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Mega Man through the ages

As we approach the Man's 25th anniversary, we look back at the life of an old school legend

As Mega Man reaches his 25th anniversary tomorrow, what better time to look back over the career of an old hero from the NES era. From his NES debut in 1987 to his nails WiiWare outings, here's everything you need to know about the blue bot.

The rock n roll roots of Mega Man

What happens when you ask one of the creators of Street Fighter to hop genres and create a platformer? You get Mega Man, of course! Street Fighter guru Keiji Inafune was originally asked to design a game starring Japanese anime legend Astro Boy, but when licensing talks broke down Capcom dreamed up its very own cutesy robot boy. Names like Knuckles Kid, Mighty Kid and Rainbow Man were bandied about before the team settled on Rockman (Mega Man's Japanese name). Inafune drew the name from 'rock 'n' roll', and has reportedly never been happy with the 'Mega Man' moniker.

There was just one hitch when it came to Mega Man's debut: the game that the team delivered - 1987's NES Mega Man - was a flop. Inafune-san pleaded for time to work on an improved sequel between coding duties on a title Capcom believed was much more important - Professional Baseball Murder Mystery. It paid off: Mega Man 2 was a smash, and the franchise went from strength to strength, helped by an annual competition in Japan and the US where fan-designed bosses were chosen to appear in the next game.

It's odd that the fan-art idea wasn't extended to the games' boxes: the first two Mega Man games have the ugliest cover images ever. Official!

Mega Man 2 Box Art
Mega Man 2 Box Art

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16 comments so far...
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  1. tgrech Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 15:42

    First reply!!!

    Megaman is mint.

  2. Ai64 Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 17:24

    Megaman is soild but the games are hard as nails. I think the 10th could be the hardest of the bunch.

  3. hardcoregamerrob Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 17:29

    megaman and the X series are the best :D.

    my best memory is finding out all the bosses have weak points lol when i was younger i never knew it but like 3 years ago when i was on megaman 1 my mate said use 'ice on fire'.
    i was like 'this was like 15 years ago they wouldnt even think about weak points back in those days'. i did what he said and it worked. i was shocked :shock:.
    That made all the megaman games wayyyy easier after finding that out but the levels are still blooming hard :D

  4. irishmarcoos Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 18:07

    This is a great article and all...

    But where is the STAR FORCE series? :? :x

  5. toffeeman30 Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 19:54

    underrated character,up there with mario and link. i prefer the retro games on the nes,though the snes version wasnt bad

  6. StaraptorLV.X Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 20:13

    Megaman 9...the legend. It's as tough as nails and it's one of three ways to become a gaming legend.
    Way1)Beat megaman9
    Way2)Finish twilight princess in 1hr in a blindfold
    Way3)Beat me at the battle tower.
    Only true gaming pros beat that thing WITHOUT SHARKING

  7. sciqueen Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 20:42

    I have the Anniversary Collection for Gamecube but it's pretty unplayable because some moron at Capcom decided to switch the controls around, making a hard game even harder! (I can't get past the first level of the NES games...)

    Putting Jump on the B button, honestly...

  8. Zarnak Thursday 10th Dec 2009 at 21:48

    My only problem with the Megaman games is that you have the inability to shoot up or diagonally. I know it has become part of the gameplay, but it's seriously annoying and clunky.

  9. sivlock Friday 11th Dec 2009 at 10:17

    I love Megaman games most of them are brilliant, first I played was number 2 on the NES back in the day. I got the anniversary and X collection for the GC last year then foolishly I got x7 and x8 for the PS2 and wtf happened they tried to bring the series into 3D and it was painfully slow and just not as enjoyable.

    Is there going to be a new DS Megaman Zero game does anyone know?

  10. Tommson Friday 11th Dec 2009 at 10:37

    Can sometimes be cheap and frustrating, but still an incredible franchise, one of the best.

    Brilliant music also.

  11. Red-Wolf Friday 18th Dec 2009 at 20:17

    I'm not a fan of Mega Man, but I do like Mega Man 2 (I'm still stuck on that Heat Man stage. Stupid vanishing platforms! Stupid Heat Man!)

  12. Mello Sunday 16th Dec 2012 at 10:22

    I appreciate the love for the series, particularly from younger players who played a lot of GBA stuff, but I don't remember Mega Man being that big a deal in the UK back in the NES days. Definitely not to the same regard as it is held in America.

    If they do something really interesting for the 25th anniversary I'll probably look into it as I'm kind of jealous of the way so many people have such a fond attitude for it, I have MM2 on both NES and VC and it is fun enough but not enough to justify the trial and error gameplay for me, which I'm not that big a fan of (and yes I readily admit to being rubbish at a lot of games :P).

  13. epiclink Sunday 16th Dec 2012 at 10:59

    Wait a minute, rated E for everyone reference?

  14. MartinIsAwesome Sunday 16th Dec 2012 at 14:03

    Don't forget the 90s Mega Man cartoon series -
    I'm not sure if it was ever shown over here, but it is well worth a look on yotube. It's not bad actually. The theme song is mint.

    My favourite Mega Man game, of the ones I've played so far, is Mega Man 2. That said I've only played the first three and X. I'd like to get around to playing 9 and 10 eventually, and the Zero games looks pretty good too. It's a shame, Mega Man Zero Collection never came out over here either. I'll have to try and track it down from somewhere.

  15. Commandervideo Sunday 16th Dec 2012 at 15:23

    Hopefully Capcom will announce some really good plans tomorrow for his anniversary, Megaman X Street Fighter is out tomorrow on PC and it's FREE! (Capcom-Unity site) Even if you don't want it, download it anyway to support the series as a whole.

    I've only played MM1 so far, when it came out on 3DS last month. But I'm not sure wheather I should buy into the rest of the series though as MM2-6 and MM9&10 will cost Ł40 to download. :shock: Come on capcom and announce a compilation.

  16. Targey Sunday 16th Dec 2012 at 16:49

    Hey, I remember this article when it was first in the magazine sometime in late 2006/2007!

    The only thing you've added to the article is the bit about Mega Man 9. Other than that, it's that very same feature on Mega Man from 2006/2007, word for word.

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