I finally beat it! Goodness gracious. This game was quite the ride of emotions for me, I must admit. However, aside from the few frustrating elements at play, I did find myself enjoying the majority of the experience. So, I guess I'll start with the things I liked.
I really was awed by the game's scope; it is freaking massive. I can tell that a lot of work and thought went into designing these levels, that each branching path (and there were many) presented a unique challenge. Even though most of the features in these levels are returning from previous titles, they're presented in such a way that it feels like a brand new experience. I also like that this stylistic choice is justified by the plot of the game.
My favorite part of the game was when I began my hunt for the secrets (I had a meltdown before this, but I'll get to that later). This is when I could really appreciate just how intricate the level design was in this game. The upgrade modules really were quite useful and inventive, and they should be, considering the punishment one must endure to find them. I have to say that the game became even more enjoyable for me once I had all of the upgrades in my possession. (I'll also elaborate a bit more on that later as well.)
I appreciated that each boss in the game had some brand new attacks and patterns at their disposal. Actually, some of the boss fights scarcely resembled their official counterparts. Again, this really helped make the game feel like a brand new experience.
The story of the game was quite simple and to the point. I'm certainly not faulting the game for that, considering it really helped bring home that classic Mega Man vibe. I'd also say it was a wise choice on your part since fan game plots (especially Mega Man ones, strangely enough) tend to fall under a lot of scrutiny. Though, I'm not sure what to make of the very, very end of the game.
It seems to have some very depressing implications. Also, I was a bit disturbed by Wily's suddenly suicidal objective.
I'm also kinda sad that it is impossible for our games to exist within the same fanonuity, but oh well.
Now for some of things that didn't work well for me. There was, undoubtedly, an abundance of spikes and instant death traps in this game. I feel the otherwise innovative level design was marred by this constant feeling of dread; you could rarely make a single mistake because the consequence was always death. This also hampered my experience with Unlimited, unfortunately. However, once I got that Spike Guard upgrade, I was finally able to appreciate the levels much more, because I could actually start playing the game without tensing up at every spike jump. It was quite liberating.
For the most part, enemy placement was very well done. My biggest gripe though, was that there was often some floating enemy that would appear at the very end of huge stretch of dropping, moving, decaying platforms that would knock me into a pit. It could be that I'm slow on the trigger, but it seemed there was very little time to react to these enemies once they appeared. Stone Man and Tornado Man's stages were often guilty of this.
Also, during the Wily Machine 5 chase, the appearance of the instant death drillers seemed a bit unfair. In fact, a lot of the chase seemed pretty trial and error.
The checkpoints tended to be a bit inconsistent. For instance, I was under the impression that every stage would have two temporary checkpoints between two permanent checkpoints. However, it seems that some stages had no temporary checkpoints at all. This became especially glaring in Stone Man's stage where a floating enemy sabotaged my platforming maneuvers and I started at the beginning of the stage, despite being right next to the permanent checkpoint. When the Mega Man Killers came into the picture, this flaw became much, much worse.
Now, as I said before, I found most bosses to be very fair and challenging. However, whenever a boss had an attack that spiraled outward (Star Man, Punk... a few others), they were impossible to dodge. I try to use "impossible" very carefully, but here there is no denying it. Only by sheer luck was I able to dodge these attacks by sliding through them. Otherwise, it's a guaranteed hit, and considering how much damage these attacks deal, it's extremely frustrating. Tornado Man's tornadoes seem to ascend a bit too quickly to be fairly dodged; I absolutely couldn't defeat him until I had acquired his weakness. Considering also that you can barely dodge his tornadoes a full speed, the inclusion of indestructible clouds that impede your movement was a little too much. Then there was Punk: Aside from the aforementioned undodgeable attack, he also had a tendency to stun lock you and reduce you to half health in one shot. Considering you had to defeat him before getting to a checkpoint... well, colorful words were used.
This is a fairly minor one. While I found it amusing that the game uses the Mega Man Rocks charge shot, it carries the same problem it did in that game; it takes far too long to charge. It does have a considerable damage output, but I'm not sure if that offsets just how long it takes. On a positive note, I'm glad you reduced the volume of the noise it made.
Then finally we have Wily's Fortress. My problem here is quite simple: There is no save. While I am aware that previous Mega Man titles force you to go all in at this point, they did not have the distinction of being nearly as long nor as difficult as the fortress presented in this game. I had nearly beaten the game once before, but circumstances forced me to end my game early. I had hoped that my progress had saved up to that point, because I had no indication otherwise. Well... You can imagine how it went once I found out this was not the case. I was pretty blind with rage at that point, so I'm not sure if I can recall everything I did. I may or may not have placed a curse on your descendants and ate a kitten somewhere in there. I can't be sure. However, I do recall placing the game in the recycle bin and falling into a rage induced coma.
Though... it then called to me from the bin. And I knew... I knew I must finish it. And I did! Thankfully, my second time through the fortress went significantly quicker than before (though, it was also facilitated by the secret items I had gathered). Still, my point stands about the fortress (Not to mention, Let's Players and Perfect Runners are going to hate you for designing it that way).
Now, I know my negatives list stretched a bit longer than my praises, but that's only because it's easier to point out the flaws than it is to praise every bit the game does right. It does a lot right, make no mistake. Aside from the few moments the game made me channel Satan, I really enjoyed the experience and felt especially rewarded for having completed it.