Mega Man

aka: Rockman
NES Specs [ all ]
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(prices updated 9/25 6:30 AM )

Description official descriptions

In the future city of Monsteropolis, the use of robot labour has helped civilization grow more than ever before. At the forefront of this technology is Dr. Light and his assistant Dr. Wily, who are commissioned to build six robots to handle a variety of specific tasks. They are named Bombman, Gutsman, Iceman, Cutman, Elecman, and Fireman in reference to their individual prime functions. Dr. Wily, however, has bigger plans and chooses to take control of the robots and let loose destruction in a bid for world control. Dr. Light fights back with the best tool he has, an experimental human-like robot, Rock aka Mega Man, who had been tested to perform cleaning duties. Now properly armed, it's up to Mega Man to take on the maverick robots, fight his way into Dr. Wily's castle, and end this madness.

Mega Man is a side-scrolling platformer. Mega Man has the ability to jump and fire his weapon. He must travel to the levels of the six robot masters and defeat them in combat. By doing so, Mega Man is able to acquire their power for his own. These powers can then be used interchangeably with his main weapon and target the weaknesses of specific enemy bosses. Additionally, some hidden areas of the levels can only be accessed by using certain captured robot weapons. A special Magnet Beam ability can also be found which can be used to create steps.

Travelling throughout these levels, Mega Man is confronted by an army of lesser robot creations. Destroying these usually yields energy capsules (for refilling Mega Man's Energy), weapon capsules (for refilling Mega Man's special robot weapons), and extra lives shaped like Mega Man's head.


  • ロックマン - Japanese spelling

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Credits (NES version)

8 People

Character Design
Sound Programmer
Presented by
  • Capcom



Average score: 77% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 90 ratings with 4 reviews)

What a classic!

The Good
Most people play Mega Man 1 only after playing one of the sequels. Luckily, I was able to play this one first. I was looking for NES games to rent and picked this one up. The art on the box was bad which drew my attention to it. Usually the first games for the NES had awful art so I was curious enough to take it home.

The gameplay is Megaman being able to run, jump, and shoot his gun (though never being able to shoot up). He can take damage but recharges himself with energy capsules that enemies often leave behind. At the end of each stage, Mega Man fights a boss (a similiar robot to Mega Man). Once all the 6 robots are defeated, you go through the final stages of Dr. Wily's Castle.

If this was all there was, Mega Man 1 would have been the last Mega Man. There were two gimmicks that made this game insanely addictive.

-Level Select-

There is no beginning level! First thing when you put up the game is you have a level selection screen of six levels. If you have trouble in one area, you go to another. This concept was novel at the time and greatly appealed to me (and others) since I HATED getting stuck at a single level. If I got stuck in a level, I could play another level. In effect, I had much more access to game content than a linear level design.

-Weapon Upgrades-

When you defeated a boss at the end of the level, you obtained that boss's power. So if you defeated Fire Man, you got his fire attack. Ice Man would give you an ice attack. Electric Man gave you an electic attack, etc. Cutman had a boomerang type cutter. Gutsman would give you the ability to lift giant blocks. Bombman, of course, gave you bombs.

With a new weapon, it freshened up the remaining game content. The fire weapon made Iceman's stage much easier and the ice weapon made Fireman's stage easy as well. The weapons also would trigger weaknesses in certain bosses. Bombman's bombs were very effective on gutsman. Gutsman's block lifting ability came in handy against Cutsman. This gave the game massive replayability.

The final stages were interesting too, even though they fit the standard linear level mode. The bosses were very creative, especially the big yellow one who would move across the room in small little pieces (you would have to dodge pieces of himself as he did this). The final stages featured a puzzle element as you had to know when to use the correct weapon in the right spot (and for the right bosses). You also didn't have your weapons recharge so you couldn't waste them. Right before the end, you get to fight all the robot masters again, this time you have all the weapons so wiping them out is easier this time. Then you fight Dr. Wily and its end of game.

The game's graphics were interesting for its time. They were very cartoony and looked very nice. The levels all matched the bosses. Iceman's stage was full of ice (you would slide around). Fireman's stage full of fire. Electric Man's stage full of robots and electrical shocks. Each level was unique and had its own distinct feel.

What made Mega Man a classic was, as I've said, the use of the stage select and upgrading weapons once completing those stages. Nothing like that had been done before!

The Bad
Gutsman stage was HARD!! The beginning of the level was full of moving platforms that would turn vertical (hence, dropping you to your doom) at spots on their ride. It is very difficult to get through that. The game also had annoying jumping puzzles such as with the appearing blocks. (This MegaMan game is probably one of the hardest in the series.)

The control for this game is so-so compared to the sequels. This is ok, since this was the first game. This game only had 6 robotmasters and stages compared to the standard 8 that would appear. Again, this is no issue since this was the first Megaman.

The lack of a password means you must complete this game in one sitting. However, if you completely run out of lives, you just go back to the stage select screen (with levels you have already completed stay completed). There are midpoints in the levels so if you die, you don't have to start each level at the beginning. Only if you lose all your lives does that occur.

There is a unique 'item' in Electric Man's stage that you must have in order to complete the first level in Dr. Wily's Castle. I didn't know this at the time and had to go back to Electric Man's level. Annoying.

The Bottom Line
A game designed with stage select from the very beginning, with cartoonish fun robots, environment obedient levels, with the capability for your character to steal weapons from the bosses for his own personal use? Sweet!

This game sold very poorly in the US due to bad distribution. This was not the game that launched the franchise, though. Megaman 1 did have some issues that held it from being 'blockbuster' so it was reduced to being a 'cult classic'. The design concepts were what gave this game it's well deserved sequel... it was the sequel that launched the Mega Man franchise.

NES · by Jonathan Hollas (24) · 2005

Another Side-scrolling, jumping adventure. It's classic, though! Definitely worth playing!

The Good
Originality. This was the beginning of a series that has went off in all sorts of directions, even to the point of making Megaman Soccer, and a Megaman RPG! Anyway, back to this game. Again, very original in most ways, good music, good graphics (for the NES, anyway) and as always, in every Megaman game, Dr. Wily's eyebrows are just hilarious.

The Bad
Difficulty, and control. This was the only Megaman game on the NES not to feature the password system, which makes each game considerably less difficult. As for control, Megaman slid around too much. The Cover art sucked, too.

The Bottom Line
Classic. A true retrogaming experience.

NES · by J. David Taylor (27) · 2004

A delightful game—if you play it in the right frame of mind.

The Good
Devoted readers of my reviews (hi, Mom!) know that I do not have a great deal of respect for Capcom games in general. Capcom has an annoying habit of taking hit games (Mega Man, Final Fight, Street Fighter) and running the franchise into the ground with numerous sequels. Those games that aren’t hits (Bionic Commando, Strider) become inexplicably acclaimed cult classics, despite the fact they aren’t really anything that special.

So I had every intention of revisiting the original Mega Man title and writing a harsh review of it. But a funny thing happened along the way: I actually found myself enjoying the game! I still have reservations about it, which I will detail below. First, though, I need to eat some crow and say what’s good about this game.

The graphics are quite nice for an early NES title. Some game companies, including Capcom, tried to do too much too early in this department (I submit Commando as Exhibit A), but I think they hit the sweet spot here. There may be a little too much red and blue in the color palette, but otherwise the graphics are very well done, with little flicker or slowdown. The same praise goes for the music and sound effects. NES music/sound is generally annoying, but here it’s rather atmospheric and catchy.

As for the gameplay, it takes a little getting used to, but once you get a feel for what the designers were going for with Mega Man—puzzle-oriented platforming, alternating with cool boss battles—it’s hard to resist coming back for more. Even when you die from a cheap hit or an unexpected enemy appearing on screen, it makes you mad, but it also makes you feel good, since you’ve explored a little more of the game and now you’ll have the knowledge to help you do better in the future. Mega Man definitely dishes out its carrots and sticks at the same time.

Some of the jumping puzzles are truly devious in design. While many are straight-up mazes, some add timing elements, where blocks appear and disappear at fixed intervals in a given sequence. The player has to observe this sequence and then figure out what blocks to jump on, and in what order, to get to the other side of the screen. It’s a pretty simple mechanic, but these puzzles work really well. They are frustrating, but certainly not impossible, and quite rewarding once you’ve figured them out. The controls are more than adequate to the task, too. Modern console gamers will probably say the controls are unresponsive, but the control is actually very tight…it’s just that the jumps themselves are often challenging.

The boss battles are clearly the highlight of the game, though. Every time Mega Man defeats a boss, he gets that enemy robot’s special power. The six different robot boss characters can be taken down in any order, but there is also a really neat “rock-paper-scissors” dynamic at work here, so it may pay to go in a particular sequence. For example, Fireman might be vulnerable to Iceman’s attacks, in which case you would want to beat Iceman before taking on Fireman. Some experimentation may be necessary to find the right combinations, but that’s part of the fun of it. It’s actually a pretty nice way of adding replay value to the game without just throwing more levels at you.

The Bad
The most damning thing about Mega Man, and the reason why I originally intended to write a negative review of it, is that it seems crushingly, unfairly difficult at times. This is partly the fault of the game’s designers for not including some kind of password or save game feature. It was still relatively new for this kind of arcade game to have a clear “finale” to it, and they clearly weren’t sure how to handle it yet. Even a really good platform gamer would need 4-5 hours minimum to get through this game—but who in this busy modern world has the time (or patience) to plug away for 5 or more hours in one sitting?

I think the first lesson of Mega Man is this: you can make a good platforming game into a great game if you have a save feature, some difficulty settings, and an endgame that is humanly possible to beat. Mega Man doesn’t have those things, but Mega Man 2 does. Even Capcom can learn from its mistakes!

The second lesson is that a good game can seem really bad when you compare it to the wrong kind of game. I always compared the Mega Man games to Super Mario Bros. 1,2 and 3. In retrospect, that comparison really biased me against the MM series. Mega Man isn’t Mario; he jumps around platforms, but he doesn’t blast through them with speed or by busting up bricks and stomping on his enemies. No, Mega Man has to get through the levels with patience, puzzle-solving, and some clever shooting. It’s an entirely different kind of experience, even if the two games look very similar. In fact, I’d say Mega Man is closer to classic PC action games (Lode Runner, Jumpman, Prince of Persia) than it is to Super Mario.

Aside from the fact that the trial-and-error gameplay can turn into a grind, my only other complaint is that Mega Man is a pretty bland protagonist. He’s totally upstaged by the boss enemies, which seems a little odd for a superhero. Maybe it had to be this way, but it still bothers me.

The Bottom Line
I hated Mega Man at first, but now that I’ve played it more, I have to admit that I like it. It’s clever and charming—just enough so to offset its unreasonable difficulty level and occasional bouts of tedium. Fans of 2D platformers should definitely play Mega Man, but remember: he ain’t no Mario.

NES · by PCGamer77 (3159) · 2008

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


Cover art

The American NES cover for this game has been ridiculed for having no resemblance to the game at all. Gamespy has placed it as number 1 for the Top Ten Worst Covers list.


One of the bosses in the game that utilizes rocks as a weapon is named Gutsman -- not Rockman -- due to that being the original Japanese name for Mega Man. In Japan, "guts" is a phrase commonly associated with strength and vigor.


The manual claims that you can crouch by pressing down, but Mega Man can not duck in this or any subsequent game.

Mega Man 1 differences from the rest of the series

The original Megaman game has a huge amount of significant differences between all its sequels, especially around boss battles:* It is the only Megaman game where you score points (since you don't get extra lives when the score increases as in most games, the score is totally useless). * It is the only Megaman game where you have 6 robots to fight instead of 8. * The word "Ready" doesn't blink when you start a stage. * You sometimes enter to the boss room from the top (Bomban stage, Dr Willy stage 2) or from the bottom (Elecman stage). In all other Megaman games, you always enter from the left. * When approaching boss rooms, instead of having one gate that opens and one gate that close, there is one double-gate that opens and it doesn't close after you enter. * You have enemies between the last gate and the boss. This allows for the possibility to lose health before actually beginning the battle, and it increases the challenge. * When entering in boss room, first the music starts and the bosses lifebar show up, then the gate closes. * When the boss is defeated, it doesn't make the same noise as if Megaman is defeated. * After the boss is defeated, you have to take a ball to exit the level. * After that, you don't get a bonus screen or anything. Your bonuses pops up directly on the screen. * This is the only entry in the series that doesn't tell you the names of the weapons you acquire (though subsequent re-releases such as Mega Man: The Wily Wars give the names). * When you revisit a stage, the Robot Master at the end will be back, whereas the games that followed had the room empty when you revisited the stage. * Water does not make Mega Man buoyant here (he doesn't jump any higher underwater than on dry land). Again, this is the only game in the series that has this feature. * Mega Man is invincible for a few moments after he takes damage, but this invincibility does not apply toward spikes, unlike in the later games.


This game has been remade five times, that's more than any other game in the Mega Man series.

Yellow Devil

The Yellow Devil (who's in the first Wily stage) was renamed the "Rock Monster" for the original U.S. release of Mega Man (this also applies to Mega Man 3). The reason behind this was Nintendo of America's being squeamish about the use of the word "Devil" in its games. The PS2 and Xbox versions of Mega Man Anniversary Collection (also Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters), however, refers to the Yellow Devil by its original name.


  • EMAP Image's Golden Joystick
    • April 1991: Best Console Game - 8 Bit

Information also contributed by Andrew Shepard, Bregalad, and MegamanX64

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Related Sites +

  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from <em>Mega Man</em>, including the "Mega Man Remix Album".

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Shoddyan.

Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. iPad, Android, iPhone added by Sciere. DoJa, BREW added by Kabushi. Wii added by gamewarrior. Browser added by glik.

Additional contributors: Alaka, gamewarrior, CaptainCanuck, Thomas Thompson, Jo ST.

Game added May 23rd, 2004. Last modified September 18th, 2023.