In the above images you see Gutsman (left) and Elecman’s (right) stages. As the player progresses through the stage and moves from screen to screen, they are able to see the obstacles and enemies present. In Gutsman’s stage, the platform moves along normally until the break in the track, when it suddenly drops down forcing players to jump or die. Meanwhile in Elecman’s stage, there are lightning traps that cut off progression as well as unkillable enemies known as Spines (or a Gabyoall for you diehards) hovering back and forth on each platform requiring careful timing to navigate. The player has to adapt their skill to make it through unscathed and fight on towards the Robot Master.

Once players have defeated all six of the Robot Masters, they return to the stage select screen where they find a new option, Wily’s Castle. Remember when I said the plot was straightforward with no real surprises? Well, that is true, but the Castle has four separate stages, each with its own boss… oh yeah, and the infamous boss rush where you face all six Robot Masters again. There’s also the immense Yellow Devil, overwhelming CWU-01P, and Copy Mega Man. No, you’re not imagining things, you do really fight all six bosses again and an evil version of yourself that has every power you do!


After fighting through all four stages and the challenges within each, you eventually come face to face with the man himself, Dr. Wily. In what would become a staple of the series, the evil doctor fights you in a machine with multiple forms, though this first encounter, thankfully, only has two.


The final showdown with Dr. Wily finds him behind bars, the Robot Masters returned to their original programming (at least according to the comics and manga), and Rock returning to his life of peace. At least for now…


In the coming years, Rock would once again don his armor to do battle with Dr. Wily across dozens of worlds and in every conceivable form. There would be new Robot Masters, bitter enemies, valiant allies, loveable pets, and more. But that will have to wait, because now that you know the history and gist of the Blue Bomber’s first outing, you’re probably wondering where the review of the actual gameplay is. Well, you’ve put up with me this long, what’s a few more facts?

While the first game received positive reviews from critics, it did not sell very well. This was believed to have been because of this horrendous box art (exclusive to the US version):


I mean, just look at this monstrosity. Mega Man looks like he belongs in some crappy futuristic football game and he’s carrying what looks like a dart gun… where’s the Blue Bomber we’ve all come to know and love? Well, as it turns out, this box art was region specific because the guys at Capcom of America believed it would appeal better to American sensibilities. When compared to the European box art (seen below), you really have to wonder just what they were thinking here in the states.


Bad box art aside, the game itself is seriously fun. More challenging than one would expect, but in a way that you find yourself wanting to play through it again and again. As you play, you figure out what you did wrong all the while watching Mega Man fall into a pit, get impaled on spikes, or get blown apart for the umpteenth time. For gamers new to the series, be prepared to die… a lot. We’re not talking death on a Dark Souls level, but there are several frustrating bosses and levels that will have you tearing hair out and crushing controllers. Remember what I said about patience?

The controls are pretty basic – left, right, jump, shoot, and jump n’ shoot at the same time. Oh, and when I say shoot? I mean, Mega Man shoots a single shot from his Mega Buster. Later games would introduce new abilities such as the slide and ability to charge your Buster up to release even stronger blasts; however, these wouldn’t come until Mega Man 3 and 4 respectively. So with the abilities you do have, you take on the six Robot Masters, but don’t worry, there are several things in your favor. First and foremost, they follow a set pattern. If you figure out the pattern, you’ll have no problem avoiding their attacks. Second, you possess the powers that you’ve gained from defeated bosses. A normal shot from the Mega Buster does one tick of damage to a Robot Master’s health bar, but if you have their weakness, such as Gutsman’s weakness to Hyper Bomb, you can do anywhere from three ticks to five. There’s also the added benefit of the Magnet Beam, a special item that can be picked up in Elecman’s stage. This weapon creates platforms for a short period of time to assist Mega Man over pits and death traps.

The final thing in your favor is sort of… well, i’ts game breaking, if we’re being honest. See, there are these “things” that would happen in old school games, things that still happen in games today although now they’re more horrifying and can cause your game and system to crash. We refer to them as glitches. Back then, glitches seemed to be more helpful than they are these days. For instance, the combo system that fighting games use today? Yeah, it came from a glitch in Street Fighter II that would allow a fighter to land two to three hits rather than the normal single hit. Speaking of multiple hits from a glitch… the Pause Glitch in Mega Man would allow players to land a number of hits from a single shot by simply firing and then pausing over and over again. Now, it should be noted that this only works on the NES version of the game, not on emulators or rereleases like the Anniversary Collection.

In any event, the true test of a gamer comes from completing a game without relying on cheats, codes, or extremely helpful glitches. If you’re looking for one helluva challenge and a classic game to boot, Mega Man is the one for you. Historical and entertaining all at once, this game will undoubtedly leave a mark on your gaming life… let’s just hope the mark isn’t a hole in the wall…

Leave a comment below if you agree, disagree, or would like to suggest a game for a future review!

Sai & Stormy are writers, gamers, and full time nerds. Sai can often be found with a comic in one hand and a game controller in the other. He specializes in the history/mythology of comic books, legends of video games, and sculpting figurines. When Stormy is not fully immersing herself into her 80's childhood fandoms, she enjoys making cosplay, desperately tries to get her old Nintendo games to work, and will do whatever it takes to make time to read her favorite books. They live somewhere down south where it gets very hot with a boneheaded dog named Melvin.