Quite easily, actually...
Zero has been wandering around for a year since Mega Man Zero 1 (why is everyone putting brown cloaks on everyone now?), and he hasn’t been taking very good care of himself either. That’s okay, though; he soon stumbles over Ciel, who takes him back in. But things have changed at the Resistance Base, chief among them being Elpizo who is now calling the shots...

Stupid Questions

If a Cyber-elf is a type of program, how can they die? (This is some “cutting edge technology”... Have they never heard of backups?) And how do you breed programs? Why is it necessary to “grow” a program when it could simply be copied or reprogrammed to do what you want? And how do programs have bodies? Wouldn’t that make them robots?


Quote of the game: “I’m afraid that most of your weapons were broken. Therefore, I’ve fixed them.” If you fixed them, why are you sorry?
A sequel as sequels go. The biggest change you will notice right off is that there are now extra lives and continues like any typical Mega Man game. As far as I can tell it is no longer possible to fail missions (which was a rather unique though irritating feature of the previous title). In fact, you can’t choose a new mission at all without loading a save game. When you lose all your lives your choices are “Continue” or “Reload from Save.” When you continue, you keep all weapon levels and elves that you’d picked up. On the other hand, if you decide you simply can’t beat a mission, your only recourse is to reload and lose everything you’d gained in that mission. This is still better than a total “game over” every time you die though.

There is also a stage select screen that is more typical of classic Mega Man games, and right at the start of the game Cervaeu gives you basically all of the weapons you’d had from the previous game, which is a switch.

Other Changes

Using the Chain Rod

The Chain Rod is your gimmick weapon in this game; you’ll use it more to accomplish tasks than to defeat enemies. But it can be a lot of fun (as long as you aren’t trying to use it to cross pits) and is an improvement over the Triple Rod at any rate.

[Image of Zero saying ’This isn’t fun anymore.’]
Yeah, this is how I feel after I’ve died to the same boss for the gazillionth time.
Play Control: 4
Pretty much identical to the first title. The Chain Rod is a little more difficult to use than the Triple Rod though...mostly because it’s more critical. If you mess up, you could very likely land yourself in a pit, so...
Graphics: 3
Pretty much the same here as well. The portraits and cut scene drawings are a bit cleaner, but still look like scans.
Animation: 5
The sprites haven’t changed much; and most enemies still have a custom animation for when you destroy them with a saber, which is rather entertaining.
Music: 3
Some of the tunes are pretty nice, but they would have sounded better with better quality instruments and stereo renderings. I do like how the opening ties into the ending music, though.
Sound Effects: 4
Not much has changed here either.
Plot: 3
The plot of this game gets kind of crazy, where your allies are your enemies, and your enemies are really your allies. I mean, Neo Arcadia has banned Reploids, yet they have Reploids working with them, and Reploids fighting against them, and Elpizo turns out to be both an ally and enemy to both sides at once...
Difficulty: 5 (hard)
The addition of extra lives does make it slightly easier (or at least less tedious) than the previous game, since now at least you don’t have to replay stages from the very beginning every time you die. However the difficulty is still up there, particularly if you want to get EX Skills.
Replay Value: 3
The clear-game save adds some amount of replay and at least addresses some of the more irritating aspects of this title (such as the fact that you can only earn certain items on your first run through a stage). In fact, this game appears to have been designed such that you aren’t supposed to be able to obtain everything on a single play through...
Polish: 3
I gotta hand them two things. First, during the intro stage they actually use the subscreen art from the first game, except cracked and broken to represent Zero’s current condition. (The rest of the game uses a totally revamped subscreen.) Second, in the Resistance Base are some towers where, if you walk to them from inside the base, you see the insides of the towers, but if you go topside and visit the same towers, you are now seeing them from the outside. It’s rather clever.
Overall: 75%
I think I would have enjoyed this game more if it wasn’t necessary to rush through stages just to get a high rank. I only have fun after the fact, when I am able to go back into stages and explore them properly—but of course, this makes the first trip through completely pointless. Overall, this game, like its predecessor, seems to relish in giving the player disincentives to really enjoying it. For example, a lot of the Cyber-elves are quite entertaining to use, but of course, they come in such a limited quantity that the player will never be able to fully appreciate them. And putting the stages on timers means you cannot take your time and explore, at least not the first time through. And so forth. Someday, maybe developers will realize that the goal of playing a game is to have fun...

+ Plus:
You can get Sub-Tanks without using elves.
- Minus:
Achieving high ranks is now essential rather than simply being useful for bragging rights, which can really reduce the enjoyment factor.
Honestly, if you managed to earn an A+ rank during the intro stage, you may want to choose your first level based on what EX Skill you’d like to pick up. It’s not as easy to come out of later stages with high ranks, so you may have to settle with grabbing whatever EX Skills that you can. (Most of them aren’t really all that critical, though, so if you can’t maintain a high rank, don’t worry too much about it.)

Otherwise, for beginners I suggest Hyleg Ourobockle first, since you can pick up a Sub-Tank during the stage to use on the boss. Likewise, if you manage to come out of the mini-stage with an A or higher rank, I strongly recommend doing Burble Hekelot afterward, not only because you can get a Sub-Tank from his stage, but because his EX Skill is one of the best in the game. (This might be one worth using an elf on.)

In the teleporting hatch rooms, you have to actually stand in the center of a hatch and press Up to enter it. (Not exactly intuitive, particularly for someone who has never seen a teleporting hatch room before.) Once you are finished, the exit is the gate in the upper left hand corner of the room.

[Teleport Hatch Room 1]

[Teleport Hatch Room 2]
At the end of the mini-stage (the interlude stage between the first four stages and the second group of four), you will need to protect Ciel from attack. Position yourself just to the left of her, facing left, and equip the Shield Boomerang. Hold down the shield button for the entire battle (never throw it). Use a saber-type weapon on your other slot; when an enemy appears over your head, jump slightly and slash it (or attack upward with the Chain Rod); also slash the X-Joe robots crawling on the floor when they get too close. These are the only things which have the potential of getting past you and hitting Ciel; the rest you simply need to block with the shield (or your body, if you have to).
Rainbow Devil MK2 (Neo Arcadia Temple boss)

I wish they’d given me this option before the fortress stage.
Again. As usual it’s quite active, but you can avoid most of its attacks by climbing the wall and hanging out in the upper corner. Jump off and over it when it is out of the way, so that it doesn’t trap you. It doesn’t appear to be weak against any Element, so using your normal attacks should do, although make sure that you don’t have the Laser Shot equipped if you’re going to be using the buster. Hit it in the head; you know the drill.
Fighting Fefnir MK2 (Temple of Flame boss)
Remember, he’s weak against Lightning, not Ice, despite what temple you find him in. This is basically Fefnir in a tank that uses lots of flame attacks. Keep your distance and shoot at anything that flashes. As you destroy pieces of his tank, his attacks become less varied and easier to dodge.
Fairy Leviathan MK2 (Temple of Ice boss)
She mostly hangs out on either side of the screen, spearing her way across from time to time. Once again, she’s weak against Fire, and you can destroy many of the ice attacks that she creates.
Sage Harpuia MK2 (Temple of Wind boss)
He turns into a nifty bird machine that flies from the distance into the screen. He’s still weak against Ice. Use powered-up Saber slashes to hit him but try not to get too close to him.
Kuwagust Anchus MK2 (Teleporting Hatches)
Now this is rather interesting; you are up against two of them at once here. Fortunately, one of them will usually stay out of the way in the far distance, except during their twin dash move (dash under this). They are both weak against Ice and share a single energy meter (which means that hitting either will take damage off the boss meter); however, this is not much of a plus because they have a three-tier meter and they do way too much damage to Zero. Remember to jump as well as dash to avoid the horizontal whirlwind.
Elpizo (first time)
I knew this guy was trouble the moment I laid eyes on him... Anyway, I found that charged Saber slashes seem to be about the only thing that make him flinch. You can’t hurt him while he’s blocking, but you can knock him out of most of his attacks. Stay a few steps away from him, but keep him on the screen so that you can see what he’s up to, otherwise you won’t be getting much damage in. Avoid the ring of spheres at all costs, and note that sometimes he opens a dimensional portal and brings in some minor enemies. Destroy these for potential energy refills.
Elpizo (second time)
Keep your distance, and hit Elpizo only with fully-charged strikes. Again I found the charged Saber to do the best damage, although it does mean you have to hop rather close to him to hit. Come in from an angle, rather than standing directly underneath him (underneath him is the last place you want to be in this batttle; naturally, this is where Zero walks to before the battle starts). You need to hit the figure in the center part, but the outer spokes of the star will not hurt you when you touch them; just avoid the objects that Elpizo has rotating around him. This fight is actually not overly difficult, as you can avoid most of his attacks by simply staying away from him. Move close only long enough to strike, and of course only when you see you have an opening. Mysteriously, his first form is more deadly than his second...

Side note: If you die to Elpizo, you don’t have to go through all of the plot again, which is kind of nice.

Sub-Tanks Elements EX Skills
Stage Hints
So, X is destroyed by Elpizo, who wants to kill all human beings and destroy Neo Arcadia and, oh, be a hero. He merges with the Dark Elf, but in the end, seems to regain his senses, right in time to die. Well, almost. The Dark Elf saves his life by turning him into a Cyber-elf instead (now we know where Cyber-elves come from), and Elpizo apologizes and makes his leave.

X arrives, in Cyber-elf form, and explains that the Dark Elf wasn’t always evil, but that someone called Dr. Weil (uh huh) placed a curse on her. Zero thinks he knows her from somewhere, but naturally, X doesn’t bother to tell him the Dark Elf’s original name, or explain why he might know her...

Oh yeah, and there’s a plug for Mega Man Zero 3 after the credits.

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Last update: January 26, 2005