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The Top 5 Classic Mega Man Games

The Mega Man series is one of the most iconic in all of video games, and it just so happens to be one of my favorites. Though the Blue Bomber has appeared in countless different titles, split into multiple different series over the years, the classic Mega Man series–the ones where he’s just called Mega Man–are my personal favorites of the lot.
So in this list, I’ll be counting down my 5 favorites from among the “Classic” series–this potentially includes games as new as Mega Man 11, as long as they’re part of the original Mega Man series. I love most of them, so some of them not appearing on this list doesn’t mean I think they’re bad or anything–I just don’t think they’re as good as these 5 titles.

#5–Mega Man 9

After 1997’s Mega Man 8, it seemed like the classic Mega Man series was pretty much dead. It had been years without a new title in the original series, and it seemed as though we would never get another classic Mega Man game.

Fast forward to 2008, and Capcom released Mega Man 9, the first true sequel to the original games in more than a decade. And what a sequel it was! With a graphical style that mirrored the original NES games and tough as nails, high quality gameplay, it was exactly what fans had been dreaming of for years.

Mega Man 9 had great level design and brought some inventive new gimmicks to the series, while still keeping things feeling like a classic NES game. Though some people did complain at the time that they should have gone with a more modern art style, and that it could have taken the mechanics even further, I think it was perfect just the way it was.

#4–Mega Man 4

Funny how Mega Man 4 is number four on this list, huh? Some people argue that Mega Man 4 through 6 aren’t as good as those that preceded them, but I’ve always disagreed with that. I think that ALL of the NES Mega Man titles are excellent, and Mega Man 4 is certainly no exception.

Mega Man 4 brought us the Mega Buster, and with it, Mega Man’s now-iconic charge shot. It brought us some of the most unique bosses and level designs in the series up to that point, and it was definitely the best-looking Mega Man game at the time it came out, with a huge step up in graphics over the previous three games.

If you’ve been on the fence about some of the later NES Mega Man titles due to their reputation as being not as good as the first few, then I suggest definitely giving them a try anyway, and you might just enjoy them.

#3–Mega Man 3

It seems that Mega Man 3 has made it to the number three spot on this list. How weird! It’s almost like there’s some sort of pattern going on here…

Mega Man 3 was (obviously) the follow-up to the smash-hit Mega Man 2, and it did a pretty good job of taking many of the things that made the first two games great and adding a little extra spice. That spice came in two main flavors–the addition of sliding, which added a whole new movement dynamic to the game, and Rush, Mega Man’s new robotic dog pal that could transform into vehicles and tools for Mega Man to make use of.

Not to mention that it was the longest Mega Man game released at the time, and the first to really throw some curveballs at the player in terms of what happens after you defeat the eight robot masters. The game proved that even though the Mega Man games were all very similar to one another, Capcom could still make them feel unique and innovative with just a few minor mechanic additions.

#2–Mega Man 2

How surprising! Mega Man 2 takes the number two spot on this list! What a coincidence!

Considered by some to be one of the greatest games of all time, Mega Man 2 absolutely wowed players back when it first launched in 1989. The quality of the level design and gameplay was pretty much unprecedented at the time–even Nintendo’s own first party titles had trouble competing against Mega Man 2 as the NES’s top game, as far as many players were concerned.

It improved upon the original in pretty much every way, and in many players’ eyes, it has stood the test of time and remains just as good as it was back in the day. Heck, when Capcom made Mega Man 9 and 10, they used Mega Man 2 specifically as inspiration for how the game should look and play, as opposed to some of the later titles, for the most part. The game was, and still is, just about perfect, and it still stands as one of the best titles on the NES.

 

#1–Mega Man 5

While Mega Man 2 may have the top spot in the eyes of most players, for me, it is only second-best. And in its place is… something rather unexpected! There are many players out there who feel that Mega Man 5 is one of the weaker games in the classic series – as many players believe that the series began to decline after Mega Man 3, but as I said earlier in the Mega Man 4 entry, I couldn’t disagree more with that sentiment.

I feel that all of the NES Mega Man titles are good, and while I do agree that Mega Man 2 and 3 are fantastic games, I feel that Mega Man 5 edges out above them. Though the game isn’t quite as difficult as its predecessors, I feel like Capcom really knocked it out of the park with the level design and boss fights in this game. It looks great, plays great, and (like all of the other NES Mega Man games) has an awesome soundtrack as well.

When you have a series where each game is so similar to the last, you have to really look at all the little details that make up each game in order to pick one over the other, and in my opinion, all those little details, such as level design, stand out among the other classic Mega Man titles, in Mega Man 5. It’s not a popular opinion, I know, but it’s how I feel. Out of all of the classic Mega Man titles, I like Mega Man 5 the best, and like I said with the Mega Man 4 entry, if you’ve passed on it because you’ve been told it wasn’t as good as some of the others, I urge you to give it a shot.

 

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  1. Nice list! Mega Man is my favorite gaming franchise. I also think that Mega Man 4-6 are very underrated. Mega Man 6 is my personal favorite. I would actually place 3 as better than 2. You could make arguments for almost any of the games for a top 5. Could you please do a Mario or Kirby list as well?

  2. The stages themselves are well made, and again, very hard. Concrete Man has trick fall-through tiles, Magma Man has complex over enemy paths.

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