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Video Game / Mega Man (Classic)

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The Original Blue Bomber.
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 defeated. Fight, MegaMan! For everlasting peace!
Ending of Mega Man

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 — a scientist well known for his innovative contributions to the world of robotics — creates a new breed of humanoid robots called Robot Masters. These Robot Masters are revolutionary for their ability to make advanced independent decisions according to their programming, and as such, they are put to work directing other non-independent robots. Fed up with living under his colleague's shadow, Dr. Albert 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 robot factory 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, a small team within Capcom, including the franchise's producer, Keiji Inafune, took their love for several Japanese television and manga heroes (most notably Astro Boy) and created a game where the player could feel like one of their heroes.

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 the 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 8-bit Era of Console Video Games.

Capcom has, to date, published twelve main games in this series: six for the Nintendo Entertainment System (re-releasing later on the first three as a 16-Bit compilation for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis), two for the Super Nintendo, one for the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation, two as downloadable games for the Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and one on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Capcom and Inti Creates 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 two games 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 Edgier Sequel Series, Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero. While in its seven-year dormancynote , the Classic series gained a Spiritual Successor in the form of Mighty No. 9, created by Keiji Inafune after leaving Capcom in 2010.

Trope-wise, the first Mega Man games were the major contributors of popularizing some of the stage hazards such as Spikes of Doom, and popularizing some Video Game Settings such as having ice- and fire-themed level in the same game.

Games in the Series:

    open/close all folders 

    Main Games 
  • Mega Man (1987, NES)
  • Mega Man 2 (1988, NES): Best-selling of the original games. Introduced eight Robot Masters per game instead of the first game's six, E-Tanks, and the password system.
  • Mega Man 3 (1990, NES): Debut of Rush and Proto Man. Introduced the slide move.
  • Mega Man 4 (1991, NES): Debut of Eddie (a.k.a. "Flip-Top"). Introduced the Charged Shot and the Wily Capsule.
  • Mega Man 5 (1992, NES): Debut of Beat.
  • Mega Man 6 (1993, NES): Introduced the Rush Adaptors.
  • Mega Man 7 (1995, SNES): Debut of Auto, Bass and Treble.
  • Mega Man 8 (1996, PlayStation, Sega Saturn): Made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the franchise. The first game to ditch passwords in favor of save files.
  • Mega Man & Bass (1998, SNES, Game Boy Advance): One of the last SNES games ever released. First main series game where Bass is playable. While the SNES version got stuck in Japannote , it did get a GBA port worldwide in 2003. Additionally, while not a numbered entry, the game is considered part of the main series as seen in Mega Man 9. The game is also internally referred to as Rockman 8.5.
  • Mega Man 9 (2008, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360): Intentionally made in 8-bit style, as a throwback to the original 6 games. Also, the Slide and Charge Shot were removed (for Mega Man, anyway — and thankfully, the levels were designed with those exact limitations in mind). Proto Man is made playable for the first time in a main title as DLC and retains all of the abilities Mega Man lost. Notable for introducing the first and only (canonical) female enemy Robot Master in the form of Splash Woman. Developed by Inti Creates, along with its immediate sequel.
  • Mega Man 10 (2010, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360): Similar to 9 in style and tone. Proto Man is Promoted to Playable in the base game, while Bass (functioning as he did in Mega Man & Bass) receives his own storyline as DLC.
  • Mega Man 11 (2018, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows): Released for the franchise's 30th anniversary. Uses a 2½D artstyle and introduces the concept of the Double Gear System which encourages the use of overpowered attacks (Power Gear) and space-time control (Speed Gear).

    Game Boy Games (aka "Rockman World" series) 
  • Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (1990, Game Boy): Features four of the Robot Masters from the first NES game, and four from the second.
  • Mega Man II (1991, 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. The only Game Boy game to be developed by Thinking Rabbit Inc. instead of Minakuchi Engineering.
  • Mega Man III (1992, 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 (1993, Game Boy): Features the remaining four 4 NES Robot Masters, and four from 5 NES. Introduces a currency system as well as a shop, which later found its way into the main series with 7.
  • Mega Man V (1994, 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 known as "Stardroids". Was the only game to feature the Mega Arm, which was effectively the same as the previous Charge Shot but with a boomerang effect. Debut of Tango.

    Other Handheld Games 
  • Mega Man (1995, Game Gear): A condensed version of 5, with elements of 4 and 2 mashed in. Developed by a small company known as Freestyle, and never released outside North America.
  • Rockman & Forte: Mirai Kara no Chousenshanote  (1999, WonderSwan): A follow-up to Mega Man & Bass. Developed by Bandai, and Japan-only, due to the WonderSwan not making it anywhere else.

    Spin-off Games 

    Remakes and Re-Releases 
  • Mega Man: The Wily Wars (1994, Genesis/Mega Drive): A Compilation Re-release of the first three games with 16-bit graphics and sound, as well as a save feature and an all-new "Wily Tower" game when all three games are completed. Only released in Europe and Japan initially, although it did get a brief Sega Channel release in North America, and was eventually released there officially as one of the featured titles on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Mini Plug 'n' Play Game console for all regions.
  • Rockman Complete Works (1999, PS1): A Japan-only series of six separate games which ported all six of the NES Mega Man titles to the PS1, with optional remixed music and bonus content, including a "Navi Mode" where characters give players tips as they progress through stages.
  • Rockman Battle & Fighters (2000, Neo Geo Pocket Color): An 8-bit handheld port of the two arcade games.
  • Mega Man Anniversary Collection (2004, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox): Brings together the first eight games with some of the features of the Complete Works imported, plus the two arcade games (The Power Battle and The Power Fighters) as unlockable bonuses. This compilation got stuck in North America.
  • Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GBA; Cancelled): A collection of the five Game Boy Mega Man games was planned, but was ultimately scrapped, presumably due to them losing the source codes to some of the games.
  • Rockman Power Battle Fighters (2004, PS2): A Japan-only port of the two arcade games as compensation for Anniversary Collection not leaving North America. It adds to both games a Versus mode and an Extreme mode where players marathon through all of a given game's bosses in a single run. Also has the English versions of the games as unlockables.
  • Mega Man Powered Up (2006, PlayStation Portable): An updated (and Super-Deformed) remake of the original game, with fully playable Robot Masters and bonus content thrown in that will take you months to chew through, including a Level Editor and 100 challenge stages. Marks the first (and only) playable appearance of Roll in a platformer, as DLC.
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection (2015, Xbox One, PS4, Windows, Nintendo 3DS, Switch): Along with the first six games in the series, includes a Sound Test, Concept Art Gallery, and special challenges. The 3DS version is a port of the console version, which includes the initial Capcom-designed challenges as well as top user submitted challenges unlocked using the Mega Man amiibo; the Switch version also has this feature.
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 (2017, Xbox One, PS4, Windows, Switch): A follow-up to the previous Legacy Collection that continues the Blue Bomber's adventures with 7, 8, 9, and 10 - with the latter two games' DLC bundled for no additional cost and all the bonuses that the first Legacy Collection came with. Marks the first time that 9 and 10 can be purchased in a physical format. The Switch version also makes use of amiibo support to unlock new challenges. Mega Man & Bass is absent.

    Crossover Games 

This series is the Trope Namer for:

  • 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. In 7's case, it restores the energy of all Special Weapons/Items at once.
    • 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.
  • Magma Man
  • Power Copying: Previously known as Mega Manning.

The Mega Man "Classic" series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Advanced Movement Technique: Starting with the third game (which introduced the move), Mega Man's slide, when chained into itself with proper timing, is faster than regular walking. As a result, speedrunners for these games slide almost everywhere instead of walking.
  • Alien Episode: Both Mega Man V and Mega Man 8 feature alien robots arriving to Earth, with Dr. Wily abusing the power of one or more of them for world domination.
  • 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 a robot rumored to be alien in origin that Dr. Wily found and remodeled into a Robot Master? Or that he rides a giant robotic frog?
  • Animal Mecha: Every single weird flora and fauna is apparently made up of robots.
  • Animated Adaptation:
  • Arm Cannon: The Trope Codifier for the Type 1 ("Arm Becomes Gun") version among video games.
  • Art Evolution: The character designs in the official art were initially doughy before this trope kicked in and made them sleeker.
  • Astro Clone: Mega Man features a range of characters heavily inspired by Astro Boy characters. Rock, better known as Mega Man, is very Astro-looking when his hat is off. He's a Robot Kid created by the Ochanomizu-looking Dr. Light. Mega Man has many of Astro's powers (though he had an Arm Cannon before Astro), but the main villain Dr. Wily resembles Dr. Tenma.
  • Bag of Spilling: Don't expect Mega Man to remember any of the moves he copied from Robot Masters in previous installments or any of the side upgrades like the Super Arrow or the Magnet Beam - he starts each game with only the Mega Buster and that's it. Rush similarly forgets how to do anything other than act like a springboard in his post-Mega Man 3 appearances. In Mega Man 9, he's forgotten how to slide after being able to do so since 3 and his Mega Buster stops being able to charge up for the first time since 4.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Bass never explodes like other defeated bosses do, instead surviving with 1 HP and teleporting away. He's not the only one, either; Ballade in Mega Man IV and Buster Rod G in Mega Man: The Wily Wars did it before him (but both are put down in a second battle).
  • Blackground: All of the 8-bit games employ this trope when facing off against bosses in Dr. Wily's fortress, as well as against some large enemies found in earlier stages. The reason is the same in both cases: the large sprites can take advantage of using the blank "transparent" color for their line art, without worrying about what the player may or may not be able to see through it.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Many of Mega Man's enemies can take a defensive posture that cannot be punctured. Some games allow certain special weapons to pierce these, however.
  • Bombardier Mook: Pipis are robotic birds that carry and drop eggs that, if they hit the ground, break into eight or so mini-birds, which then fly at Mega Man.
  • Boss-Only Level: The penultimate and/or final level of the games are usually this.
  • Bottle Episode: The Game Gear game simply reuses content from the 2nd, 4th, and 5th NES games of the series.
  • Bottomless Pit: It's honestly faster to list the levels in the entire series that don't feature these at some point - and even most of those (such as the first and last Wily stages in Mega Man 1) feature plenty of Spikes of Doom to provide the same "death upon failure" result. Not surprisingly, they feature most prominently in levels involving Robot Masters that are aerial-themed, especially if their powers aim to Blow You Away like Air Man or Wind Man.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: As a general rule, if a Robot Master or minor enemy isn't directly created by Dr. Wily himself, they're usually someone else's creation that he's stolen and/or reprogrammed for his own ends.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The PC Mega Man and Mega Man 3, if the official timelines are anything to go by. Of course, this is assuming they ever were Canon in the first place.
  • Cloneopoly: Mega Man got his own Japan-only game called as Wily & Right no RockBoard: That's Paradise (usually known just as RockBoard), which is the seventh game released for the NES and the first spin-off game of the series and the franchise (followed later for the SNES' Mega Man Soccer), which is basically a Monopoly version of Mega Man, where you can play with Mega Man as well with the NPCs of the series until then as Dr. Light, Dr. Wily, Roll, Dr. Cossack and Kalinka. Another Monopoly clone, Rockman Gold Empire, would later be released for Windows only in Taiwan.
  • Collision Damage: A series staple. The many different kinds of enemies (and bosses) dish out more damage than others. Some will poke off just a little bit of health, while others can take over a third of your life bar (usually larger enemies and bosses).
  • Cranium Ride: Some levels in some games require you to use enemies as platforms.
  • Cute Machines: These are all over the place, from protagonists like Mega Man, Roll and Proto Man to some of the Robot Masters like Ice Man. Some enemies even qualify, like the Mets.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kalinka, Dr. Cossack's daughter, is kidnapped in Mega Man 4, and Roll is kidnapped in one of the scenarios in Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Legacy Collection is hit pretty hard with this in the timed challenges. Some of the challenges include level snippets from different games - this means that you can go one screen with the charge and slide, and the next without, and there's no indication of if you have the charge and slide other than manually checking. Better be able to quickly figure out which tilesets belong to which game...
  • Demoted to Extra: There is exactly one game in the classic Mega Man series where Dr. Wily is not fought and isn't even the villain of the game; the obscure Wonderswan game Rockman and Forte: Challenger From The Future. The villain is Rockman Shadow, who may have been built by Wily, but he's completely acting of his own accord and wants Mega Man and Bass to destroy him. Wily doesn't appear at all in-game, and is only mentioned in passing in the manual.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Mega Man's default Mega Buster only lets him shoot straight ahead, with multidirectional attacks often reserved for Special Weapons. Averted with Bass in Mega Man & Bass and Mega Man 10, who can aim in multiple directions with his default weapon.
  • 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 Wily Castle map screens (and some other fortresses) after the fanfare ends.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: There are features in this game that would make an oddity to entries centuries later.
    • As displayed by Roll and Mega Man (in his civilian form), the human-like androids have human ears despite being much less advanced compared to their successors (Reploids).
    • This is the only series to introduce extraterrestrial beings, with Stadroids, Shadow Man, Duo and the Evil Energy representing them. The X, Zero, ZX, and Legends series completely omit them, with the first former being the last to reference aliens (X's perfect anti-virus countermeasures was developed in response to a virus of alien origin).
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Present in all games, in one big cycle that involves all Robot Masters in each game, except for 3 which has two cycles, one that has five bosses, and another with the remaining three; and 8, with two cycles of four bosses each.
  • Endless Game: Endless Attack in 9 and 10, which score you on how many screens you get through.
  • Enemy Roll Call: Every game since 2 does this with the game's Robot Masters, as well as showing their serial numbers. 9, 11, and the first three Game Boy games also showcase the minor enemies and minibosses (though both 9 and 11 omit their names).
  • 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.
  • Evil Plan: Dr. Wily is no slouch at scheming:
    • Mega Man: Stealing 6 advanced robots from Dr. Light's hands and turning them against him. Also, using said robots for his first attempt at world domination.
    • Mega Man 2: Putting his obtained knowledge of creating his own Robot Masters to use. Also, trying to take revenge against the Blue Bomber.
    • Mega Man 3: Pretending to be a nice guy and joining Dr. Light once again to help him in the construction of the gigantic peacekeeping robot Gamma. Also, stealing said robot from under Light's nose (again).
    • Mega Man: The Wily Wars: Deciding to return back to the past and improve upon his mistakes. Also, building a new bunch of Robot Masters for Mega Man to fight.
    • Mega Man 4: Blackmailing another good doctor - Dr. Cossack - to do his bidding after kidnapping his daughter. Also, using Cossack's Robot Masters to give Mega Man yet another hard time.
    • Mega Man 5: Using Proto Man's imposter to kidnap Dr. Light.
    • Mega Man V (Game Boy): Using advanced alien robots called Stardroids to... you already know.
    • Mega Man 6: Disguising himself as Mr. X - an eccentric, mysterious billionaire who hosts the Robot Masters Annual Tournament. Also, snatching 8 finalists out of said tournament to use in his further plans.
    • Mega Man 7: Breaking out of jail and using his best creation - Bass - to steal some of Dr. Light's upgrades meant for Mega Man.
    • Mega Man 8: Obtaining the samples of Evil Energy and using it to empower his robots.
    • Mega Man & Bass: Controlling the self-proclaimed "King of the Robots" from the shadows.
    • Mega Man 9: Framing Dr. Light for the recent rampage of Robot Masters. Also, reprogramming said Robot Masters while convincing them that they're still useful even after their expiration dates passed... but for the purpose of fighting against humans rather than aiding them.
    • Mega Man 10: Creating the Roboenza Virus to plunge the entire world into chaos. Also, again pretending to be a nice guy while "working" on his medicine-making machine.
    • Mega Man 11: Implementing the Double Gear System and messing around with any Robot Masters who have it in their systems.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Every Robot Master's name follows the formula: their theme + (Wo)Man. Their theme also references what kind of weapon they have, most of the time.
    • Guess what the Mega Man Killers were created to do?
  • Fanfare: The ones heard on the Robot Master intro screens, the fortress map screens, and for beating a stage.
  • Fan Game: A lot of them, including (just to name a few): Mega Man Rocks by Eric Ruth, Mega Man Unlimited by MegaphilX, Mega Man Time Tangent by Mexican Sunflower, Mega Man Maximum by ~hfnb2, and the Doujin game Rockmen R: Dr. Wily's Counterattack, which utilizes semi-16-bit graphics, Mega Man Revolution by Fifth Independent, Mega Man: Triple Threat by Stealth and Liz-Sama, Mega Girl R by baragon-kun, Mega Man Revenge Of The Fallen by Darkflamewolf, and the somewhat out of date Mega Man The CRORQ Chronicles by Jesse Brown. Also a few clone games, like Mega Mari featuring Touhou Project characters by Twilight Project and RosenkreuzStilette by [erka:es].
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: A few games feature three Robot Masters with this combination, but in 1/Dr. Wily's Revenge Elec Man, Fire Man and Ice Man are notable for being weak to each other (Elec -> Ice -> Fire). This repeats with Mega Man And Bass and its Dynamo Man, Cold Man and Burner Man, and again in Mega Man 11 with Fuse Man, Tundra Man and Torch Man.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Proto Man/Blues (leukine), Rock/Mega Man (phlegmatic), Forte/Bass (sanguine/choleric), and Duo (melancholic/choleric).
  • Game Mod: There are a series of ROM hacks named Roll-chan and Roll-chan World which are reboots of the NES and Game Boy Mega Man games respectively with Roll as the main character instead of Mega Man.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Battle And Chase and Soccer, although Wily is planning to take over the world via kart racing and soccer.
  • Heart Drive: Mega Man takes great care of not destroying a certain part of a Robot Master, which allows their personalities to be downloaded into a replacement body an infinite number of times.
  • The Heavy: Every single plot in the series is set into motion by Dr. Wily — Mega Man and co. are just called into action immediately to foil his plans. The only exception to this is Rockman & Forte: Mirai Kara no Chousensha, due to Wily being AWOL from the game itself, but even then, he's indirectly, if unwittingly, responsible for setting off its events by building and then abandoning Rockman Shadow, who finds his own agenda afterward.
  • 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, II had them simply standing in the room with no introduction 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.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Wily being the ultimate bad guy you have to defeat is toyed with in the earlier games, but he makes decreasing efforts towards secrecy and eventually dispenses of all pretense;
    • His first attempt is in Mega Man 3, but you would only know this if you read the manual; after his defeat in Mega Man 2, Wily had seemingly reformed and was helping Dr. Light build the peacekeeping robot Gamma. The games conflict, a batch of new robots going on the attack, turns out to be a Red Herring to buy Wily time to steal Gamma from Light to further his own plans.
    • His second attempt is in Mega Man 4. Before the reveal, the player assumes Dr. Cossack is the villain (Wily was seemingly killed off in Mega Man 3, and it only vaguely hints that he survived), although it turns out he was being blackmailed by Wily into fighting Mega Man in his stead.
    • His third attempt is in Mega Man 5, where it turns out he framed Proto Man for the chaos going on, using a robot named Dark Man to impersonate him.
    • His fourth attempt is in Mega Man 6, where he disguises himself as Mr. X and claims to have been Wily's mentor the whole time.
    • Mega Man & Bass pulls this off again; while it seems like Wily isn't responsible for King's rampage at first, given he sends Bass to go after him, it turns out Wily was the one controlling King the whole time.
    • He also turns out to be the one behind the Stardroids' invasion in Mega Man V, but in an unusual change of pace for the series, he's not the final boss this time, as the game's real final boss, Sunstar, turns on him.
    • Super Adventure Rockman inverts the tradition by having the game's real villain, Ra Moon, turn on Wily.
    • Keeping with this series tradition, Wily also hijacks the plots in Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, after attempting to pose as a good guy again.
  • Hopping Machine: Each game has its variation of the big one. Some games have also smaller ones.

  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Dr. Wily surviving the ending of Mega Man 3. Whereas the following two games made it convincing that he was succeeded by Dr. Cossack and Proto Man, respectively,note  later games made his continued involvement in the series matter-of-fact.
  • Ledge Bats: A good chunk of enemies, but the standout example is probably are Up'n'Downs, Mizziles, and other similar enemies. Their sole purpose is to spawn infinitely from pits and knock Mega Man out of the air when he attempts to cross.
  • 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.
  • Lost in Translation: Due to Mega Man's Dub Name Change, the Theme Naming between Rockman and Roll was lost on western audiences. 4 was the only game to properly write around this by always referring to Mega Man's lab assistant form as "Rock" instead of "Mega".
  • Mascot Mook: Mets, due to their cutesy appearance and presence outside the classic series. To a lesser extent, the Robot Masters also serve as mascots for the respective games they appear in.
  • Mascot's Name Goes Unchanged: Inverted with Mega Man, whose Japanese name is Rockman. Many other Robot Masters have their name unchanged. Two other prominent robot characters, Proto Man and Bass, are Blues and Forte in Japan.
  • Meaningful Name: "Robot Masters", as the series bosses. In-universe, they're just that: units of advanced intellectual faculties capable of making decisions and reasoning within the boundaries of their directives who are charged with commanding the other robots of their given station of workplace.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: After a while, the games add little more to the formula than new Robot Masters, weapons, and levels. This is a usual point of contention for the series.
  • Mook Maker: Quite a few enemies throughout the series, including Metall Potton and Hogale.
  • Mythical Motifs: Like the animal motifs, you have Robot Masters like Centaur Man, Shade Man, Tengu Man, and Splash Woman.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Almost all the Robot Masters are a combination of one particular theme and robotics. Special mention goes to Shadow Man (Ninja Robot), Pirate Man (Pirate Robot), and Shade Man (Vampire Robot with a legion of Zombie Robot mooks).
  • Nintendo Hard: Widely considered to be one.
    • Believe it or not, however, 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 ClementJ642, 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 blindfolded, it's time for you to try the wonders of the 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.
    • Quick Man's stage is harder than the I Wanna Be the Guy room that homaged it.
  • Nobody Can Die:
    • Sure, they can show a city under attack, but that's as far as they can get (or at least that's as far as they care to show the damage). Super Adventure Rockman averts this, though.
    • Not even the robots are ever permanently scrapped, with Mega Man doing his best to preserve their cognitive circuits, allowing them to be rebuilt. The only notable exceptions to date are Sunstar (who died with an Earth-Shattering Kaboom and hasn't reappeared since), and possibly Ballade (who may or may not be a copy in his reappearances) and the Stardroids (who haven't been seen since V, and were last seen on places that were quickly vaporized).
  • 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.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: In The Power Battle. Also to a lesser extent in Mega Man 8, where the Wily Tower is suspended over a volcano's magma.
  • Personality Chip: While never referred to in the games themselves, supplementary material like the comics clarifies that something called an I.C. (integrated circuit) is built into every Robot Master and gives them their personality as well as the capacity to emote like a human. So long as a Robot Master's I.C. chip is intact, they can be rebuilt an unlimited number of times even if the rest of their body is destroyed. Mega Man is careful to save the I.C. chips of the Robot Masters he downs for this purpose.
  • Platforming Pocket Pal: Rush is a variant; he only comes in whenever Mega Man needs him by teleporting into the stage. A closer one would be Beat, the bird robot that flies around and follows Mega Man.
  • Player Tic:
    • When entering boss doors, most players tend to jump or slide into them for no real reason other than to see Mega Man "levitate" through the screen transition. When this was removed in 11, people weren't happy.
    • Another common tic is that people will repeatedly tap the movement button very briefly, causing Mega Man to do the first frame of his running animation before going back to standing, and resulting with some silly-looking leg twitching. Expect them to do it to the tune of the stage theme too.
  • Power Copying: Whenever Mega Man (or sometimes other characters) defeats a Robot Master, he gets to use their abilities.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Rolling Cutter, Ring Boomerang, and Magic Card. Interestingly enough, the Quick Boomerang isn't an example, as it always moves in an exact path.
  • Puny Earthlings: Almost every alien robot seen has been considerably stronger than most robots on Earth. Notably, Duo is capable of tearing apart a robot that gave Mega Man trouble, the Stardroids were flat-out invincible until Dr. Light designed a weapon specifically to damage them, and Sunstar is armed to the teeth with powerful weapons and is capable of annihilating a moon-sized space station.
  • Punny Name: Some of the enemies. Combined with Bilingual Bonus.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Robot Masters, whom are all subservient to Dr. Wily in his scheme of the month. Punctuating this, every game has you battle their roster all over again before you can fight Wily himself.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: 7, 8, & Bass, 10, and 11. 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:
    • The same sort of enemies tend to appear in lots of games; Mets, Sniper Joes, Shield Attackers, and Gabyoalls are the most common enemy archetype. There are other scattered examples though, the most frequent ones being Ledge Bat-type enemies that pop out of pitsnote  and giant bulky Hopping Machines that often appear just before a level's end.
    • 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.
  • Recurring Riff: The Mega Man 1 Stage Start riff tends to appear a lot.
  • 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 Game Boy series (it's even done that way on That Other Wiki!). The Japanese releases averted this by titling the Game Boy 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. Regular enemies and fortress bosses fall into this too, such as Sniper Joes and some of the various Devil bosses.
  • 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.
  • Running Gag: Right before you fight him in his fortress, Wily always flies off in his UFO, wiggling his eyebrows at you before he really takes off. (Averted in 11, where he just laughs at you.) And after you beat him, he always begs for mercy (9 even shows off a montage of these occurrences!).

  • Sentry Gun: Numerous robots in this series take a form of a simple gun which fires at the 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 blown to 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).
  • Shout-Out:
    • Inafune has acknowledged that Mega Man's iconic Mega Buster is based on the Japanese Trope Codifier, Cobra's Psychogun. The Sniper Joes wield cannons with elongated barrels that in concept art for the earlier games look almost exactly like the Psychogun.
    • The Genesis Unit in the Wily Wars, Buster Rod G, Mega Water S, and Hyper Storm H, are pretty much robot versions of Son Goku, Sha Gojyo, and Cho Hakkai from Journey to the West.
    • 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).
    • Rush could possibly be an Expy of Friender from Neo Human Casshern, and developer notes say that Proto Man is based on mysterious characters from classic anime like Racer X. Mega Man 2 and Mega Man II also contain a large robot dog miniboss that breathes fire. Its name? Friender (or Hot Dog in the English manual for 2).
    • Most likely unintentional, but the first DOS game had a Robot Master, who used explosives, named DynaMan.
    • Besides looking like Einstein, Dr. Wily's design could've also easily taken cues from Dr. Kabuto from Mazinger Z.
    • The Dark Man robots may seem oddly named, having no darkness gimmick to speak of, unless you're aware of the Sam Raimi film of the same name whose title character's primary gimmick is being a master of disguise.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. 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 Castle bosses, which range from rather goofy things like dispenser machines to very mechanical ones like the Square Machine and the Boobeam 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.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Mission Control dialogue in Aniversary Collection's English translation of the Complete Works games is really bad about this, especially with the earlier games.
  • Spikes of Doom: Insta-kill spikes are present in just about every single stage in the series. In the very first game, they even ignored Mercy Invincibility, but this was arguably a glitch as it's not present in the Wily Wars rerelease.
  • Starter Gear Staying Power: Although you eventually gain a whole arsenal of weapons in each game, the Mega Buster will always serve you well and keep you from having to refuel everything.
  • Status Quo Is God: In the past 22 years, the only major plot advancements have been the introductions of Proto Man and Bass (though 10 does hint towards the creation of the Maverick Virus with the similar Roboenza virus).
  • Strictly Formula: As the numbers of NES series games increased, this became obvious. Given those numbers, it was equally obvious that players liked it that way.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: A number of Robot Masters were never built for combat, yet possess incredible powers that make them dangerous threats whenever Dr. Wily controls them. Sometimes supplementary material justifies it as Wily altering them to be more combat-capable, but other cases go completely unexplained.
  • 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.
  • Theme Naming: Mostly musical.
    • 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 (or Earth in Japan). The ancient alien superweapon that hails from the same era as them is called either Sunstar or Sungod depending on the translation.
  • Unobtainium:
    • Ceratanium, the metal that was used for building Mega Man's armor, Cut Man's Rolling Cutter, Metal Man's Metal Blades, and Hard Man's body. 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.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: The classic Mega Man games were pretty lighthearted in general, but there are exceptions, such as Mega Man 10 (in which a virus causes robots to go out of control, and only Dr. Wily is capable of developing a cure), and Super Adventure Rockman (in which technology as a whole is endangered by an ancient alien supercomputer, and explicit scenes of death and destruction are featured).
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In V, you get a sidescrolling Shoot 'Em Up segment between the fight with Terra and the Wily Star. Later done again with Tengu Man's stage and Wily Stage 2 in Mega Man 8.
  • Unwinnable: The most famous examples are the areas in Wily's factory where the Magnet Beam (an optional pickup) is required in 1 and the Boobeam Trap boss in 2. Run out of weapon energy (or, in the Magnet Beam's case, fail to get the device), and you might as well just commit suicide to get a Game Over.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • In Japan, Europe, and for a short time on the short-lived Sega Channel in North America, there was Mega Man: The Wily Wars for the Sega Genesis, which brings the first 3 NES games with updated 16-bit presentation, battery back-up saves, the ability to save your progress, and a new extra mode upon clearing all three games.
    • The Rockman Complete Works for the PlayStation is a series of updated ports of the first NES games, which brings not only the original versions of these games, but also a new Navi Mode which adds new content and enhancements, memory saves as well as password support, and a database featuring enemies and characters from their respective game. Sadly, it was never released outside of Japan, and when it did in 2011 though PlayStation Network, only the first four games saw an international release, without even a translation for other countries.
  • Victory Fakeout:
    • 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. 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 UFO falls apart and dumps him onto the ground, causing him to do his usual beg routine and flee.
  • Video Game Sliding: Starting with Mega Man 3, the Mega Man (Classic) games have had a slide move, used mostly for dodging, getting through tight spaces, or speedrunning. While the Blue Bomber generally can't use the slide to attack enemies, Mega Man 5's Charge Kick requires Mega Man to slide in order to use the weapon — the only weapon in series history to do so.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: In most cases, since Mega Man is a robot made of very dense metal. He actually can swim in Mega Man 8 as well as in the DOS Mega Man 3.
  • Year X: The series initially took place in the year(s) 200X, but by around 3 it changes to 20XX.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!:
    • There's two castles in three of the NES games, those being 4, 5, and 6.
    • In the Game Boy games, Wily often flees to a second fortress, usually located in space.
    • The Wily Wars has a game compilation approach on this trope; as soon as you clear the remakes of 1-3, the "Wily Tower" subgame is unlocked on the game select.