Mega Man X, Super Nintendo

Definitely the best of the Super Nintendo Mega Man games. From it’s dramatic intro, and the semblance of a plot, to the beautiful graphics, Mega Man X is arguably the best game in the entire Mega Man franchise.

What Mega Man X did was introduce new gameplay elements to spice up the Mega Man series, and it worked. Mega Man X can now dash and climb walls, which gives him extra agility and allows him to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. He can also find new abilities and upgrade his armour as he progresses.

This time Mega Man X is up against the following boss characters: the Sting Chameleon, the Spark Mandrill, the Boomer Kuwanger, the Armored Armadillo, the Storm Eagle, the Chill Penguin, the Launch Octopus, and the Flame Mammoth.

Mega Man X was first released on December the 17th 1993, in Japan, and later made it to North America in 1994. It was the beginning of a long-running Mega Man X series.

If I was going to recommend a Mega Man game to anyone wanting to play just one (just to see what they were like), I’d probably recommend this one. Because it is the most playable and varied, and sticks to the Mega Man conventions. Mega Man X an excellent ‘run and gun’ style platform game.

More: Mega Man X on Wikipedia

Mega Man 6, NES

Mega Man 6, released by Capcom in 1993, was the last of the Mega Man games on the Famicom/NES. The first Super Nintendo Mega Man game – Mega Man X – also came out the same year as this. Which is a bit of a shock when you compare the games side by side…

Anyway, in Mega Man 6 the main bad guys this time are: Blizzard Man, Wind Man, Flame Man, Plant Man, Tomahawk Man, Yamato Man, Knight Man, and Centaur Man.

Considering the high quality of episode five you’d be wondering how Capcom could push it for episode six, and the answer is: by adding new mechanics, such as fans that blow you upwards; vending machines that keep producing enemies until you deplete them; rising and falling spike traps; bouncy surfaces; and underwater levels with higher/slower jumping.

There are plenty of mid-level boss fights, as usual, although this time they seem harder for some reason. Like all Mega Man games: Mega Man 6 is very challenging, but if you learn how to deal with the individual enemies: you’re halfway there. The other half unfortunately requires timing and skill…

Overall, Mega Man 6 is beautifully presented. The use of colour is particularly good. A memorable swansong for Mega Man on the the Famicom.

More: Mega Man 6 on Wikipedia

Mega Man IV, Game Boy

The fourth Game Boy Mega Man game – Mega Man IV – was published by Capcom in 1993 and continues the tradition of this tough, but highly playable, run and gun series.

Mega Man IV on the Game Boy game is a cut-down version of Mega Man 4 on the Famicom, with Toad Man, Ring Man, Pharaoh Man, and Bright Man being the main protagonists.

Each protagonist has his own themed level with its own characteristics. Pharaoh Man’s levels, for example, have floors made of sand which you constantly sink into. If your head sinks below the sand you die, so you have to keep jumping to stay afloat. Toad Man’s levels are always raining and have waterfalls that can push you off a platform if you don’t counter the flow with your run. Ring Man’s levels have wall-mounted cannons that follow you with their aim. Bright Man’s levels mess around with light and dark.

Mega Man IV is an excellent continuation of the series and a superb game in its own right.

One more Mega Man game was to come for the Game Boy; Mega Man V in 1994.

More: Mega Man IV on Wikipedia

Mega Man III, Game Boy

Both Mega Man II and Mega Man III were published in 1992. Capcom was really knocking them out for the Game Boy in the early 1990s.

Again: what you get is a cut-down version of an existing Famicom game (Mega Man 3 specifically). No bad thing when the games are as good as the ones in the Mega Man series. And the gameplay translates perfectly well to the Game Boy, even if you discount the loss in screen size due to the lower resolution.

In this game the themed boss baddies are: Spark Man, Gemini Man, Snake Man, and Shadow Man. All these characters feature in Mega Man 3.

Graphically, I think this third Game Boy Mega Man game is more intricate and darker than the previous two games, which gives it an edge. Gameplay-wise: it’s just as challenging and frustrating as all the others.

More: Mega Man III on Wikipedia

Mega Man 5, NES

1992‘s Mega Man 5 on the Famicom/NES starts with a jaunty tune and a comic book style intro, and then after that it’s back to more of the same platform shooting…

This time Mega Man is up against Stone Man, Gravity Man, Crystal Man, Charge Man, Napalm Man, Wave Man, Star Man, and Gyro Man. Make that Gyro & Eggs Man…

Mega Man 5 took some criticism at the time for “not having any kind of innovative gameplay or storytelling”, which is not a fair criticism because Mega Man 5 does contain some radical new ideas in places. Take – for example – Gravity Man’s levels. In which you can reverse gravity and switch between walking on the ceiling and walking on the floor. Nothing like that had been seen in the Mega Man games before. And the new mechanic works really well, although it does make for an extremely tough challenge. There are other surprises and enhancements too. Mega Man‘s gun charges up over more degrees of power this time, with a wider-ranging blast at full power. This ‘full power’ blast is required to get through some sections of the game (when you’re running against the boring machines in the Napalm Man tunnels, for example). There are gas jets; pipes you can travel inside; water flow that pushes you off platforms; there’s even an outer space level with low gravity… All those who said that Mega Man 5 didn’t innovate are just plain wrong.

Mega Man 5 is still an excellent game. It’s challenging, and the graphics and sound are top notch for a Famicom game. The parallax scrolling (different layers moving at different speeds to give the illusion of depth) is particularly good. As are the crystal levels. The only down side is the sprite tearing, but that’s a limitation of the machine not the game. Mega Man 5 has the best presentation out of all the Famicom Mega Man games, in my humble opinion.

Note: this wasn’t the last Mega Man game on the Famicom/NES. That was Mega Man 6.

More: Mega Man 5 on Wikipedia

Mega Man II, Game Boy

A 1992 Game Boy conversion of a 1988 Nintendo Famicom game, Mega Man II is a cut-down version of the original.

Instead of six different bosses (as seen in the Famicom game) there are now four in the Game Boy game. These being: Clash Man, Metal Man, Wood Man, and Air Man.

Each boss character has his own different area, which must be traversed and beaten, before taking on the boss at the end. The name of the boss usually indicates the visual theme of the world, and the characteristics of the enemies.

Mega Man II on the Game Boy is playable and challenging, although – given the choice – I would probably play the original because the scale of this Game Boy remake doesn’t leave a great deal of playing area to actually play in.

More: Mega Man II on Wikipedia