Mega Man

Say hello to the Blue Bomber. Also say hello to my PS4.

Review Date: March 17, 2021

Release Date: December 1, 1987

Platform: NES

Genre: Linear Platformer

Anecdotes: In 1986, Capcom had just started making games for home consoles. Their first NES release was 1942. Capcom had a few other releases, including Ghosts ‘N Goblins, which was absurdly difficult, but had a big enough following to get a few sequels. They also released Commando, which never achieved major popularity. They even released a personal favorite of mine, Section Z, but unfortunately, many people didn’t love the game like I did. They tried to establish a mascot character in Captain Commando, using him in various games. While Capcom did decently with all of that, it was the Mega Man series that brought in serious money. It also shifted Capcom’s mascot away from Captain Commando and over to Mega Man.

This game started the series, but it may be surprising to learn that it sold poorly and didn’t do well. It was not a popular game. So, how did this game start with 11 main games and over 100 total games? Well, the executives at Capcom were wise enough to give the series a second chance. I’ll cover that story on April 13.

Description: Mega Man is presented with six bosses right from the start. Mega Man can choose any lair and boss he wants. The six bosses may be defeated in any order. However, each of the first six bosses leaves a weapon or ability behind. Mega Man gains to ability to use these for the rest of the game (as long as it doesn’t run out) and they become part of the strategy. After the first six stages, Mega Man then begins a linear quest to get to Dr. Wily and defeat him.

Here are the bosses. Dr. Wily shows up only after the others are defeated.

Positives: This game established the classic Mega Man template: defeat the first 6 bosses (upped to 8 starting with Mega Man 2) in any order, gaining a weapon or ability after each one. It’s a nice variety of abilities, but I like Cut Man’s Rolling Cutter the most of the bunch.

There is no save system in the game, but there are infinite continues. Using a continue starts Mega Man back at the start of the stage, but none of the stages are long, so it’s not a huge issue.

Bosses also are defeated by strategic use of the weapons. While the first has to be beaten with the Plasma Beam, if players do stages in the right order, they’ll have a much easier time.

Ice Man is about to get zapped.

Negatives: If there’s one thing I really dislike about this game, it’s the short passages ahead of the bosses. Chances are good that Mega Man will take a hit or two inside those chambers, and if he loses to the boss, he is placed back at the start of the corridor and he has to traverse it again. Thankfully, the enemies were removed from the passages in 2 and it’s been that way ever since.

Ice Man’s stage is a bit of a Scrappy Level. There will be frequent cases of Mega Man plunging to his doom because he slid around on the ice. That’s rough enough, but then the developers decided to add two disappearing block puzzles. They are a pain; however, the Magnet Beam can help him skip those.

More Screenshots:

These traps are the start of Guts Man’s stage. Guts Man was so awesome that he got a Nickelodeon show named after him years later.
This is Guts Man’s hallway, where Hard Hats are in the way.
This level is a Cut above the rest.
These things, called Gabyoalls, are really annoying. Don’t come here without the Rolling Cutter.
After defeating Guts Man, Mega Man can come here to collect the Magnet Beam.
Here it comes…get ready for ice physics.
How could I forget the infamous disappearing block puzzles? They can annoy just about anyone. In this case, though, I just went around them with the Magnet Beam.
This can be passed by with good timing…or the Magnet Beam.
To close Act I, I’m going to burn this explosive fool.
Here’s an annoying little trap in the first level of Wily’s Castle.
The Rock Monster/Yellow Devil got me. Game over.

Grade: B

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