Part 13: Video 10
Also, Shield Boomerang skill up! We can now perform a middle-ranged attack!!
The shield boomerang doesnt get the same charge ability > charge speed like the other weapons do; instead, it gets range upgrades that eventually let it reach the far side of the screen. Theyre not overly useful, and as I dont plan on using the shield boomerang for attacking much after this stage well likely not see the long-ranged attack upgrade. Unless I include it post-story for 100%. WHO KNOWS.
100 pt. Requirements:
-Clear time: 3:00
-Enemies killed: 41
Hard mode is kinda sucky here because your only real way to hit the land mines are with veeeeery precise saber slashes, or with the shield boomerang, neither of which are exactly ideal. You can try rushing too, but the combination of Snow Garms (those blue doggies that try to maul you) and the abominable Spikings severely punishes trying to parkour your way around the things. On the plus side, you can kill em in one jumping slash, and busterspam your way through the icy pipe section, so its a trade-off.
The roof of the computer facility has good music and a pretty moon. Thats pretty much all the good things I have to say for it. Its literally the roof of Polar Kamross stage (Pic taken at the topmost section of the Ice golem midboss arena), but the gimmick if this stage seems to be EXPLOSIVES, which, ok, alright, but I swear to god these things
are just the worst pieces of turd ever. Theyre tiny (impossible to hit without super-exact air slashes or charge attacks), their explosions linger for far longer than youd think, and they are eeeeeeverywhere.
By themselves, they wouldnt be that bad, but when combined with some of the enemies in this stage it really starts to grate on me. Firstly, we have our old friends, the carryarms+spikings , dropping in right on top of you if youre not moving at a snails pace. Then you have the Snow Garms (a variant of an enemy from the first game), which, though you cant see it in-vid, make a beeline for you with a decent chunk of hp, and the instant they touch Zero theyll grab onto you and gnaw your health away unless you button mash for a good 4 seconds. And finally youve got the rollin 22s making a return appearance, which isnt too bad until you realize theyre paired with both the Garms and ice physics, which means youll do the following:
-See rolling 22, equip shield boomerang.
-Block shots, follow as it runs away underneath its pipe
-Stop when you see Garm, and do one of the following:
-A: Keep shield boomerang up, slide straight into the Garm and get gnawed on for a bit
-B: Take shield boomerang down/throw it to deal with the Garm, get sniped by rolling 22.
- Be mad at stage
And, if you try to get fancy and jump over things or backtrack a bit to give yourself some breathing room, youll slide a bit too far and the enemies will instantly respawn offscreen.
Its possible to avoid all this, obviously, but the main tactic to do so involves inching your way along and taking potshots at them, which just isnt how this game should feel. Im making this out to be way worse than it actually is, but I cant think of a single other stage (other than maybe Panter Flauclaws since he has Spikings too) that feel like they actively punish you for speeding, and this one just sticks out like a sore thumb to me. My dislike is also probably amplified by the fact I punish myself by shoehorning the last form in here too
The enemy selection isnt ALL bad though. Theres a couple cool ones mixed in there too, like the Yuki da Machine (???), a slightly slimmer redesign of an enemy from the very first Mega Man X game much more sensibly called the Snow Shooter. On top of being a cool callback, hes also utilized a little in stage design; the snowballs he throws at you gradually grow in size as they roll down inclines, and while this USUALLY works against you, the very last YdM actually throws the snowball *away* from you. It does this for a reason; near the end of the stage, theres a vertical path youre supposed to fall down, which is interspersed with platforms absolutely INFESTED with the Mini Mines. Basically the only way to safely traverse this is to get behind one of the snowballs as it grows and gradually falls down the platforms, clearing the way for you, which is an interesting concept that doesnt work too well in practice.
See, the GBAs size restrictions come into play here too, and that snowball just LOVES to despawn itself slightly off screen, made worse by the fact that the way the vertical section is structured means that when it falls to a lower platform, it leaves the screen, and youve got only a brief window of opportunity where you can follow it down without either smacking against it (taking damage) or letting it get to far away and despawning. You have to play it entirely by ear, slowly shamble your way down, and again it just doesnt feel well-paced. Let it out of your sight (or dont realize youre supposed to let the dude throw his snowball before killing him), and youll be even worse off, because its stupidly difficult to get down without the ball if you dont want to detonate every mine with your fragile frame on the way down. I dont really show this off in the main video, but I do make sure to showcase it in the hard mode vid so check it out if youre curious.
I dunno, I feel like Im rambling, but I just really dont care for this stage. Its not terrible, but IS probably the only stage I dont actively enjoy. As far as I can recall though, this is the last one I feel that way about, so thats an upside! Also I forgot to disable the blast shot in this stage and it actually came in moderately useful insofar as simultaneously killing carryarms and their spikings, so Im a little more lenient towards it now.
One last thing, those explosive orbs at the end are called Floppers, and while they too have the whole lingering explosion thing theyre actually hitable so I got no beef with them. They were in the first game too, and their concept art shows theyre filled with skull-shaped gas which is pretty neat.
You gain the Defense form as a prize for slicing 20 enemies with a thrown shield boomerang. Another form youre unlikely to get without purposefully trying for it, its probably my least favorite unlock requirement in the game. This stage is a bit weird in that the Mini Mines dont seem to count towards your enemies killed for ranking purposes, but DO count for form unlocks or so I thought. Upon rewatching the recording, I noticed Id actually killed over 20 normal enemies, and testing showed that no, the Mini Mines DONT count. This has blown my mind because Ive thought for *years* that they did, but W/E. You get to see me flailing around like an ass with the boomerang for absolutely no profit!
The defense form is pretty cool, but not great. Its basically the anti-Proto form, halving your attack power whilst doubling your defense, and its one of the few forms that doesnt screw with your saber combo, so the damage reduction isnt too bad. For players having trouble with the game, this would honestly probably be one of the best forms to use seeing as its so forgiving, but killing a bunch of things with a thrown boomerang (which is the only weapon that doesnt get a fastcharge upgrade) is just a chore and not fun at all.
Youd think that, given its unlock requirements, itd buff your boomerangs charge time or damage, but neither seems to be true. (UPDATE: Turns out it DOES increase Shield boomerang damage...from 6 to 7. Doesn't take any charged saber damage though, so could be decent for bosses?) As-is, the defense form is an ok choice, but not as interesting as, say, the Active or X forms in terms of changing up gameplay.
Also, its the last one well be getting in the game proper! Theres only two more open slots left in the forms screen; ones the proto form (which you get automatically in hard mode, or upon beating the game otherwise) and the others a SECRET. A secret that is going to be mildly annoying to unlock.
Either way, you wont be seeing this section again for a good long while.
*Updated: Looks like it DOES increase shield boomerang damage from 6 to 7. Whoops!
And heres our third Saber skill! This ones known as Rakuretsuzan over in Japan; all the other Saber skills (including one we havent yet gotten) use the Japanese names instead of translations, and Im not entirely certain why this one got changed, so theres the OG name for those interested.
The Sharp Edge skill finally gives Zero the ability to attack directly downwards, a trait that previously only the chain rod had, which when used generally resulted in both the enemy and you getting hit. Sharpy here doesnt usually have that problem, as it does far more damage with a far broader hitbox, and can actually be somewhat guided on the way down. Theres only a few enemies against whom this is really worthwhile, and using it on bosses is far less recommended than the other two weve gotten so far due to the direction youll be traveling in, but in those select few situations its quite handy.
Like the Sengatotsu and Tenshouzan, the Sharp Edge also gets an elemental adaption. Also like those two, the conversion references a skill from Mega Man X4, the Hyouretsuzan. The Ice chip changes the Sabers look a bit, but doesnt really change the size like the other skills (close inspection seems to indicate it actually shifts a pixel up, making its range marginally smaller) and due to the fact that its not all that handy against bosses its usually not all that relevant. Looks better though, so Im not complaining. Makes the same *HUNGH* sound as the Sengatotsu too.
- Water world. Floods the room with water to give herself an advantage in the subsequent fight; done prior to the battle itself.
- Spear strike: When Zeros directly below her, Leviathan will convert her spear tip to a form not unlike Zeros ice-elemental Sharp Edge, and quickly do a downwards thrust towards your location.
- Triple harpoon: Converts her spear tip to 3 sharply pointed, triangular projectiles which she then fires forwards, then high, then low. All three have limited homing, and will attempt to orient themselves towards Zeros position.
- Circular strike: Used when Zero gets too close for comfort. Charges her spear with icy energy, then slashes it in a circular motion around her body. Moderate knockback when Zeros on the ground, but itll send you careening into the opposite wall if it hits while youre in the air.
- Frost shield: Spins her spear in a circle in a manner akin to Zeros own shield boomerang, producing small frost crystals as she does so. Completely protects her front from damage, though she can still be damaged from behind. Immediately followed by
- Frost wheel. Fires crystals in a circular pattern that steadily expands and accelerates. Dissipates upon hitting the floor.
- Fairy dust: Swims high and produces large frost crystals in her wake. After a couple lengths of the room, says a rather goofy Dun-Dun-Dun! and sends them falling down. Destroyable in a single hit, so just slash a couple to give yourself an opening as they fall.
- EX Skill: Frozen Maelstrom: Bathes herself in an ocean-blue aura, and spins her weapon abover her, creating a whirlpool that sucks you in. Fires off 7 homing harpoons during this, followed by a spear strike that produces a fanning wave of ice shards upon impact with the ground, at which point the vortex dissipates. Generally used after Fairy dust, position yourself a bit away from her in anticipation and dash madly away from the vortex to throw off the harpoons homing. (This is one of two EX Skills the Wiki didnt give an official name for, so this ones improvised fyi)
Fairy Leviathan is the cool-headed representative of water and ice within the Guardians. Shes also one of the few instances of a female boss character within the Megaman universe, alongside her underling Poler Kamrous and Splash Woman, a robot master from MM9 that seems moderately inspired by Leviathan.
As far as personality goes, shes probably the least fleshed out. Like Fefnir, she seems to enjoy fighting Zero, though not to such an extreme extent. Shes got some sass, but again, not much is given on her (the designers have actually gone on record saying they wish they couldve done more with those two).
Appearance-wise is another story. Obviously named after the catch-all term for giant sea nasties, shes got a lot of sea-themed customizations adorning her body. Her weapon (an obscure wiki page tells me its named the Frost Javelin despite the fact that she never throws it) is reminiscent of the classic trident, spear, or harpoon often wielded by denizens of the sea, her helmet resembles actual hair with a seashell motif, and her form is generally streamlined saved for the large jet on the back of her body, both of which accentuate her feminine form. Shes got high heels because of course she does shes a woman in a video game, and shes also sporting the customary superstrong-thong popular amongst important people in the Zero universe, though I suppose she can pass hers off as a swimsuit. All in all shes ok, but not all that interesting as a character.
The battle versus her is somewhat unique. Like some of the other bosses before her (Hylegg, Panter), the battle against Leviathan takes place within a unique environment; in this case, water. It comes bundled with a rather cool entrance too, what with her entering through the reservoir in the background. Classic Megaman water physics means that youll be jumping about three times as high as normal, and falling at about twice the customary speed, which opens up new ways of dodging but also hinders your ability to stage a rapid retreat. The water also allows Leviathan a freedom of movement not really enjoyed by any other boss in the game, in that shes able to float about at a moderate clip wherever she wishes to go. This can be a bit annoying, because shes wont to float casually to your current position and mess you up with contact damage, and oftentimes hitting her will cause her to careen backwards far more than youre used to and result in even more up close and personal time. Not fun.
Like Fefnir, she plays a lot like she did in the first game, with some minor differences. Honestly though, of the fightable guardians in this game, shes the least changed. Its actually arguably easier here, seeing as her arena in Zero 1 had spike bits around you that had to be avoided.
She fights with a lot of ranged attacks, and barring the aforementioned contact damage, she only really has one close-up move. The attacks cover a lot of ground, but also have many blind spots (generally speaking, standing behind her will let you avoid them pretty easily) so this fights not so tough. Moreover, the fire chip stuns her nicely and stops her attacks dead in their tracks, so if you were to attack her at the beginning of Triple Harpoon or Fairy Dust, youve just bought yourself a few seconds of breathing room. All in all, not all that difficult
Except for her EX Skill. While Fefnirs lasts too long and is hard to dodge, Leviathans is potentially IMPOSSIBLE to dodge. Her vortex sucks you in with the force of a thousand suns, and if youre near the eye of the storm when she launches it, youre basically incapable of escaping. Her harpoons will circle around, hit you, and knock you right back in just in time to be speared from above. It feels super cheap, and the only way to dodge it consistently is to know its coming and plan ahead by getting some distance, which is never fun. Like I said with her personality, the boss fight is okay, but not exceptional.
The only thing I really love about this stage that doesnt have strings attached! Cool waters got the same kinda thing Passionate did in that its similar to the previous levels music (Ice brain) while sounding more intense and focused. I dont care for it as much as I do Ice Brain, but its still a fun little tune.