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Video Game / Mega Man 4

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The fourth game in the Mega Man (Classic) series for the NES. It was released in Japan in December of 1991, closely followed by a North American release in January of 1992. The game wasn't released in Europe and Australia until nearly a year later, in December of 1992. It has since seen numerous rereleases, including the Rockman Complete Works, Mega Man Anniversary Collection, Virtual Console, PlayStation Network and Mega Man Legacy Collection.

It had been about a year since the events of Mega Man 3. Dr. Wily has disappeared after the final battle, having been apparently crushed by the falling debris from his Wily Castle, and the world is at peace. But this period is short-lived (isn't it always?) when Dr. Light is contacted by a new Mad Scientist named Dr. Cossack. Tired of Dr. Light receiving all the recognition for his accomplishments while his have been ignored, Cossack intends to prove to the whole world that he is the superior roboticist by sending his own breed of Robot Masters out to conquer it. Already, eight cities have fallen behind his iron curtain, but Mega Man isn't one to stand by and let this happen, so he sets out to liberate the fallen cities from Cossack's robots.

However, once Mega Man defeats all eight Robot Masters and confronts the doctor himself in his citadel, it's revealed that Dr. Wily is still alive, and had kidnapped Dr. Cossack's daughter, Kalinka; blackmailing him into using his robots to battle his nemesis and further his own plans. Mega Man defeats Wily, who escapes, and peace is restored once more.

Robot Masters:

  • DWN-025: Bright Man, weak to the Rain Flush, gives the Flash Stopper
  • DWN-026: Toad Man, weak to the Drill Bomb, gives the Rain Flush
  • DWN-027: Drill Man, weak to the Dive Missile, gives the Drill Bomb
  • DWN-028: Pharaoh Man, weak to the Flash Stopper, gives the Pharaoh Shot
  • DWN-029: Ring Man, weak to the Pharaoh Shot, gives the Ring Boomerang
  • DWN-030: Dust Man, weak to the Ring Boomerang, gives the Dust Crusher
  • DWN-031: Dive Man, weak to the Skull Barrier, gives the Dive Missile
  • DWN-032: Skull Man, weak to the Dust Crusher, gives the Skull Barrier

See also Rockman 4 Minus ∞, a ROM hack that plays like a love letter to the Mega Man (Classic) series and Nintendo as a whole (some games in particular) and Mega Man: The Sequel Wars, a planned Fan Remake of this game, 5 and 6 for the Sega Genesis in the style of Mega Man: The Wily Wars which saw the 4 remake release in 2023.


  • A.I. Breaker:
    • Toad Man has an Always Accurate Rain Flush activated by a Rain Dance. Naturally, the only way to make this fair is to let players interrupt the dance somehow. The developers, however, Didn't Think This Through — what did they decide upon? Shooting him. No special tricks, just shooting him with a weapon that hurts him. His only other trick is to try to jump on the player, which is both pathetically easy to dodge (don't stand still) and only activates under a specific circumstance (if Toad Man is attacked during his Mercy Invincibility). He's the common player's preference for "first Robot Master kill" for a reason. Shoot, move right, shoot, move left. Only the bosses of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest are easier.
      • If one wants an even easier time, they could simply interrupt Toad Man whenever he's about to prepare a Rain Flush. This catches the boss in a loop: after being shot, he'll pause for a second before trying again, whereupon Mega Man can shoot him again to restart the process. It ultimately locks him in place without him ever accomplishing anything.
    • The Cossack Catcher will completely stop and reset its pattern whenever Mega Man slides, leaving it open for attack while it does nothing at all for a period. (Maybe Dr. Cossack's just that impressed by it? Or he's just looking for any excuse not to harm Mega Man?) The Wire Adaptor also causes Dr. Cossack to stop, and since you can actually damage an enemy you hit with it, this makes for a nice Outside-the-Box Tactic.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • While this game does avert this in regards to both its story and that of the overall series, you wouldn't know that you were fighting in different cities to free them from Dr. Cossack's robots. Even worse, you wouldn't know Cossack was (seemingly) after world conquest at all unless you read the Japanese manual; the Western intro and manuals imply he's more interested in destroying Mega Man than world domination.
    • Why are this game's Robot Masters listed as Wily Numbers despite being made by Dr. Cossack? A short-lived Japanese magazine has the answer.*
  • Always Accurate Attack: The Rain Flush, which acts like a Smart Bomb. Best of all, it ignores all defenses that aren't an outright immunity, including Metall hats.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Many fans mistakenly believe the term "Mega Buster" refers to the Charge Shot introduced in this game, when in reality it's been the name of Mega Man's arm cannon since the first installment; This is due to the game's opening narration, which states Mega Man is "NOW ARMED WITH THE POWERFUL NEW MEGA BUSTER". In reality, the Charge-enabled version introduced in 4 is called the "New Mega Buster", as opposed to the previous 3 games' plain old "Mega Buster", but the nuance of the capitalization is lost due to the game's all-caps text.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Compare the American boxart with the European one. Though unlike other instances of the trope, the Japanese art (pictured above) is just as, if not more, dynamic and hardcore than the Western art.
  • Area of Effect: The Drill Bomb's explosion hits a larger area than the drill itself. Comes into effect against the second Wily Machine, which is weak against the explosion, but will completely deflect all strikes with the drill itself, making for some tricky timing.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The third Cossack stage features sections where the screen automatically moves forward, a rarity for the series. Towards the end, there's a rather tricky part where Mega Man has to start weighing down a platform before the screen gets too far ahead, or he won't be able to make it through a the gap toward the bottom of the screen and get pushed offscreen.
  • Balloonacy: The Balloon item creates large, red balloons that act as Floating Platforms Mega Man can stand on.
  • Barrier Warrior: Skull Man has his Skull Barrier he can summon during his battle that protects him from Mega Man's attacks. Once Mega Man himself obtains the Skull Barrier, he can use it for the same purpose.
  • Behind the Black: After the first part of Pharaoh Man's stage, you have to drop down a crevice to continue, but jumping over it and going forward is how to get the Balloon Adaptor.
  • Big Bad: In the absence of Dr. Wily, Dr. Cossack takes over as the main villain, having built eight new Robot Masters and sent them to fight Mega Man. However, it turns out that he was merely a pawn in Dr. Wily's plans.
  • Blackout Basement:
    • Parts of Bright Man's level go completely dark if you shoot the 100 Watton enemies that fly through the area. Shoot a Dompan to turn the lights back on.
    • The final fight against the Wily Capsule takes place in a dark, underground laboratory — a literal Blackout Basement!
  • Blinded by the Light: Although it appears time stands still when the Flash Stopper is used, in reality what it does is flash an intense light that blinds and stuns enemies for a short time.
  • Bookcase Passage: How Mummiras appear: part of the wall will flip around to reveal them. Destroying them destroys said passage too, by the way.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: Mothraya destroys part of the floor with one of its attacks, so if Mega Man fights it for long enough, he runs the risk of falling down a bottomless pit.
  • Boss Rush: As always, the Robot Masters have to be refought before the Final Boss. However, in this game, the absence of the Boss Rush in Cossack Citadel tells the player that Dr. Cossack is not the Final Boss.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The majority of Pharaoh Man's stage is designed to resemble an Egyptian tomb, with mummy enemies, hieroglyphs, and an outdoor portion covered in sand.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • After being put on a bus in Mega Man 3, Item 1 (a platform maker) from Mega Man 2 makes a reappearance as the Balloon Adapter, and is now an optional pick-up.
    • Due to it being nerfed from the last game, Rush Jet now behaves as the successor to Item 2 (a jet board) due to its forward velocity being uncontrollable. However, you can minutely adjust the height.
  • Call-Back: Several references to the second game can be found throughout.
    • Flash Stopper doesn't actually stop time, but you'd be easily forgiven for confusing it with Flash Man's Time Stopper, especially since they work the same way.
    • Ring Man's stage begins with you climbing upward until eventually the sky turns dark and stars appear, just like with Crash Man. It remains just as ambiguous if it turned to night, or if you have climbed into orbit.
    • In-game, the actual plot is only given a very brief nod, as most of the story focuses on Mega Man's origins.
    • The first stage of Dr. Cossack's citadel greatly resembles the first stage of Wily's MM2 fortress in its layout and design.
    • Drill Man is basically an upgraded version of Crash Man.
    • After defeating Wily Machine 4, surprise! An underground level that starts with a long drop and a short walk to the final boss, fought in the dark no less, before the lights come on and Wily gives up.
    • The ending again is played to a sad tune, the context of which is unclear, while Mega Man's theme is used for the credits.
    • The "Robot Master Selected" theme as heard in Mega Man 2 would later become a Signature Song in the series, but this game first marked its return.
  • Charged Attack:
    • This is the first game that allows Mega Man to charge up his Mega Buster. The longer the player holds down the attack button, the more powerful the shot will be, with three levels of charge.
    • The Pharaoh Shot can be charged for a more powerful shot as well. While being charged, a fireball will grow over Mega Man's head, which can damage any enemy that touches it before Mega Man even fires it.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: An annoying one in Cossack Citadel 1 — dying against Mothraya will send Mega Man back to the midpoint of the level, not in the boss corridor.
  • Collapsing Lair: The first time where we see Dr. Wily's fortress actually explode after he's defeated, though on this occasion it's hinted that he activates a Self-Destruct Mechanism during his escape.
  • Collision Damage: A Mega Man staple of course, but in this game you need to be extra careful. Enemies (especially bosses) dish out a ton of it, more than most games in the series. The Robot Masters seem to have grown savvy and become very fond of getting up in your face, as most of them actually use this as an attack strategy rather than using their own weapons.
  • The Commies Made Me Do It: Inverted. In this case it's the Commie who was made to do it* — Dr. Cossack was blackmailed by Wily into conquering the world and destroying Mega Man with his robots.
  • Cranium Ride: Bright Man's stage has you ride robotic grasshoppers (Battans) over spikes on a few occasions. Pharaoh Man has a similar gimmick in his level with Hovers.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kalinka Cossack, who's being held hostage by...Dr. Wily. However, Mega Man doesn't rescue her; rather, Proto Man does.
  • Dem Bones:
    • Skull Man and his stage fittingly have a bone motif. Skeleton Joes are a recurring enemy in this level, and they also appear in the first section of Cossack Citadel.
    • Wily Machine 4 also acts as the first Wily Machine in the series to use a skull motif.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Averted by the Pharaoh Shot, which can be aimed diagonally; played straight with everything else.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Dr. Cossack is initially hyped up to be the final boss the same way Wily was in previous games, but after he is defeated, Wily is revealed to be the true villain, so now Mega Man has to go through his fortress to reach the true final battle. A special note is that this is the first classic Mega Man game to pull this trick (and certainly not the last!).
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Dr. Cossack's Citadel initially seems to fill the same role as the Wily fortresses from the first three games, but after clearing it, Dr. Wily is revealed to be the true villain, and his fortress is the true final area.
  • Down in the Dumps: Dust Man's stage is a scrapyard with a large compactor and incinerators close to his lair.
  • Down the Drain:
    • Most of Toad Man's stage after the first segment has Mega Man go down into the sewers, where he fights various robotic vermin while dealing with water currents pushing him around.
    • The first stage of Wily's Castle has Mega Man breaking in through the sewer system.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Cossack's Siberian Citadel is introduced with a few flashes of lightning before the screen lights up completely, allowing the fortress to be seen.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: Dr. Wily's castle makes a skull-shaped mushroom cloud when it goes up at the end.
  • Fast Tunnelling: Drill Man tunnels underground quickly using his many drills.
  • Floating Platforms: The Balloon Adaptor found in Pharaoh Man's stage makes these.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Skull Man's design is a big hint about why Dr. Cossack is challenging Mega Man and trying to take over the world: He looks suspiciously like a robot that Dr. Wily would design, foreshadowing that Wily is the true mastermind of this plot.
    • The tune that plays when a robot master is selected is a throwback to the same tune from Mega Man 2, another hint to the player that Dr. Wily is The Man Behind the Man. Indeed, starting from Mega Man 7, this tune became standard and Dr. Wily's involvement was no longer a plot twist.
    • Wily is only made aware of Proto Man's betrayal at the end of this game, which would lead to the plot of the next installment, where Wily frames Proto Man, possibly as revenge.
    • The first Wily stage only has Mettaurs as enemies. Guess what the boss of that stage is?
  • Game-Breaking Bug: It is possible to kill Dr. Wily as he's ejecting from his exploding Wily Machine if you fire the Rain Flush and time it just right, so the rain starts as he's flying out. However, doing this will mess up an Event Flag that ends the level, meaning you're stuck in that room, forcing you to reset. Though obviously unintentional, given how you essentially break the "never harm humans" rule of being a robot, this makes sense.*
  • Glorious Mother Russia: The Cossacks; Fanon has taken it up to eleven.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Wire adaptor allows Mega Man to fire a claw attached to a wire out of his Arm Cannon directly above him, and if it grabs on to a ceiling, he will be lifted up to it.
  • Guide Dang It!: The fact that you can remotely detonate the Drill Bomb by pressing the fire button while it's still in mid-air is not told to the player anywhere in the game, meaning that unless you trigger it by accident there's no way of knowing about it. Unfortunately, doing exactly this is the key to beating the second phase of Wily Machine 4 without some inventive use of your utility items.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The first time (of many) where Dr. Wily enacts this as part of his current world conquest scheme.
  • Homing Projectile: The Dive Missile. Many enemies like Mobys and Kabatoncues also use this against Mega Man.
  • Hopping Machine:
    • Most of the Robot Masters jump, but Toad Man's only mode of movement is to hop around like a toad.
    • To a lesser extent, Bright Man, Pharaoh Man, and Dust Man never walk during their battles, only being able to jump around.
    • The Jumbig enemies "attack" by hopping towards Mega Man.
  • Hostile Weather: The Rain Flush makes acid rain to damage all foes on screen. Said rain was initially beneficial, until Dr. Wily modified Toad Man to make it acidic.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: What the Super Ball Machine Jr. enemies fire; it's particularly destructive as it fires its giant bouncing balls through the narrow corridors of Skull Man's stage.
  • I Have Your Wife: Well, daughter. Either way, this is how Wily gets Cossack to step in line until Proto Man frees her.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the Complete Works and Anniversary Collection re-release versions, Navi Mode gives every boss a Dr. Wily logo in their lifebar before Wily is even revealed as the main villain. Doubles as a Late-Arrival Spoiler since it was a well known twist when those versions came out.
  • Invulnerable Attack: Drill Man is invulnerable while drilling into the ground. Dust Man is invulnerable while trying to suck up Mega Man.
  • Just in Time: Just as Mega Man is just about to finish off Dr. Cossack (or more accurately, the Cossack Catcher he uses), unaware that Cossack is actually being forced to fight against his will, Proto Man teleports in with Dr. Cossack's kidnapped daughter, Kalinka, exposing Dr. Wily as the mastermind behind everything.
  • Kidnapped Scientist: Though more on an emotional level, Dr. Cossack is forced to attack the world by Dr. Wily.
  • King Mook: The boss of Wily Castle 1 is Metall Daddy — a giant Metall that creates/summons smaller Metalls.
  • Ledge Bats: This game introduces Up 'n Down, an annoying little enemy that hides in Bottomless Pits and jumps out just as you're jumping over them, and can easily knock you in if you're not expecting it. Nearly every game after this has a variation of these guys.
  • Level in the Clouds: Subverted with Ring Man's stage, which begins in a cloudy tower but then goes into space and is filled with hippos and small floating Saturn-esque enemies. Played straight with the third Cossack stage, which takes place in the sky above the citadel and where platforms are often obscured by clouds.
  • Logical Weakness: Naturally, the guy with the big light bulb for a head is weak to the water weapon.
  • Losing Your Head: Mummira, the mummy robots from Pharaoh Man's stage (and Wily Castle 2), attack by using their mummy bandages to throw their heads at Mega Man.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Skull Barrier.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Dr. Wily is the real Big Bad of the game.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Wily Stage 1, which is full of Metalls and all their variations followed by the Metall Daddy boss.
  • Nepharious Pharaoh: Pharaoh Man is one of the Robot Masters fought in this game. He's not an actual pharaoh, though he was originally built to explore pyramids. His stage begins as a Shifting Sand Land and progresses into a Temple of Doom.
  • Noob Bridge: The Drill Bomb's remote detonation property (one of the reasons it's one of the better "explosive" weapons in the series) is often overlooked (push B again before it hits its target). The second form of Wily Machine 4 is basically a test to see if you know about it.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Sure, Toad Man may look goofy, have broken A.I., and be unable to use his weapon against skilled players, but if he manages to get his Rain Flush off, prepare to get hit with a powerful, unavoidable barrage of acid rain. In-universe, he could very well be the most dangerous of Cossack's Robot Masters by virtue of this attribute alone.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: In the first stage of Dr. Cossack's Citadel, there's a hidden E-Tank buried in the snow to the left of your starting point.
  • One-Wheeled Wonder: Mono Roaders.
  • The Power of the Sun: This is what the Pharaoh Shot acts as — with the weapon using charged solar energy and even resembling a small sun when charged up.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Ring Boomerang — it's even in the name.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Shooting a Skeleton Joe with an attack that doesn't kill it will instead cause it to collapse into pieces before reassembling itself a second later.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Pharaoh Man's stage begins with Mega Man needing to cross lengthy pits of quicksand that he slowly sinks into as long as he's standing in it. It hinders his jumping abilities, and will cost him a life if he sinks offscreen.
  • Rain Dance: How Toad Man summons his acidic Rain Flush, but it's also his Achilles' Heel — if he's shot/interrupted before his dance is complete, he'll stop and completely negate his Rain Flush.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Dr. Cossack really doesn't want to conquer the planet or fight Mega Man, but Wily's got his daughter as a leash.
  • Renegade Russian: Although Dr. Cossack conquers eight cities and threatens the world, it's subverted in that actually a pretty decent guy, and Dr. Wily was the one behind the plot.
  • Reviving Enemy: The Skeleton Joes in Skull Man's stage. Only a charged Mega Buster or Pharaoh Shot can destroy them (or by shooting them with the Flash Stopper active).
  • Rings of Death: Ring Man fights using his Ring Boomerang, a ring-shaped projectile that returns to him after he throws it.
  • Scary Scorpions: Sasoreenus are scorpion robots found just outside of Pharaoh Man's Temple of Doom, emerging suddenly out of the quicksand to attack.
  • Sea Mine: Red mines covered in spikes are found floating in the waters of Dive Man's Underwater Base. Shots that hit them will just harmlessly bounce off, but if Mega Man gets too close to them, they will briefly flash before exploding.
  • Sequential Boss: The Cockroach Twins in Cossack Citadel 3 are a pair of robots fought one after the other. The first one walks around on the ceiling, and once it's destroyed, the second one enters the fray, and walks around the perimeter of the entire room.
  • Shared Life-Meter: The game has the Cockroach Twins, two robots fought one after the other.
  • Shout-Out:
  • SkeleBot 9000: The Skeleton Joes that inhabit Skull Man's stage are this. They even reassemble if they're not totally destroyed by a Charged Attack. And Skull Man himself, of course.
  • Skull for a Head: Skull Man, obviously (though it's more of a skull-shaped helmet). The Skeleton Joes he uses as minions also count.
  • Smart Bomb: The Rain Flush is the first weapon in the series to act as a means of destroying all enemies onscreen, and it's damn good at it, since not only is it completely unavoidable, all shields, even Metall helmets, are ignored by it. The only downside is that Mega Man has to fire a bomb up into the sky before the rain will come down, so there's a slight delay between firing the attack and the enemies getting damaged.
  • Spoiled by the Manual: Sort of — the Japanese manual uses "No. XXX" when listing the Robot Masters, but officially, the Robot Masters in this game are part of the DWN series. Whatever could that indicate about Wily's involvement in this game?[[note]]Though Mega Man Megamix does get around this by listing them as part of the non-existent DCN series.
  • Spread Shot: The Dust Crusher is of the Exploding Shot variant. It fires out a large chunk of scrap metal which then breaks into four pieces that travel in the four diagonal directions when it hits an enemy.
  • Super Hero Origin: Mega Man's origin story had previously been All There in the Manual, but this game goes ahead and puts this in the game's intro.
  • Teleport Spam: This is the first game where you fight Wily in the Wily Capsule, and it uses this tactic. Of course, since it's completely dark, he could just be flying from one place to the next in the darkness.
  • Temple of Doom: Under the sandy desert, where Pharaoh Man resides.
  • Time Stands Still: Although this is not how the Flash Stopper works (see Blinded by the Light), it does give off this effect to a lesser extent, since most foes (and even a few missiles and projectiles) will freeze in place when it's used.
  • This Is a Drill: Drill Man has drills on his head and hands that he uses to dig under the earth, then tries to jump out of the ground wherever Mega Man is standing to damage him. The drills on his hands can also be fired for his Drill Bomb projectile.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Dr. Cossack. Sure, he's not threatened to death, but what about his daughter?
  • Unblockable Attack: The Rain Flush hits all enemies on the screen, including shielded ones like Metalls hiding under their hats. This also applies to Toad Man when he uses it, so preventing him from using it is your only hope of avoiding it.
  • Underwater Base: This is where Dive Man sets up shop.
  • Utility Weapon:
    • The Drill Bomb is the only weapon that can destroy hard walls in Dr. Cossack's Citadel.
    • The Wire can damage foes, but it only does one bit of damage per hit, making it generally useless compared to other weapons for fighting.
  • Vacuum Mouth: Dust Man will attempt to suck in trash (and Mega Man) using the duct on top of his head.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Toad Man is the easiest boss this time around. He can't even attack you as long as you keep shooting him.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The Rattons are enemies that appear in Toad Man's sewer stage. They slowly hop toward Mega Man as long as they can see him.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Using the Flash Stopper on Pharaoh Man turns him into this — he can't move or attack while it's in effect, you can pump him full of solar bullets, and in doing so activate the Flash Stopper again when its effects wear off. The only challenge is in how fast you can mash the shoot button until he's dead.


Video Example(s):


Ring Man

Ring Man is one of the eight robot masters from the fourth Mega Man game. His special weapon is Ring Boomerang, a ring-shaped projectile that can be thrown at any direction and return to thrower. Defeating him gives Mega Man his weapon. (Gameplay done by NafrielX) (

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Example of:

Main / RingsOfDeath

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