Almost no series in the history of gaming has as many entries in its franchise than the Mega Man series. The little blue robot has jumped his way through countless levels, defeated innumerable Robot Masters, and gained a vast amount of special abilities from his opponents.
The Mega Man series is a classic action platformer that has earned its place in the hearts of gamers. But which of the Mega Man games truly deserves the recognition that the series is known for? There are more than fifty Mega Man games, and not all of them are gems of the gaming world. Read on if you want to learn about the top ten Mega Man games in the franchise.
10 Mega Man 9
Often, classic games receive newfangled sequels that drastically depart from the aesthetic of the initial game. Mega Man 9 was created with the polar opposite idea in mind. Its visual appearance adheres to the classic 8-bit design that its predecessors were based on.
The tough gameplay, while alienating to some players, is also reminiscent of old-school Nintendo games. For fans of the original Mega Man games, the 2008 Mega Man 9 was a breath of fresh air after stagnant sequels that diverged from the retro formula. If you are looking for a classic Mega Man package in the modern era of gaming, look no farther than Mega Man 9.
9 Mega Man & Bass
Mega Man & Bass is different from other Mega Man games in that it offers players a choice between two characters at the beginning of the game. You can play as either of the two titular characters. Mega Man's respective abilities are more powerful charged shots and a ground slide. Bass' abilities are a double jump and a rapid-fire arm cannon that shoots in eight directions.
Aside from the novelty of including a second playable character, Mega Man & Bass also ups the difficulty factor of boss fights. Mega Man games have long been known for their steep difficulty levels. Mega Man & Bass continues that tradition in excellent form.
8 Mega Man Zero 3
The Mega Man Zero series does not follow our typical blue robot. Instead, the main character of the game switches to Zero. Zero is a sleeker, edgier version of the original Mega Man. Mega Man Zero 3 is the best game in this four-game offshoot of the Mega Man franchise.
Rave reviews are sparse, but Megan Man Zero 3 is an underrated game. It maintains the same quality of gameplay as the first two games in the series. It also upgraded the Cyber-Elf helper system with the new Satellite Cyber Elves. Players looking to branch out from the main Mega Man series could do worse than try out Mega Man Zero 3.
7 Mega Man 3
Strange as it may seem for an entry released in 1990 to rank so highly on this list, Mega Man 3 speaks for itself. Mega Man 3 introduced players to Rush, Mega Man's canine companion. This robotic canine sidekick added to Mega Man's list of abilities. Rush transformed into the "Rush Coil" to allow Mega Man to jump higher and reach faraway platforms.
He could also turn into an underwater submersible called the "Rush Marine," allowing Mega Man to travel beneath the waves. We're not trying to say that any game can be improved by a mechanical dog buddy. But we are saying that the Mega Man games were improved by a mechanical dog buddy.
6 Mega Man Powered Up
Mega Man Powered Up is technically a remake of the original Mega Man. It was released solely on the PlayStation Portable and covered the events of the first game's story. However, drastic changes to the art style of the original were made. The 8-bit look was done away with. In its place were 3D visuals, complete with a "chibi" style, meaning heads were larger than bodies and every character just got a wee bit cuter.
However, don't let the change in visuals turn you off from the game itself. It is classed as the best Mega Man remake, and definitely one of the best games to ever release on the PSP. Mega Man Powered Up caters to the affections of long-time fans in a way most remakes fail to.
5 Mega Man
No list ranking the best Mega Man games would be complete without mentioning the very first one. Credit should go where credit is due. Mega Man is the one that started it all, the game that kicked off one of Nintendo's largest series to date. It was the first home console game that Capcom had ever developed, made for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
It was not commercially successful, at least not based on the revenue produced by the first game alone. But Mega Man can be termed successful by its legacy. The game design was well-received, and it spawned a franchise that is still producing games thirty-one years later. The Mega Man franchise flourishes because of the foundation this first game laid down.
4 Mega Man X
Mega Man X was released in 1993 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The most notable aspect of this game is the fact that it was the first Mega Man entry to be released on this system. The story of the X series takes place a hundred years after the story of the original Mega Man series.
It follows a new Mega Man simply called "X." X isn't all that different from his namesake. However, his ability to jump off from walls definitely raises him in our esteem. Mega Man X was a reinvention of the series that became popular as soon as it released. It was not as challenging as prior titles had been, which was a detriment in the eyes of some gamers, but it was fresh, new, and exciting.
3 Mega Man Legends 2
As will be seen in our top 3 entries on this list, the Mega Man franchise has a tendency to excel at sequels. The first game in a series is like a trial run. The second game reaches perfection. Mega Man Legends 2 is the sequel to Mega Man Legends. While the majority of games in the Mega Man series are known as 2D side-scrolling platformers, the Mega Man Legends series is a 3D action-adventure shooter.
Despite this massive departure from Mega Man's usual formula, Mega Man Legends was loads of fun. And Mega Man Legends 2 exceeded the quality of the first Legends game by a landslide. It is a tragedy that a follow-up to Mega Man Legends 2 was never made.
2 Mega Man X2
Just as Mega Man Legends 2 improved upon its predecessor, Mega Man X2 improved upon Mega Man X. Vehicles were a welcome addition to the series. X could even use a hovercycle at one point of the game. The graphics for this second game showed a marked improvement over the graphics of the first.
The new armor abilities at X's disposal enhanced Mega Man X2 in comparison to the original. Of special note, the story for Mega Man X2 is worthy of praise, though perhaps that does not mean much given the sparse narrative of some other Mega Man games. Needless to say, Mega Man X2 is a game in the franchise that all fans should give a chance.
1 Mega Man 2
The first Mega Man, while it laid the groundwork for future Mega Man games, was a commercial flop. Mega Man 2 was a financial comeback story, becoming the most widely-sold Mega Man game ever released. It did not just surpass its predecessor; it swept the floor with it. Mega Man 2 is considered one of the greatest video games of all time.
The game introduced players to a password system that allowed them to return to points in the game where they had saved. As if to counterbalance the forgiving nature of save-points, the Robot Masters in this fantastic sequel were tough boss battles. Players could choose which boss to tackle first, but it made no difference. Each fight was a test of platforming skill and determination.