My quest starts at the obvious Mega Man 1. It’s the game that spun the platform genre on its head and did such innovative things for gaming. What an amazing trip it is, to look back upon it.
In December of 1987 gaming was still quite in its infancy. We had Super Mario Bros., sure, which defined the genre but that deserves a whole other post.
Mega Man was special, it took the Super Mario formula of traveling through different courses and replaced it with a boss selection screen right after the title screen. They actually wanted you to choose a ‘Boss’ to battle, and each boss had a themed level to go along with them. Fireman? Expect lava and fire at every turn. Ice Man? an obvious snow level theme!
Another unique feature is that the Bosses (from here on out called, Robot Masters) had weaknesses that only other Robot Masters weapons could deal. When you beat an RM you obtain their weapon. So if you beat Ice Man, you would receive a gun that shot out ice bullets. Fire Man’s fire weapon might be weak against Ice, while Ice Man might be weakened against Elec Man’s electricity. It has a very Rock, Paper, Paper feel to it.
After you defeat all of the Robot Masters you go after the main enemy himself, Doctor Wily! I love how he snickers his eyebrows as he jumps in his little ship and jets toward his main base. That’s another four to five levels of gameplay with each stage having its own unique boss. After that, it’s the big Dr. W himself.
You will need all the weapons and knowledge on how to use them to make it through Dr. Wily’s stronghold as it is designed around them.
Dr. Wily’s stages weren’t that tough in Mega Man 1, there wasn’t even an overall world map like later entries added. The what would be a Mega Man boss mainstay, the Yellow Devil makes his debut here as well, alongside having to face each robot master again. I personally love the doppelganger boss with the 1970’s style background.
The music was incredible starting from part one. Not a single track was bad, every damn stage had a wickedly catchy song, this too is a Mega Man mainstay.
Mega Man 1 set the tone, and blueprint that all other Mega Man’s would follow to this very day in 2018 with Mega Man 11. It still works great and I hope after 30 years that Capcom doesn’t give up on this ‘Mascot’.