My Top-10 Mega Man Games

This is the long belated follow-up to my Top-10 game series list I did a while back. Since I listed my Top-10 Mario Games, I decided it was high time I listed my favourite Mega Man games as well. A few surprise entries are up on this list which should really make it interesting.

I also have to give an honorary mention to Mega Man 4, which was the first Mega Man game I played and a really strong entry in the franchise, but I wanted to focus on these games more which is why it’s not up here. On with the list…

10. Mega Man 7

The Super Nintendo Mega Man title doesn’t receive a lot of love and I think it’s a bit unfair. Firstly, the game isn’t nearly as frustrating as some of the NES games (except for the final boss fight), the soundtrack is lovable and cartoony and they actually tried to have something resembling an actual storyline in this game which is cute (if a tad redundant).

As goofy as the Robot Masters in this one were, I think the game also had excellent level variety and I personally didn’t mind the fact that you could only select from four levels at a time. Other cool features, like the store, in my view made up for that.

Mega Man 7 is a truly underappreciated game from the series and I actually recommend as a first title for the series for those who haven’t played a Mega Man game before. It’s cute, cartoony and just loads of fun.

9. Mega Man

Left: American cover, Right: European cover

Left: American cover, Right: European cover

The first game is noted by some as being “hard as balls”. And I’m not going to lie, Mega Man 1 is probably the single hardest Mega Man game you could start with on the NES. Having said that, once you’ve mastered the game you can beat it in about a half-hour and that’s where my love-hate relationship with this game stems from.

When I first played it, I hated it and it got me really pissed off because it was so hard, but as time has gone by, not only could I probably beat the game with my eyes closed, I now actually consider it one of my favourite titles from the series. Horrendous cover-art aside, the first Mega Man had a lot of character, a cool roster of Robot Masters and some pretty awesome music.

The game is, however, very frustrating and not always for the right reasons. It is definitely not a first-time Mega Man experience choice, but it’s an awesome game and definitely worth checking out if you want to test out your Mega Man skills.

8. Mega Man 6

Another game from the series that doesn’t quite receive the respect it deserves. Sure, the very ethnically diverse and stereotypical cast of Robot Masters does seem to make Mega Man 6 appear like an after-thought rather than a full-fledged sequel, but the game is actually very well crafted.

The level variety is still great, it’s appropriately challenging and the Rush Adapters were actually a really nifty addition. Plus, the development team clearly put a lot of effort into the game, with many of the levels having hidden secrets and alternate paths to take.

It may not be the brightest star in the franchise, but I think Mega Man 6 just doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. I honestly can’t think of that many sixth instalments of any given franchise that were this solid and still fun to play.

7. Mega Man X3

This game definitely splits opinions in the Mega Man fan-community, but I personally love it. The third MMX game is truly a challenge for those looking to test their skills. Beating a level in this game is an achievement in and of itself, never mind beating the bosses which are all super hard.

Probably more than the gameplay itself, I actually might even love the soundtrack more with its aggressive hard-rocking heavy metal music putting you in the mood to turn those damned Mavericks into scrap-metal. MMX3 is pure heavy metal incarnate.

As should be obvious though, the game is definitely not suited for beginners and you even have to know where to find the air-dash before you can hope to beat some of the levels. It’s the Mega Man game I go to when I want to challenge myself.

6. Mega Man 3

This is a popular favourite and for some very good reasons: a kick-ass selection of Robot Masters, probably the second best soundtrack in the original series, introduction of the slide, Proto Man and Rush all in one. Mega Man 3 just kicks massive ass.

The game is also a lot more fair with its challenge than either of the games preceding it, which is what makes it the perfect game to start with if you’re a Mega Man novice. It also just has some of my favourite levels of the whole franchise like Snake Man, Spark Man, Hard Man and Magnet Man’s levels.

This game is just a joy to play, but I do feel that it’s perhaps a little too easy at times. However, it’s the quintessential pick-up-and-play title from the franchise and therefore deserves to be this high on the list.

5. Mega Man Legends/64

This is a new favourite of mine. If you wanted to play a Mega Man game with a story in 3D, look no further. Mega Man Legends just instantly won me over with its cartoony, anime-ish look and feel, fun gameplay and sense of adventure.

Though this game is a massive departure from the blue bomber’s origins, you still get that innocent sense of fun you used to and so much more… like really funny cutscenes. The Legends games are an unfortunately underrated and even forgotten series. It sure as hell beats the crap out of that stupid Battle Network series as far as I’m concerned.

So if you want a solid 3D Mega Man title, you really need to pick up and give this game a try.

4. Mega Man: The Wily Wars

Now you may think it unfair to have an anthology package on the list, but Wily Wars is in fact its own self-contained game and not just a 16-bit remake of the first three Mega Man games.

The Wily Tower is a loving homage to all three games, taking their best (and worst) features and creating new excellent levels out of them. It’s actually a shame this game was only released physically inEurope, because I think every die-hard Mega Man fan should try this out, just to see what it’s like to have your free pick of the Master Weapons from the first three Mega Man games.

But before you get to The Wily Tower, you have to beat the 16-bit remakes of the first three Mega Man games and this is actually a lot of fun to do. You get a new fresh look and excellent 16-bit renditions of the classic tunes from these games. This one is a must-try for any serious Mega Man fan.

3. Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 is a timeless classic and no mistake. It’s the game that turned the franchise into the money-making machine it is. And it’s a damn good game on top of that. Mega Man 2 took everything that was awesome about the first game and fixed the things that weren’t so awesome about it.

With such a timeless Robot Master cast of Metal Man, Flash Man, Wood Man, Crash Man, Quick Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man and Air Man – how could you not love this game? The soundtrack is easily and by far the best in the original series and the level design is tricky and challenging. Plus, the game has probably the best ending animation of the whole series.

However, Mega Man 2 is a very challenging game even on the easier difficulty setting and not necessarily a game I’d recommend as a first from the series. Still, it deserves recognition and it clearly deserves to be in the Top-3 at least.

2. Mega Man X

This game, in one word, is “awesome”.  Mega Man’s darker and more extreme redesign for the Super Nintendo was a massive success and lead to the creation of the second longest running Mega Man franchise. The game that started it all is still probably the best instalment of the whole franchise.

Despite being challenging and far more quick-paced than the classic Mega Man titles, its challenge is fair and it’s a game where you never feel that the game is being cheap and unnecessarily frustrating. Add to that some kick ass graphics and a soundtrack that in my eyes is in fact better than Mega Man 2 and you have yourself a game that is truly just a joy to play.

Mega Man X is just the perfect, fun gaming experience and could potentially be my very favourite Mega Man game, but there is one title that still trumps it in my view.

1. Mega Man 5

I think no other game in the series has come close to matching the level and gameplay variety, as well as the over-all fun-factor of the fifth Mega Man game. It’s simply put the most polished title from the franchise. You have a crapload of different powers to use, the most solid cast of Robot Masters since Mega Man 3 and an extremely memorable soundtrack.

Also, a gripping storyline that had you at the edge of your seat… at least until you realised that this was going to be just a repeat of Mega Man 4’s storyline. Oh well, can’t win them all. But somehow it was just really awesome to see an entire fortress shaped like Proto Man’s helmet.

Plus, the game is super challenging, but I rather think that because the game gives you every tool you could possibly need to beat the game, it’s still a fair challenge. And that’s why it’s my favourite.