Magnum Man (stage)

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Magnum Man

Make a Good Mega Man Level 3 Judge Application Levels

MagnumManScreen.png
Obligatory "Wild West" joke goes here.

Magnum Man is the seventh and final level of the MaGMML3 Judge Application Levels. ACESpark designed the level as a test to see if judges would be unduly kind to a level that had custom assets; as such, the level had minimal testing, and the result was predictably sloppy. While many people believe the level to be a parody of the Make a Good Mega Man Level 2 entry Sheriff Man—Sheriff having no gimmick at all and Magnum having clunky and overbearing gimmicks—ACE had conceived Magnum Man before the events of MaGMML2, and claims all resemblance is coincidental.

Strategy[edit]

Judge Applicants' Comments
Pachy Pachy Pachy : 88 / 100
Wow, this is a very aesthetically-pleasing level! Along with well composed music, and custom assets, this feels genuinely

like a Megaman level.

The stage does an excellent job at introductions, each new enemies are showcased by their own at the beginning in safe environments, the first instance of the magnum gimmick is introduced in a way that allow player to experiment with it freely, before testing them out on actual challenges.

It is not entirely about the gimmicks, as there are also normal combat areas in between, which is good to keep each of the challenges diverse and interesting. Later on another new gimmick is brought into the mix, the springboard, while doesn't really fit the whole wild west theme, does make for some unique platforming with its familiar yet very different behavior.

The difficulty curve was done right, things begin simple and gradually become more difficult as it should. The extra challenges with the gems are also within' reasonable difficulty from the rest of the level.

Magnum Man himself is a very fun boss fight. His attacks are telegraphed and easy to learn, you can find a way to dodge most of his attacks very quickly and consistently except! When right after his upward shots, he sometimes do a short hop instead of leaping all the way into your position, causing you to slide faceplant into him. Otherwise, he's not all too tricky but the battle is still engaging enough. (Also while you can't freeze Magnum Man himself with the Flash Stopper, you can freeze his projectiles, creating amusing results)

Though, there are still things I want to nitpick about. The level consists some annoying enemy placements. For example, there's one room with the tank enemy that requires very tight timing to get through unharmed without using special weapons; In the last room just before the boss corridor, there is the little pistol guy that is hard to lure out to shoot it safely.

Checkpoints are placed well, but they're not very clearly indicated as most of them put you right at the start of the session, without an extra empty room. Not really a big deal, again, it's just a nitpick of mine.

In the end, this is a very solid entry. It wouldn't be out-of-place in an official Megaman game, with how the graphics and music as well as the level design go. A very polished and impressive level overall!

Samario Samario Samario : 83 / 100
This stage is also a good stage, overall. The stage has taken a custom gimmick, namely the bullet platforms fired from the revolvers, and builds the stage around them. It introduces them in a safe environment, before expanding into using the gimmick to progress in the stage, as well as navigate to collect the diamonds.

The overall aesthetic of the stage is wonderful, apart from some small background issues and a slightly unfitting enemy in the form of the tank. The only other issues are the spikes that don't seem to act like spikes, as well as a lack of differentiation between revolvers that fire a different amount of bullets, some slight route confusion, and some very minor collision issues with the extending platforms teleporting pickups.

M-Jacq M-Jacq M-Jacq : 69 / 100
The Wild West aesthetics are flawless, the new enemies are cute, the gimmicks are cool, the platforming is challenging, the boss is fun, and yet…

Well, look at the robo-vaquero. When it was first introduced, I fawned over the cute Colton variant with a poncho and homing shots! When it started showing up in tandem with the other gimmicks, the novelty started to wear off. When it started shooting bullets through a wall and at an angle perpendicular to the muzzle… well, not to get all “grassy knoll” on you, but that’s not how guns work. This is indicative of the stage’s larger problem: the individual assets are cool, but they actually detract from one another when used in tandem. The biggest offender here are the springs, which I don’t think were used well even once in the screen after their introduction. And… what exactly do big springs have to do with cowboys or guns? It’s a shame, because the segments where the level takes one gimmick and runs with it are awesome. I love the room with the three guns right before the boss gate, for instance, and Magnum Man himself is an incredibly fun fight. But whenever the stage tries to use two or more elements at the same time, the quality takes a noticeable drop. A damn shame, given how great the individual pieces are.

PK PK PK : 56 / 100
Holy hello kitty, I knew the wild west was tough, but this is really tough. Now, I can clearly see that a lot of effort was put into original enemies, tilesets, and gimmicks. But all that effort can only carry you so far without a stage that is well designed. Even on the first screen, it becomes apparent that enemies will get thrown at you without any real warning. This can lead to some quite brutal sections, and that combined with the gimmicks can be very overwhelming.

But lets talk about the gimmicks, shall we? Firstly we have the giant guns that shoot bullets you can stand on. More often than not, I found myself either getting hit while standing on them, or in one section, I just got outright crushed while they collided with a wall. Then there are these weird bouncy springs. Not only did I clip through the ground once, but they are just not very well thought out in my opinion. Seeing them and immediately after having to do some precise jumps to avoid spikes seems like a harsh spike in difficulty. The fight with Magnum Man is…pretty brutal as well. One of his moves becomes almost impossible to dodge if he manages to corner you even a bit, which happens more than you would like. His attacks generally come out really fast, and don’t give much time to react or even think. Generally, the effort that went into the asthetics of this stage could have been put to better use in the level design department. No matter how good a stage looks, if it is frustrating to play, whats the point?

Flashman85 Flashman85 Flashman85 : 74 / 100
The Good: Custom assets that look professional, evocative music that fits the level well, several fun and clever challenges, generally smooth learning curve

The Bad: Inconsistent theming, lots of clutter, too many enemy types

The Ugly: Problematic level layout, some spikes aren’t even spikes, a deadly and easy-to-trigger glitch

From the very first screen, this looks and sounds like it could be an official Capcom level. I’m a sucker for Westerns, too, so this level started off at an advantage—which gradually slipped away as more and more problems became apparent.

At first glance, everything seems totally fine. All the custom enemies, gimmicks, and tiles look and feel perfectly at home in a Mega Man game, and they work together with the music to develop a strong sense of theme. New types of challenges are introduced fairly, with only a few mild exceptions (eg, the exploding bullet enemies are a bit of a surprise). The oversized revolvers and springboard platforms are really creative and used extremely well, and there’s a satisfying boss fight at the end. Level length feels a mite long but within acceptable parameters, and the frequency of checkpoints and power-ups is just right. If we left it at that, this would be a dynamite level.

Upon closer inspection, however, there’s a disappointing lack of focus in the enemy and gimmick selection. When I remember the Alamo, I certainly don’t remember Electric Gabyoalls. Tanks in the desert I can understand, but tanks in Tombstone? When did John Wayne ever ride into the sunset on a Tondeall? For a few dollars more, would Clint Eastwood have agreed to a shootout on bouncy platforms? This is Mega Man we’re talking about, and tradition dictates that it’s OK to include a few elements that don’t strictly fit the level theme, but Magnum Man takes it a little too far. Not only are these miscellaneous elements disruptive of the otherwise fantastic atmosphere created by the themed assets, but they clutter the enemy roster to the point where several enemies only appear once—or twice, if they don’t scroll themselves off the screen before you get to them.

This overabundance of different enemy types also contributes to a sense of clutter, which is amplified by the busy backgrounds. The graphics look very nice, yes, but there’s so much variety and fine detail that they tend to draw the focus away from the gameplay. There’s not quite enough of a gap between challenges to give the player a chance to properly appreciate the set pieces. The architecture is occasionally a contributing factor in that cluttered feel; for example, one screen toward the beginning has two random spikes underneath an oversized revolver for some reason (wouldn’t a regular wall have been enough of a deterrent to go that way?), and one screen toward the end has a gunman buried inside a wall above the screen entrance, which is pointless when the height advantage is already a deterrent to using any weapon that can’t pass through a wall.

I also got extremely confused about the level layout upon reaching the second Noble Nickel, which is sitting out in the open like it’s a perfunctory health refill. Special items like this are meant to be a reward for accomplishing something out of the ordinary, so I could only conclude that I had accidentally found a secret exit to the previous screen...but then I couldn’t backtrack out of the room, and the only way to progress was to walk through pillars that looked solid. This dropped me awkwardly into the middle of a scrolling section, but there was no indication whether I should go right or left. I arbitrarily went left (which is good, because right takes you to a pointless dead end), but it felt the whole time like I was backtracking through challenges I had inadvertently bypassed by choosing the path that led to the Nickel. As it turns out, the level is completely linear—and it’s a horrible feeling to be lost in a linear level.

That really soured the whole level for me, which is a shame, because there are so many parts that I adore. Individually, the majority of these challenges are well designed and highly memorable. Riding oversized bullets from place to place is a hoot, and combining that with sliding challenges is AWESOME. Likewise, bouncy gunfights (despite making no sense in the context of the level) are satisfyingly tricky, particularly when the gunmen’s bullets track you, and I approve of how the spike challenges take advantage of that momentarily delay between landing on the springboard and being launched into the air. All the Noble Nickels (save for the aforementioned second one) are exactly the right amount of difficult to obtain. The battle against Magnum Man is solid, and it’s neat to see him use a couple of the attacks you’ve been practicing against throughout the level. And like I said, this has the production values of a Capcom level.

Except...Capcom probably wouldn’t have left an entire floor of spikes as background decoration instead of actual spikes that cause you to explode on contact. And I suspect they would have playtested those springboard platforms more thoroughly—firing Super Arrow and especially Wheel Cutter at an extended platform leads to some interesting visual oddities, and it’s all too easy to get Mega Man stuck inside one...and then speedily shunted to the opposite end of the screen, where he explodes.

Other issues with the level may include the following: A few late-game challenges are decidedly easier than their earlier counterparts (eg, going from an unavoidably bouncy gunfight to a gunfight on the ground with a nearby springboard if you feel like using it). The background sometimes utilizes black rectangles (like on the checkpoint screen next to the boss chamber), which look less like holes or windows and more like...black rectangles. The fight with Magnum Man is aesthetically problematic; for one thing, his boss chamber is technically underground and shouldn’t have that desertscape in the background, and for another, his generic looks don’t help the inconsistent theming. Also, Flash Stopper freezes Magnum Man’s projectiles but not the boss himself, and Electric Gabyoalls don’t freeze when hit by a charge shot like they do in MM6, but those oddities may well be intentional. However, I will say that Magnum Man’s animations, especially the gun twirling, are pretty sweet.

There are the makings of a truly great level here, but the biggest shortcomings seriously belie the professionalism this level projects.


Trivia[edit]

  • The background music for this stage was originally composed by CosmicGem for the Sheriff Man stage in MaGMML2, but it wasn't finished in time.


Make a Good Mega Man Level 3 - Judge Application Levels
Stages
Midnight ManCoptar ManX FactorySpace CrusadeGate 303Universe City VMagnum Man
List of Bosses
DreadnoughtPlant ManGemini ManVolt ManVolt BossMagnum Man