The Let's Play Archive

Mega Man Zero 2

by Gamwhiz1

Part 21: Video 16

In hindsight, I should have named the thread something more interesting (read: punny), but as long as it is what is it I figure we should end it like it began.
Thanks for sticking with me, folks!

Stage notes!

100 pt. Requirements:
-Clear time: 8:40
-Enemies killed: 23
-Mission: N/A

The most difficult part of hard mode stages are the boss battles, in which you have to deal with a reduced damage-dealing rate and enemy attacks that hit twice as hard. And, well…
Also Hardmodemusic is from the PS3 RPG “Time and Eternity”, called the “Towa battle theme”. I’ve never played it myself and hear it’s fairly mediocre, but goon Dragonatrix introduced me to the tack and I liked it enough to include.

The final area of Neo Arcadia is one that the game reaaaaly doesn’t tell you enough about. It’s an area called “Yggdrassil”, is located in the exact center of Neo Arcadia, is constructed like a GIANT TREE IN A TOWER, and has an amazing music theme; it’s awesome, though possibly not quite as much as the orbital elevator/space command center that ended Zero 1, but the game tells you almost literally nothing about it. Even more bizarre is that a character even makes an obscure reference to it waaaay earlier in the game, and then never elaborates!

You know what? In the center part of Neo Arcadia, there is a very huge tree, which I have never seen anywhere else. Behind its root, you may find something important. However, it's not easy for you to get there. Due to the fact that the area is protected by many buildings. Actually, this is just a rumor that I heard from someone else. So I guess it just depends on your belief in rumors...

Hirondelle is very clearly referencing this whole area (with the “Important thing” being an early forshadowing), but they NEVER MAKE ANYTHING OF IT. You never even get the area name, because the game ends before you can return via the operators. It’s always seemed like a really strange design choice to me, and I can’t make heads nor tails of it. Regardless, you’re never going to know unless you check out the supplemental materials.

As for the way the stage is designed, it’s primarily vertical, but instead of making you climb straight up you’re just winding back and forth. It has a weird surplus of ladders, but that’s really all that Yggdrassil has going for it besides the requisite Mega Man boss gauntlet. It’s not bad, but there’s not much to the stage.
In regards to said gauntlet, this is one of the odder incarnations throughout the series in that it’s abnormally small, with only 6 boss rematches total as opposed to the usual 8. The blame for this can be primarily attributed to the Guardians; in the last game, the first gauntlet section had four of the normal stage bosses, while the second had the four Guardians, but here in Zero 2 we’ve already beaten their faces in twice. As such, Inticreates made the (wise, IMO) decision to cut them from the rematch roster, which removes some unnecessary fluff but also makes the stage a bit shorter.

HOWEVER. There’s one more interesting thing about this particular boss rush iteration. SAY HELLO TO…

Character bios!

Anchus Brothers


(I tried to find a decent pic of the two together, but only got a crappy genderbent DA pic, so uh, this'll have to do)
The Anchus brothers both return from the dead for a final rematch! This fight is amazing and unexpected in many ways, but the most prominent of those is the fact that THEY’RE INTRODUCING A BRAND-NEW BOSS FIGHT IN THE BOSS RUSH. This is, to my knowledge, both unprecedented and unique in the series so far, and single-handedly makes Yggdrassil one of the coolest final stages in a Mega Man game. It really is a stroke of genius.

AS FOR THE BROTHERS THEMSELVES. We’ve already been introduced to Kuwagust Anchus, but if you haven’t played/seen MMZ1, Herculious Anchus was the boss of the first Neo Arcadia area in that game, and managed to get revived in time for that game’s boss rush as well. Kuwa made mention of him in his death dialogue back in the day, but basically they’re brothers in that they were both built using the same technology, and also in that they’re designed to match both the red/blue oni and the Hercules/Stag beetle design tropes.

The boss fight against them is honestly both hard and easy at the same time; they’re extremely predictable, repeating the same pattern over and over, but said pattern consists of some rather dickish and hard-to avoid moves, requiring some outlandish movement on Zero’s part and a knowledge that dashing lowers your hitbox a bit. By far their most dangerous power, though, is their EX Skill – Like Kuwagust’s, it’s super annoying to avoid, and is far more involved than most others in that you have to both time your jump AND attack at the right time to clear it safely. It’s hard, and still trips me up occasionally. They’re invincible while using it too.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The fun part about the fight comes from the fact that the bros share a health bar, but not invincibility frames, so you can do super fun things like switching sides and bashing them one at a time, or throwing an ice boomerang and getting both of them on the return. It’s a cool style of fight, one that I believe first shows up here and only gets repeated once or twice, and it’s just generally interesting. And their simultaneous death is just perfect, if a bit mean-spirited the first time you get sniped.

Elpizo: Battle form


Elpizo’s first form is, as far as I’m concerned, basically perfect. The Zero games are all about speed, and after chasing Elpizo for a little over half of the game now, having a final climactic clash against an enemy nearly as mobile and destructive as yourself is an absolute rush and a joy to play. From the cinematic transformation sequence, to the redesign (those pauldrons!), to the absolutely amazing music, everything about this just feels RIGHT. They pulled this off in Zero 1 as well, with Copy X’s first form having extreme mobility and a buttload of cool callback attacks, but he didn’t get the BOOOOOM picture sequence or a unique boss theme, so I’d say Elpizo has him beat there.

His moveset is admittedly smaller than you’d expect, but dang if he doesn’t make full use of it – his physical attacks hit hard and fast, his ranged attacks have super long range, and he’s capable of making up for his somewhat paltry HP stock with a devilishly hard to dodge draining attack – an attack which leaves you unharmed just long enough to go “oh SHIT” before it hits you.
Really, my only big problem with Elpizo is that he just doesn’t LAST long enough. This is a recurring thing with Zero bosses, where the emphasis on speed lets you take even big bosses down in less than a minute, and the fact that Elpizo only has 2 health bars when he really should have three does not help matters. It feels like they tried to compensate by giving him nearly 10 seconds of invincibility for his EX skill, but it’s just NOT ENOUGH. I want more of this guy, his classy weapon and evil chuckle are great.
Also, just gonna drop Elpizo’s Japanese quotes here, because I can’t match them up to their respective moves without some more context.

Oops, that was close!
Pardon me!
I see you!
You've underestimated me!
Please enjoy yourself!

Elpizo: Dark Fusion


Remember all those good things I said about Elpizo’s battle form? Well, remove all that and replace it with the exact opposite and you’ve got Elpizo: Dark Fusion.
I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH how much I dislike this boss. Elpizo moved super fast and attacked quickly! Dark Fusion floats up and down a bit and uses attacks that last for 10+ seconds as he does nothing. Elpizo had a sweet, high energy theme song! Dark Fusion replaces it with a much less interesting, mildly repetitive track. Elpizo fought Zero as an equal! Dark Fusion sics his baby elves on you.
This all comes together to create a boss that I will go to my grave saying should have come first, if at all. If we’d gotten this, followed by Elpizo’s plea for more strength, followed by the transformation into his Battle form (with maybe one or two more moves) I’d be perfectly happy; as is, though, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

See, they pulled something similar to this with Copy X in the first game, transforming him into a giant winged seraph with more limited mobility than his first form. Again, I think it wasn’t as good as Copy X form one, but at least there we got a distinct visual theming with it still visibly BEING Copy X, on top of an arena change with bottomless pits and spiked pillars and attacks that set the entire battlefield ablaze. It was moderately cool, and I could live with it. Here, we’re fighting an immobile boss in a wide-open space that really doesn’t fit him, while dodging rather slow and generic attacks, while trying to figure out exactly what it is we’re attacking.

The only weak point on his body, the small heart-shaped thing, resembles nothing more than a core, while his “hair” seems to just be floating over a void, and for the longest time I actually thought the hair WAS his face (with the curls being the eyes). If you zoom waaaaay into the official art, you can begin to see that the heart is meant to be his head, with a little bit of his hair covering the left side of his face, but it just did not translate well to the pixel art and I’ve never quite been able to make out what exactly I’m looking at.

I dunno, I just don’t like this form. There was no precedent for what the Dark Elf does to you up to this point, and it’s always seemed to me like he didn’t quite manage to draw out its full power (which might explain the weakness of this particular boss), but still it’s…just kind of boring. It never really feels like Elpizo is really fighting back at this point, and he’s probably the easiest of the four final bosses of the Zero games. OH WELL. (He has a pretty great scream though, makes ya jump)

Japanese quotes:

Don't get cocky!
More power!!
Rust and Crumble!!
This is the end!

Extra notes!

While the final boss itself might be a little mediocre, the ending is most certainly NOT. The destruction of X’s body here is ~incredibly~ significant in that it marks the true end of the X-series games. Though said series has never really rapped itself up (and, in fact, ended X8 on a cliffhanger), it gives a sense of closure that I really appreciate, given how Capcom has a thing about leaving their plots open-ended for more sequels. The Zero games are really good about that, giving you what you need and then moving on, and it seems kind of fitting to me that X sacrificed himself (or, at least, his body) to protect humanity in a non-violent fashion. I’d make some kinda dumb memorial thing, but uh, somebody a little more famous than I already pulled that one, and as much as I’d like to make my own sepia-toned tribute to a kinda dead video game character, I think the world is only capable of handling the one. Point is this is a cool moment, and although it didn’t quite hit home with me given that this was the first Mega Man game I’d really played, I’m sure it was a REAL SHOCKER to veterans. Elpizo's name means "to hope" in Greek, and his fall from grace is made more poignant by it.

Speaking of X, according to extraneous sources, the shock of using his body as a seal is what separated his consciousness and power in Cyber-elf form; in fact, it actually separated his “soul” into 5 PIECES, with the other four pieces being used to create the four Guardians, so they’re both constructed in his image and partially ARE him. WEIRD. Apparently the main Cyber-X has all the personality though, although I question that a bit seeing how unperturbed he was by the fact that he is now without a body.

Boss quotes!

Like Harpuia’s first fight, the Yggdrassil bosses all have a little bit of taunting they give you if you die to them. It’s all inane Elpizo-worshipping stuff (they were presumably mind-controlled by the Baby Elves as he traveled up the tree) but my duty as a Let’s Player™ compels me to include it. Soooo…

- The new world…The new order…The new peace…Master Elpizo, forever!
- The new world…The new order…The new peace…Master Elpizo, forever!
- The new world…The new order…The new peace…Master Elpizo, forever. Bobobobhfa…!
- We are ready to define our destiny…Master Elpizo, forever…Ribbid!
- Another chapter in history is about to unfold…Master Elpizo, forever!
- History is about to be written…
- Master Elpizo, forever…And the bond between the Anchus brothers shall live forever…


For the most part, the music introduced in the final stage and ending are all super-high quality.
…I say for the most part, because again, I don’t especially care for the final boss theme.
HOWWWWWEVER. While that’s true, the others really are top-tier. Silver wolf, Yggdrassil’s theme, is just amazing and very final area-y, and I can’t help but feel the naming’s supposed to be some subtle reference to play on the place’s Norse inspiration, like an allusion to Fenrir or something. Elpizo’s the wolf, X is the Odin he devours? Or something. It also acts as a bit of foreshadowing for the series ending, so there’s that too.

Elpizo’s first form theme, Supreme ruler, I’ve already given my accolades to, but I have to reiterate just how good it is. The bass is strong in this one, and that 3-note sting they use right at the beginning is suspiciously similar to the one used in Elpizo’s main theme, Combustion.

Following that is In Mother’s light, which is a great atmospheric track that closes the game in excellent fashion, builds further and further up until about 2:10, and then loops til the end of the scene. It’s constructed in such a way that you’ll generally hear the calming, gentle parts as Elpizo meets his ultimate fate, then get hit by the later, more ominous parts when the Dark elf reverts and you get the ending cliffhanger, and is just generally very fitting. The title also alludes to a tidbit of information the series hasn’t yet given, which is a cool touch.

And finally, closing the main game is the ending credits theme, titled “Awakening will”. For this one I’m just gonna let you listen because it’s that good, but make sure to open THIS in a separate tab to compare. If there’s any reason to sit through a credits sequence, this is it.

Silver Wolf
Supreme Ruler
The Last -The Wish Punished-
In Mother’s Light
Awakening Will