Rank 8 “Under Construction” by 128Up
I’m going to assume the name of this level is a reference to the place the level is set in and not to the level itself because it feels far too solid for that to be the case. Aesthetically, the music chosen is catchy and the overlook look of the level is nice, but it does suffer from a lack of place; a few half-finished walls in the background suggest that this is indeed a building which is ‘under construction’, but the layout of the level often looks messy. However, this messiness in appearance can be largely forgiven by the fact that the focus is placed much more heavily upon creating interesting platforming challenges, making this level somewhat the antithesis of several of the earlier levels which looked pretty without having much to them in terms of content. There is also thematic consistency to the hazards and enemies present, which once again separates this level from many of the lower ranking levels as it chooses to experiment with and evolve its challenges rather than constantly tossing out old ideas for new ones.
Alongside springs and breaking platforms, the main environmental hazard found in this stage is the Needle Man spikes, which aren’t instant death and periodically retract and extend to three tiles high. These special spikes are placed vertically and horizontally and are used just as much to hurt Mega Man as they are to shield enemies, which works particularly well as some of the most common enemies are panda robots, giant vacuums, and turrets, all of which lob projectiles over the spikes in an arc. Mets and nearly invincible razorblade enemies are fairly common here and add a good bit of challenge to the platforming without being obnoxious as they are placed in areas where getting hit by them is generally only going to result in taking some damage and not falling into a pit.
Suzies and flying shield enemies are also used a fair bit, especially in the second half, though their use is a bit mixed. In some situations the Suzies are placed in formations which take advantage of their size and movement patterns, such as by using vertically-oriented ones to box you in while a horizontally-oriented one flies across the screen aimed at Mega Man’s head, but they are also sometimes placed in areas where you can simply stand still and shoot them. As for the shield enemies, they are usually placed directly above ladders, making it a bit more challenging to avoid them if you don’t immediately kill them, but they are overused and become something of a chore to fight through by the end. Overall, this level is a bit too easy and is unlikely to blow anyone away, but it also doesn’t have any significant weaknesses and provides a solidly above-average experience.