In addition to being the first portable Mega Man game, Dr. Wily's Revenge was the first title in which Capcom outsourced the development to another company, namely Minakuchi Engineering, who would subsequently develop the third through fifth Game Boy outings (plus Mega Man: The Wily Wars note for the Sega Genesis and the Game Boy's version of Bionic Commando; Mega Man II was instead outsourced to Japan System House note ). This paved the way for other third-party developers to handle future Mega Man outings.
Robot Masters from Mega Man:
- DLN-003: Cut Man, gives you Rolling Cutter.
- DLN-005: Ice Man, gives you Ice Slasher.
- DLN-007: Fire Man, gives you Fire Storm.
- DLN-008: Elec Man, gives you Thunder Beam.
Guts Man and Bomb Man sadly didn't make the cut for this or any other Game Boy game; this led to some degree of fan outrage, particularly with regard to the former (and likely led to him getting a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Uranus, in Mega Man V).
Robot Masters from Mega Man 2:
- DWN-011: Bubble Man, gives Bubble Lead.
- DWN-012: Quick Man, gives Quick Boomerang.
- DWN-014: Flash Man, gives the Time Stopper.
- DWN-015: Heat Man, gives the Atomic Fire.
The remaining four Robot Masters from 2 were held over for the following Game Boy outing.
New for this game:
- MKN-001: Enker, gives Mirror Buster
- 11th-Hour Superpower:
- Enker's Mirror Buster is a powerful Attack Reflector, but you're only ever given the opportunity to play with it in the final stage — and since the Final Boss can only be damaged with it, you aren't encouraged to use it willy-nilly.
- To a lesser extent, all the Mega Man 2 weapons are this, as you're also only able to use them in the final stage (and against the other Mega Man 2 bosses).
- All There in the Manual: Technically the story is there in the manual, but it's pretty thin even compared to the rest of the series.
- Astral Finale: The final stage marks the debut of the Wily Station, a skull-motifed space station. It also starts a trend of the Game Boy games having the final level be set in space.
- Attack Reflector: How Enker's main weapon works: it reflects a bullet back to the foe and damages them.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: An interesting variation; you come up on the now-traditional Teleporter Room at the end of the first Dr. Wily stage, expecting the series' usual Boss Rush...only to instead find yourself fighting four of the Robot Masters from Mega Man 2.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Don't bother using Special Weapons on Enker; the only weapon that can damage him is the default Mega Buster. He's immune to everything else.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This is the only Game Boy game to lack E-Tanks, the slide, and Rush, despite Mega Man 3 being released almost a year prior. It's also the shortest of the Game Boy games by far, as the second set of Robot Masters lack their own stages (instead being encountered in a traditional Boss Rush in Wily Castle).
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The game stars Mega Man, Dr. Wily is his arch-enemy, and Wily is out for revenge. Which, granted, is true of every Mega Man game after the first one, but if nothing else you can't accuse this game of false advertising.
- Flunky Boss: The Wily Machine's first form attacks by spitting out Cutting Wheel enemies, which are first encountered in Cut Man's stage and all throughout Wily Station.
- Marathon Level: Both Wily stages are particularly lengthy. Wily Castle not only requires you to beat a very difficult stage, but also fight the four Mega Man 2 bosses at the end, as well as newcomer Enker, and unlike most Mega Man games where the boss rush is its own level that you can restart from if you get a Game Over, getting a Game Over here sends you right back to the start of Wily Castle. Wily Station at least only contains the one boss fight, but the stage is far longer, being the only stage in the game that has two mid-level checkpoints as opposed to the standard single one.
- Nintendo Hard: Often regarded as the hardest Mega Man game, ever, which is really saying something considering what competition it's up against. Basically, imagine everything that made the first NES game hard, ramp the tricky level designs Up to Eleven, then make it so that item drops by destroyed enemies are exceptionally rare, to the point where it's not at all uncommon to complete a level without ever getting a single energy refill. The one saving grace is that there's a password system, though even that won't take you any further than the start of the first Wily Stage.
- No Fair Cheating: Using Game Genie codes to unlock all weapons on Mega Man 1 bosses will deal no damage. That is, if you use the weapons from Mega Man 2.
- Rearrange the Song: The soundtrack is mostly made up of remixes of music from the first NES game, though the boss theme is a remix of the one from Mega Man 2, and both the Wily stages have original music.
- Revenge of the Sequel: Not on the title screen, but on the game's packaging. Oddly enough, unused sprites show that at one stage Capcom were going to call the game Mega Man World, in line with the Japanese version, but for some reason changed it to Dr. Wily's Revenge before release.
- Underwater Boss Battle: Bubble Man, as expected. What makes this case stand out is that it's the only instance of water (and therefore Mega Man water physics) in the entire game!
- Unwinnable by Design: The Wily Machine's second form is immune to everything but the Mirror Buster. If you happen to run out during the fight, you're screwed — even if you die, the checkpoint puts you right back at the Wily Machine with no enemies to farm ammo from (and the Cutting Wheels the first form summons move too fast to kill either way).
- Violation of Common Sense: Cut Man's jumping patterns may be hard to discern, until one realizes that he jumps whenever he's right next to Mega Man, meaning the best way to dodge Cut Man is to walk right into him.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The weaknesses have been shifted around a bit to compensate for the different Robot Master lineup, though the trope still applies as normal. However, most of the Robot Masters from the second NES game are immune to the weapons of those from the first game, and Enker is completely immune to everything bar the Mega Buster...which he can reflect back at Mega Man if shot at the wrong time (technically Enker's affected by the Time Stopper, but it won't achieve anything beyond freezing him in place until your weapon energy runs out).