Codex Gamicus

Mega Man was the first of many games released in a series of action/platforming titles by Capcom, Inc. and created by Keiji Inafune. This title was originally released in December of 1987 on the Famicom (NES in North America) and would be re-released on the PlayStation, Nintendo GameCube, PS2, and Microsoft Xbox, and even remade on the Sony PlayStation Portable.

The first title differs from sequels in that it contains a point system, no way to save (no passwords or save feature), and only six Robot Masters (although Mega Man: Powered Up compensates for these shortcomings).

Game Data[]

Original Release[]

Title screen of the original "Rockman," released in December, 1987.

Original Console: Nintendo Entertainment System

Release Date: December 17, 1987

Publisher: Capcom Co., Ltd.


Rockman (Rockman Complete Works): Sony PlayStation (Japan)

Release Date: August 5, 1999

Publisher: Capcom Co., Ltd.

Mega Man: Anniversary Collection: GameCube, PlayStation 2, XBox

GC and PS2 Release Date: June 22, 2004

Xbox Release Date: March 15, 2005

Publisher: Capcom Co., Ltd.

Mega Man: Powered Up: Sony PlayStation Portable

Release Date: March 14, 2006

Publisher: Capcom Co., Ltd.


Mega Man presents the player with six stages designed in the side-scrolling platformer genre. The stage select screen allows the player to freely choose from these six stages, which can be replayed if they are cleared. The player, as Mega Man, fights through various enemies and obstacles in every stage before facing a "Robot Master" boss at the level's end. The player's health, represented by a gauge on the left side of the screen, can be replenished by picking up energy cells randomly dropped by enemies. Upon defeating a Robot Master, the player assimilates the Robot Master's signature attack (or "Master Weapon") into Mega Man's arsenal for the rest of the game. Unlike the standard blaster, the Robot Master powers have limited ammunition which must be refilled by collecting ammunition cells also dropped by defeated enemies. While the player is free to proceed through the game in any order, each Robot Master is especially vulnerable to a specific weapon, encouraging the player to complete certain stages before others. Besides the weapons taken from the Robot Masters, the player is able to pick up a platform generator item known as the "Magnet Beam" in Elec Man's stage. Mega Man also features a scoring system for defeating enemies. Extra points are earned by collecting power-ups from fallen enemies and a bonus is awarded for clearing each stage. When all six Robot Master stages are completed, the seventh and last stage appears in the middle of the stage select menu. This stage, known as the "Wily Fortress", is a chain of four regular stages linked together, each containing at least one new boss. During these final stages, the six Robot Masters must also be fought again in a predetermined order before the final confrontation against Dr. Wily.


To understand the story of Mega Man, one must look back at the events which occur before the game takes place, and to do so, once can look to sources such as Rockman Perfect Memories which have taken the time to document the information reported by Capcom over the years in regards to the series:

The story of the Mega Man universe begins in the mid-20th century with the birth of Thomas Light and Albert W. Wily (circa 1958). These men would become friends and attend the same university, studying the field of electronics and eventually receiving PhDs. By the 1990s, the two men would go into business together and form a company called Light Labs, a team whose ambition it was to use computer and electronic technology to benefit mankind in the coming era.

In the early 21st century, Light Labs made its first leaps in the field of robotics, creating the Sniper Joe police robots, Mettool construction robots, and various others to benefit mankind. Yet, Light and Wily both realized the potential of their project. They wanted to create robots that were human-like. They wanted to build robots that contained artificial intelligence within them.

Thus, around the year 2005, Light Labs produced the first one of such robots- Proto Man. Proto Man was based on the design of the Sniper Joe robots, but was instilled with an artificial intelligence unlike anything the world had ever seen. Yet, Proto possessed a true sense of independence, one that made him much like true human beings, and because of this he ran from the lab before his diagnostic testing was completed.

Still, Light and Wily did not give up. The following year they set to work on building a pair of robots, thinking that two would work together and overcome the independence issue. It was thus that Rock and Roll were born. Rock became the lab's new assistant and Roll became a housekeeper. With the success of this project, the two scientists went on to create eight more robots, each for industrial assistance purposes: Fire Man, Ice Man, Bomb Man, Cut Man, Guts Man, Elec Man, Oil Man, and Time Man.

It was for the success of these projects that Dr. Thomas Light received the Nobel Prize for Robot Master Design in 2007, an award which Wily felt he deserved as well.[1]

Note: In the original version of the story, Doctors Light and Wily only built six robots in their industrial series, but Capcom modified the story with the release of Mega Man: Powered Up to contain two additional Robot Masters in order to make the game more in-line with its sequels.


In December 2008, Dr. Albert W. Wily had finally had enough of living in the shadow of his colleague, Thomas Light. Light's reception of the Nobel Prize the previous year, as well as his winning the LIT Manual Design Contest drove him over the edge. Wily realized the potential of what he and Dr. Light had been designing with the Light Labs team. Robots with true A.I. built for industrial purposes could be used for other means. It was to this line of thinking that Wily turned one night that month when he snuck down into the lab and reprogrammed all of the robots that he could get his hands on. However, he failed to get past the programming on Rock and his "sister," Roll. Still, Wily figured that in the end he wouldn't have much use for a lab assistant and a housekeeper, so he took his new army of industrial powerhouses and fled the lab.

When Light came in, he found his lab in shambles and soon discovered that his colleague was to blame. With Wily on the loose with an army of intelligent and powerful robots, Dr. Light knew that the world's police forces and armies weren't ready to deal with this new challenge.

Rock being converted into Mega Man in Mega Man 4 on the NES, (C) 1991 by Capcom.

It was thus that Rock, the lab assistant, volunteered to be converted into a fighting robot. Rock had a strong sense of justice and couldn't sit by and watch his "father's" work be destroyed before his very eyes. As such, Light reluctantly converted the former lab assistant into a robot of unimaginable potential. Equipped with titanium armor and a plasma cannon, Rock became known as the fighting robot Mega Man and set out for Wily's new fortress of Monsteropolis.

Would he be able to stop the evil madman from taking over the world?

Story from the NES Manual, (C) 1987 Capcom[]

It's MEGA MAN versus the powerful leaders and fighting forces of Monsteropolis—that strange multi-faceted land of robot-like Humanoids. Brilliant scientist Dr. Wright conceived the construction of fully-operational human-like experimental robots to perform specific everyday duties. Dr. Wright, and his assistant Dr. Wily, encouraged with their very first near human robot—MEGA MAN—proceeded to develop six additional Humanoids, all programmed to perform prescribed rituals.

But, with the exception of MEGA MAN, all of Dr.Wright's near-human robot experimentation went awry. Assistant Dr. Wily turned disloyal, re-programming Dr. Wright's Humanoids, now bent on destroying opposition so Dr. Wily could control the world and its resources.

Resisting re-programming, MEGA MAN is chosen the defender of the universe and its inhabitants. MEGA MAN dares to single-handedly penetrate seven separate empires of Monsteropolis, eliminating the leaders and followers of these sovereignties.

Get ready for some very exciting challenges! [2]

Notes: In the NES version, Dr. Light is named Dr. Wright, but he is later renamed to Light. The time period is not stated for this game, but Mega Man 2, which takes place six months later, mentions the year of 200X (or sometime between 2000 and 2009). The dates are extrapolated from information from official sources, such as Capcom and Rockman Perfect Memories.[1]

Major Characters[]

Dr. Thomas Light[]

Dr. Thomas Light, master robot engineer, (C) Capcom, Inc.

Also Known As: Dr. Wright and Dr. Right

Born: Circa 1958

Died: Circa 2040

Strength: Light is a good-natured person.

Weakness: He is easily tricked.

Likes: The Internet.

Dislikes: Fighting/Violence.

Dr. Thomas Light was born circa-1958, and when he grew older he went off to school to study electronics and computer technology, a field which was beginning to really take off at the close of the twentieth century. It was in college that he met his friend and future colleague Albert Wily, and once the two graduated with their doctorate degrees, they went into research together, eventually forming what came to be known as Light Labs. Light Labs began to study computer and robotic technology in the 1990s, and by the early 2000s they released the first of a series of robotic creations on the world.

Light Labs logo from Wily and Right's Rockboard: That's Paradise, (C) 1993 Capcom, Inc.

Still, Dr. Light and his partner knew that much more was possible, and so over the next couple years they worked on what they called Proto Man, a modified version of the Sniper Joe police robot, but with a far more advanced artificial intelligence system. However, when Proto Man went awol in 2005, the two set their sights on developing a pair of robots named Rock and Roll, as well as a series of industrial robots to help mankind.

It was for this incredible research that Dr. Light received the 2007 Nobel Prize (for his creation of the Robot Masters). However, this caused much jealousy from his colleague, who felt that he should share in the triumph. Thus, that, shared with Light's winning of the LIT Manual Design Contest caused Wily to revolt in December 2008.

Light would reluctantly convert his lab assistant, Rock, into the fighting robot that became known as Mega Man. Would this be the fate of his new creations? Would violence be the destiny of both human and robot kind? Light desired peace, but he knew that Rock had to stop Wily before it was too late.[3]

Dr. Albert W. Wily[]

Dr. Albert W. Wily, Light and Rock's rival, (C) Capcom, Inc.

Born: Circa 1958

Died: Circa 2040

Strength: Wily is a genius (especially as a scientist)

Weakness: He never gives up

Likes: Taking over the world

Dislikes: Admitting defeat

Albert W. Wily was born circa 1958 and would later attend the same university as Thomas Light. The two studied electrical systems together, and upon graduating would become colleagues and later found Light Labs by the 1990s. Wily was a brilliant partner to Dr. Light and the two work vigorously at the close to the twentieth century and into the early-2000s on a project to build robots that would help mankind. Early models, like the Sniper Joe police units proved successful, so the two would go on to build humanoid robots with more advanced A.I. units. Although Proto Man would go awol in 2005, the Rock and Roll project the following year proved to be a huge success, so the two worked hard to continue and build a series of industrial units to help in the world's labor force.

Wily felt a sense of pride in his work. As such, it came as a huge blow to him when, the following year, Dr. Light received the 2007 Nobel Prize for the Design of the Robot Masters. Wily felt like he should have shared in the accomplishment since he, too, designed every one of them. Light also won the LIT Manual Design Contest, and that proved to be the final straw.

Dr. Wily's signature logo, (C) Capcom, Inc.

Wily reprogrammed all of the industrial units and every robot that he could get his hands on in Light Labs one night in December 2008, but he failed to get past the programming within Rock and Roll's A.I. However, he didn't see any use for a lab assistant and a housekeeper and figured that his army was massive enough. With that, the former colleague of Thomas Light left and built his own lab/fortress and made his intentions clear to the world- a new era of technology had been born (one under his rule!).

Was the world ready to deal with Dr. Wily's powerful new army yet? Would the former lab assistant robot, now converted into a fighting machine known as Mega Man, be able to stop him with no outside help? [3]

Note: Wily's age is mentioned in the Japanese Rockman & Forte (Super Famicom, 1998) manual as being 57. The game takes place circa 2015, and thus his birthyear is extrapolated to be circa 1958. Light and Wily are roughly the same age, so Light is estimated to be born around the same year. 2040 has been accepted as an estimated death year because by that year they would have been 82-years-old.

Robot Masters[]

Name Ability Given Name Ability Given
Cut Man Rolling Cutter Guts Man Super Arm
Elec Man Thunder Beam Ice Man Ice Slasher
Fire Man Fire Storm Bomb Man Hyper Bomb


There has been one soundtrack released for the first six Mega Man games: Capcom Music Generation Family Computer Soundtracks: Rockman 1~6. Tracks 1-18 on disc 1 consist of music from the first Mega Man game.


The original Mega Man (rockman) games have been taken to different generation by different remakes. One of the most known by this time is the PSP version with remodeled graphics similar to the Ps2 versions. This game, called Mega Man Powered Up, was released together with another remake of the Mega Man X series called Mega Man X Irregular Hunters.

Mega Man Powered Up includes the original version of the NES game and the new version, that includes a new starting level and two new robot masters, Oilman and Timeman. The game also includes a variety of replay value, like the option to play as some of the enemies, extra dialogue and the possibilities of playing with Roll, Protoman, and two versions of Mega Man, the one from Mega Man 3 (the one with the ground dash) and from Mega Man 4 (with the megabuster, the chargeable)

Apart from these remakes, the original Mega Man game has been added to a lot of compilations, like Mega Man anniversary collection for the PS2, Xbox and GameCube. It is also included in a version for PSone which include all the Mega Man games from the NES. This version includes better sounds and some hints so the gamer can go through the game with less problems.


Prior to the development of Mega Man, Capcom was primarily known for creating arcade games, with many of the company's releases on consoles being ports of these titles. In the mid-1980s, Capcom made plans to develop Mega Man specifically for the Japanese home console market. The developer decided to bring in fresh, young talent for the project's small group of people, including artist Keiji Inafune, who had recently graduated college and joined the Street Fighter team. Inafune recalled that the development team for Mega Man worked extremely hard to complete the final product. According to the artist, his superior and lead designer on the project wanted to achieve the game's perfection in every possible aspect. Inafune designed and illustrated nearly all of the game's characters and enemies, as well as the Japanese Rockman logo, box art, and instruction manual. Inafune was also responsible for rendering these designs into graphical sprite form. "We didn’t have [a lot of] people, so after drawing character designs, I was actually doing the dotting for the Nintendo," Inafune stated. "Back then, people weren’t specialized and we had to do a lot of different things because there was so few people, so I really ended up doing all the characters." Inafune was influenced by the eponymous protagonist of Osamu Tezuka's manga Astro Boy in his designs for the game. Although he is often credited for designing the hero Mega Man, Inafune insisted that his mentor at Capcom already had the basic concept of the character made when he joined the company and therefore "only did half of the job in creating him". Mega Man was colored blue due to the technical limitations of the NES. The console only has 56 colors in its pallette, the color blue having the most shades. Therefore, Mega Man was illustrated with different shades of blue to make him more detailed. The team decided to incorporate anime elements into the game. Inafune explained, "[Mega Man's] hand transforms into a gun and you can actually see it come out of his arm. We wanted to make sure that the animation and the motion was realistic and actually made sense. So with Mega Man, we had this perfect blending of game character with animation ideas." Aside from normal enemies, the very first character Inafune designed was Elec Man, drawing inspiration from American comic book characters. The artist has commented that Elec Man has always been his favorite design. The gameplay for Mega Man was inspired by the game rock-paper-scissors. Each weapon deals a large amount of damage to one specific Robot Master, others have little to no effect against them, and there is no single weapon that dominates all the others. The production team chose a music motif when naming characters in Mega Man due to the worldwide recognition of music. They began with the main characters: the protagonist's original name is Rock and his sister's name is Roll, a play on the term "rock and roll". This type of naming would later be used with many characters throughout the rest of the series.Before finalizing the name, Capcom had considered others such as "Mighty Kid", "Knuckle Kid", and "Rainbow Man". When the game was localized for distribution in America, Capcom changed the title of the game from Rockman to Mega Man. This moniker was created by Capcom's then-Senior Vice President Joseph Marici, who claimed it was changed merely because he did not like the original name. "That title was horrible," Marici said. "So I came up with Mega Man, and they liked it enough to keep using it for the U.S. games."'s Nadia Oxford attributed this change to Capcom's belief that American children would be more interested in a game with the latter title.

Reception and legacy[]

Critical reception for Mega Man has been favorable. Lucas M. Thomas of IGN described the game as an "undeniable classic" for the NES, noting solid graphics, innovative weapon-based platform gameplay, and good music. IGN editor Matt Casamassina proclaimed, "Mega Man is one of the best examples of great graphics, amazing music and near-perfect gameplay rolled into one cartridge". GameSpot writers Christian Nutt and Justin Speer identified the game as a "winner in gameplay" granted its "low-key presentation". Jeremy Parrish of likewise outlined it as a "charming (if slightly rough) start for the series". Mega Man has been commonly received as very difficult. Casamassina found the game to not only be the hardest in the franchise, but one of the hardest titles available on the NES. Lucas observed that its combination of high difficulty and short length hurt its replayability.'s Kat Bailey perceived the "Nintendo-hard" bosses found in Mega Man to be what sets it apart from its two immediate and more popular sequels. Mega Man has additionally received various honors from gaming journals and websites. IGN listed the game at number 30 on its "Top 100 NES Games of All Time". Nintendo Power ranked Mega Man at number 20 on its "100 Best Nintendo Games of All Time" in its 100th issue in September 1997, then at number 61 in its "Top 200 Games" in its 200th issue in February 2006. The British magazine The Games Machine awarded it the "Star Player" accolade after its launch in PAL regions. Mega Man garnered moderately low sales upon its release, although they were higher than Capcom had anticipated. With little press coverage save for a full-page advertisement in Nintendo Fun Club News, the game established itself as a sleeper hit with overseas fans thanks in part to word of mouth. Inafune blamed its North American cover art for the game's lack of initial prosperity in that region. This box art contains virtually nothing that can be found in the game: Mega Man himself resembles a middle-aged man rather than a boy, his costume is colored yellow and blue instead of being entirely blue, and he is holding a handgun instead of his arm cannon. Over the years, the cover art has become infamous in the gaming community. It has been considered one of worst of game covers of all time by publications including GameSpy, Wired, and OC Weekly. While Mega Man was not a large commercial accomplishment for Capcom, the company decided to allow the development team to create a sequel ― Mega Man 2 ― for a Japanese release in 1988. The follow-up game proved to be such a success that it solidified Mega Man as one of Capcom's longest-running franchises. Capcom would carry the same 8-bit graphics and sprites present in the original Mega Man for the next five games in the main series. Even though the sequels would progressively feature more complex storylines, additional gameplay mechanics, and better graphics, the core elements initiated by the original Mega Man remained the same throughout the series. Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 would later revert to the familiar graphical style set forth by this title. The scoring system in Mega Man has not been present in any of its sequels.

Remakes and re-releases[]

Mega Man has been re-released several times since its 1987 debut. It was included alongside Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 in the Sega Mega Drive compilation Mega Man: The Wily Wars, which is largely similar to the NES version but with enhanced graphics and arranged music. Another adaptation of the game was released in Japan on the PlayStation as part of the Rockman Complete Works series in 1999. This version also features arranged music in addition to a special "Navi Mode" that directs the player in certain portions of the levels. Mega Man was compiled with nine other games in the series in the North American Mega Man Anniversary Collection released for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube in 2004 and the Xbox in 2005. A mobile phone rendition of Mega Man developed by Lavastorm was released for download in North America in 2004. The game was given a separate mobile phone release in Japan in 2007, with an update in 2008 having the option to play as Roll. Mega Man for the NES was reissued on the Wii Virtual Console service in Europe in 2007 and in North America and Japan in 2008. Finally, the Complete Works version of the game was made available on the PlayStation Store in Japan in 2009. An enhanced remake titled Mega Man Powered Up was released worldwide for the PSP in 2006. The game features a graphical overhaul with 3D character models in a chibi-style with large heads and small bodies. Inafune had originally planned to make Mega Man look this way, but could not due to the hardware constraints of the NES. There are two ways to play through the game: "Old Style" and "New Style". Old Style is comparable to the NES version aside from the updated presentation. New Style takes advantage of the PSP's entire widescreen and contains storyline cutscenes with voice acting, remixed music, and three difficult modes for each stage. This mode also adds two new Robot Masters (Oil Man and Time Man) and the ability to unlock and play through the game as the eight Robot Masters. The stages in New Style differ in structure from those in Old Style by having pathways only accessible by certain Robot Masters. Mega Man Powered Up furthermore has a challenge mode with 100 challenges to complete; a level editor for creating custom stages; and a mode to distribute fan-made levels to the PlayStation Network online service. Mega Man Powered Up received mostly positive critical reviews, currently holding aggregate scores of 83% on GameRankings and 82 out of 100 on Metacritic. The remake sold poorly at retail, but was later made available as a paid download from the Japanese PlayStation Network. Capcom additionally translated Mega Man Powered Up into Chinese for release in Asia in 2008.


  • This game has an ending scene where Roll is shown together with Dr. Light waiting for Megaman, who arrives as Rock.
  • There's a secret weapon in this game, although it doesn't damage enemies, but it creates temporary platforms in the air.
  • This game has its counterpart version released on Gameboy. The storyline is set between Mega Man 3 and Mega Man 4.


External links[]