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.

Special Features

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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:
  • It is the only one to have a score.
  • It is the only one that doesn’t tell you the names of the weapons you acquire (though other games, such as Mega Man I, the Power Battle, and the Wily Wars, give us the names).
  • There is a pause function in this game (press SELECT).
  • When you revisit a stage, the Robot Master comes back too (all other games, the Robot Master room is empty when you reach it).
  • Energy that is found lying around in stages can be gathered infinite times in this title. Just grab it and scroll it off the screen and back on, and it’ll be back.
  • Water does not make Mega Man buoyant here (he doesn’t jump any higher underwater).
  • Mega Man is invincible for a few moments after he takes damage, but this invincibility does not apply toward spikes in this game.
  • This is one of the few Mega Man games which allows extra lives to reach a total of 99 (or 98 in Mega Man 2). Later games (starting around the time of Mega Man 4) begin limiting lives to 9. (Kudos to Matthew Presley for doing the grunt work with this one.)
  • It is the only Mega Man game that doesn’t have eight Robot Masters. Here there are only six.


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  • How do I get through the first station of Wily’s fortress?
    You need the Magnet Beam to climb through a section of Wily’s fortress. Yes, if you never picked it up you can’t beat the game. Yes, it was mean of them.


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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.

Suggested Order

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A lot of people say to do Cut Man first, but I really suggest starting with Bomb Man, as listed:

Teleporting Hatches

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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.


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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.


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What passwords? Sorry, this game must have come out before passwords were invented! =)


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  • Magnet Beam: In Elec Man’s stage, it’s that weird object sitting on the right side of the screen, closed in by some big blocks. You need the Super Arm to remove the blocks. (Or you can use the Thunder Beam, but that means you have to revisit the stage.) Once you have the Magnet Beam, try it out. It’s especially useful in Ice Man’s stage, and imperative in Wily’s fortress.

Tricks and Secrets

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  • The Magnet Beam consumes energy only when you first press the button. As you hold the button down, the platform it creates gets longer and longer, without using any additional energy. Additionally, you can jump while holding down the button to position the platform; release the fire button when the platform is at the height you want. You can create multiple platforms at one time; they disappear after a preset time limit.
  • This is the only Mega Man game that allows you to pause without bringing up any menus that obscure the graphics. (Press SELECT.) It’s more useful than just studying the art, though. Fire a Thunder Beam at a robot and as soon as it connects hit SELECT. Keep hitting the button rapidly to put the game into a type of slow motion mode. The Thunder Beam will crawl through the robot taking a hit with each step. This trick will actually work with any weapon, but it works best with the Thunder Beam—I’ve defeated the Yellow Devil with just one Beam this way. Best robots to use this trick on: Ice Man, the Yellow Devil, your hologram, and Wily.


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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...