Thanks, Downloadable Man!
Despite my comments regarding finishing GTAIV and then attacking Proto Man Mode, I jumped in last night on a whim. I burned through Galaxy Man's planetarium and defeated him without a fatality, but soon ran into the notoriously difficult boulder miniboss en route to Jewel Man.
I've since beaten Jewel Man, which is very convenient considering how much I love Jewel Satellite for Plug Man's stage, but, speaking of stages, what the fuck is up with some of these stages? Sure, Magma Man in a geothermal power plant, I get that. But where the fuck is Concrete Man, a zoo?
Anyways, Proto has the chargeable Proto Buster which is quite handy (which MM didn't have in 9, and originally didn't get until MM4), the evasive slide (which first appeared in MM3), and to my surprise the ability to reflect or absorb projectiles with his shield, which makes dispatching Metools a breeze once you get the timing.
Can't imagine this run through will take me all that long. Knowing the order and all speeds things up quite a bit. I'll let you know how it goes.