The Flash is Back

Meegah Mem 2

We covered Meegah Mem recently, the joke game that looked like it was designed in Flash back two decades ago (even though it’s a much more current release than that). The thing is that the creator of that game, PowerUpT working under his “brand” Crapcom, wasn’t done with the concept just yet. He made the (arguably not the best) Mega Man into a crappy flash game, but when you think of the Mega ManIn 1987, Capcom released Mega Man on the NES, a game featuring a blue robot that fought other robots and took their powers (so that he could then fight other robots with those powers, and on, and on). The series went on to release over 50 games in 30 years and become one of the most famous gaming franchises in the world. series, your mind automatically turns to Mega Man 2. That was the game that defined a generation, becoming one of the greatest games on the NES of all time. If you were gonna make a parody of any one Mega Man game, it has to be the second of the series.

Meegah Mem 2

So that’s what PowerUpT did. Taking the bones of Mega Man 2, the creator applied is same artistic style (if we want to call what he makes “artistic”) and made a parody game of Mega Man 2. The game, naturally called Meegah Mem 2, gives you the same cruddy art, the same low-rent kazoo music, the same “gift” of playing a less good version of Mega Man 2, all for the fun of seeing just what the game has in store. And it works. It’s the game, and it’s playable. But I do have to admit that in this longer form, with more stages, more bosses, and more of everything, the joke does wear a little thin.

Meegah Mem 2 presents a parody version of Mega Man 2, done up by PowerUpT to look like the cruddy sequel to his cruddy looking game Meegah Mem. That isn’t me being cruel, that’s just how it was intended. The game is done up with poorly drawn artwork so it can resemble the old Flash movies from the last 1990s and early 2000s. You know, the junk that populated the video-side of the internet before YouTube came along and made actual video the standard. It was a fun and silly time back then and Meegah Mem 2 reflects that silliness with its art.

And with its music, of course. Like the first game, the sequel sports an entire soundtrack of classic Mega Man 2 tunes recreated, on live-recorded kazoo. The music isn’t great, as you’d expect, but it is amusing to hear tunes like Heat Man’s stage, Air Man’s stage, and Bubble Man’s stage redone on the kazoo. The songs are recognizable and fun in their own way, although like with the soundtrack for the first game, a number of tracks here quickly degenerate from identifiable hooks into breathless random beats as the artist struggles to keep up. But, I assume, that is part of the charm.

The game itself is a pretty solid recreation of Mega Man 2. You get the eight Robot Masters that you can choose from on the stage select, and beating them gives you their weapons (and useful items as well) to take into other stages. Once you’ve cleared all eight robots you can then venture into Wily’s Castle which has all its stages to explore and defeat. Finally there’s the boss rush, the two forms of the Wily Machine, and then the Wily alien. In basic construction this feels one-to-one, which is different from the first Meegah Mem game. That title only had seven stages and breezed by really quickly.

The stages, too, are bigger. While not complete, one-to-one and beat-by-beat recreations of every Mega Man 2 stage, they do show off the expected bits you are familiar with. Heat Man’s stage, for example, has the blocks over lava. Air Man’s stage has the appearing, giant heads to jump on. Meta Man’s stage has the conveyors, and so on. If you remember something familiar from a stage, it’s probably there, albeit in a slightly shorter form. The stages aren’t as long as the originals, and sometimes cut out substantial sections to keep the pace moving. Still, these are larger and more faithful than any of the stages in the first Meegah Man.

I do appreciate that the creator tried to put in more of everything. The longer stages are good from a play perspective, and the graphics got a bit of an upgrade (while still being shitty). There’s more animation, both from foreground sprites and backgrounds as well. The waterfalls in Bubble Man’s stage, for example, are terribly animated but they are animated, which was a nice touch. It does feel like PowerUpT put in more effort this time around, expanding the joke to make it bigger, larger than before.

That is, however, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, yes, Meegah Mem 2 is a bigger and more substantial game than the first Meegah Mem all around. But at the same time, I don’t know if that makes it a better game. The joy of Meegah Mem was the stupidity of the game, the fast and dumb levels that got you in, entertained you with their terrible graphics and music, and then got you out quick so you could move on to the next level. Because Meegah Mem 2 is so much longer, you have to spend more time with it. It stops feeling like a joke at a certain point and, honestly, starts to feel like a (terrible made) real game. And that’s when it stops being fun.

I like that the creator pushed himself, but he added in so much from the real Mega Man 2 that I couldn’t help but constantly compare the game to Mega Man 2. “Oh, this is that section of the stage, and It’s forcing me to use actual skill and control to get through this area.” With so much of the game borrowing elements from Mega Man 2 (which, yes, is a fantastic game), it didn’t leave much room for the game to be as shitty and silly and bad on purpose. It was trying to hard to actually be something approximating good.

Deep down, Meegah Man 2 was actually trying to be Mega Man 2. It was putting in effort and pointing out all the things it did to emulate the original NES sequel. It was trying so hard, and it was making me work for all that it was doing, that at a certain point it felt like I was playing a shitty version of Mega Man 2. At, that point I felt like I’d rather actually go play the real Mega Man 2 (or, short of that, at least an official bad version of the game, you know, on Game Boy called Mega Man II). Something fun and simple was lost as this sequel was expanded and created.

Now, let’s be clear, this is nowhere near a truly terrible Mega Man game. That honor is reserved, of course, for the two DOS games, Mega Man and Mega Man 3: The Robots are Revolting. But this game is so desperate to want to be Mega Man 2, even with its tongue somewhat planted in its cheek, that it begs the comparison for too long and certainly too hard. Why play this when you can just go play Mega Man 2? I struggle to find an answer to that question, which is a question I never even thought to ask about the first Meegah Mem.

I like the idea of these games, I really do. I appreciate the effort put in by PowerUpT to up his game (so to speak) this time around and make something “bigger and better”. It’s just that, after the half hour I put into this game I realized one thing: you can only parody for so long, and so hard, before it would be better to go back to the real thing.