Several months ago, I tasked myself with ranking the Classic Mega Man series. If you forgot where we left off, you can read the first part HERE and the second part HERE. But I’ll go ahead and sum it up.
- 11. Mega Man and Bass
- 10. Mega Man 8
- 9. Mega Man
- 8. Mega Man 10
- 7. Mega Man 5
- 6. Mega Man 7
- 5. Mega Man 4
For the long overdue last part of this article series, I’ll be taking on the last four games in the classic series that I haven’t yet listed. These are the best Classic Mega Man games available, and for good reason.
Mega Man 2
Woah. Mega Man 2 is THIS low on the list? Isn’t it supposed to be number 1? I really believe that while Mega Man 2 was a HUGE jump in quality from Mega Man 1, there ARE better Mega Man games. This game is likely so many people’s favorite game in the series due to the fact that it was released during the heyday of the NES. The first sequel in the series is the first Mega Man game that most people picked up, and to a lot of people it’s one of the few or even the ONLY Mega Man game that they played. That’s not to say Mega Man 2 isn’t a great game, because it is!
Mega Man 2 builds off the original game so much, with extra boss robot masters, better and more useful weapons, items that assist the player in platforming challenges, excellent level design, and some of the most memorable music in video game history. This game is truly a classic of the highest order. I could go on and on about how great Mega Man 2 is, but honestly, if you’re reading this list, you likely already know.
As great as Mega Man 2 is, there are still some problems. One of the biggest examples I can provide is the boss of the forth Dr. Wily stage: The Boobeam Trap. This is the boss that can only be defeated by the Crash Bomber weapon, and because you have a VERY limited supply of bombs to use, you must defeat the boss in a very particular way. One missed shot means having to die, farm for weapon energy, and try again. This is TERRIBLY annoying. Additionally the graphics don’t stack up to later games, and while this is a minor quibble, to be the best you must bring everything. Lots of bland backgrounds and overused platform patterns. Some of the level design, while really good for the time period, is just not nearly as good as the designs in later Mega Man games. Lastly, the Metal Blade is WAY too overpowered in Mega Man 2. It just rips through everything and can be abused so easily.
I LOVE Mega Man 2, but there are three games that just do the whole formula better. And now to receive the hate comments!
Mega Man 3
Let’s face it, out of the classic Mega Man games, Mega Man 2 and 3 are usually TOPS. And with good reason. Mega Man 3 is a phenominal game that built off Mega Man 2 in almost every conceivable way. As much as Mega Man 2 built off the original, Mega Man 3 doubled that. It made the series faster by including the slide, and it even seems to speed up Mega Man himself just a tad. The game introduces a the robot dog Rush, Mega Man’s faithful companion. The game is the first in the series to include special levels before Dr. Wily’s castle, bulking up the length of gameplay.
Mega Man 3 could easily take the top spot on this list if it wasn’t just slightly unpolished. It’s a solid game up against everything else in the NES library, but up against some of the other games on this list, there are a few oddities. The Doc Robot levels can lock you into needing to game over if you die after using all your weapon energy. The sub menu is cumbersome, and probably the most painful one to navigate in the classic series. Buggy platforming can sometimes kill you outright. Ever try to just stand on the chimney like platforms in Snake Man’s stage? When the cloud platforms come out, you may have noticed that Mega Man will immediately reappear to the side of the chimney and fall to his death for no reason.
Despite some of these issues, the game is SO GOOD that it is always highly regarded as one of, if not, THE best Mega Man games, and for good reason. Level design is great, the boss robots are really creative, and the boss robot weapons are some of the most fun to use in the entire series. Revisiting robot master stages to see them in a weird state of decay or destruction and having to face enemies from the previous Mega Man game is amazing! The entire game is a blast, and if not for the subjective nature of lists, could easily and arguably take the top spot.
Mega Man 6
Mega Man 6 gets placed higher on the list than anyone expected. Why is that? Mega Man 6 is polished, brings in fun new game mechanics, has some solid music and graphics, and is just an all around great Mega Man game. While every gamer out there had moved from the 8-bit NES to the 16-bit SNES when this game came out, myself included, they were missing out on one of the best Mega Man entries in the series.
Instead of the normal platforming items that Mega Man gets from the second entry onward, Mega Man now receives adapters for his robo dog Rush. These adapters help Mega Man break bricks and fly short distances. The Rush Power and Rush Jet adapters make platforming different enough from Mega Man 6’s predecessors to set it apart. The branching levels that allow Mega Man to BEAT the correct boss to obtain a special item gives players a few new ways to complete stages. While some of these don’t create too many new map screens, others do. It’s a welcome addition to the series.
Mega Man 6 pulls everything that makes the original Mega Man games so great together and forms one excellent experience. While some may say it just doesn’t stack up to the earlier games in the series, I’d say getting good solid evidence as to why is fairly hard. This game has excellent level design and enemy placement, graphics that are incredibly detailed and colorful, and music that is just as catchy as some of the series’ best. It’s hard to give a reason other than “it’s just more Mega Man” to place other games above it.
Mega Man 9
Surprised? How dare I put this game at the top spot!! Mega Man 9 is an amazing throwback to an amazing series and it does everything so well. Sure, Mega Man inexplicably lost his slide and charged shot, but the developers crafted the game around his core jump and shoot abilities, and did it exceedingly well. The game controls very well; Mega Man hasn’t felt this good since Mega Man 3, even sans slide. The game is surprisingly fast paced compared to Mega Man 1 and 2; it’s a silky smooth experience. The robot master designs are all fun and interesting, and still retain that core Mega Man look (even though Galaxy Man does look slightly out of place). The weapons Mega Man obtains upon defeating the boss robots are all incredibly useful compared to any of the old games. Sure, you can’t use your charge shot anymore, but guess what? Now you are forced to use your inventory a little more rather than rely on Mega Man’s main weapon.
The game is TOUGH though, even compared to Mega Man 1. But it’s hard in a way that keeps you coming back. Of course you can save your data and keep coming back to try and tackle problem areas again and again. By including the bolt system that was present in Mega Man 7, you can stock up on items to make your trek through hard levels as easy as you need them to be. Enemies are familiar yet boast new designs. Sniper Joes now have automatic weapons, Metools sometimes hide under a fake 1up to trick Mega Man, among many others.
The level design is probably the best in the series. There are included gimmicks in most levels, but unlike Mega Man 8, it incorporates them in such a way that you are still participating in a Mega Man jump and shoot game rather than an impromptu shooter or xtreme sports game. And then the game brings those great gimmicks back in the Dr. Wily levels, and adds some new ones as well.
Sure, it’s not the classic game that Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 is, but I feel like it does everything that the older games do and then some. It’s just a completely wonderful experience that brings all the core “Mega Man” feels back in the best ways possible.
The great thing about Mega Man games is that EVERYONE’S list is completely different, and for different reasons. Everyone has a different favorite Mega Man game. What would your list be and why? Remember that this list is ONE man’s opinion, and it’s totally okay if you don’t agree. Mega Man games are some of the best regardless, and no one can dispute that.