Possibly most innovative game ever
The original Megaman turned to become one of my favorites. Why ?
Well, this was one of the first NES game I ever played. The year it came out, 1987 was in the early NES age. This game came out several years after the original Donkey Kong or the original Super Mario Brothers, one year after the original Castlevania, the original Zelda and the original Dragon Warrior, and the same year as the original Final Fantasy (all this stuff is based on the Japanese dates). Just in those few years, videogames has passed from the state to be hard and stupid to become innovative, fun and enjoyable. MegaMan highly contributed to this change. Now let's compare MegaMan to it's neighbors.
The Graphics : Well, old C-64 games like the original Donkey Kong just has black backgrounds with no details and stuff at all. Castlevania, that came out the same year as MegaMan, has pretty detailed graphics, but both are different because Castlevania has dark, Gothic graphics, but MegaMan has futuristic sci-fi graphics. However, look at the lava at Fireman stage, look at the snowy landscape at Iceman stage, look at the constructions at Gutsman stage. All these backgrounds are very characteristic and matches a style specific to the stage, this is the exactly opposite of Super Mario Brothers that have just the same stupid smiling clouds at every stage. Not only the background are typical, but also the enemies. All those enemies are incredibly innovative. Look at the "living helmet" at Gutsman stage that will later become a tradition of the series. No game at that time has so fun and innovative enemy. And what about Megaman himself ? Just look at him. Look how he walks. Look how he jumps. Look how he blinks his eyes when you do nothing for a small amount of time (the MegaMan series is the only series where the hero blinks his eyes until Final Fantasy 7 as far I know). Now compare the Megaman sprite to the ugly Simon Belmont from the original Castlevania (that HAD good graphics). He looks like a piece of bread with two legs ! Compare him with Link from Legend of Zelda. He looks like a vegetable !
I exaggerate a bit, but still, you have to admit it even if you hate MegaMan (in that case you're a fool), it's graphics are GREAT !!
Now, the sound. The music is dynamic, but pretty repetitive.
However.... MegaMan is the first game (or maybe one of the firsts) to have special effects like pitch slides, vibratos, volume effects on the NES. I don't know if the others developers just include volume and pitch effect in order to follow Capcom or if they all had the same idea at the same time... But I can't even imagine how plain could be some great NES soundtracks without that.
And what about the sound effects ? All NES games out there just have beeps and bleeps. MegaMan's SFX are slightly different (except, I have to admit it, the bleep when Megaman shoots a ball, that you'll unfortunately hear often). They're just incredibly well done and brings to the game a serious impression. Never before sound effects like that have been hear on the NES.
MegaMan's music is good, and it's sound quality is just a BLAST !!
Eventually, the scenario. Willy have taken the control of the six robots, and you have to defeat all of them. It's sure not the best story out there (in comparison with the original Final Fantasy that came out one year later), but still, the story is serious. You don't have to rescue a princess or any stupid thing. You really have to save the world, heh. I know that all it's sequels won't be serious at all, but this one is.
Decent scenario overall (the only problem is that it makes the opportunity to make a sequel hard).
Now.... ah, yes, the gameplay.
You have to fight six robots in the order you want, the number of times you want, in order to obtain all their specific powers.
Originally, you can just shot and jump, but after beating the robots, you'll be able to shot fireballs, to throw a bomb on enemies, to attack them with a cut-boomerang, to use some electricity rays, to throw ice in order to freeze some of the enemies and to trow some blocks you'll found on the field.
When you beat all the robots, you'll access to the Dr.Willy stage, to fight a giant golem (it's one of the most harder boss I've ever seen in the video game history), a clone of Megaman himself that will use the same powers as you do, some bubbles, and eventually Dr.Willy himself, you'll also have to fight all the robots again before.
Unlike many MegaMan games, ALL the powers are useful. That's the really great side of the original MegaMan ! Also, the possibility to recharge your energy and your weapons with capsules that monsters will randomly give to you when you beat them proves definitely that MegaMan has an innovative game play.
If that's not enough, I don't know what do you want to make it better !
Controlling Megaman is sweet, he moves at the same time as you push the button but not immediately as fast as he can, he jumps just when you push the A button, he shots just when you push the B button.... it's almost perfect ! Also, the game never slows down, and that's kinda cool.
Challenge ? Oh, yes, there is. You can beat the robots in optimal order to use their respective weakness (it works just like in an RPG, for example -> Fireman is weak against the Ice, etc...), but you can also challenge a boss without using its weakness. Another example of challenge is the puzzles, you can cheat and use the magnet beam instead. That's MUCH better that choose between easy or hard or anything like that.
Once you got all robots, the Dr.Willy stage are very challenging.
The lack of password make the game very tough, but with all the innovative stuff in it, would us complain ? Not at all.
One stupid think is that there is electricity like if it was a material stuff (in Elecman stage). Looks like Capcom didn't understand that Electricity can only go from a point to another point. What a shame ! But were would be the Elecman's power without this ? They could input some bolts or something.
The real sad thing about the game is that is has a lot of glitches, for example monsters does re-appear a lot.
The Bottom Line
The original MegaMan = Innovative graphics, innovative music, innovative sound quality and sound effects, innovative game play, innovative enemies, innovative challenge.... One of the best non-RPG game series ever starts with an incredible game ! Check it out ! (or if you can't don't hesitate to download it).