This page covers the original Mega Man (Rockman/ロックマン) series, generally referred to as the "Classic Series." When people think "Mega Man", they usually think of this version, which makes "Classic" Mega Man one of the two big faces of Capcom (alongside Ryu).In the year 20XX, Dr. Thomas Light and Dr. Albert Wily — scientists well known for their innovative contributions to the world of robotics — create humanoid robots called Robot Masters, which the two programmed to assist in industrial work. Fed up with living under Light's shadow, Wily reprogrammed six (or eight, if the remake is to be believed) of these Robot Masters and turned them into weapons of mass destruction to help him conquer the world. While gathering these Robot Masters, Wily ignored two housecleaning robots: the boyish Rock and his sister Roll. Feeling a strong sense of justice, Rock asked Dr. Light to convert him into a battle robot — and the conversion gave the world a hero: Mega Man.After the successful conversion, Mega Man traveled around the world to stop the rogue Robot Masters. Rock's ability to analyze how things work and duplicate them gave him the ability to acquire the weapons of the fallen Robot Masters. After defeating the six rogue robots, Mega Man stormed Wily's Skull Fortress and defeated him. Wily's persistence would lead him to attempt the same plan — and defeat Mega Man — twenty-one different times, none of which were successful.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.The first game introduced attacks and strategies to platform gaming revolving around the concept of rock-paper-scissors: each weapon a player acquires might work well on one particular Robot Master, but horribly (or not at all) against another. Mega Man also introduced the concept of allowing players to choose what stage they wanted to tackle and in what order (before having to go through a linear gauntlet of Wily stages) — a first for platform games. In spite of these two major innovations, the title failed to make an impact.While the first game sold well enough, Capcom didn't want to give the Blue Bomber another chance, and it soon assigned the game's development team to other games. Not wanting to give up on the character, the development team begged the higher-ups for permission to make a sequel that would improve upon both the faults and the strengths of the first game. Capcom allowed the team to make a second game so long as they finished titles they were already assigned to. When Capcom released Mega Man 2, it became a monster hit, both critically and financially. The more ambitious stage design, improved graphics, and even catchier music blew away gamers; for these (and other) reasons, numerous Mega Man fans think of 2 as the best game in the series — a sentiment Keiji Inafune himself agrees with. Thanks to the sequel's incredible sales and warm critical reception, Capcom realized Mega Man could become a Cash Cow Franchise, and happily greenlit sequel after sequel, leading to one of the most popular series of the Eight Bit Era.Capcom has, to date, published ten main games in this series: six for the Nintendo Entertainment System, re-releasing the first three as a 16-Bit compilation for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis), one for the Super Nintendo, one for the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation, and two as downloadable games for the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft's Xbox 360. Capcom designed 9 and 10 as throwbacks to the NES titles; their graphics and audio simulating the system's 8-bit hardware, while the gameplay emulated the gameplay of the original NES games. The company also published a series of Mega Man games for the Game Boy, based mainly on the NES games, and another game for arcades; adding the various Gaiden Games elevates the "Classic" series into the largest continuity of the entire franchise.Despite the sequels tending to feel similar to each other, the series as a whole remains enjoyable — and very hard — to this day.The generally lighthearted, friendly atmosphere of the classic series tends to stick out like a sore thumb compared to its two Darker and EdgierSequel Series, Mega Man X and (arguably even further) Mega Man Zero.
Mega Man 10 (PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii): Similar to 9 in style and tone. Proto Man is Promoted to Playable, while Bass (functioning as he did in Mega Man & Bass) receives his own storyline as DLC.
Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Mega Drive): An updated rerelease of the first three games, with Genesis-quality graphics and sound, as well as a save feature and an all-new "Wily Tower" game. Only released in Europe and Japan, although it did get a brief Sega Channel release in the states.
Mega Man: The Power Battle (Arcade): Mega Man's Arcade debut, basically being a boss rush game. First game where Bass and Proto Man are playable.
Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters (Arcade): Similar to the previous one. Only game where Duo is playable. Technical debut of Duo, by virtue of Early-Bird Cameo.
Mega Man & Bass (SNES, GBA): One of the last SNES games ever released. First main series game where Bass is playable. While the SNES version got stuck in Japan, it did get a GBA port in the US.
Rockman Complete Works (PS1): A series which ported all six of the NES Mega Man titles to the PS1, with remixed music and bonus content.
Mega Man Anniversary Collection (PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox): Brings together the first 8 games, plus the two arcade games (Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters).
Mega Man II (Game Boy): Has the remaining four Robot Masters from 2 NES, and four from 3 NES, along with bringing in E-Tanks, Rush, and the Slide Move. Also noted for being uncharacteristically easy for this series.
Mega Man III (Game Boy): Features the remaining 3 NES Robot Masters, and four from 4 NES. Also introduced the Charge Shot to the Game Boy line.
Mega Man IV (Game Boy): Features the remaining four 4 NES Robot Masters, and four from 5 NES. Introduces the purchasable upgrade mechanic, which later found its way into the main series with 7.
Mega Man V (Game Boy): In a complete break from the previous four games, has a completely original storyline and an all-new set of Robot Masters themed around the planets of the Solar System. Was the only game to feature the Mega Arm, which was effectively the same as the previous Charge Shot but with a boomerang effect.
Mega Man (Game Gear): A condensed version of 5, with elements of 4 and 2 mashed in.
Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future (WonderSwan): A sequel to Mega Man & Bass. Japan-only, due to the WonderSwan not making it to the States.
Rockman Battle & Fighters (Neo Geo Pocket Color): An 8-bit port of the two arcade games.
Emergency Energy Tank: The only numbered games in the classic series to not use them were 1 and 8. The developers behind 7 admitted they couldn't beat the final boss without using at least one. There are a few variations...
Energy Tank (E-Tank): Restores all of your Hit Points.
Weapon Tank (W-Tank): Restores all of the energy to a selected Special Weapon/Item.
Super Tank/Mystery Tank (S-Tank/M-Tank): Restores all of your HP and the energy of all your Special Weapons/Items. The M-Tank is only different from the S-Tank in that it turns all weak enemies on-screen into extra lives if your HP and all weapon/item energy is already at 100%; if you meet the HP/energy requirements but there are no weak enemies on-screen, you are automatically given a single extra life.
The Mega Man "Classic" series provides examples of the following tropes:
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All There in the Manual: Many interesting facts about the Robot Masters are actually found in the manuals, or other outside materials. For example: Did you know Shadow Man from 3 is actually an alien robot that Dr. Wily found and used as a basis for the other Robot Masters? Or that he rides a giant robotic frog?
Animal Mecha: Every single weird flora and fauna apparently is made up of robots.
Down the Drain: At least one level per game is going to feature at least some portion where Mega Man is submerged. Since he is a robot, he doesn't have to worry about drowning; he instead has drastically improved jumps (with even more Spikes Of Doom lining every possible surface, to keep you from abusing absurd jumps). Subverted in 5 - the expected Kill It with Water Robot Master, Wave Man, doesn't feature any underwater portions at all.
Dramatic Thunder: Often featured on the Fortress map screens after the fanfare ends.
Equipment-Based Progression: The entire point of the series was to acquire new weapons from one boss to take down the next. Since you could fight them in any order, the trick was discovering the optimum sequence to fight them in.
He Was Right There All Along: The Robot Master room at first seems empty, but then the Robot Master falls in and does his battle stance. In the first game, however, the Robot Masters just appear on the ground out of thin air, and 6 had theirs lowered slowly into the room while Dramatic Thunder occurs (and they don't make their battle stances, unlike in the other games). The non-8-bit games tend to give their Robot Masters more personal entrances, with 8 being the most elaborate. 10 generally has the usual 8-bit entrances, though Commando Man shakes the ground upon landing, and Nitro Man instead rides in from the left of the screen in motorcycle mode.
Hopping Machine: Each game has its variation of the big one. Some games have also smaller ones.
Logical Weakness: While not always true (and frequently tripped up by Robot Masters with more unusual abilities, like Snake Man), you can frequently figure out a boss's weakness based on their name and each weapon's name.
Mascot Mook: Mets, due to their cutesy appearance and presence outside the classic series.
Widely considered to be one. But, believe it or not, that's only at first. After several days of playing, you will find yourself in comfort among all these piles of randomly flying robots, bottomless pits, and fast-reaction bosses (to the point where people who LP the games, most notably Clement J 642, frequently make them look like cakewalks). Not to mention that the "correct GET EQUIPPED sequence" makes boss battles a lot easier. But that's only after you get with it. Otherwise, better keep calm and keep practicing.
But, if you have beaten the original series blindfonded, it's time for you to try the wonders of romhacking scene, Rockman Exile and Rockman No Constancy!
9 and 10 takes this Up to Eleven with its achievements. How about the one for beating the game without continuing? Tough, but doable with enough patience and trial & error. How about the one for beating the game without dying? Nightmarish. But that's not all. How about clearing the game without taking any damage at all? Good luck with that one.
Not Me This Time: Wily has tried this in the past, most notably in 9 (where he claimed it was Dr. Light instead), and 10 (where he claimed the cause of the robot attacks was a virus). He is, of course, lying.
Numbered Sequels: Of course, but there was some weirdness abound. The Japanese versions all used arabic numbers, while the English versions of the first seven (and all five Game Boy games) used Roman numerals on the title screens. The confusion came along when Mega Man X was released for the Super NES. English gamers were confused and thought the X stood for 10, thus making the game 10, when there had been only five numbered sequels released at the time. Even further confusion abounded when the Game Boy games were released, as they all used roman numerals. In Japan, they were called the Rockman World games, however, English releases were simply referred to by their roman numerals. Starting with the eighth game, however, and perhaps to avoid confusion, the English releases would use Arabic numbers on their title screens as well.
Soccer, up to and including the lack of an ending or credits. Strangely enough, they're both in the game's code, but Dummied Out for some reason. Even the English translation was rushed; one of the two stage selection screens refers to a "Rock Field" and a "Blues Field".
Mega Man II (GB) had less than a year of development, and it shows in the bland level design, annoyingly high-pitched sound, glitchy collision detection, and some obstacles not even working properly.
Real Time Weapon Change: 7, 8, and 10. The Complete Works series adds this to the first six games, though you still need to use the weapon menu to access items like the Magnet Beam or the Rush Marine in the first three.
Recurring Element: Aside from the skull motif, Dr. Wily's castles usually have a old-fashioned pipe chimney on their left side. Even when they're spaceships, as seen in Mega Man IV and V. Fangame Mega Man Unlimited even lampshades this by placing the final level icon over the pipe, then soon showing another one on the right side of the fortress.
Recycled Title: The English versions of the five Game Boy games were numbered, just like their NES counterparts. To differentiate them from the NES games, the fandom uses roman numerals to refer to games in the GB series (it's even done that way on That Other Wiki!). The Japanese releases averted this by titling the GB series Rockman World instead of just Rockman (Rockman World, Rockman World 2, Rockman World 3, etc.). The PC games Mega Man and 3 (for whatever reason that most likely defies logic, they skipped on "2") embrace this trope, but have no particular Fan Nicknames on grounds of never existing.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Red is one of the three most common Robot Master eye colors, along with blue and green.
Revenge of the Sequel: Dr. Wily's Revenge, the first Game Boy game, which has Wily send rebuilt Robot Masters from the NES versions of 1 and 2 after Mega Man.
Revisiting The Roots: Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. By that time, Mega Man games had complex storylines and complicated gameplay. These two games kept their plots simple and plays almost exactly like an extension of Mega Man 2, even keeping the NES appearance. In fact, these two games were designed by the same people who made the original Mega Man games.
Self-Imposed Challenge: The series is notorious for the sheer amount of these tied to it. Probably one of the most popular and well-known is playing an entire game using only the megabuster and never exploiting the more useful weapons unless required by the plot. This is well-known enough that it got a nod in the Archie comics where Mega Man chooses to take on the Yellow Devil using only the megabuster.
Sentry Gun: Numerous robots in this series take a form of a simple gun which fires at player.
Sequel Hook: Starting with 4, the series went into the habit of doing this (except for GB/World 2 and GB/World 3, which have Dr. Wily getting blownto smithereens. 6, on the other hand, ends with him captured and put in jail, even though a "To Be Continued" is shown at the end of the credits).
Someone behind the music of the series is apparently a fan of Helloween, because not one, but two tracks from the 10 OST have the same titles as Helloween songs: Future World (the intro cutscene theme) and Silent Rain (the music to the first area of the first Wily Stage).
Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: The games revel in both seriousness and silliness all over the place, especially with the Robot Master designs. Just look at 10, two of whose Robot Masters are Commando Man, a cool tank-like robot with huge guns for arms and a homing weapon, and...Sheep Man. The same can be said to Wily stage bosses, which range from rather goofy things like dispenser machines to very mechanical ones like Square Machine and Buebeam Trap.
The Smurfette Principle: there are only four female characters to date in the series, only one of which is human (Kalinka), and only one of which appeared in more than one game (Roll). The third is Splash Woman, a mermaid-based Robot Master. The fourth one, Plum, only appears in the obscure spin-off Battle And Chase, but only in the Japanese version; the scenes involving Plum were removed from the European and North American versions.
Status Quo Is God: In the past 22 years, the only major plot advancements have been the introductions of Proto Man and Bass.
Strictly Formula: As the numbers of NES series games increased, this became obvious.
Super Title 64 Advance: The Japanese version of The Wily Wars is called Rockman Mega World. A double pun, since "Mega" is not only part of Rockman's overseas name, it is also a reference to the Mega Drive itself.
For example, Rock and Roll, Bass and Treble (known as Forte and Gospel in Japan), Blues (Proto Man's Japanese name). The first four Game Boy games featured a "Mega Man Killer" robot, the first called Enker, derived from "Enka" a style of Japanese folk music; the second, Quint(et); the third, Punk (Rock); and the fourth, Ballade.
The name "Rockman" is also a reference to the game's "rock-paper-scissors" concept.
In the fifth Game Boy game, the Stardroids are named after the planets of the solar system, with their version of the Yellow Devil being Dark Moon and their leader being called Terra. The ancient alien superweapon they are based on is called either Sunstar or Sun God depending on the translation.
Unobtainium: Ceratanium, the metal that was used for building Cut Man and Hard Man. After 3, no mention was made of it again until Zero 4.
Bassnium, a substance created accidentally by Dr. Wily, takes its place in the later series, used for building Bass, and later, Zero.
Unwinnable: The most famous examples are the Magnet Beam requirement and Buebeam Trap boss. Run out of weapon energy (or, in the Magnet Beam's case, fail to get the weapon), and you might as well just commit suicide.
Four of the games lead you to believe that there's one less Wily Castle stage than there actually are (one of them in particular takes this Up to Eleven). Said games are 2, 3, 4, and 10, with the last being the one that's most extreme.
In the fourth Game Boy Mega Man game, the final boss does this not once, but twice! At least he's generous enough to let the victory fanfare play out in its entirety both times.
Averted in Mega Man V on the Game Boy. After beating Sunstar and watching the credits, Wily suddenly comes back and looks like he's ready for one last bout, but his heavily damaged Wily Capsule falls apart and dumps him onto the ground, causing him to do his usual beg routine and flee.