After having a lot of success with the Arcades and the home ports of Arcade gems, Capcom wanted to create something that would be their own original IP for Consoles. They wanted to have a series that could rival Mario at the time. Directed by Akira Kitamura and Programmed by Nobuyuki Matsushima, Capcom had assembled a small team to work on the first game designed with console in mind. Yasuaki Kishimoto, Naoya Tomita, Keiji Inafune and Kitamura all worked on the Art for the game and Manami Matsumae Composed the Soundtrack. This was the entire team, only six people made Mega Man. Inafune says that Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy Influenced the design of Mega Man.
Jump to the bottom of this post to see Houdini Fontmeister’s Excellent Video on this review!
Mega Man was released on December 17th, 1987 and was met with poor sales and overall poor reception from people. The series was looking like it was dead in the water until the second game was released in 1988. But that is for a separate video, Today we are going to go over the original. Mega Man for the NES.
The Goal of the game is to defeat the six Robot masters and fight your way through the four Dr. Wily stages afterwards and finally put a stop to the evil Plans of Dr. Wily. Basically, Dr Wily has created these robots to help take over the world and it is up to Dr Light’s Creation Mega Man to stop them. This game is rightfully known for its intense difficulty and lack of Energy tanks and other Items that made the Later games in the series a bit easier to take head on. The game is also littered with lots of slow down and bugs all over the place. Such as getting hit by enemies causing you to fall through the moving platforms. The Enemies and bosses are also trickier to defeat. It is unlikely that many people back in the day actually beat this game when it first came out.
Unlike the later games in the series the first Mega Man game only has six Robot Masters for you to defeat. Upon defeating each Master you gain their weapon to use in later stages and are given a specific amount of weapon energy until the weapon can no longer be used. This gives the game a lot of Versatility in how you play. You can play the bosses in any order you want but of course there is a boss order that will help you play through this game easier. However that initial stage and boss fight is a tricky one. Their are health drops located at certain points in the stages and leaving the screen and coming back is a great way to try to fill up on your health before moving forward.
It becomes very clear that this game had a tight development schedule and was only made by six people. The polish that the series is known for is missing in the original Mega Man. You can easily find yourself restarting the entire game over and over again as a result of a bug that caused you to fall or by hitting a Spike that you could not possibly have seen. This is a game of trial and error. Also the devs obviously had a love of Reappearing blocks, They are everywhere. You see that all the time. Several times a level. These are so random and the proper way through them are learned through trial and error. As is the rest of the game, the escalation of difficult is there from the very start. I don’t think I found any stage any harder than the last one while playing through this game. It begins with this breakneck difficulty that rivals Dark souls, right out of the gate.
So can you do it? Can you defeat the six Robot Masters, Take their weapons and make it to Dr. Wily’s Stage? well if you can then you are rewarded with (Or punished depending on your view of things) Some of the most difficult levels in the game. The Dr. Wily stages are very difficult and if you die then you are beginning back at the very beginning of the stage. When you come to the end of Dr. Wily Stage one you will be faced with possibly the most iconic boss fight in the entire series! The Infamous Yellow Devil! And you will likely be wrecked. Time and Time and Time and Time again. This boss is unsurprisingly Difficult as hell to beat. But I want to take a moment to mention something about the game.
Remember earlier when I said that this game is Buggy? Well many don’t realize that there is a Pause button for this game and it’s not the Start Button. Yes because of the way that the original Mega Man was programmed there is a Major bug with the pause menu that can be used to attack Bosses and have multiple hits on them by pausing and unpausing over and over and over again. using this combined with the Elecman weapon will bring the Rock Monster/Yellow Devil to his defeat easily. you will continue through the rest of the game fighting through all of the Robot Masters you have fought already and a bubble machine before finally coming face to face with Dr. Wily Himself. Taking care of Dr. Wily will see him beg you for mercy before mega man Begins on his long Run home.
Mega Man is definitely a classic that began a Series of games that will live on in the hearts and minds of Millions of gamers everywhere. However the game may set the traditions that we all grew to love about the Mega man series, it is lacking in many ways. The bugs make the game a chore to complete, the high difficulty feels cheap, When defeating a boss you are not even told you can use their weapon and a reliance on gimmicks like the reappearing blocks to lengthen what are otherwise incredibly short levels make the game less than appealing. It is for these shortcomings that I give Mega Man a 6 out of 10 and suggest that if you play it to do so with the Anniversary Collection and use Savestates. Feel no shame for having to be as cheap as the game is to make it through this game. But although you’ll miss cool moments like using the Gutsman ability against the bubble Machine fight and of course the Original Yellow Devil Fight, You may want to consider just skipping this one altogether and going for the second game and playing in order from there. But if your heart is begging for the most authentic and complete experience with the series then you may want to delve into this one. Just don’t expect to enjoy the time you spend with Mega Man 1.
Want some more of Houdini Fontmeister? Why not Subscribe to him on Youtube?