Like most popular long standing series, Mega Man (or Rock Man as it’s known in Japan) started its existence on the NES and would become a video game icon for decades to come.
Who could forget Mega Man. Playing as a humanoid robot was so an 80’s thing, a blending of sci-fi elements that were popular at the time.
The first thing I remember playing Mega Man is that you got to select what stage you start on.
This was the first non-linear game I remember, with the player having control of what robot masters they tackle and in what order.
This robot masters where the creation of the Dr. Light, who has advanced society by using robots to help humankind.
Unfortunately, these robots go out of control (another 80’s trope) and start attacking people, due to the reprogramming of Dr. Light’s former assistant, the evil Dr. Wily.
Dr. Light then creates Mega Man to fight off these corrupted robot masters and stop Dr. Wily’s grand plan of world domination.
The gameplay in this 8 bit game is a side-scrolling shooter and platformer, with players navigating obstacles and enemy robots.
Mega Man just starts with his trust blaster cannon that shoots across the screen, but over time accumulates new weapons he can use.
Everytime Mega Man defeats one of the six robot masters, he absorbs their power, granting him a new weapon to use from then onwards.
As mentioned before, the player can choose the order in which they face these six robot masters.
In the original Mega Man game, the robot masters consist of Cut Man, Guts Man, Ice Man, Bomb Man, Fire Man, and Elec Man.
What makes it even more interesting in deciding the order you fight the robot masters, is that each one is vulnerable to a certain weapon.
I remember finding the game particularly challenging (like most 8 bit video games), but once you found the right weapon for the right robot master, these ‘boss’ fights become much easier.
This means there is a certain pattern to the stages you should choose to ensure you always have the right signature weapon that is strong against the particular robot master you’re facing at the time.
Once you defeat all six robot masters and their stages, a final stage is available where you must work your way to fight Dr Wily.
This last stage was particularly tough, and it tested all my skills as you have to take on many boss fights.
This even includes fighting all of the previous robot masters again! (Although now you have all the weapons, you can expose each of their weaknesses easily).
As mentioned, there are six stages with a robot master boss at the end of each one.
Elecman stage is the Electrical Tower.
As the name suggests, the level is very vertical with the player having to move up each screen avoiding traps like electrical beams.
Towards the end, the player needs to climb a long ladder while dodging said electrical beams, taking patience and timing.
At the top of this climb is the stage boss, Elecman.
He is very fast and jumps around the boss room a lot shooting thunder waves at Mega Man.
His weakness is the Rolling Cutter weapon attack and when defeated, provides Mega Man the Thunder Beam weapon.
Fireman stage is the Fire Foundry.
The stage starts really rough for the player, with automated turrets popping up from the ground that spray bullets in all directions.
Flying fireballs chase Mega Man throughout the stage and players must also dodge fire beams that rise from the ground.
Later on, rocket robots will fly at you and if you don’t take them out from afar they will explode and still deal you high damage.
Fireman shoots multiple fire wave beams at the player.
This means you have to time your jump techniques as the flames come fast and rapidly to the player.
His weakness is the Ice Slasher weapon attack and when defeated, provides Mega Man the Fire Storm weapon.
Gutsman stage is the Mountain Mines.
Mega Man will encounter a series staple enemy straight away known as Mets, little shield helmet robots that can only be killed when they pop out of cover.
The player then has to navigate segments of moving platforms, so you have to ensure your timing is right on or face certain death.
Towards the end of the stage you will face large vertical drops where fast reactions are needed to avoid spike traps.
Gutsman is a giant robot who quakes the ground when he jumps that damages Mega Man if he stays on the ground.
He will also make boulders fall from the sky, catch them, and proceed to throw them at the player.
His weakness is the Hyper Bomb weapon attack and when defeated, provides Mega Man the Super Arm weapon.
Iceman stage is the Frozen Caves.
This stage is as close to a water stage the player will face in the game.
Like typical water segments, Mega Man moves slower while submerged, meaning timing is even more important than usual.
Platforming is also important throughout the stage, especially in sections where platforms disappear and reappear, forcing you to move fast.
Even more precise platforming is required with floating robots that require players to land on them and navigate the sky.
Iceman shoots ice arrows towards Mega Man at different directions.
Other than that, he pretty much sits stationary and bombards the player continuously.
His weakness is the Thunder Beam weapon attack and when defeated, provides Mega Man the Ice Slasher weapon.
Cutman stage is the Stone Fortress.
This stage has a bit of everything but is fairly straight-forward which can make it a good first target to start with.
Starting with automated turrets firing at the player, Mega Man climbs up and over a range of obstacles.
These include spring bouncing robots, as well as segments where you must avoid robots that fly left to right and up to down.
Cutman is a fairly animated robot monster who will jump around the screen.
While doing this, he will throw his cutter in boomerang fashion to try and hit the player.
His weakness is the Super Arm weapon attack and when defeated, provides Mega Man the Rolling Cutter weapon.
Bombman stage is the Metropolitan.
Unsurprisingly, Bombman’s stage starts with flying bombs that explode into bullets that the player must avoid.
Another future iconic enemy is faced later on, Sniper Joe, who uses a shield and their own blaster attack.
There are a range of other elements taken from other stages including multiple turret forms and exploding rocket robots.
Bombman jumps around and well, as his name implies, throws bombs down at the player.
Be sure to keep your distance as each bomb blast has a fairly large radius to damage Mega Man.