Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top Ten Mega Man Games

This week marks the 25th anniversary of Mega Man. Actually, Monday officially marked the 25h anniversary of Mega Man. Regardless, SuperPhillip Central is celebrating the Blue Bomber's birthday in style with a week of content. Today I have somehow managed to pick my ten favorite Mega Man games. There was a lot of them to thumb through, so this list was definitely a challenge to create. After you've read my picks, let your opinion be known in the comments section below.

10) Mega Man Legends (PS1)


Starring a character named Mega Man Volnutt, Mega Man Legends was a drastic departure from other Mega Man spinoffs. It was the first to feature fully three-dimensional areas and movement as well as many role-playing elements. The game contained towns for young Volnutt to converse with the citizens as well as dungeons for exploration and destroying enemies. I like Mega Man Legends because it was such a change in the series's normal structure. It was a bold new direction, and one that I wish would have continued with the now-cancelled Mega Man Legends 3.

9) Mega Man 8 (PS1, SAT)


Mega Man leaped into the 32-bit era and the PlayStation console with Mega Man 8, twhich would be the last mainline classic series Mega Man game for a decade. The art style was suitably colorful with vivid sprites and lovely detailed backgrounds. I enjoyed the hackneyed voice acting, which added to the charm of the game, in this writer's opinion. Furthermore, I loved collecting the hidden bolts that could be used to buy upgrades at Dr. Light's laboratory. The game could be as easy or as hard as the player wanted depending on which parts they purchased. Mega Man 8 stays in my memory not only because it's a competent classic Mega Man, but because of "Jump, jump. Slide, slide", which will stay ingrained in my memory as well.

8) Mega Man Battle Network 2 (GBA)


My favorite game of the Mega Man Battle Network franchise, Mega Man Battle Network 2 took the original formula MMBN 1 laid out and improved it exponentially. The same RPG, action-card game traits were still present, but new features like multiple chip folders for different battle occasions and the addition of Subchips made the game work more seamlessly. It is also the only Mega Man Battle Network game that I fully completed 100%, so to say that this fact didn't factor into my giving the game a spot on this list would be a lie.

7) Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)


While the original Mega Man Zero had an immensely challenging difficulty, Mega Man Zero 2 brought it down to more reasonable levels. Speaking of levels of a different type, Mega Man Zero 2 shied away from the interconnected levels of the original. The structure was more traditional Mega Man with a level select menu. The new inclusions of EX Skills, won by completing missions with either an S or A ranking, and Forms, earned by accomplishing certain in-game goals, changed the gameplay well enough for Zero 2 to distinguish itself from its predecessor. What the game kept, however, was the fun challenge, the more serious story, and the engaging missions of the original Zero.

6) Mega Man 9 (WiiWare, XBLA, PSN)


After a decade of dormancy, classic Mega Man returned to the spotlight with Mega Man 9, available on all three of the major console downloadable services. Drawing huge inspiration from the original two Mega Man games, Mega Man in Mega Man 9 cannot slide or charge his Mega Buster. It was back to basics. Though the game used the old school 8-bit art style fans knew so well, the developers of the game have noted that as it is, Mega Man 9 would be much too large to fit on a traditional NES cartridge. The game was a breath of fresh air, retaining a lot from Mega Man's past while creating an entirely new experience, and finally, a woman was represented as a Robot Master in the form of Splash Woman. Now that's progress!

5) Mega Man 3 (NES)


In some ways I prefer Mega Man 3 to Mega Man 2. Perhaps it's because Mega Man 2 is so highly rated that I feel that Mega Man 3 is severely underrated. Perhaps it's the level design (no obnoxious Quick Man stage, for example). Or perhaps it's the introduction of Mega Man's trusty canine Rush, his three transformations, and Mega's ability to slide that form my opinion. Regardless, Mega Man 3 is series creator's Keiji Inafune's least favorite additions to the franchise. Most of that was due to development time restrictions that left a lot on the cutting room floor. Still, I am always impressed with what was put into the game despite these problems. 

4) Mega Man X4 (PS1, SAT)


Alongside the release of Mega Man 8 was Mega Man X's debut in the PlayStation era. For the first time in franchise history, Zero had his own separate story from X, meaning that players had two campaigns to run, gun, and jump through. The more detailed graphics meant that players would definitely get a visual delight with the more powerful PlayStation platform. The levels were killer too, featuring training tests in cyberspace, rumbles in the jungle, a ride aboard a military train, and a red hot trip through a volcano. Mega Man X4 is infamous for its atrociously acted cutscenes, but like Mega Man 8, I think that just adds to the charm. Mega Man X4 ranks right up there with the better Mega Man games. It's level design, visuals, and overall high octane package make it that.

3) Mega Man X2 (SNES)


Mega Man X2 continued the tradition of fast paced gameplay that its predecessor introduced to the Mega Man franchise. Indeed, Mega Man X2 was very much more of the same, but when "more of the same" means more Mega Man X action, you really can't go wrong. In fact, Mega Man X2 features some of my most favorite memories of the X series. Everything from the incredibly well done level design to the catchy soundtrack will forever be etched into my gamer mind. The addition of collecting all three of Zero's parts created even more replay value than its predecessor.

2) Mega Man 2 (NES)


The best-selling Mega Man game-- and for good reason-- Mega Man 2 is a trusty title to name as one's favorite classic Mega Man. It introduced concepts that would remain in the classic series such as eight Robot Masters to defeat as opposed to the original's mere six and one-time use Energy Tanks, that refill Mega Man's health when needed. It also featured some of most memorable 8-bit tunes in video game history. I don't think I even need to say Dr. Wily's stage theme. Well, I just did. Regardless, Mega Man 2 is usually listed as one of the greatest video games of all time on various sites. If you don't know why, playing this game for yourself will provide you with the answers.

1) Mega Man X (SNES)


If you have read any Mega Man articles from me in the past, then you know that my favorite Mega Man series is the X series. The addition of wall climbing and armor upgrades from Dr. Light capsules such as dashing and X-Buster charging made made for an entertaining time. Hidden heart tanks and subtanks meant the replay value of Mega Man X was much greater than that of the classic series on the NES. The 16-bit graphics meant more detail and more impressive visuals. Mega Man X delivered in spades on better action, more secrets, and a darker story. It not only remains my favorite Mega Man game (in any series), but it also remains one of my favorite video games of all time.

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This list of my top ten Mega Man games is complete. Do you have ten favorites that you'd like to share? If not, what is your favorite Mega Man game in general, with regard to any series? Let the community know in the comments section.

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