, how would you express "gravity" by design? Make him fat?
This is a very nice fight if only because it's not strictly patternised to all hell or, as far as I can tell at least, exploitable. He'll of course switch sides regularily and shoot at fixed intervals, but because of the erratic jumping, the shots get strewn in at completely different points of his movement, making it quite the erratic affair to dodge! After all, you gotta look out for Grav's bulky fram, too. I always had trouble with this fight but seem to get more into it as of late, because losing concentration against him is a death sentence. As you can only ever hit him in mid-movement, staying calm is essential, else you'll miss constantly. Most of the time, you can hit him just as a new charged shot is ready, which is nice; if you know what you're doing, it's a quick but intense fight, just as I like it.
The reversed sliding controls on the ceiling are kinda annoying, though.
- Graviton: Those drop balls (to wherever gravity is headed, I might add) to...impede your movement...I guess? Balls can be shot, they themselves too, I somewhat fail to see the point. Now if they were placed where you couldn't reach them...
I'd hate them more. Still, wasted level design opportunity.
Suzy G: Return of one of the most prolific enemies in MM1! Okay, I had to look up the name to see a connection. When you near them, they'll fire on both sides. Flip with Mega. Threat factor: minus three.
Also resistant to any special weapon except Crystal Eye.
Nobita: Extend their heads in regular intervals to maybe poke Mega. I guess their high HP and resistance were meant to make you consider timing a slide through when they're not deployed, but...you know that you programmed in an insanely powerful charged shot, Capcom, right? Also, Crystal Eye as not-resistance for some reason, again.
- Gravity Man - a cool piece of music, one of the few in MM5 that I genuinely like very much. Just like Star Man's, it's strange, futuristic-sounding, would be very hard to whistle but its electro nature makes it into something completely else than the classic pieces we're used to from the other games. Especially breakdowns like after a minute into the song let this one stand out. It sounds crisp, unlike other songs in MM5 that attempt melody and are washed-out as a result. Fits the stage to a tee. More of this would have been greatly appreciated, then MM5's soundtrack would really have stood out, and not as a sore thumb.