Mega Man

Developer: Capcom

The title that started it all. It’s worth to play Mega Man just to understand where it all came from. While this game carries some minor quirks, it’s a very enjoyable experience with minimal issues. Weapons and physics needed refinement, but I don’t have too many bad words to say about Mega Man.
Bonus 2 stars come from being the first game in the series, and laying an incredible foundation to the franchise.




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For the first game in the series, it definitely set the bare basics of what is to be expected in a Mega Man game. It was the original, the foundation maker, the cornerstone of what we have today. For being the start of the franchise, it definitely isn’t perfect but it absolutely not bad.

The Robot Master weapons are either incredibly useful or mostly useless. Bomb Man’s weapon, Hyper Bomb, is so bad that the only way to properly make use of it is against the boss weak to it while exploiting the rather infamous “Pause Select Glitch”. Guts Man’s weapon, the Super Arm, is incredibly niche and only able to be used when there is ammo laying about on the stage. Meanwhile on the other side of the coin, the Ice Slasher deals no damage to anything but a single boss but has near infinite utility in freezing everything that it hits in place. The remaining weapons are powerful offensive weapons that can be used generally all the same way. One of the major problems though is diversity with weapons as the Fire Storm, Ice Slasher, and Thunder Beam, while all slightly different, all fire straight ahead like a Mega Buster shot.

When coupled with some of the bad mechanics, the questionable stage designs can make some of the experience downright unfair. Ice Man’s stage is notorious for having a large pit with an enemy that you are supposed to ride to get across but due to design you can simply fall right through them. They repeat this in the first Wily stage as well. Elec Man’s stage is entirely questionable design as it is completely vertical, with numerous electrical traps on ladders in a game where climbing speed isn’t exactly a speedy affair.

Despite all of my previous complaints, the game is solid. All of the bare, core gameplay elements are there and they are fantastic. Jumping and shooting at enemies feels fluid and all of the bosses have some sort of challenge to them. The downside is that some of the bosses have such strange AI patterns that figuring them out is a difficult endeavor. Yet when you do learn them, it completely neuters most bosses as they are so heavily reliant on the patterns or their AI they become quite exploitable.

All of this aside though, it is the first in the line and as the series continues, most of the later titles are much better. Without this one, who knows what would have happened? For what it is, it’s still a game that you can just pick up and play. Once you play it a few times you start getting the hang of it and it becomes more enjoyable the more you play it and the more you understand all the odd quirks and decisions behind things. This is one title that is always worth a revisit from time to time.

Game Rating
Flying Camels
Flying Camels

Mega Man is the game that started it all, the beginning of the hell we all jumped hell, but for hell, this seems a lot like heaven.

Megaman 1 is a game that isn’t excellent, but does things pretty well. The level design isn’t shit (For the majority of the game) and it’s actually a visually appealing game, but the more I play this the more I realize that this isn’t an excellent game by any means whatsoever, this game could easily be seen as one of the better titles but to me there are questionable design choices I do not agree with (See Wily 3, Ice Man and Fire Man).

The game suffers from difficulty spikes, with some parts being miles harder than the rest of the stage, for example, in gut’s man, the beginning can be a really tough section to some, it can cause some easy deaths, but you might as well say you’re home free and you’re done with the stage because of the rest of it is so trivially easy it’s outstanding. The bosses are really exploitable as well, Fire Man and ElecMan can be killed very easily, Ice Man and Yellow Devil can be killed with the pause glitch, etc. And some of the concepts while interesting, seem to fail at what they want to do.

But this game isn’t always like you’re being force-fed #$”! by your parents. The soundtrack is decent, the game is actually fun to play and the wily bosses aren’t…Megaman 2 levels of bad, the game is actually pretty to look at sometimes and for a start, it’s an acceptable start.

Game Rating
Bidoof Princess
Bidoof Princess

For the first in the franchise, I find the original Mega Man still holds up surprisingly well. With a memorable soundtrack, decent selection of weapons and well designed levels, it established the standards of a quality Mega Man game, its legacy present in every classic series game since.

While most of the weapons are useful in a plethora of situations, there are still a few that are near useless. The Hyper Bomb, while powerful will almost never hit its target and takes far too long to activate, and the Guts Arm can only be used in specific areas with limited ammo, which doesn’t respawn upon death… As for the other 5, they all see plenty of use, though the Elec Beam might be a tad too powerful, outclassing the Fire Storm and Rolling Cutter at times. These two are still useful in plenty of scenarios though, thanks to the bizarre arc of the Rolling Cutter and pseudo shield properties of the Fire Storm. The Ice Slasher, and Magnet Beam are also a ton of fun to use for how they vary up the tools at Mega Man’s disposal, particularly the latter’s ability to create platforms anywhere. I also must applaud how every weapons is put to use in the stage of the Robot Master it has the advantage over, like how the Ice Slasher freezes/neutralizes the fire in Fire Man’s stage and how Cut Man’s stage is littered with Guts blocks.

The level design is solid across the board. Each level provides a new and fresh challenge for you to overcome. There are a few instances of cheap deaths from knockback and instant-death hazards are plentiful, namely in Fire Man’s stage and Wily 2, but every stage suffers from these in some capacity, the biggest fault of the levels. Enemies are often introduced in safe scenarios as teaching elements, but almost just as often they aren’t. Bomb Man’s stage is perhaps the worst offender of that, with enemies often being introduced over pits and spikes, or jumping on you as soon as they get on screen. I do notice that the game seems to fall apart after Wily 1, though. Wily 2 is fine enough, though not introducing any new enemy types and having plenty of cheap death scenarios, but Wily is when things really get bad, being an ugly, far too short level with barely any interesting unique challenges in it. Wily 4 is better, but the latter 3 Wily stages all left a bad taste in my mouth.

The bosses are all decent, but most of their patterns are far too simple to be anything more than that. Guts Man, Bomb Man and Cut Man are all jokes, and Ice Man and Elec Man aren’t much better, and this is coming from someone who is terrible at picking up on boss patterns. I like them, but that’s only because I suck at fighting bosses. As for the Wily bosses, I love the Yellow Devil, as its pattern is super challenging to master but very fair and very rewarding when you pull it off. I’m not too fond of the other 3 though. The Copy Robot is an interesting idea, but that also comes at the cost of not being fun to fight, the bubble guy takes way too many hits, and if you accidentally use up the Guts blocks, you may as well Game Over, and Wily isn’t anything special, being a really boring fight. Overall, the bosses really aren’t anything to write home about.

The original Mega Man definitely shows its age, though. I’m not the biggest fan of the art direction, particularly in regards to the bland title screen and level select and generic stage theming. I can’t tell what any of the stages except Ice Man’s are suppose to be, and none of them really feel like their creating a world that the level takes place in, just a level. Clear level theming didn’t really become a thing until later entries in the series, so it’s passible, but overall I don’t find it a very aesthetically pleasing game. That being said, the colours do pop and a lot of the sprite work is very good, particularly in larger enemies and Mega Man himself. I find the whole score system to also be a bit unnecessary, but it’s again excusable based on the time period and context of the game being released, and the same goes for the complete lack of a save system.

To this day, this is the still the Mega Man game I find easiest to pick up and play, and the more you play it, the more fun it becomes, as you learn to avoid the negative aspects of the levels and their designs. That quality doesn’t make a good Mega Man game, however, but it established the basic mechanics of the series, mechanics still present in the series too this day. It’s a game that works by its very nature, each mechanic from control to level design functioning to create a solid experience. None of its successors have strayed too far from what it established and for good reason. Though some might find it a bit challenging, I firmly believe this is the best place to start if you’re looking to get into the series.

Game Rating
Brent Critic
Brent Critic

Released back in 1987 for the NES, Mega Man 1 wasn’t very successful. North American sales were affected due to the really bad box art and European sales were just as bad due to the NES being pretty much a rich kid’s toy in my home continent. A shame for two reasons. (1): the European box art is cool and (2): the game itself is pretty good.

Before I get to my issues with the game, let’s talk about the good things. First is the graphics are pretty well done for an early NES game. The areas have good detail and a decent use of colour, the sprites are well drawn and still remain impressive. The music is excellent from start to finish although it does have that early NES sound to it and it isn’t quite as good as future entries, one disappointing thing about the music from a UK gamer’s perspective is that it wasn’t optimized for the PAL format so all of the music sounds much slower than the NTSC version. I don’t mind it since there are some tracks I prefer in PAL but I would have preferred to have the music be optimized. Oh well, I can at least listen to the NTSC music online.

The gameplay itself is solid and even has a stronger emphasis on platforming compared to future entries, the levels are challenging, even on repeated playthroughs, and overall well designed with tight precision and patient timing to get through hazards. Another solid part of the game is for a first entry, the weapons are decently balanced, there are flaws with it but I’ll get to that in a minute, four out of six weapons are plenty of fun, the elec beam is quite strong and fires in three directions, the rolling cutter throws in an arc and is quite strong, the fire storm shoots fire and acts as a strong shield and the ice slasher is easily the best freeze weapon in the entire series since it freezes enemies and you can change weapons in doing so.

Now for my issues, while the weapons are decently balanced, there are problems that become better and worse in the sequels, the hyper bomb is rather disappointing, it’s powerful but it takes too long for it to blow up and so it rarely has any use, granted, the ice slasher makes it easier to use the hyper bomb against an enemy but if you have to use another weapon to make one weapon more useful, that’s not good design, the super arm, while a fun weapon, doesn’t get much use thanks to very few times you come across huge blocks to pick up and throw, lastly, as much as I love the magnet beam, it does feel dated compared to item 2 from 2 and Rush jet from 3 and onwards.

One issue with the game is that there’s a lot of trial and error, way more than there was in the sequels, there are enemies that come out of nowhere and you’d get hit in the process because you couldn’t see them coming, for a first time player, Mega Man 1 is very punishing in difficulty. To give credit, even on my first playthrough, I didn’t mind the trial and error thanks to unlimited continues, that’s right, Mega Man 1, alongside Castlevania, was one of the first mascot platforming games to include unlimited continues, every time you get a game over, the game allows you to retry the stage or select a different one, this is good because it allows the player to get better and better at a much quicker pace rather than get sent back to the title screen and force them to play the game in a very repetitive manner, this was one of the reasons why I didn’t like Sonic 2 due to how horrendous that game’s design was in the 2nd half and the limited lives and continues only made it worse. Even with unlimited continues though, you have to beat the game in one sitting, there’s no password feature, nor a save feature, you have to beat this game in one go which should last roughly 2 hours. This is why I still wouldn’t recommend Mega Man 1 as your first step into the series since I could imagine beating a challenging game within 2-3 hours would be rather frightening.

Another issue is that the bosses have some flaws in their design, bosses like Elec man and Fire man are very hard to take on without their weaknesses due to some erratic patterns and buggy programming, thankfully, you can abuse their buggy programming in your favour but it’s still hard to figure out. Fire man alone could be the main reason why fighting Dr. Wily is a nightmare because you wouldn’t have enough health unless you’re really skilled, even the sprite flickering can get in your way sometimes. The yellow devil himself is infamous due to how much trial and error you have to go through to recognize his pattern, I’m able to beat him without the pause glitch but on your first playthrough, you’re gonna be here for a while.I

One last issue to cover is that Mega Man doesn’t control as well as he does in the sequels, he tends to slip and slide around and there’s a noticeable input delay when you start moving, the control isn’t bad thanks to good level design and the fact that jumping cancels the momentum but we can thank the later games for improving the momentum, except for 2 since it kept the same momentum albeit not as heavy.

In spite of these problems, Mega Man 1 is a solid first outing with tight level design, decently balanced weapons, fun music and well aging graphics but the flaws I mentioned make it hard for me to recommend to a first time player who’s just getting into Mega Man. If you’re up to the challenge then by all means play this game. For the first game in the series, it’s pretty good but the sequels outshine it in a lot of areas. My next review will be on Mega Man 2. Thanks for reading.

Game Rating

Mega Man is not without its flaws, of course, but they’re relatively minor and fail to hinder the game too much. It’s till my second favorite NES Mega Man game, and for good reason.

It has excellent music, and passable levels. Guts Man and Ice Man’s stages are pretty annoying, but the rest are fine. The robot masters themselves are debatable, but not too bad of you use weaknesses. The Weapons themselves are great aside from the Hyper Bomb. Even the Super Arm is good when you get a chance to use it.

What else is there to say? It’s a great game that’s somewhat rough. The flaws of 2, 3, 5, and 6 are more severe.

Game Rating