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Top Ten Saturday: Top Ten Mega Man Games

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Mega Man is just one of those franchises that will never die. It will live on until people stop liking to have their asses ripped apart by torture-chamber-esque level design that emphasize quick reflexes and memorization. It's one of the few seminal franchises that continues to prove itself over and over again, and when someone cries foul, Capcom rectifies their wails with a great adventure. Think of Mega Man as the series that Sonic Team wants to have; the one that gives nostalgia and can shove to critics to this day. Sure, the Blue Bomber's glory days have passed, but that doesn't mean he's gone stale. That is why I choose to celebrate this venerable robot with a Top Ten Saturday. This list includes any and all Mega Man games, whether they be main franchise, X series, or even Mega Man Soccer. With that said, these are the Top Ten Mega Man Games.

Rock on Rock Man, rock on.

10. Mega Man ZX, 2006, Nintendo DS

Mega Man refuses to stop making new series's, with only maybe Megami Tensei being able to compete when it comes to the number of spin-off's. ZX is the newest Mega Man sub-series of the Mega Man Zero franchise, it also being a sub-series of Mega Man. Lost yet? Well once you flip Mega Man ZX, you won't be any longer; the gameplay is completely Mega Man X, with the good-old run, dash, jump, shoot, and slice mechanics with a couple new features added in like a World Map function and new armor sets which are made by gathering various Biometals. Also like the Zero series before it, this game is punishingly difficult, rewarding careful advancement and memorization over speed and cunning. It's also one of the most well-designed outings, with numerous ways to speed run each stage, each offering plenty of room to shave off seconds from your previous time. The road to becoming a master is a long and arduous one, but once achieved, you can bask in the knowledge that you have conquered one the most brutal games in Mega Man's history, which is plenty good to give Mega Man ZX the number 10 spot on the countdown.

9. Mega Man 6, 1994, Nintendo Entertainment System

Around the time of Mega Man 6's release, it seemed like a silly idea for a Mega Man game to be constrained to release on the NES; after all, the Super Nintendo was already about to receive it's second Mega Man X game. But Mega Man 6 is anything but archaic; with 4 and 5 being taunted for being the weakest in the series to date, 6 was a bold step, with a focus on clever level design and Rush Armor. Rush Armor was the new "thing" in the game, with every couple of levels yielding a new Rush power where the robotic canine would become a suit that gave you the abilities of strength, extra jump distance, and even flight. These changes in the formula along with some of the hardest boss battles to date ensured that 6 would be the NES series swan song. Often overlooked, but never forgotten, Mega Man 6 deserves a place on the virtual console, and is more than deserving for the number 9 spot on the countdown.

8. Mega Man X2, 1994, Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The X series is known for two things; speed and action. Mega Man X2, while not as memorable as X or as polished as X3, played like a silky dream. Giving the player the dash in the very beginning and letting them cut loose X style is absolutely brilliant and ending with a boss that is 50 times your size even more satisfying. From beginning to end, this is a speed runner's wet dream; It's fast, frantic, and it never forces the player to slow down. This is the type of game that rewards multiple playthroughs, with the mastery of the halls of Wheel Gator and the sands of Overdrive Ostrich giving a sense of accomplishment unmatched by any Xbox Live Achievement. Unlike the previous X game, X2 tasks the player with taking down three minibosses, Violin, Serges, and Agile. These fights are some of the toughest the series has seen to date, each forcing the player to concentrate on evasion over engagement. By far the toughest of the X series, Mega Man X2 is the middle child that is always forgot by fans. Despite the lack of love, X2 remains as one of the best action games on the Super Nintendo, thereby earning the number 8 spot on the countdown.

7. Mega Man, 1987, Nintendo Entertainment System

Often remembered for the worst (greatest?) box art ever seen on a game that did not come from the Sega Master System, the original Mega Man makes it onto the list by just how unforgettable it is; the bosses that became Nintendo Cartoon fodder, the unforgiving disappearing platforms Ice Man's stage, and who could forget the infamous Yellow Devil, one of the few bosses that remains a thorn in the side of many a gamer who had to use the pause trick just to beat his cheap ass. Add to the fact that it was revolutionary for it's power-up system, and you've got the recipe for a classic. You also just happen to have a recipe for one ball-bustingly hard game. Whether it be climbing the ladders of Elec Man's stage with the Lightning Robots waiting to knock you back to the last screen or the floating platforms of Guts Man's stage, this game terrorized bright-eyed children. Remembered now as both a classic and a curse, Mega Man laid the groundwork for the games that would follow it, and to that, we owe this veteran the number 7 spot on the countdown. Just try and get some sleep and don't let the "VWOOSH" of yet another ruined platform jump haunt your dreams.

6. Mega Man X3, 1995, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC

Most people agree that after Mega Man X3, the X series went downhill, with each entry going further and further down the slope until the embarrassment that was Mega Man X7 killed the series beyond resurrection. This didn't stop the witch doctor's at Capcom from raising the franchise for a slightly better sequel, but since then, we haven't seen much from the X series. But we all remember the first three games fondly, after all, they were the first in any Mega Man series to utilize the concept of attainable armor pieces that enhanced the abilities of X. X3 was the capstone of this armor concept, with regular armor pieces, upgrade chips, the gold armor, and even the Zero's sword the Zetsabre all being available to use. But by far, the Golden Armor was the greatest addition; if no upgrade chips were used, by the first Sigma stage you could nab this Golden Fleece, which allowed you to double jump twice, take half the normal amount of damage, and even recover damage while standing still, which even filled your subtanks. Add in the Zetsabre, and you become a walking powerhouse, ready to take on the worst that Doppler and Sigma can throw at you, which is good, because that happens to be a lot. Bit and Byte, minibosses faced earlier in the game receive upgraded versions, Doppler can recover all of his health in one move, and Sigma is no pushover either. But the feeling of power you get by slicing every one of them in half in two hits with the Zetsabre is satisfying enough to earn this adventure the number 6 spot on the countdown.

5. Mega Man Legends, 1997, Sony PlayStation

Often forgotten, Mega Man Legends was the series's first foray into the world of 3D; whether they pulled it off as smoothly as they could is up for debate, but what we got was good enough to satisfy any fan. While the controls took time to get used to, the game rewarded your efforts with incredible boss battles, a sense of scale like no other 3D game gave at the time, and light RPG and Adventure elements that made the stupid helmet only a minor nitpick. The most atmospheric of the series to date, the exploration of dark, desolate ruins gave shivers to many gamers who weren't accustom to the feeling of isolation going deeper and deeper into the creepy catacombs. Great sound design made sure that you heard the ominous echo of a far away robot that needed to be dispatched, and each sound effect is remembered by all who played this classic back in the day. Also remembered are the various characters that the series gave to the Mega Man franchise, whether it be the voiced Mega Man Volnutt, strangely cute Roll, the smitten Tron Bonne, her poor servants the Servbots, or the always dancing Data. This game had charm, and any nitpicking over the controls or poking fun at the various idiosyncrasies is lost in the sea of character that this game gushes from every nook and cranny. Whether it be the awesome boss battles, the memorable characters, or the creepy ruins, Mega Man Legends earns the number 5 spot on the countdown.

4. Mega Man 9, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3

By 2008, many people had put to rest any idea of the original Mega Man series making a ninth appearance, the last game of that particular franchise being released almost 11 years prior. But not only did Mega Man return, it came back in style. 8-bit style to be exact. A callback to the glory days of the series, Mega Man 9 is total fanservice, from the tongue-in-cheek humor to the return of Rush. But not only did Mega Man 9 look the part, it played it too, with every series addition post-Mega Man 3 being kicked to the curve. No slide, no armors, all Mega Man, and that's all 9 needed. With a focus on speed running, Mega Man 9 offered the best level design since VI, challenging players to beat Concrete Man's terrifying trifecta of Elephants as quickly as possible. Every stage was not only well-designed, but beautifully detailed with throwbacks to early Mega Man troupes like Rush Spring ledge secrets, huge enemies, and even the disappearing blocks. Add in a shop feature, Time Attack mode with Online Leader Board support, and downloadable content, and you've got the best Mega Man game in over a decade. Always in style, this 8-bit adventure is plenty deserving of the number 4 spot on the countdown.

3. Mega Man X, 1993, Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Even with over a decade of releases, the original Mega Man X remains the best of the X series. While X2 has the challenge and X3 has the Armor system, Mega Man X makes it to the number 3 spot on this list with pure polish. Never on the Super Nintendo did the Action/Shooter genre ever have a higher benchmark then the perfect challenge and fast-paced run-and-gun spectacle of Mega Man X. From the opening stage's crumbling cityscape, to the frozen caves of Chill Penguin's Antarctic Palace, to the awesome mine cart rides of Armored Armadillo cavern, to the metallic menace of Sigma's ominous stages, the game was a spectacular example of intelligent level design. For the first time in the series, Mega Man was able to upgrade his life bar with collectible heart pieces scattered throughout the stages, along with sub tanks, armor pieces, and even a Haduken, which killed any enemy (including Sigma) with one hit, as long as your life bar was full. Not only that, but depending on what order you beat the stages in, it would have an effect upon later ones. For example, if you beat Storm Eagle's stage before Spark Mandrill's stage, Spark Mandrill's stage, normally full of electricity traps, would be partially destroyed by remnants of Storm Eagle's fallen ship. Or if you beat Chill Penguin's stage before Flame Mammoth's stage, the lava floors of Flame Mammoth's factory would be frozen over, allowing you to grab a heart piece that was previously unavailable. The list goes on, and it's little details that make Mega Man X the pitch-perfect classic that it is. It set the example for Action games on the Super Nintendo, and that is why Mega Man X is more than worthy of the number 3 spot on this countdown.

2. Mega Man 3, 1990, Nintendo Entertainment System

Mega Man 3 is to Mega Man as Majora's Mask is to Legend of Zelda;both are destined to be called the best of their respective series by a very vocal minority. Once played, it becomes obvious why; put simply, Mega Man 3 is a masterpiece of design and action. Whether it be jumping over pillars of fire in Gemini Man's stage or shooting giant snake heads in Snake Man's stage, the game remains perfectly challenging and incredibely fun. Along with great levels, Mega Man 3 gives the series many new elements, like Mega Man's faithful dog Rush, his ambiguously heroic "brother" Proto Man, or the kick slide, which remained in the series until 9, and even evolved into the dash in the X series. The games bosses were also some of the best in the series, with Gemini Man's double attack, Snake Man's vicious projectile assault, and Shadow Man's ninja tactics being particularly memorable. Sure, none of the weaknesses really made any sense, but that didn't matter compared to how fun each and every moment of the game was, until the very last Wily stage. Forever to be loved ferociously by the few, Mega Man 3 deserves nothing less than the number 2 spot on this countdown.

1. Mega Man 2, 1989, Nintendo Entertainment System

Seriously, who didn't see this coming? Since it's release, Mega Man 2 has been considered not only the best Action/Shooter game on the Nintendo, but one of the greatest videogames ever. It's a masterpiece that's as well-designed as it is memorable, with each Robot Master being someone's favorite. Each stage offered something, whether it be the giant enemies of Wood Man's stage, the treadmill catacombs of Metal Man, the icy floors of Flash Man, or the fatal pitfalls of Air Man, and each was as fun as the last. Along the best power-up in Mega Man history, the Metal Blade, which could be fired in every direction Contra-style for almost no ammunition, you got what is considered the best soundtrack in videogame history, with Wily Stage 1 being covered an infinite amount of times. Every track counted, and whether it be Air Man, Wood Man, or Crash Man that be your favorite, there is no arguing over the stamp the soundtrack has left upon not only videogames, but pop culture, especially Japanese. When anyone thinks of Mega Man, this is the game people think of, and for good reason; it's the perfect Mega Man game. From the great level design, to the simple-yet-effective run-and-game action, to the fun and frantic platforming elements, to just how goddamn memorable the game is, Mega Man 2 is simply a masterpiece, which is why it deserves to be called not only the absolute greatest Mega Man of all-time, not only one of the greatest action games of all-time, but one of the greatest videogames of all-time.
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About Canti-samaone of us since 9:47 PM on 08.03.2009

Hello, I'm Trevor Johnson, also known as Canti-sama. I like to write about things including videogames (that should be paramountly obvious at this point...) music, film, and anime, so what you see in this blog is just one part of my pretentiousness! I'm a nit-picky bitch when it comes to basically everything, so excuse me if I seem like kind of an elitist, even though I try not to be. If I had to sum up who I am, I would do it through top 5 lists, so how about we a do a few right now! But before that, since DTOID tends to remove frontpage posts from my c-blog, here's the list of my frontpages, which I thank everyone very much for!

Frontpage Posts:
1. Monthly Musing - I suck At Videogames: Nostalgia's Curse, 8/12/09
2. Promoted Story - Suda 51 and the "Art" of Videogames, 9/6/09
3. Monthly Musing - Nothing is Sacred: Videogames, 10/7/09

-----FAVORITES-----

Top 5 Favorite Videogames:
5. Fallout 3, PC
4. Mega Man X, SNES
3. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, PS2
2. Braid, PC
1. Shadow of the Colossus, PS2

Top 5 Favorite Albums:
5. Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm a Machine, 2004
4. Radiohead - O.K. Computer, 1997
3. Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92, 1992
2. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam, 2007
1. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation, 1988

Top 5 Films:
5. Brazil, Directed by Terry Gilliam
4. Fargo, Directed by Joel Coen
3. Fight Club, Directed by David Fincher
2. Shaun of the Dead, Directed by Edgar Wright
1. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Directed by Sergio Leone

Top 5 Anime Productions:
5. Spirited Away, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
4. The Big O, Directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama
3. Cowboy Bebop, Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Directed by Hideko Anno
1. Fooly Cooly, Directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki

----OTHER STUFF----
Avery Island: Musical Opinions From Music Geeks
PSN Name: MetalLink1979
Wii Friend Code - 8089-7286-5497-4717
XBL - Metal Link 904 (Note: My Xbox 360 is in possession of my brother, so this is no longer technically my XBL Tag)
Xbox LIVE:Metal Link 904
Steam ID:MetalLink1979
Mii code:8089-7286-5497-4717


 

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