Video Game: Mega Man 1

The game that started it all.

Mega Man (Rockman in Japan) is a 1987 Nintendo Entertainment System video game by Capcom, and is the first game in the eponymous series of the same name, as well as its many, many spinoffs.

The story: Dr. Wily, a former friend and rival of famous inventor Dr. Light, has stolen and reprogrammed his six Robot Masters developed for industrial use, and is now attempting to Take Over the World. Assistant robot Rock, having a strong sense of justice, volunteered to be converted into a "fighting robot" in order to right Wily's wrongs. He thus became known as Mega Man.

At the time, Mega Man was a revolutionary title in the NES library; first, you could choose to tackle any stage you wished in any order you desired, second, to add a layer of strategy, the game allowed you to not only keep the weapon of whatever boss you killed, but also allow you to use the weapon in question against another boss that was particularly weak to it. The game's cartoony graphics and catchy music, not to mention its grueling difficulty, established many hallmarks that we've grown to love about the series.

All in all, the game was a modest hit in sales and reviews, but it wasn't quite the mega-hit killer game Capcom needed. Then came the sequel...

It is worth noting that while in its planning stages, Capcom planned on basing the original game on Astro Boy but when those plans fell through, the developers put Keiji Inafune in charge of creating brand new character designs. Another early idea for the game was to make it an arcade platformer called Rainbow Man. Other proposed early titles included Mighty Kid and Knuckle Kid.

The game would later receive a 16-bit upgrade in the Europe and Japan exclusive Mega Man: The Wily Wars/Rockman Megaworld cartridge for the Sega Genesis (Aside from a brief US release as a downloadable Sega Channel exclusive, and an eventual local release as a bundle with other Sega games in a portable Sega Genesis re-release, the Sega Genesis Ultimate Portable Player.). It would later be ported to the PS1 as Rockman: Complete Works, and then to the PS2, GameCube and Xbox as part of Anniversary Collection. It has also seen a release on Virtual Console. This game also received a remake for the PSP, called Mega Man Powered Up.

Robot Masters:
  • DLN-003: Cut Man, weak to Super Arm, gives you Rolling Cutter
  • DLN-004: Guts Man, weak to Hyper Bomb, gives you Super Arm
  • DLN-005: Ice Man, weak to Thunder Beam, gives you Ice Slasher
  • DLN-006: Bomb Man, weak to Fire Storm, gives you Hyper Bomb
  • DLN-007: Fire Man, weak to Ice Slasher, gives you Fire Storm
  • DLN-008: Elec Man, weak to Rolling Cutter, gives you Thunder Beam

This game would later receive a companion title for the Game Boy, called Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge.


  • Ability Required to Proceed: Didn't pick up the Magnet Beam in Elec Man's level? You won't reach the end of the first Wily stage without it, so get a Game Over to get back to the stage selection screen and go get it!
  • All There in the Manual: The game's story, as per the standards at the time. However, the US version is notoriously inaccurate ("robot-like humanoids"?).
    • Both the US and Japanese manuals fail to mention Roll in any manner, making her appearance in the game's ending out of nowhere.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: One of the most infamous examples, due to the artist being given only the back of the box description and a couple of hours to come up with something. Believing the anime-style artwork wouldn't get much attention, the North American version instead got a middle-aged man in a blue and yellow jumpsuit, holding a pistol, against a rather bizarre background.
  • An Ice Person: Ice Man.
  • Ascended Glitch: The "Pause Trick" is so well known that in the Anniversary Collection port, the glitch was deliberately left intact!
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Hyper Bomb. It's extremely powerful, but there's such a long delay between the time you throw it and when it actually goes off, that it's very easy for the enemy to move out of range before that happens. Also, you can only throw one bomb at a time, so you're left wide open if you miss.
  • Blob Monster: The Yellow Devil.
  • Bowdlerise: Due to Nintendo's policies discouraging any religious references, the original manual for the game refers to the Yellow Devil as the Rock Monster.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Cut Man is weak to having blocks thrown at him. There are blocks in his arena. Oops. Subverted when refought in Wily's factory.
    • The same goes for CWU-01P in the 3rd stage of Wily's factory.
  • Boss Rush: Played quite differently than the later games. Instead of all the bosses being fought in a contained room, half of them are fought in seperate levels.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Bomb Man throws these.
  • Contemptible Cover/Covers Always Lie: The North American box art. It even got a throwback in Mega Man 9.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Plenty of it. Let's see: There's a point system, only six Robot Masters, small, sparse stages, the Boss Corridors are longer and contain enemies, weapon and energy items look different than they do in later games, no E-Tanks, no password function, Mercy Invincibility won't protect you from the Spikes of Doom, after defeating each boss, you have to grab an orb (which the Japanese manual implies to be the robot's "central core", or as later supplementary material would use, IC chip) to finish the stage proper, Mega Man doesn't even teleport out afterwards, there's no "Weapon Get" screen, Wily's lair is a robot factory instead of a castle with a skull motif, it doesn't have a map screen, the Robot Master rematches are sprinkled throughout its stages instead of being collected in a teleporter room, and the Wily Machine is the Final Boss rather than being a penultimate boss in the other games. Also, half of the weapons were thrown rather than being shot out of the Mega Buster, there are no Rush items, Collectible powerups reappear when you leave the screen and return (thank goodness!), Mega Man's movement is slightly slippery and he does not jump higher underwater. Phew!
    • Also, Dr. Light's name was Dr. Wright.
  • Elemental Baggage: Guts Man and his Super Arm play this straight; Mega Man, however, does not.
  • Eternal Engine: Elec Man's stage.
  • Excuse Plot: Mad scientist Dr. Wily is taking over the world with a batch of stolen robots, go stop him!
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Fire Man, Ice Man, and Elec Man, respectively. Naturally, Mega Man will wield all three of their weapons after you defeat them.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The final battle has a real show-stopper; if you get hit by the final boss just as you defeat him, the screen will glitch and the game will never proceed to the ending, forcing you to reset the game.
    • Some fans believe there was another one (since disproved), a similar show-stopping bug where if you didn't get the Magnet Beam from Elec Man's stage the first visit through and return later, it would disappear, making the final Wily stages impossible to beat - it turns out however, that immediately replaying the level with Elec Man's weapon allows you to claim the Magnet Beam.
      • In fact, the Magnet Beam, like every other collectable, appears if you enter the stage with it in your possession.
  • I Need No Ladders: The ladder climbing animation was slightly bugged, resulting in a glitch where Mega Man simply falls up very quickly under certain conditions, and is one of the ways to save time in speed runs.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Elec Man's stage, and part of Cut Man and Bomb Man's stages. The final Wily stage also goes upwards as the Boss Rush is progressed.
  • Joke Weapon: See Awesome but Impractical.
  • Kaizo Trap: Just about any boss in the game can cause this. Unlike other games in the series, the boss' projectiles do not disappear when they're defeated, and can still hit you. This is especially problematic because Mega Man is frozen briefly when the boss explodes. It is entirely possible as a result to die after beating the boss, which of course results in having to fight them all over again.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Fire Man's stage.
  • Nintendo Hard: One of the hardest of the original games, for the following reasons:
    • No password or save function—the game must be completed in one sitting (Except on Virtual Console, which lets you quit with the home button and come back right where you left off (and lets you "save state" on the Wii U and 3DS), and Anniversary Collection gives an auto-save). The game is at least generous enough to give you infinite continues and checkpoints.
    • Mercy Invincibility does not protect you when you fall onto spikes.
    • Tricky platforming segments; most notably in Guts Man and Ice Man's stages, where there are platforming bits that demand split-second reflexes and very precise jumping, with absolutely no room for error. Ice Man's stage is possibly the hardest of all the stages, not only due to the disappearing blocks, but also the erratic pattern of the flying platforms midway through the stage (not to mention the fact that they shoot at you, which combined with how small they are, makes it extremely easy to get knocked off to your death), not to mention the occasional glitch that keeps the platforms flying too far apart from each other, will have all but the most determined players falling back on the Magnet Beam to skip through.
    • Very cheap placement of powerful enemies such as the Big Eye, particularly in Wily Stage 1.
    • Boss weapons are a lot less useful than in the later games outside being used against. (except for Guts Man's)
    • Some of the bosses have much more erratic patterns, not to mention much more damaging, "take you down in one or two hits" attacks— Elec Man and Ice Man are the most infamous for this, as they can both kill you in three hits. Their attacks are often difficult, or, in the case of Fire Man or Ice Man, almost impossible to dodge.
    • The aforementioned kaizo traps that can sometimes occur just when you have defeated a boss.
    • Health pickups aren't as common as in later games, and the game contains useless pickups that only increase points.
    • The infamous Yellow Devil, which many people have not been able to defeat without exploiting the "Pause Trick" glitch.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Good Lord, Wily's Robot Manufacturing Plant. It may as well be a DEATH Manufacturing Plant!
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Just press start and get straight to playing!
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: All of the stages.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire Man.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Rolling Cutter.
  • Puzzle Boss: The third Wily Stage boss, the CWU-01Ps, sort of.
  • Screen Shake: Happens everytime Guts Man jumps. Mega Man has to time his jump or it will briefly knock him off his feet.
  • Shared Life Meter: The game has CWU-01P, a series of robots encased in bubbles.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Ice Man's stage.
  • Spikes of Doom: Wily's factory is full of these.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Justified by that Mega Man is a robot.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Mega Man can't swim, but whereas in the sequels he can jump ludicrously high in water, in this game it slows him down and weakens his jump. The Wily Wars port, curiously, ignored that and kept the water physics the same as the sequels.