So, when I said I was gonna do one MegaMan-centric rant per month for the entire year, one of the most obvious topics is reminiscing about my own personal favorite games in the franchise. And what’s the best way to that? How about a ranking? A Top 10 list, if you will. This time around, I’m going to be looking at the series that kicked off the Blue Bomber’s history. MegaMan (or MegaMan Classic, as he’s referred to these days) has had more than his fair share of games, some great, some…well, not so great. So why not just rattle off what I consider to be the top five best AND worst MegaMan (Classic) games of all time. Don’t worry, folks: I’ll be doing another article on the other series down the line, but this time, it’s all about Classic. Blue headers represent the five games I consider the best, red represents the worst.
5. Mega Man 5 (Nintendo Entertainment System)
First up, we’ve got MegaMan 5: commonly considered one of the (if not THE) worst MegaMan games for the NES, MM5 is still a solid game and perhaps part of the reason I love the game so much is just due to the negativity surrounding it. Commonly criticized its low-quality Master Weapons compared to other games in the series, MegaMan 5 truly shines when it comes to the game’s level design, being one of the most [legitimately] difficult MegaMan games for the NES.
5. Mega Man 6 (Nintendo Entertainment System)
Honestly, I was torn between putting MM7 here instead, but frankly 7 gets a much worse wrap than 6 to begin with, so it’s only fair that MM6 take the plunge instead. Besides, for all of 7’s flaws, it still managed to do a lot of other things quite well and provided a great amount of difficulty (and most of it wasn’t even due to the wonky physics the game had). MegaMan 6, on the other hand, is probably the easiest MegaMan Classic game out there. People may have loved the Rush Suits and MM6 may have given us the Energy Balancer for the first time, but the game they debuted in was pretty mediocre in terms of overall level design and difficulty.
4. Mega Man 2 (Nintendo Entertainment System)
I’m sure a lot of people are going to be disappointed at just how low I put this game in my rankings, but come on, folks: MM2 is definitely overrated (and also possibly the most overrated game in the entire MegaMan franchise). However, even I cannot argue the game’s quality. What else do I really need to say? You probably already know how good this game is. …it would be nice to see a MegaMan remix album without Wily Stage 1, though. Oh well.
4. Mega Man II (Game Boy)
Finished five months after Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge and outsourced to a team that knew very little about the MegaMan series, MMII for the Game Boy has only one thing in common with its NES counterpart: four of its robot masters. This game lacks quality: it is the definition of mediocre. With its screechy music, somewhat lame original boss Quint (His origin story was pretty cool, being a reprogrammed MegaMan kidnapped from the future and all, but fighting with a jackhammer pogo-stick? Come on!) and extremely weak difficulty, II is probably the worst MegaMan Classic game Capcom’s directly responsible for.
3. Mega Man V (Game Boy)
Yeah, you probably weren’t expecting to see both MegaMan 5s on here, were you? This game had it all. A cast of original bosses (The Stardroids, led by their supremely powerful leader, Terra!), a more refined shop system than the last GB game, an awesome shmup-inspired stage where you pilot a modified Rush Marine to reach Wily’s Moon Base, a new robotic animal companion (Tango, the cat that turns into a buzzsaw!) and (SPOILER ALERT!) this was the first MegaMan Classic game where Wily wasn’t the final boss! All-in-all, an amazing game only tarnished by the fact that it was on the Game Boy, so the screen ratio was a little weird, which limited your field of vision and led to some weird scrolling at times.
3. Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future (WonderSwan)
Fun fact: this game was actually developed by Bandai, and for a while, I didn’t even know whether it counted as an official MegaMan game, until one of the Robot Masters from this game made an appearance in a later Capcom game. Having said that, the game itself is pretty wonky overall, but I’m putting it on this list less out of spite and more out of curiosity. In spite of the game’s poor quality, it’s definitely interesting, what with its entirely original assortment of Robot Masters (called “The Dimensions”) and the main villain being a failed copy of the aformentioned Quint, Rockman Shadow. Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future (or as some people have called it: Rockman & Forte 2) even makes use of the WonderSwan’s unique ability to be played vertically, which is actually pretty unique for a MegaMan game. Still, the game was otherwise more-or-less a knockoff of the original Super Famicom version of Rockman & Forte, with the majority of the art assets poorly redrawn from the originals and the entire soundtrack being comprised of songs from the original resequenced on the WonderSwan’s…awful sound chip. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Dimensions resurface in a competently developed game in the future, be it official or fan-made.
2. Mega Man 3 (Nintendo Entertainment System)
My favorite NES game in the entire series, MegaMan 3 was a pretty amazing game that managed to do the impossible: it topped MM2 in a great deal of ways, from the level design to the soundtrack and it even managed to avoid falling into the same pitfall MM2 with regards to weapon balance: let’s face it, Metal Blade being as powerful as it was kind of made the game boring. MM3 also introduced various series staples, such as Rush, your constant canine companion and the then-mysterious ProtoMan, MegaMan’s “older brother”. In fact, the only real major flaw with this game is that the difficulty kind of fades once you get past the Doc Robot stages. Of course, even Keiji Inafune said in several interviews that the game wasn’t properly polished before its release, so maybe, had Capcom spent a little more time on it, the game would’ve had an ending worthy of the remainder of the game.
2. [The Best of] Mega Man (Game Gear)
It’s funny, growing up, the first video game system I ever owned was the Game Gear. And, as I’ve mentioned in the past, MegaMan 2 was one of the first three games that got me into video gaming in the first place. So when I heard about Capcom releasing a MegaMan game for the Game Gear, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, I never got to hold the game in my hands back then. However, it turns out that was the best thing that could have happened: this game was a real piece of garbage. Recycling recolored graphics from MM2, 4 and 5, some hideously rearranged music and what was literally the worst scrolling I’ve ever seen in a MegaMan game (The game had vertical scrolling. Vertical scrolling! COME ON), the game that was once advertised as “The Best of Mega Man” was anything but. For shame, U.S. Gold. For shame.
1. Mega Man 10 (Wii/Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)
And so it comes to this, my own personal #1 choice, which is, ironically, the last Classic MegaMan to be released…thus far, anyway. What can I say about MegaMan 10? A lot of people seem to think that MM9 was superior in every concievable way, but I disagree. MM9 played up the “MegaMan 2” angle waaaaaaay too much for my tastes, while 10 seemed to be more of a send-up to the later games, what with ProtoMan (with the slide and chargable Proto Buster) as a default character, as opposed to DLC. And in this case, the DLC seemed more worth it than in the predecessor, with the MegaMan Killer Trio as secret bosses and a newly-balanced Bass (no more double jump) as the third playable character. MM10 had some awesome bosses, awesome level design, awesome soundtrack, awesome…well, everything. And that’s why it’s my favorite Classic MegaMan game of all time.
1. Mega Man/Mega Man III (DOS)
Yep. Come on, people. When you saw Challenger of the Future and Mega Man for the Game Gear, you should’ve KNOWN what number one was going to be. Were going to be. Whatever. The point is, Hi Tech Expressions should have been ashamed of themselves for making this one. And while I have only played the original Mega Man for DOS, if MM3 was anywhere near as bad as the original (and my sources tell me it was), then they both deserve to share the top…errr, bottom spot. Such terrible, unplayable games. Thank God Capcom decided to make things right with Street Fighter X MegaMan…even if it did take them 20 years after the release of MMIIIDOS to do so.
Honorable Mentions: Mega Man & Bass (Super Famicom/Game Boy Advance), Mega Man IV (Game Boy), Mega Man Powered Up (PlayStation Portable)
(Dis)honorable Mentions: Mega Man 7 (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge (Game Boy)
I’m sure my choices in some cases are controversial: putting MM2 so low and MM10 at number one is bound to earn me some heated responses, but hey, it’s my opinion. You don’t like it? Write your own list. So tune in next month for something a little more significant.