RetroVision – Was Mega Man 2 Too Hard For A Western Audience?

It’s common knowledge that during the 8 and 16-bit generations, whilst many games were easy to pick up and play, they were especially difficulty to beat, let alone master, with many not having neither a save or password option.  Super Mario Bros 2 is a common analogy for this, something I will be touching on soon given it is a hot topic of mine.  However, a lot of people may not realise that the process of making a game easier for those of us outside of Japan was also present within Mega Man 2’s difficulty.  Many of us who have played Keiji Inafune and Capcom’s legendary Mega Man series will remember that option at the beginning of the second entry in the series which simply said “Difficult”.

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One of Mega Man 2’s More Difficult Boss Battles

Given how difficult the Mega Man series is already, especially Mega Man 2, many may not have ventured too deep into Difficult Mode despite the option for password input.  However, it may shock many a NES owner to discover that “Difficult” was in fact the only difficulty level given to Famicom owners in Japan when Rockman and its subsequent sequels were released.  As such clearly portraying the belief within Capcom that an American audience would not entertain that level of punishing difficulty, with this being a standard attitude during the late 80’s, early 90’s within Japanese developers, and something mirrored in Nintendo’s stance.  So spare a thought for any poor Famicom owner owner who had to suffer such pains as getting all the way to Dr. Wily on Rockman 2, only to find you don’t have enough bubble ammo remaining.

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Rockman 2’s Start Menu With No Difficulty Select

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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