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The best Mega Man games, ranked

Capcom has been in the games business almost as long as Nintendo. Despite never getting into the hardware business, it still developed its own mascot of sorts very early on with Mega Man. This little robot boy, known as Rockman in Japan, was one of the most popular and influential series on the NES, spawning a franchise that became famous across the globe. The core series would lead to cartoons, merchandise, and spinoff series, but it all began with the idea of a little blue robot fighting bosses to take their powers. While the series in general has been almost completely dormant since the end of the X series, there have been a few attempts to bring it back into prominence. To date, there are 11 mainline games all following the same formula, but varying wildly in quality. Now that there are two Mega Man Legacy Collections bundling all the games together, we’ve gone back to rank every game in the series from best to worst.

Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2
86 %
E
Platforms Wii, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Wii U
Genre Platform, Adventure
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Release June 02, 1989
The most popular answer for which Mega Man game is best almost always comes down to Mega Man 2. But why, exactly, is this one so much better than the others? Made before many staples of the series were added, including sliding or even charging your shots, Mega Man 2 feels perfectly tuned to be played without those extra options. It is a pure test of your running, platforming, and shooting skills every step of the way. Each stage offers a unique challenge despite only giving you a handful of tools, really showcasing creativity and making the most of a limited system. The bosses are all challenging and haven’t yet gone off the deep end for ideas, and the music is some of the best on the NES. The only downside to playing Mega Man 2 is that every entry you play after it will feel a little weaker.
Mega Man 2, Air Man Stage

Mega Man 3

Mega Man 3
81 %
E
Platforms Wii, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Arcade, Family Computer
Genre Platform, Adventure
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Release September 28, 1990
It isn’t easy to come out after one of the best games of all time, but Mega Man 3 deserves more credit than it gets. This game introduced Mega Man‘s trusty robot dog companion Rush and a host of new abilities and options for platforming, as well as the slide that would remain in his toolkit going forward. The bosses are also great, though a bit harder to intuit their weaknesses (what the heck is Snake Man supposed to be weak to?). Realizing the bosses from Mega Man 2 were so great, it also included them again in a roundabout way with the Doc Robot boss fights that gave you a rematch against those bosses’ powers.
Mega Man 3 (NES)- Gameplay

Mega Man 9

Mega Man 9
84 %
E
Platforms Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Legacy Cellphone
Genre Shooter, Platform
Developer Inti Creates
Publisher Capcom
Release September 22, 2008
Don’t let the retro style fool you, Mega Man 9 isn’t some long-lost NES game. This was the first we saw the blue bomber in years, and what a return he made. It showed that Capcom understood what made the series so great all those decades ago, which only leads us to wonder why it took so long to bring it back.

Mega Man 11

Mega Man 11
79 %
E10
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre Shooter, Platform, Adventure
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Release October 02, 2018
The latest game in the series, Mega Man 11 had a lot to prove. It wasn’t going for nostalgia with the 8-bit art style again, but opted for a more modern take using 3D models on a 2D plane. Usually, that is a recipe for an unsatisfying platforming experience, but this game manages to feel just as tight and well-designed as the best of them. The new Gear system likewise feels right at home.
Mega Man 11: Demo and Bounce Man Trailer

Mega Man 4

Mega Man 4
77 %
E
Platforms Wii, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Family Computer
Genre Shooter, Platform, Adventure
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Release December 06, 1991
Mega Man 4 is an important steppingstone in the series, but not exactly essential. It doesn’t feel like a full upgrade over Mega Man 3 except that this is where the charging ability finally showed up. It was a little clunky, but worth the growing pains given how it would impact future series like X.

Mega Man

Mega Man
76 %
E
Platforms Wii, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, Family Computer
Genre Platform, Puzzle, Adventure
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Release December 17, 1987
It is a testament to Mega Man that it is still so playable today. It will feel stiff, and a little too difficult for its own good, but it’s fun to check out if you want to see just how far our robot friend has come.
Mega Man Gameplay Walkthrough Part 1 - Bombman Stage

Mega Man 7

Mega Man 7
78 %
E
Platforms Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Super Famicom, New Nintendo 3DS
Genre Shooter, Platform, Adventure
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Release March 24, 1995
By the time we got Mega Man 7 we were already a little spoiled by the existence of X. Going back to the classic style, although with a new, brighter, and smoother look, felt like a step back. By this point, the formula was getting too tired and the cracks were showing in lackluster design and familiar stage layouts.
Mega Man 7 (SNES) Playthrough - NintendoComplete

Mega Man 5

Mega Man 5
77 %
E
Platforms Wii, PlayStation, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Family Computer
Genre Platform, Puzzle, Adventure, Arcade
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom, Playtronic
Release December 04, 1992
After Mega Man 2, 3, and 4 all added significant new elements to the franchise, Mega Man 5 had two options: add something new itself or simply utilize everything that came before in new ways. In the end, it does neither. This feels too much like new stages and bosses slapped onto Mega Man 4, which is fine if you like that game, but not so much if you wanted something new besides bosses.

Mega Man 8

Mega Man 8
77 %
E
Platforms PlayStation, PlayStation 3, Sega Saturn, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita
Genre Shooter, Platform, Adventure
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom, Ocean Software
Release December 17, 1996
The best thing we can say about Mega Man 8 is that it looks and sounds awesome. Everything else — especially the story and voice acting — is just dreadful. Stages felt more like gimmicks than obstacle courses, and you were limited to only four bosses at a time rather than being able to pick from all eight.

Mega Man 6

Mega Man 6
80 %
E
Platforms Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Family Computer
Genre Platform, Adventure, Arcade
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom, Playtronic, Nintendo
Release November 05, 1993
It’s sad to say the NES era of Mega Man ended on such a low note. This really felt like Capcom was out of creative juice for the series. Bosses no longer had creative or weird powers, falling back on fire and ice again, and the Rush Adaptor didn’t meaningfully add depth. It’s a fine game, just woefully uninspired and derivative.

Mega Man 10

Mega Man 10
83 %
E
Platforms Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre Shooter, Platform
Developer Inti Creates
Publisher Capcom
Release March 01, 2010
After Mega Man 9 showed that there was a hunger for the classic Mega Man games, Capcom went back to the well for 10, but perhaps did so too quickly. It is another Mega Man 6 situation where it just felt like a remix of Mega Man 9, which is a great game, as we talked about, but we were hoping that would serve as a launching pad for the series to learn from, not repeat the same mistakes. If you just can’t get enough NES-style games, give 10 a shot, but otherwise, you’re not missing anything.
Mega Man 10 Official Trailer

Editors' Recommendations

Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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