The little blue guy known as Mega Man (along with his various associates and related robots) has had a very long and storied career in video games. Since the NES days, he’s starred in some absolute classics of the run-and-gun genre, although for every incredible game or spin-off experience Capcom has delivered, there have arguably been one or two titles that either didn’t quite hit the mark or — more often — felt a little too familiar. With so many games in the Blue Bomber’s back catalogue, it can be hard to know which ones are the cream of the crop. Well, that’s where we come in.
Actually, that’s where you come in. Below you’ll find every game featuring the words ‘Mega Man’ in the title ever to grace a Nintendo console (in the West). Yes, that’s over fifty games, including all the spin-offs and side adventures — the Xs, ZXs, Zeroes, Battle Networks, and more. We’ve also included compilations for thoroughness; several of them feature titles that are unavailable separately on a Nintendo console (Mega Man: Power Battle or Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters on Mega Man Anniversary Collection, for example; Mega Man 8 on Mega Man Legacy Collection 2; Mega Man Battle & Chase in Mega Man X Collection).
This ranking comes from Nintendo Life readers’ User Ratings for the games on our database and is subject to real time fluctuations even after publication. Yes, that means it’s entirely possible to influence the ranking below even if you haven’t rated your favourites yet. To do so, simply click on the game you wish to rate and assign a score on the Game Page.
Many thanks to everyone who already rated their favourite Mega Men. Now, let’s charge up our shot and scroll down to find out which are the best (and, conversely, the worst) Mega Man games on Nintendo consoles…
Release Date: 2nd Mar 2004 (Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge will be overwhelmed by just how different this title is, and it’s a variation of the spin-off Battle Network series to boot. Though there’s a lot to take in at first, there’s actually very little for players to do once things are up and running. Compared to Battle Network, the system here takes far too much control away from you and is based heavily on luck and patience instead of quick thinking and ongoing decisions. Familiar faces and some great music can’t quite save an experience that’ll frustrate more than it pleases.
Release Date: 25th Mar 1994 (Mega Man Soccer sounds like a game we’ve made up, but it is real, honest. This 1994 sports crossover pits you against eight teams of Robot Masters, and has a couple of fun ideas, but the execution was just so unremarkable that it’s slipped almost entirely from our memory. Every time we see it, it feels like a surprise. “Oh yeah! That… exists!”
Release Date: 10th Jan 2001 (Mega Man Xtreme is an interesting curio, but its ambitions exceed its abilities. As fantastic as a portable Mega Man X game sounds on paper, in practice Xtreme is little more than a lesser imitation of the console originals. Little in the way of unique content, copious spelling errors, and inferior visuals and audio — as well as control issues, too-frequent loading screens and repetitious padding — mean that all its big ideas are better handled elsewhere.
Release Date: 11th Mar 2003 (Mega Man & Bass we got in the West nearly five years later. It certainly lives up to the reputation of the series and did enough new things to shake up the well-worn formula. While there are occasions where unfair gameplay can bog down the experience, it offers a surprising amount of replayability and overall solid mechanics.
Release Date: 17th Jun 2003 (Mega Man Network Transmission has a cel-shaded art style that pops quite nicely, unfair difficulty and a lack of imagination in level design leave MMNT some way off the strongest entries in the spin-off series.
Release Date: 1st Nov 2001 (Mega Man Xtreme 2 is a major improvement in every way over its predecessor. It looks fantastic, plays very well, offers a smooth and varied experience and draws from a whopping four Mega Man X games. This is much closer to the portable X experience that fans were looking for back in 2001, and while screen size, some minor control issues and a few unresolved problems from the first game contribute a bit of a drag factor, it’s still an ultimately enjoyable experience.
Release Date: 24th Jun 2008 (Mega Man Star Force 2 took the basic template of the first game… and didn’t do much different at all, really. It might have had something to do with the fact that this released less than a year after the previous game — Capcom was just churning them out at this point, and there would be a third and final entry in the Star Force line the following year.
Release Date: Dec 1991 (Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge is a decent first attempt at a handheld Mega Man game. It’s fairly fun, but you may have the feeling you’re playing a watered down version of the NES games, which will end up making you want to play them instead. The game is over in a flash — with just six stages, it’s shorter than every other game in the series. Thankfully, Capcom noticed this and kept it in mind for the remaining four Game Boy Mega Man games, each of which has ten or more stages and are, overall, more impressive than this first attempt. Not bad for a fresh(mega)man, though.
Release Date: 27th Jun 2004 (Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun & Blue Moon did make some fairly significant changes to the series. Regardless, virus busting is as engaging as ever and exploring the charming worlds both inside and outside computers provides a fun and unique experience. Barring a few tweaks, the core experience is still the same that made many fans fall in love with this series, and Red Sun & Blue Moon are solid games.
Release Date: Feb 1992 (Mega Man II isn’t the greatest entry in the Blue Bomber’s library. Removed from inevitable comparisons to the NES versions of Mega Man 2 and 3, judging the game on its own somewhat clunky merits does it no favours, either. The unique content is limited to a forgettable new boss and new weapon, and perhaps the shortest Wily stage in history. Unless you’re an absolute completionist — or afflicted with the same morbid curiosity we are — there’s no reason to grab this entry over the multiple good interpretations of Mega Man on the Game Boy.
Release Date: Mar 1988 (Mega Man may have been refined in its immediate sequels, but the irresistible mix of run-and-gun platforming and tight controls were there from the get-go. If you’re looking to get into the series, this 8-bit beginning is still a good place to start and will give you an appreciation of the subtle improvements Capcom implemented over the first three NES entries.
@screechums with all due respect, think you have to acknowledge that a lot of people prefer X for the evolution of the series.
Personally,, I was blown away seeing the series jump to 16 bit. It was the overall jump up in presentation as well as tweaks such as being able to upgrade X’s abilities throughout the adventure in addition to the tried and trusted ‘beat a boss, get his weapon’ from previous entries that reeled us in.
Everything felt (to paraphrase Spinal Tap) ‘dialled up to 11’ – it had so much more personality thanks to the hardware allowing it to render beautiful environments, and the soundtrack was absolutely rocking.
Really enjoy MM2 as well, but X was the sort of game that made me say ‘wow’, in the same way Super Mario Bros 3 did when compared to the first game.