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Video Game / Mega Man

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The game that started it all. note 


Mega Man (Rockman in Japanese) 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: It is the year 200X, and advanced robots designed to help humans in tasks are commonplace thanks to the efforts of Dr. Light, the foremost expert on robotics. One day, however, a former friend and rival of his by the name of Dr. Wily reprogrammed several of these robots, and is now trying to Take Over the World from within his fortified robot factory. To make things worse, among them are Dr. Light's six Robot Masters — humanoid robots with advanced A.I. and abilities designed for industrial use. Dr. Light's assistant robot and "son" Rock, having a strong sense of justice, volunteers to be converted into a "fighting robot" in order to disable and retrieve the Robot Masters and right Wily's wrongs. He thus becomes 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.

The game was ultimately a modest hit in Japan, but performed rather poorly in sales internationally, which made Capcom reluctant to make another sequel, but they ultimately greenlighted one anyway...

One of many early ideas 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 was developed by a small team of six people, with Keiji Inafune designing almost all of the characters, enemies, and sprites. The game also gave them a lot of headaches as far as memory limitations went — the entire cart was only 1 Megabit (1000 kilobits, or 128 kilobytes) in size!


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 American release as a downloadable Sega Channel exclusive, and an eventual local release as a bundle with other Sega games in the Sega Genesis Mini). It would later be ported to the PS1 as Rockman: Complete Works, and then to the PS2, Nintendo GameCube and Xbox as part of Anniversary Collection. It has also seen a release on Virtual Console, and on PC as part of the Mega Man Legacy Collection. 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 English version is notoriously inaccurate ("robot-like humanoids"?).
    • Both the English and Japanese manuals fail to mention Roll in any manner, making her appearance in the game's ending out of nowhere.
    • Most summaries and adaptations of the story tend to imply Wily was banking exclusively on the six Robot Masters in conquering the world. A short manga initially only seen to those who won the Mega Man 4 boss character contest shows that Wily reprogrammed a heck of a lot more than just six robots (as in, the minor enemies were a more immediate concern than the Robot Masters).
  • 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 with no source material to work with. Thus the North American version instead got a middle-aged man in a blue and yellow jumpsuit, holding a pistol, against a rather bizarre background. The European boxart, while more accurate to the game, also qualifies. The box for the western releases claims that the Robot Masters are actually humans transformed into cyborg monsters by Dr. Wily, and that his ultimate goal is to transform the entire human race. This backstory is something that was never intended by the developers, and was never mentioned in any future western releases of the series.
  • Antepiece: Because you can enter each level in any order, the developers carefully planned each one around a specific gimmick as a warmup for the Robot Master encounters, while also doubling as red flags for what's up ahead as far as the game's difficulty goes.
    • Cut Man has a flying enemy (Bunby Heli) that launch at you in an arc, which you have to shoot or time your jumps carefully in order to dodge, a warm up for Cut Man and his Rolling Cutter.
    • Guts Man has its first section centered around a wide open pit with traveling platforms moving along, requiring very precise timing to dodge. Later on, you'll need these kind of jumping reflexes to avoid getting knocked on your butt by Guts Man's earth shaking stomp and dodge his subsequent boulders. You also encounter the Metall enemies before you fight their tougher Pickelman counterpart.
    • Elec Man has electric arcs that shoot out at you, inflicting heavy damage on contact. These are a tip that Elec Man is by far the toughest of all the bosses. Also, the opening room has a series of platforms guarded by enemies (Spines) that can only be stunned with the Mega Buster (but can be destroyed with the Rolling Cutter later), a clue of just how hard it will be to get all the way up the tower. It's also a vertical-oriented stage with lots of opportunities to fall, so the dev team placed the Magnet Beam in it to encourage you to try out practicing with it to make the stage easier, and prepare you for using it later in the final Wily stages.
    • Fire Man has a section close to the end where a constant stream of fire is pouring out of a tunnel, and it requires pixel perfect timing to dodge them. You encounter this exact same problem with Fire Man and his barrage of the Fire Storm.
    • Ice Man's use of Appearing Blocks and very difficult floating platforms is a cue for you to try out finding or using the Magnet Beam to pass, since it's required to beat the game later anyway.
    • Bomb Man's stage, besides the presence of exploding bombs flying out of pits, has the Flea enemies jump in the exact same arc that Bomb Man does, serving as a warm up for your fight with him later.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • While Elec Man is one of the toughest bosses in the game (especially if you fight him without his weakness), it's possible to exploit his crude A.I. by jumping and shooting him in a very carefully timed pattern, freezing him in place while also allowing you to dodge his attack.
    • Use the Super Arm or Magnet Beam against the Copy Robot, and watch as it continually runs left to right, never touching the far left corner and only jumping when the shoot button is pressed. It is worth noting the boss recycles the aforementioned Elec Man's A.I.
  • Ascended Glitch: The "Pause Trick" is so well known that in the Anniversary Collection port, the glitch was deliberately left intact. Even moreso in the Legacy Collection where not only is it intact, but the expected way to get a gold medal on the time trial for Yellow Devil is to Pause Trick him.
  • 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.
  • Beak Attack: Somewhat subverted. Cut Man's level features several metallic beaks on the wall called Blasters (but also sometimes known as "Beaks" in some translations), but they actually just open and shoot Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Blob Monster: The Yellow Devil.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy:
    • Cut Man is weak to having Super Arm blocks thrown at him. There are blocks in his arena. Oops. Subverted when refought in Wily's factory, making him the one Robot Master in the series whose weakness can't be used against him in a rematch.
    • The same goes for CWU-01P in the third stage of Wily's factory, but notably if you use too many blocks too early, you'll find yourself hard-pressed to avoid damage from the large and progressively faster robots (Boss Arena Brilliance?).
  • Boss Rush: Played quite differently than the later games (aside from Mega Man X and Mega Man & Bass, both of which brought it back). Instead of all the Robot Masters being fought in a contained room, they're fought separately across levels.
  • Bowdlerise: Due to Nintendo's policies discouraging any religious references, Western sources at the time (such as Nintendo Power) refer to the Yellow Devil as the "Rock Cyclops".
  • Cartoon Bomb: The Hyper Bomb, both for you and Bomb Man.
  • Covers Always Lie: The infamous American box art would have you believe that you play as a 50-something man in a bright blue and yellow suit while holding a gun, and it all happens in a city with palm trees, large metal buildings, and bright gold arses littered everywhere. Suffice to say, none of that may be true in the actual game.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: The environments tend to look very similar and tiles and enemies frequently rely on palette swaps. The dev team only had 1 Megabit (1000 kilobits, or 128 kilobytes) of memory to work with, forcing them to use every shortcut they could just to fit the game in, including this trope.
  • Ditto Fighter: The Copy Robot copies Mega Man and uses whatever weapon he uses. It also acts like one to Elec Man, since it reuses his A.I.
  • Dub Name Change: The reason for the change from Rockman to Mega Man was because Capcom Consumer Products Division president Joe Morici felt the title was horrible.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Mega Man, Dr. Wily, and Dr. Light's official art are much closer to their NES sprites in proportions, before later games refined them. Wily has the biggest difference of all, looking much more like Albert Einstein with none of the exaggerated features (e.g. his hair and chin) he'll get in later games.
    • Mets/Metools don't have feet, can't move, and are just theme enemies for the mine stage.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Plenty of it:
    • There's a point system not featured in any other game (aside from remakes of this one).
    • Only six Robot Masters are present, all with small, sparse stages — the Boss Corridors of which are longer and contain enemies.
    • On the stage select screen, the Robot Masters simply display their in-game sprites rather than the mugshots of the later games. The only other game in the series which does this is Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge.
    • Weapon and energy items look different than they do in later games.
    • E-Tanks and a password function don't exist.
    • Mercy Invincibility won't protect you from 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, I.C. chip) to finish the stage proper a la Castlevania. Mega Man doesn't even teleport out afterwards.
    • There's no "You Got a New Weapon" screen, and therefore no in-game indication that you can even get Robot Master weapons. It was not unknown for players who couldn't/didn't read the manual or the game box to not even realize that you could do this.
    • Wily's lair is a robot factory instead of a castle with a skull motif. Not that it's obvious, since it doesn't have a map screen. Said skull motif is also noticeably absent from the game, before 2 would make it a feature of his Fortress, and 4 would implement it in the Wily Machines.
    • The Robot Master rematches are sprinkled throughout the Wily stages instead of being collected in a teleporter room (though Mega Man & Bass as well as Mega Man X would reuse this concept).
    • When defeated, both the Yellow Devil and the Wily Machine become black and inert, instead of just exploding.
    • The Wily Machine is the Final Boss rather than being a penultimate boss in the other games (at least the ones not on the Game Boy).
    • Half of the weapons are thrown rather than being shot out of the Mega Buster.
    • There are no Rush items or similar equivalent, with the Magnet Beam being the nearest the game gets.
    • Collectible powerups reappear when you leave the screen and return.
    • Dr. Light's name was initially translated as Dr. Wright in the Western manual.
    • Mega Man's physics are off — his movement is slightly slippery, he doesn't jump higher underwater, and in situations where the ground beneath him disappears (such as the platforms in Guts Man's stage), he instantly falls at maximum velocity without any kind of acceleration.
    • In this game and Mega Man 2, most of the common sound effects (for example, firing and doing enemy damage) are different than in the rest of the NES series (but would be reused for Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10). Much of the soundtrack is much lighter in tone, as well.
  • 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!
    • The Wily Wars remake plot is centered on Dr. Wily creating a time-travelling Wily Machine and trying to take down Mega Man in the past, prompting Dr. Light to send Mega Man back in time to fight him while reliving his first adventure. Of course, that plot point is exclusive to the manual — the in-game plot is as bare bones as ever.
  • Expy: While the creators have listed many sources of artistic inspiration, Mega Man was most heavily patterned after Astro Boy. This is especially notable in the ending, where Rock is almost a dead ringer for 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 at the same moment when you defeat him (so both of you take damage on the same frame), the screen will glitch and the game will never proceed to the ending, forcing you to reset the game.
  • Heart Drive: That red orb that appears after defeating a Robot Master is this, an apparent early version of what supplementary materials would call an I.C. chip.
  • An Ice Person: Ice Man.
  • I Need No Ladders: The ladder climbing animation is 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.
  • 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 means having to fight them all over again.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Fire Man's stage, though the actual lava isn't much to write home about (essentially being a fancy background over a large bottomless pit).
  • Long-Range Fighter: Fire Man only uses the Fire Storm when he is far enough away from Mega Man (or when Mega Man shoots). If Mega Man is too close, he will try to run away from him. Stay close to Fire Man, and he becomes several times easier.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Taking out CWU-01P's last three forms without getting hit depends on them all emerging from the left or right hatches. If any of them emerge from the center shaft, Mega Man will have a very difficult time (if not an impossible time) dodging them.
  • 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 note , Anniversary Collection gives an auto-save and Legacy Collection has built-in save states like on Virtual Console). 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 (and the fact that they shoot at you, 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. This is enough to have all but the most determined players falling back on the Magnet Beam to skip through.
    • Very cheap placement of powerful enemies such as Big Eyes, particularly in Wily Stage 1.
    • Boss weapons are a lot less useful than in the later games outside being used against bosses.
    • 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.
    • The Wily Wars remake adds a save feature and mercy invincibility for spikes, and makes the Yellow Devil fight easier due to the lag during its morphing, but as a trade off, the robot masters take and dish more than ever, and there's no pause trick.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Good Lord, Wily's Robot Manufacturing Plant. It may as well be a DEATH Manufacturing Plant!
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Because the game had very little memory to work with, the plot is entirely in the manual — the game just drops you off at the title screen so you can get straight to whomping Wily's robots upon pressing start. The ending is the only indication that there even was a story in the first place.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: All of the stages are very straightforward, with no alternate paths or hidden secrets (aside from the Magnet Beam, but it's not hidden and it's mandatory) to look for.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Because of the NES' limitations, certain enemies have color differences between levels, though none of them act any different or are passed off as another enemy.
    • An odd example is the Copy Robot - while it's not a recolor of anything, its battle A.I. (aside from what weapon it uses) directly reuses that of Elec Man's thanks to the cartridge's memory limitations.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire Man.
  • Power Up Letdown: The Super Arm is by far the least useful of all the weapons. It can only be used in specific situations where you can grab a giant block and throw it. Other than the battles with Cut Man (but only the first time) and CWU-01P and getting to the Magnet Beam, it's basically useless.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Rolling Cutter.
  • Puzzle Boss: The third Wily Stage boss, the CWU-01Ps, sort of.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: As with all of the games, each of the robot masters is weak to one other robot master's weapon. Thus, after beating one boss, you can exploit their weapon to beat the next boss who is vulnerable to them, and so on.
  • Screen Shake: Happens everytime Guts Man jumps. Mega Man has to time his jump or it will briefly knock him off his feet, leaving him open for attack.
  • Shared Life Meter: The game has CWU-01P, a series of robots encased in bubbles. Each one has its own hit points, but destroying one will always knock off four bars from the shown boss meter.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Killer Bomb enemies seem obviously patterned after Bullet Bills.
    • The Yellow Devil's appearance is heavily based on the giant robot Astro Boy fights on the moon in the early "Hot Dog Corps" story arc of the manga. The design similarities would become even more blatant in its later reappearance.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Ice Man's stage. Notably, it has palm trees in the background, implying it's an odd arctic version of Jungle Japes.
  • Spikes of Doom: Setting the standard for the series, spikes that insta-kill you are everywhere, and unlike later games, Mercy Invincibility won't save your blue ass if you fall into them.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Cut Man is themed around scissors, and is the most vulnerable to Mega Man's default weapon. In Japanese, Mega Man is named "Rockman". Rock beats scissors.
    • Elec Man is weak to Rolling Cutter. Cut the power.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Naturally all over the place in Bomb Man's stage, with Bombombombs that self-destruct and drop explosive fragments, Killer Bombs that cause a harmful explosion after being shot, and Bomb Man himself, of course.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Because Mega Man is a robot, water can't kill him.
  • Super Strength: Guts Man has this as his ability, being able to summon and throw huge boulders at you. Defeating him gives you the Super Arm, which allows you to lift up certain blocks and throw them (but you can't summon blocks yourself).
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: In the Guts Man level, there is an area where you have to fall downward onto to the next screen, while avoiding the Spikes of Doom which cause instant death upon contact. There is absolutely no way to know where the spikes are your first time playing the game. If you manage to get past this part without dying, it's entirely due to luck.
  • Unwinnable by Design: If you arrive at the first Wily stage without the Magnet Beam, you're snuffed. It's impossible to pass the room just before the Yellow Devil without it. You can leave by extinguishing all your lives and then go back to Elec Man's stage to grab it, however.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Wily in the ending, starting the tradition of doing it every time you defeat him in later games.
  • 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 remake, curiously, ignored that and kept the water physics the same as the sequels.
  • Warm-Up Boss:
    • Cut Man is absolutely the easiest boss to take down of the six due to his low stamina. If you managed to beat Guts Man first, you can use the Super Arm to kill him in two hits.
    • Bomb Man is almost as easy as Cut Man, too. While he has better stamina than Cut Man, his bombs are so inaccurate that he's more likely to hurt you from collision damage—fortunately, he jumps around so high that it's very easy to avoid him.
  • Who Needs Their Whole Body?: The Crazy Razy robots in Ice Man's stage. Shooting only their lower bodies will cause their top halves to fly around and swing at you.

MegaMan has ended the evil domination of Dr. Wily and restored the world to peace. However, the never ending battle continues until all destructive forces are eliminated. Fight, MegaMan! For everlasting peace!

Video Example(s):


Yellow Devil Pause Glitch

By pausing repeatedly, you remove the invincibility that enemies get while hit, which allows you to do massive damage. Oh, and this glitch was KEPT in the Legacy Collection.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoodBadBugs

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