Rock was created by the brilliant Dr. Light to be a lab assistant and a son. But when Dr. Light’s partner, Dr. Wily, stole their six new Robot Masters and tried to use them to take over the world, Dr. Light remodeled Rock into the warrior known as Mega Man.

This game is the story of Mega Man’s very first battle against the infamous Dr. Wily.

This was, of course, Capcom’s first crack at this game series, and apparently it went over very well. The graphics, mechanics, and play control were superb for its time, setting it apart from the other titles around. This game is also unique from other Mega Man games in several ways:
Play Control: 3
Mega Man games have been renowned for their play control right from the start. Mega Man (1)’s control wasn’t as good as some of the others, but it still shines through most other NES games.
Graphics: 3
If you go back and look at this game now, it doesn’t look as impressive, but at the time the graphics were highly detailed and didn’t look quite as flat as other games on the market.
Animation: 4
Mega Man had a smooth three-frame run animation which was a lot for the NES. His other animations were also adequate, and he even blinked. The other characters and enemies also had lots of animations, and what is really neat is that, unlike most NES games at the time, the characters did not look flat. Perhaps best of all, Mega Man manages to have five whole colors in his sprite (on a system that ostensibly limits sprites to three visible shades).
Music: 3
Many of the tunes are very memorable, though the quality of the sound isn’t that great, of course, seeing that it is an old NES cart.
Sound Effects: 3
The sound was average; the best effect, I think, is the clanking sound that plays whenever Mega Man lands.
Plot: 2
This game had to set everything up, so in that sense the plot was done very well. However, the plot was not executed well during the actual game; the only story you get at all is the ending. On the other hand, this was supposed to be a pure arcade-action game, so what can you expect?
Difficulty: 5 (hard)
The difficulty of this game is increased by such things as no passwords, no Energy Tanks, no invincibility to spikes, and a slight looseness to the play control.
Replay Value: 2
I find the lack of passwords and Energy Tanks to make the game somewhat less enjoyable to just pick up and play. You really have to devote a large block of time to it in order to get anywhere.
Polish: 3
Mega Man (1) was a giant leap into a unique game engine that has since been used successfully over twenty times. This game introduced many new things, such as the Master Weapons and variable stage orders, that had never before been seen. Other than this, there weren’t many extra touches thrown in, but you can’t expect them think of everything right from the start.
Overall: 70%
In its day, this game set records in graphics, play control, uniqueness, and all-around quality. However, lack of such things as passwords make it less fun to play.

+ Plus:
You can pause the game without obscuring the graphics with a menu. (This may sound minimal but as an artist I like to look at frames of animation.)
- Minus:
The fact that there are no passwords means you must start the game from the beginning every time you turn it on.
A lot of people say to do Cut Man first, but I really suggest starting with Bomb Man, as listed:
There aren’t any teleporting hatches in this game—well, there are, but you can’t choose your order. That part is introduced in Mega Man 2. In this game you do fight the Robot Masters a second time, but you always encounter them in the same order (Cut Man, Elec Man, Bomb Man, Fire Man, Ice Man, Guts Man), so there are no choices to make.
Yellow Devil:
Use Thunder Beam. The Pause/Resume trick listed below works well here.
Holographic Clone:
Try Hyper Bombs or the Thunder Beam. (The Pause/Resume trick is one weapon you have that it doesn’t!) The key is to use something that is easy for you to dodge, since the clone will always be using the same weapon you are.
Shoot the bubbles with the arm cannon at first (turbo helps), then use Guts Man’s Super Arm to toss the blocks in the middle of the room at the last four bubbles. Remember that any blocks you throw won’t come back if you lose a life—only if you continue—so throw wisely. If you think you’ll die before finishing off all the bubbles, and you have some lives left, kill yourself off rather than throwing any blocks. Only throw when you have a good chance of winning.
Wily 1st time:
Use Fire Storm. Allow yourself to be hit while activating the Fire Storm right next to the ship and the orbs that orbit you will often orbit a bit longer, allowing for multiple hits.
Wily 2nd time:
Once the ship breaks away, use the Thunder Beam. Toss in the Pause/Resume trick for an easy victory.
What passwords? Sorry, this game must have come out before passwords were invented! =)
I like this ending’s music, even if it doesn’t quite have the quality of later games. The tune itself is nice, and I appreciate how they use part of the same tune in the opening to Mega Man 2. I think that really ties the series together. Too bad they didn’t keep it up.

This ending shows Mega Man heading home after the battle. (For some reason, after beating Wily he usually either walks home or hops on top of a monorail instead of teleporting. Guess he wants some time to think...) Anyway, the sun sets (well done on the NES, too...the Genesis version wasn’t nearly as good) and Mega Man fades out and then in again, now dressed in street clothes. (I’m sorry, but pink is not his color! Luckily the Wily Wars version fixed this...) When he gets back to the lab, Dr. Light and Roll are waiting for him, though the game never does bother telling you who Roll is...

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Last update: December 11, 2002