Review: Mega Man (NES)

The Blue Bomber's debut

The Mega Man series will need no introduction to most gamers; this game spawned five sequels on the NES, not to mention numerous games on other systems over the years. Mega Man has come a long way since his début way back in 1987.

This originally story spins the yarn that Dr Light created six master robots for industrial purposes: Cutman, Gutsman, Elecman, Iceman, Fireman and Bombman. The evil Dr Wily steals these robots and reprograms them to help him in his plans for world domination. One of Dr Light’s domestic robots volunteers to stop Dr Wily’s evil plans, so Dr Light transforms him into the iconic Mega Man.

The objective is to run and jump through each of the six levels while defeating the enemies along the way, overcoming obstacles and defeating the robot master at the end of the stage; when you defeat the robot master their special weapon will be added to your inventory to assist you. Using the weapons in a certain order can make life a lot easier for you — Gutsman is no match for Bombman’s bombs, for example — so the order you choose to tackle the levels can be quite strategic. You can probably guess the relationship between fire and ice for yourself.

The controls are pretty basic, as you might expect. You can go left, right and up and down on ladders, one button allows you to jump and the other allows you to blast with your selected weapon. You can also bring up a menu which allows you to switch between the special abilities you pick up along the way. To make your life a little bit easier you can also pick up capsules in small or large sizes from fallen enemies to restore your health or weapon charge; if you're really on your game you can also pick up extra lives which are often found in hard to reach places.

Getting through the levels can be pretty gruelling by today’s standards. Don't expect this game to give you an easy ride because the punishing boss fights, instant death from spikes and tricky precision jumping will all make you want to tear your hair out. Of course, a bit of perseverance is all that is needed; this game is tough but not insurmountable with a bit of practice. Once you have taken down all six of the robot masters, meanwhile, you can tackle Dr Wily himself. Don’t expect this to be a pushover!

The graphics in Mega Man are predictably dated, but considering the age of this game it's hard to begrudge this. The background scenery fits in nicely with the robot master’s individual themes and enemy characters are nicely drawn on the whole. The music has a charm of its own and is catchy and memorable in true 8-bit fashion.


If you like a stern challenge then this is the game for you. For more casual gamers you might want to wait for Mega Man 2 to hit the Virtual Console, as it offers a selection between two levels of difficulty and it is a little more balanced. As the foundation for the whole Mega Man series, however, this is well worth a look and at just 500 Wii points still fares well even today.

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