Mega Man SFR – Zap Man

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Boss: Zap Man is the shield boss of the game. He tosses out electrical orbs which bounce off of the walls at ground level, tosses homing bullets into the air, shoots out a shower of sparks near him, and dash across the screen followed by a jump while using his invincibility-granting Zap Barrier. He generally remains stationary when he’s not using Zap Barrier and it’s easiest to fight him when he chooses to remain near the center of the room as this makes his spark shower easy to move away from, gives plenty of time to dodge the electrified orbs, and makes it easy to time when he is going to jump with Zap Barrier. It’s easy to get cornered in this fight and all of his attacks can severely damage Mega Man. Zap Man also becomes harder to deal with as the fight goes on as he gradually moves away from the center of the room, making it much harder to dodge his attacks if Mega Man becomes trapped on the same side of the room as him. His weakness is Leaf Boomerang, but the amount of time he spends with his shield up makes this a long and difficult fight even with this weapon.

Stage: Zap Man’s stage is one of the few in this game which focuses more on its stage gimmick than its enemies. The main danger here comes in the form of lightning rods on the floors and ceilings which will periodically shoot out a ball of lightning; the lightning ball will split into two horizontal lightning bolts if it lines up horizontally with Mega Man, but most of the time it interacts with lightning blocks. Lightning blocks are harmless on their own, but they come in clusters and become briefly electrified if any block in the group is contacted by a lightning ball. Simply jumping is not always an option as these blocks often extend behind the play area into the background and can still hurt Mega Man if he is in front of them when they become electrified. It is also worth noting that the blocks within the play area itself don’t count as normal walls and instead serve as ‘obstacles’ which will deflect or destroy most attacks, though the clouds from Soak Rain (but not the raindrops) can pass through them. The second feature of this level is the presence of magnet enemies which are usually placed inside pits or underneath platforms. These magnetic foes swap polarities to push or pull Mega Man and they can be both an aid, such as by boosting Mega Man onto a high ledge, or a hindrance, such as by making it impossible for Mega Man to jump while fighting another enemy. These magnets can still be attacked and I usually use Magic Missile or Trash Attack to clear them away, though sometimes you need to them to reach particularly high or far away platforms and you will need to make them respawn if you accidentally kill them in these cases. Other than these hazards, the enemies in the stage aren’t too threatening and primarily consist of the spinning turrets from Dagger Man’s stage, wall cannons, explosive tellies, floating cylindrical enemies who periodically launch a downward lightning attack, and a wonderfully ridiculous-looking cyclops enemies which stabs its plug-like head into the ground to send out electrical currents. It’s one of the more difficult stages, but most of the damage you are likely to take along the way is generally going to be from the lightning rods and not the enemies.

Weapon: Zap Barrier is a weird and wonderful shield. It damages enemies on contact, but the damage isn’t very high and is more of a bonus on top of its other traits. Its biggest benefit comes from its ability to grant Mega Man complete invincibility against everything other than pits for its duration. It only stays up for a second or two, but it can be used a surprising number of times before it runs out of weapon energy and the Energy Saver makes it even better. On top of being an invincibility-granting damage shield, Zap Barrier boosts Mega Man’s movement speed. This speed boost is good not only because it lets Mega Man make more progress before the shield runs out, but also because it helps him to get through any area where he needs to move quickly in general. However, if you already have the mobility upgrade from buying the boots in the shop the additional boost from this skill can make it difficult to control Mega Man in sections which demand precise platforming. As far as shield weapons go, this is easily one of the better ones.

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