Mega Man games have been around since nearly the beginning of at-home video games, starting with the NES Mega Man 1 in 1987.
Since then, this series about a good robot fighting evil robots has taken off among the world’s video game enthusiasts.
As the series progressed it got more complex and creative, bringing back gamers again and again with exciting gameplay and a simple story.
In this article I will be ranking the best seven Mega Man game titles in my opinion after playing most of the games in the series for many years.
#7 – Mega Man Soccer
This choice might be a bit controversial, but it’s a surprisingly fun game for SNES.
Normally the formula of sports + non-sports series doesn’t tend to work, but it did more here.
Although you play soccer instead of shooting things with lasers, it still surprisingly feels very much like a Mega Man game.
You pick each evil robot, one at a time, exactly like you would in a normal Mega Man game.
Then you play with your team full of Mega Man against that team. If you win, you get a member of the team you played, like Wood Man, to add to your team.
Each robot has its abilities and attributes within the game like Woodman is better defensively.
Each robot also has a power shot that reflects its ability, like Cutman’s power shot cuts robots in half.
The amazing thing is that while feeling like a soccer game, you also get that Mega Man feels of excitement, just as if you were beating the bad guys with soccer.
#6 – Mega Man
This is the game from NES that started it all.
Megaman had a simple formula that everyone instantly recognized, where Mega Man had to fight each rogue robot before getting to the evil Dr. Wiley who created them all.
The fact that that the story and gameplay were so recognizable right from the beginning explains a lot of Mega Man’s success. As you fought through each robot, you gained that robot’s weapon.
Each weapon does something interesting, and there’s a rock, paper, scissors element to it, meaning some weapons are more effective at beating some enemies.
An example is how Cut Man’s weapon can kill Elec Man in like three shots, and Ice Man can kill Fire Man easily.
So, it becomes this strategy of trying to find the best order to use for beating bosses.
This strategy element makes it more interesting and fun. Being able to pick your order for fighting bosses is a design element that makes Mega Man unique.
#5 – Mega Man 3
The third Mega Man for NES introduces some seriously great concepts into the series, including Rush, Mega Man’s dog, and Mega Man’s brother, Proto Man.
You can summon your dog and then use him as a platform to get to higher points on the level that you couldn’t get to before.
Proto Man is an interesting story element that we haven’t seen before. In some of the stages he just appears randomly, and you have to beat him to get passed, but he’s out of place in the level.
In the end, it turns out that he’s just challenging you to test you. It’s a fun construction, especially when it pays off later in the plot. There’s a wide diversity of levels and you never know what to expect when you pick one.
Except for Snake Man maybe. He predictably has a lot of snakes you have to kill, but it’s still fun anyway.
#4 – Mega Man V
Mega Man V came out for game boy towards the beginning of the saga. Later on, it was ported to the handheld 3DS game. This introduces the character Roll, who is a little Sister to Mega Man.
Mega Man gets some upgrades when new Stardroids become a threat to attack the Earth.
Upgrades that you get here include a shot that Mega Man can power up, by holding the fire button, which turns into a giant fist.
You also get a robot attack cat named Tango, really rounding out the crazy robot family you have.
You go to different planets to attack the Star Droids there, which adds a really fun design element.
So, for example. When you go to Jupiter, not only do they use slippery ice elements but there’s also space physics.
On Saturn, the gravity shifts around all over the place, but you’re also slowed down time-wise.
This means that when you think you got one element figured out, such as the ice part, then another one pops up on top of it.
You have to do all of this while also fighting enemy robots and trying not to hit spikes that kill you instantly. It’s hard but also super fun.
#3 – Mega Man X2
While it was Mega Man X that had the most innovations, X2 for SNES certainly added to it in interesting ways.
Capcom had learned that when you find a winner, like in Mega Man X, you try to keep to it. They added on to the series but kept a lot of the most popular elements in place.
The big change from X is that there’s a secret room where you fight bosses called the X-hunters.
If you beat these, it has a special effect on the game-ending. Another extra thing here is that you can ride hoverbikes in some of the stages.
There’s also a special flaming punch move that’s a reference to the game Street Fighter.
The boards are all fun, and it even shows you where on the overmap the stage exists. It also has the usual chain of weapons, where one weapon is good against one of the other bosses.
The Weather Control stage is particularly fun because there’s a part where a crystal controls the weather in the stage.
So if you have other weapons already, you can actually change the weather by hitting it with the burner weapon to make it hot, the crystal weapon to make it foggy, and so on.
All of the stages have this kind of creativity and it’s a lot of fun to play with in general.
#2 – Mega Man X
The MMX game for SNES was revolutionary to the franchise. It added a lot of extra options that weren’t available before.
For one thing, it had an introduction stage for story purposes. It also added the option to jump into giant mech suits, walk around, and punch structures and enemies. The addition of structural damage was another innovation.
Instead of Wiley, you now had a new enemy named Sigma. With him comes another ally, a robot with a laser sword, named Zero. The main character is also a new one, technically, named Mega Man X.
The bad guys in this game are animal robots instead of just evil “men” type robots.
An example is that the first Mega Man has Fire Man in it. This game has “Flame Mammoth” which is an elephant robot. So, this kind of change adds some unique character.
There’s also the fact that you can charge special weapons beyond the one you start with, which adds some great dimensions to the game as you can get extra effects.
The music is top-notch for this time period, and the animations where the boss robots flex and dance around the stage like when the eagle flies and spreads its wings adds a lot of character too.
On top of that, there are all these little touches that really make you feel like you’re affecting the game world,
like how if you beat chill Penguin first, Flame Mammoth’s whole fiery world changes and you can get special items that way.
There are endless little things to notice and find here, with lots of secret upgrades, the ability to dash and climb walls, and on and on. It’s a great game for people who love to hunt for everything.
#1 – Mega Man 2
It’s just impossible to beat this original game from the series. It was perfect and built on the original in every way.
In fact, this game is often considered one of the best games on any game list, and not just for Mega Man or even NES.
The game starts off with just three sentences that describe how Dr. Light created Mega Man to stop Dr. Wily, and how Wily created 8 robots in response.
The enemies got much bigger in the second iteration, including some impressive-looking threats like a robot dog that breathes fire.
It’s hard to beat the game for creativity, and these particular robots were used again and again later in the series.
One stage, for Flash Man, is completely impossible to get through for more than 5 seconds unless you have the right weapon to slow the stage down. You just die right away.
Where the game shines through, is right at the end when you’re trying to get to the castle.
You have to jump from one tiny block to another, in the middle of space, to fight this huge robot dragon.
It is hard and absolutely blood pumping because one tiny wrong move and you’re dead.
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