Ranking the Mega Man series is kind of a weird task. These games are all very similar, but there are enough differences between them that make each a unique experience. Last time we looked at the bottom of the barrel; Mega Man and Bass, Mega Man 8, Mega Man, and Mega Man 10. And honestly, this barrel is still fairly fresh, with the only real stinker being Mega Man and Bass. Up next are the middle tiered Mega Man games, and let me tell you, ranking the rest of these games is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my time as a video game article writer.
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 5 is a gorgeous game. It’s one of the best looking games on the 8 bit NES. What a lot of people fail to realize that even though the Mega Man sprite doesn’t go through many changes, the background and enemy graphics do. And Mega Man 5 may be the peak of the 8 bit series, and if not, it shares it with Mega Man 6. But unfortunately, that’s about all Mega Man 5 has to offer veteran players. While the game is probably within my top 5 Mega Man games of all time, X series included, it’s definitely my nostalgia that puts it there.
Mega Man 5 is VERY FAR from a bad game. It’s a solid action platformer with great controls, level design, enemy placement, and even some fun new gimmicks thrown in. Unfortunately, the gimmicks are the only real change from previous Mega Man games, and they aren’t enough to really push it up further in the standings.
The new robot master weapons are even more useless against the charged Mega Buster than in Mega Man 4. Seriously, Power Stone and Charge Kick both vie for the worst robot master weapons of all time, and they are both in the same game. That’s no good. The other robot master weapons are fairly useless or overshadowed by the charge buster as well. The whole range of weapons is just sort of disappointing.
Overall, it’s just a good solid Mega Man game that doesn’t really seem to do anything that other games in the series haven’t already done better in one way or another. It’s just sort of there in the list of 10 other games. Again, it’s one of my favorites, but that’s largely the nostalgia talking.
Mega Man 7
Mega Man 7 is the first entry into the classic series to be released for the SNES. The game looks and sounds great. After the success of the Mega Man X series, Mega Man 7 was not received with quite the same fanfare. Reviewers claimed the game was a step down from the progress Mega Man X made. And while that’s not entirely false, compared to the rest of the original Mega Man series, it brought some fun new additions to the table.
Mega Man not only has access to his Rush Coil and Rush Jet abilities for the first time since Mega Man 5, but now can collect pieces for his Rush Armor, which is kind of a nice combination between the two Rush Armors from Mega Man 6. He’s able to “fly” short distances and use a more powerful attack in this new armor type. The game has a lot of secrets to find (most of them resulting in new abilities or items) which isn’t necessarily new to the series, but it has more to offer than the other classic Mega Man games.
Unfortunately, it ranks on the lower half of the list due to problems with the presentation of the game and some of the gameplay issues. Mega Man 7 uses an intro level which is unskippable and fairly boring. There is also a restriction on the number of robot master levels you can select from the beginning of the game, with only four available at the start and the rest opening up after defeating four robot masters and a mini boss with a terribly small weakness area.
The gameplay itself just doesn’t seem nearly as solid as the 8 bit titles. Mega Man seems a bit clunkier than before, and that could be blamed on the large and detailed character and enemy sprites. Sure they look good, but they end up shrinking the screen size and making it harder to judge how easily Mega Man will be able to jump between platforms. The robot master weapons also leave a bit to be desired, though there are some fun ideas here, like the Noise Crush which powers up a level if you bounce it off a wall and let it hit you.
Mega Man 7 is a good game, and a good entry to the classic Mega Man series, though it just doesn’t live up to some of the bigger classics that the series is known for.
Mega Man 4
The charged up Mega Buster shot is a gaming icon. Mega Man 4 is the first game to bring this weapon to the series, and it was a game changer. Mega man 4 is chock full of great graphics, great music, some really fun robot master weapons and even a few secret items. Instead of Dr. Wily, Mega Man is now forced to take on scientist Dr. Cossack and his army of Russian Robots.
Mega Man 4 is a very good Mega Man game, and one of the more solid entries in the list. Skull Man is one of the cooler robot master designs across the entire classic series, and the other robot masters look pretty great too. Mega Man has a full arsenal of shields, screen nukes, boomerang weapons, homing missiles, and other goodies. Rush is back though his jet form is a bit gimped so it isn’t as useful as the prior game. Mega Man also has access to a balloon platform and a wire grappling hook that is taken straight out of Bionic Commando.
The problem with Mega Man 4 is that the charge shot isn’t quite implemented to perfection yet. It takes over as the predominate method of attack, meaning that Mega Man’s regular shots seem to be less useful and deal less damage overall. The enemy designs are wrapped around this, so it feels like you always have to have a charged shot ready to go, which wouldn’t be so bad if the noise it made wasn’t so irritating. The charge shot also takes a lot of usefulness away from the robot master weapons, which kind of takes away from the variety that the series had been known for up until this point.