Mega Man 1 (1)

Genre: Platformer/Shooter
Year: 1987
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom
Platforms: NES
#413
Feeling Like: Mega Blast from the Past

Capcom’s affinity for repeating their winning formula is unparalleled in gaming. They’re not the only developer to squeeze out as many games as possible from one idea, but they might be the most successful in doing so. If you go back and play the original Mega Man, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Mega Man himself looks EXACTLY the same as he does in eight future NES iterations, including the modern/retro Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. The design was flawless in the late 80s; every boy who had access to a video game machine wanted to destroy things and be a little robot boy capable of riding a robot dog through impossible universes. Capcom delivered and this is one of the few NES origin games that holds up extremely well in the year 2017, even if it is Rush-less.

You’ll see the first appearances of many Mega Man mainstays here: little funny icon 1 UP heads, weird hardhat dudes, the sinister disappearing blocks, the one hit deaths on spikes, the trademark challenge and more. It’s still refreshing to be able to choose the order in which you tackle the bosses. Naturally, if you know the proper order, you’ll hardly deviate unless you want to really test yourself.

Mega Man 1 (2)
Minions, before the Minions

Some ideas didn’t make it past 1987. The unnecessary points system, for one. I guess Capcom was still stuck in an era where points were more important that story and if you didn’t give an insane amount for completing a stage, people would’ve felt cheated. The boss entrance rooms having a few enemies and jumping challenges would mercifully be ditched. After all, once you’ve traversed through Gutsman’s stage, the gate should be a visual indication that it’s go time, not go-wait-a few more things-ok now go time.

I never knew about the trick where if you hit an enemy boss and frantically paused and unpause the game, their health would deplete to zero faster than any weapon. I wish I had; I died a lot, and would classify this one as the second hardest Mega Man game I’ve ever beat. We’ll get to you much later, Mega Man Unlimited

It’s also funny to see how basic the boss robots are. Fire Man. Ice Man. Bomb Man. There’s something quaint about seeing what kind of enemies Mega Man had to face before going up against Tax Accountant Salamander, or Rainbow Sprinkle Man in the later editions. Simplicity is the order of the day in Mega Man.

Elec Man’s stage is definitely a rip off of Journey’s “Faithfully”, but I guess imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. The soundtrack still rocks, (Man) but it’s nowhere near the caliber of what’s to come. I’ll throw a remix on the playlist once in a while and am transported back to my first Mega Man game immediately. The melodies range from bizarre, to fantastic. Appropriate for Mega Man, and for the rest of the series.

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