Part 19: Video 15
Couldnt think of something more clever. CANT ALL BE WINNERS.
100 pt. Requirements:
-Clear time: 3:50
-Enemies killed: 37
The stage itself is filled with easy-to-kill enemies, so hard mode doesnt hurt you that much, save for not letting you kill Poplans whenever you want to with the Tenshouzan. As for the boss though, well, have fun trying to hit him.
The Temple of Wind is odd. Unlike Ice and Fire, were not getting any real examples of air here; admittedly, itd be hard to flood the stage with liquid oxygen, but on the other hand, were not given any wind effects, or open-air segments, or anything that really screams this is the air stage. Instead, the stage attempts to embody the element by bringing in things last seen in the airborne bomb mission, and by making the path fold in on itself as it steadily travels upwards.
Said elements (the laser-producing generators) are interesting enough, but because theres no real enemy presence within their little rooms it feels more like an easy maze than the frantic time-is-of-the essence race around obstacles that the bombing mission had, and furthermore because the other electrical bosses weve had took place in decidedly non-aerial locations theres not exactly a plethora of other things to base the stage on, which makes it a little boring. They even actually have to go and pull some enemies from the Forests (Poplans, Saranets) to get a diverse cast, which is pretty funny. Plus, the reuse of the background and textures for the third time here starts to grate, especially seeing as the last stage had some cool ice and water effects changing the look, which is kinda eh.
In fact, it looks even more familiar than that almost like weve been here before
Thats a screencap from the first of three Neo Arcadia areas present in the first game, called the Neo Arcadia Shrine, a stage which bears a STRIKING resemblance to our Temple of Wind. It might just be me, but theres quite a few things that make me question the originality of the level:
- The platform seen up there^ ONLY appears in this one stage of Zero 2, in the same place as it did in the first game, and is guarded by bees here in the same general places vultures were on guard
- The first laser area exists in the same place as an equivalent enclosed structure filled with electrical traps, while the second exists in the same place as another structure with a midboss in it
- The second area was immediately followed by a series of thin platforms leading upwards, just like here
- The textures from the shrine were lifted and recycled for those of the temples
Again, could be nothing, but I swear whenever I run the area it gives me an enormous sense of Déjà vu I just cant shake. HERES a NA Shrine video if you wanna check for yourself; theres differences, but theyre remarkably similar, at least until the second mid-boss.
Its not overly difficult, at least not as much as the Temple of Fire, but the entire last segment is littered with enemies that are partially/entirely invincible and is remarkably annoying, which makes the stage in general seem kinda mediocre.
Harpuia Armed Phenomenon
- EMP Missile +: Releases a barrage of 5 horizontally-flying missiles from his backside. Said missiles drop in altitude until reaching Zeros current height, then fly forwards. Jump over first, stay under second, jump third, et cetera. Yells out Stop! whenever he uses this, though its more directed at himself than at Zero.
- Afterburn: Drops in altitude, engages engines, and flies across the stage. Dash under to avoid.
- Panavia Tornado: Produces a torndado from his turbines and flies across the stage, sweeping the twister along with him. The tornado does no damage, but DOES push Zero back in an attempt to knock him off the stage. Dash against the wind to get through.
- Fighting Falcon: Goes off-screen, appears in the backround, and flies towards the foreground. Only damages when at his closest to the screen, so just move out of the way. Hell fly towards one of the sides of the room, and reappear in normal side-view at that side.
- Arc lightning: Produces a continuous line of electricity from one claw, then the other, and proceeds to move forwards slowly while sweeping them low along the ground. Either dash under him when he starts the move or hang out on the side of the platform and wait it out.
- EX Skill: Black hole bomb: Charges a small pinpoint of energy on his headjewel and releases it to the middle of the stage. The energy then compresses and forms a vortex of wind, which begins sucking up random debris from juuuuuuust off screen. The debris will travel into the epicenter and disappear, damaging Zero if they hit him; the vortex will then reverse directions and spit all the contained material back out towards zero. Stay at the far end of the stage, jump or smash anything that gets too close.
Harpuia gets his share of the giant robot love, but in his case the transformation is against his will hence the UWAAAAAAAAH at the beginning. Those baby elves seem to be bad news.
Harpuias battle is a lot like Leviathans, what with all the changing of sides, and like his two Guardian friends only his head is vulnerable to damage, which means that youre only gonna be able to hit with the shield boomerang and buster shot in select instances. As such, this is usually a job best left for your saber and ice chips, a combo which he is no less weak to than he was last time. Course, if youre on hard mode, youll just have to veeeery carefully chip away at that health bar.
His moveset consists of upgraded moves from the past, like his missiles or the tornado used in last games EX Skill, and generally hit hard and fast, but unlike some of the other Armed Phenomenon moves none of them are excessively unfair or hard to dodge. Theyre telegraphed well, are powerful but not overpowered, and are pretty universally visually satisfying, which makes Hapruias AP one of my favorite bosses in the game. He gets a lot of really awesome moves, and though his EX skill still carries the sin of being overly long, its pretty dang sweet and gets a pass from me because of it.
Also, hes a jet.
This makes him about 400% cooler than any other boss design automatically.
Theres some good variety here with attacks at long, mid, and close range, and theres generally more than one way to dodge attacks (like shooting his missiles down yourself with the X form), which all comes together to make a fight that feels really fair. Id normally be continuing this a bit by complaining about this or that but nope, Harpuias a bro and this is a fun fight, thats all there is to it. Too bad hes not behind his own mental wheel at present!
Elpizo, Dark Elf + Baby Elves
Our first glimpse at the much-hyped Dark Elf, plus Elpizo and his infant cronies. Appearing as an overly large cyber-elf, and sporting both the standard Cyber Elf hoop wings and radiating stands of an ominous black cloth-like material here, in-game its more of a large, dark purple orb. Presumably due to Cyber Xs influence, its still partially sealed, which apparently means half the things animation frames get removed. Its still plenty powerful though, allowing a powerhungry Elpizo to single-handedly overpower and contain Harpuia, and is thus not something to be trifled with.
As for the Babies, young as they are, theyre really not in command of their own actions and are instead simply following Elpizos lead. Its still not entirely clear what they are, though the fact that Elpizo felt they were necessary to finding out about the Dark Elf suggests a link between them.
We already knew they possessed nearly limitless energy, hence Ciels study of them, but here we get the first glimpse of their power theyre capable of controlling the minds and bodies of Reploids, taking over the body of Harpuia and forcing him to fight against Zero. Significantly more ominous than previously thought, these babies may become a handful in the future.
This is the last stage we have before the final showdown, though Ill be doing one more extra thing beforehand. However, mediocre as the stage itself is, the boss and accompanying dialogue are amazing, and not just because its a fun fight. Its easy to miss, but Zero and Harpuia get both a good bit of development and a nice bookend here. See, you can visibly notice Zero inching up on Elpizo during the sequence, but he never attacks, seeing as Harpuias at risk. Furthermore, even when Harpy begs Zero to kill him, he refuses, instead opting to save his life by beating the elves out of the guardian.
Its nice and subtle, and a good example of how well the Zero games are written when compared to some of the other Megaman entries. Harpuia always steals the good scenes.
Two new tracks this time round. The first is the new stage theme, called The Cloudy Stone. Its a super-cool name, but the track itself doesnt really live up to the hype in my eyes Its got a lot of really heavy bass, but also an annoying discordant electronic sound underlying a good portion of the song that Im really not a fan of. When it ends, its good enough, but kinda generically ominous and I just dont care for it.
The second track is titled Harpuia, although its really not related to him specifically at all-its more a theme for when the Baby/Dark elves are doing their thing. Im sure he doesnt mind, though, seeing as hes the only one to get a music track named after him. Always hogging the spotlight, that Harpuia.
As for the sound, its a nicely satisfying OH SHIT track, but only ever plays for short bits at a time so youll likely ignore it for the most part.
The Cloudy Stone