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25th Anniversary Challenge Part 1 (Mega Man 1-3)

How is this even possible arrrgh.
How is this even possible arrrgh.
Doug Seliger, Capcom

As it's halfway through 2012, I figured it was about time to get to the 25th Anniversary Super Challenge. As I mentioned previously, I'll be playing through all the mainline Mega Man, Final Fantasy, and Metal Gear games on account of how none of these series have had a good entry (or in Mega Man's case, any entry) in years so may as well play all the old ones.

The original Mega Man's legendary awful box art.
Capcom, nightmares.

It's a lot of games, so I'm breaking it down chunky style. First up was the first three Mega Man games, popularly referred to as "the best Mega Man games."

Mega Man (1987)

The story here goes that Dr. Light, assisted by Dr. Wily, made some robots--Cut Man, Guts Man, Bomb Man, Elec Man, Fire Man, and Ice Man--to do dumb menial stuff like logging, mining, and utilities management. Dr. Wily betrays his colleague and reprograms the robots to help him take over the world, so Dr. Light modifies Rock, his own "what it's not weird for me to have this" little boy robot, into the unstoppable killing machine Mega Man. He had another robot named Roll, but apparently the technology to weaponize girl robots wouldn't exist for eight more games, so whatever.

This was actually my first time playing the original Mega Man, and holy crap it's hard. I mean, NES games in general (and Mega Man games in particular) are known for their difficulty, but this was borderline cruel. Pretty much every enemy can shoot you in every direction, the metal shuttered hallways before bosses are loaded with enemy turrets, and you've got to re-fight four of the six bosses one right after the other without any health pickups in between.

PROTIP: Like many of us, Cut Man's weakness is his low self-esteem. Equip the weapon you got from High School Girl Man and use it to laugh cruelly and tell Cut Man the only thing he should be "cutting" is about a million calories a day out of his diet. Over the next several months he will wither and waste away, and you will get the Rolling Cutter.

Mega Man 2 (1988)

Mega Man's idea to turn around and just kind of walk back home immediately after defeating Dr. Wily turned out to be terrible, and soon he was back to take over the world again.

Now if I understand the Mega Man canon correctly, the eight Robot Masters in this game aren't the reprogrammed robots of others, but rather they're entirely Wily's creations. Looking at them, it becomes pretty clear why he was just Dr. Light's assistant before:

  • Heat Man - Not terrible, though sort of a ripoff of Fire Man. Looks like a cross between a zippo lighter and a blow-up doll.
  • Crash Man - Again, kind of a ripoff of Bomb Man, except with drills on his hands which he uses to do nothing, ever.
  • Quick Man - Like the one good track in an album full of crap, Quick Man is probably the best out of this bunch. Moves really fast while firing tiny boomerangs at you, and his stage is full of giant death lasers.
  • Air Man - "Behold the power of a gentle breeze!"
  • Metal Man - A robot that is, through some miraculous feat of engineering, made out of metal.
  • Wood Man - Made of old tables or something, shoots yard clippings at you while shouting "I SHOULD NOT EXIST!"
  • Bubble Man - I'm pretty sure Bubble Man was the result of an experiment by Dr. Wily to see if he could create a robot so awful that it would develop emotions just so it could hate itself.
  • Flash Man - A robot given the incredible power to manipulate time, and the mental ability to barely not crap his own pants. Looks like a dollar store version of Mega Man.

So not the best group, but the game is still widely considered the best in the series. It ironed out some of the gameplay kinks in the first one, added more robots, and has great music including one of the most remixed songs in gaming history.

Mega Man 3 (1990)

Dr. Wily has abandoned his evil ways and teamed up with Dr. Light to build a peace-keeping robot dubbed Gamma. Before they can finish it, eight Robot Masters in charge of some "mining worlds" steal its power crystals and just kinda wait around for Mega Man to kill them.

There's all kinds of crazy stuff in this game. There's Snake Man and Gemini Man and Shadow Man (robot ninja!) and uh...Top Man...and Hard Man...uh.

There's Proto Man (who is also for some reason called Break Man here), Racer X to Mega Man's Speed. And Rush, your robot dog buddy who turns into a jet and a submarine and stuff.

And AND...I'll just say it. Robot ghosts. You have to fight robot ghosts posessing other robots. Specifically, the ghosts of the eight Robot Masters from Mega Man 2.

Dr. Wily turns out to be behind the whole thing, surprising nobody. He steals Gamma once it's complete, gets it destroyed by Mega Man, and is crushed by garbage. Proto Man saves Mega Man from the rubble and leaves Wily behind to hopefully die, proving that he is not only the cool brother but also the smart one.

PROTIP: Use Spark Man's weapon to ignite the spark of romance between Hard Man and Top Man, to prove that love can bloom...even on a battlefield.

I'm mixing it up next time and switching to the Metal Gear challenge. Instead of playing the games in the order they released in, I'll be playing them in chronological order based on the events of the series. This means I'll be starting that challenge with Metal Gear Solid 3, then going on to Peace Walker and so on, finishing with Metal Gear Solid 4. The MGS chronology starts with the best game and ends with the worst. Kind of the reverse of Star Wars. But I digress.

Tune in next time for Metal Gear Solid 3.


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