Codex Gamicus

Mega Man 4, known as Rockman 4 Arata Naru Yabō!! (ロックマン 4 新たなる野望!!, Rokkuman Fō Arata Naru Yabō!!, Rockman 4 A New Ambition!!) in Japan, is a video game from the Mega Man Classic series. The game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America and Europe, and for the Famicom in Japan. It was somewhere between the release of this game and the previous one that Capcom considered taking the Mega Man series to the SNES, its unveiling closely approaching at the time. However, they changed their minds and put it off for approximately four more years, until the release of Mega Man 7. This game was re-released for the PlayStation as part of the Rockman Complete Works series.A port of this version with less extra features was released PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox in 2004 as part of Mega Man Anniversary Collection.


This game reveals for the first time the complete origin of Mega Man. In the English NES version and in the Anniversary Collection rerelease, Mega Man's original name is Rock like the Japanese version. In this game, Mega Man is able to fire shots that are more powerful. When the player holds the button to fire the Mega Buster, Mega Man starts to glow. When the player releases the button, Mega Man fires a shot that is more powerful than his non-charged shot. This is the only NES game where the Mega Buster can remain charged even after being hit by an enemy. Although this was the first game with the Mega Buster, the shape of the fully-charged shots does not resemble the way it looked in later games. In fact, it looks more like a partially charged shot from the later games, with the partially charged shot in this game looking like just an enlarged regular shot. The "familiar" shape of a charged shot would first appear in the next NES Mega Man title. Unlike Mega Man 2 and 3, the player can revisit previously completed Robot Master stages, but this time with the Robot Master's lair empty (First game since the first one to do so). The player starts with three lives whenever he or she starts or resumes a game. The player can earn a maximum of ten lives. This game features one of three instances in the Mega Man series where the side scrolling is steady and controlled by the computer, rather than the player. This takes place in the third stage of Cossack's Fortress. The second instance, which is significantly more limited, takes place in Mega Man 2 at the end of the first stage of Skull Castle II, where Mega Man is being chased by a large dragon which serves as the stage's boss. Also, in Rock Man & Forte, the start of Tengu Man's stage features an auto-scrolling screen.


  • The ability to charge the Buster, which is now called the "Mega Buster" ("Neo Rock Buster" in Japan).
  • Two new utilities for Mega Man to use: a grappling hook (called the Wire Adapter) and a balloon dispenser (called the Balloon Adapter). This is the only game to date that has these items.
  • A helper robot, Flip-Top (Eddie), who will appear in certain stages to give the player a random item.
  • This was the first game in which passwords no longer saved your accumulated Energy Tanks.
  • Like Mega Man 2, this game also has a section with automatic scrolling, where the player has to keep up with the scroll. This is in Stage 3 of Dr. Cossack's Citadel.
  • There is a glitch in the game in which the second continue points in the fortress stages (between the boss doors) sometimes don't work. This is the only game to have this glitch.
  • When the Pharaoh Shot is being charged, a pinkish fireball appears above Mega Man and grows as the weapon is being charged; this fireball can hit enemies if touched and disappears upon doing so, but Mega Man can still fire another charged Pharaoh Shot when the player release the Fire button. It is unknown if this is a glitch or an intended trick within the game.


In the year 20XX, one year after the events of the Gamma Project and Dr. Wily's overtaking of it (and Wily's supposed "demise"), Dr. Light received a letter from a mysterious Russian scientist named Dr. Cossack claiming that he was the superior robot engineer in all the world. Cossack stated further that he would unleash his army of robots upon the world as a "test" for Light to see which of them was the best. Of course, Light would not stand for this, so once again, peace in the world was shattered, and Mega Man was called forth from his search for Wily (whom they had yet to find) to go after Cossack's Robot Masters. This time, however, Dr. Light had an upgrade ready for Mega Man's Buster. He had modified it into what he calls the "Mega Buster," which allows him to charge/focus energy into powerful plasma shots. Upon defeating the eight Robot Masters designed by Cossack, Mega Man makes his way to the scientist's icy fortress and fights his way through the stronghold and ultimately defeats him, but before he delivers the coup de grace, Proto Man teleports in with Cossack's daughter, Kalinka. Dr. Wily had kidnapped Dr. Cossack's daughter and forced him to build an army of robots to fight Mega Man in order to win his daughter back. Now that his plan had been revealed by Proto Man, Dr. Wily stepped out of the shadows and Mega Man gave chase to Wily's lair, where he fights through the newly built Skull Castle, and this time defeats Wily, though he again does not manage to capture him.


The following Robot Masters appear in this game. The character designer is listed after the robot.

# Robot Master Designer Weapon
25 Bright Man Yoshitaka Enomoto Flash Stopper
26 Pharaoh Man Takayuki Ebara Pharaoh Shot
27 Drill Man Masayuki Hoshi Drill Bomb
28 Ring Man Hiromi Uchida Ring Boomerang
29 Toad Man Atsushi Ootsuka Rain Flush
30 Dust Man Yusuke Murata Dust Crusher
31 Dive Man Suguru Nakayama Dive Missile
32 Skull Man Toshiyuki Miyachi Skull Barrier

After defeating all the Robot Masters, Mega Man is forced to face what are considered to be the final bosses.

Square Machine
Cockroach Twins
Dr. Cossack - Cossack Catcher
Mettaur Daddy
Dr. Wily - Wily Machine 4 (Phase I)
Dr. Wily - Wily Machine 4 (Phase II)
Dr. Wily - Wily Capsule


Mega Man series artist Keiji Inafune was dismayed by the standard inclusion of the Mega Buster from the fourth game and in later titles, finding the constant charging up of shots tasteless. The Robot Masters in Mega Man 4 are a result of a design contest for fans held in Japan. The winning eight contestants were each issued a special "golden cartridge" edition of the game. As there are only eight of these cartridges in existence, they are extremely rare, fetching a large collector's price of 580,000円.Minae Fujii and Yasuaki Fujita (the latter of whom had composed the score for Mega Man 3) composed the game's musical score. Mega Man 4 is also the first game in the series which has a background music theme specifically for the final boss. All subsequent Mega Man games would follow suit.Mega Man 4 was re-released for the PlayStation as part of the Rockman Complete Works series. A port of this version with fewer extra features was released on the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube in 2004 and the Xbox 2005 as part of Mega Man Anniversary Collection. The NES version has also been re-released on Japanese i-mode mobile phones in 2005 and worldwide on the Wii Virtual Console in 2010.

Reception and legacy[]

[hide] Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
GamePro 5/5
IGN 8 out of 10
Nintendo Power 3.95 out of 5
Nintendo Magazine System 81%
Total! 88%

Mega Man 4 received mostly positive reviews. Lucas M. Thomas of IGN stated that Mega Man 4, as a stand-alone title, is one of the best experiences available from the NES library, but not when compared to its more superior predecessors. He described the addition to the Mega Buster, the ability to charge it, as unnecessary because it throws off the gameplay balance and results in less use of the conventional Master Weapons. Thomas did enjoy the use of a second set of castle levels to significantly extend the length of the game, a tradition carried on by the next two titles in the series. GamePro was satisfied with the game's lack of changes from previous entries in the series. "Mega Man 4 continues the tradition — crazed robot baddies, good character graphics, great background art and warped, mechanical music," the magazine said. "When you have a good game, why make radical changes? Capcom sticks to the blueprints in Mega Man 4 — guaranteeing happiness for Mega Man fans everywhere." Video game journalists and enthusiasts frequently refer to the fourth installment as a turning point for the quality of titles in the Mega Man series. GameSpot editors Christian Nutt and Justin Speer admitted that the series was beginning to deteriorate with this game, likely due to the growing reputation of the SNES at the time of its release. Mega Man 4 made it into IGN's "Top 100 NES Games" list at number 95, with staff writer Matt Casamassina praising its attempt at better narrative and an essentially similar experience to the first three Mega Man games.'s Jeremy Parrish contrarily proclaimed, "Here's where the series starts to go off the rails a bit -- the Dr. Wily fake out was silly, the music was terrible, the bosses and weapons were uninspired, and the ability to charge up the Mega Buster is often cited as a game-breaking innovation."


  • There are many parallels in this game with Mega Man 2, most of them musical. The fanfare to introduce each level, and the victory fanfare, are all nearly the same as in Mega Man 2. The other notable parallel is in both games, the last level of Wily's Fortress (and the game) is a simple L shape, with the battle against Wily taking place in a lab room that has been darkened. In Mega Man 2, this level features acid drops that are timed to be avoided simply by running steadily past them, while in Mega Man 4, this level contained robo-slugs (seen in Skull Man's level) that could be destroyed to recover weapon energy in preparation for the final battle. (Similarly, the last level of Mega Man 6 is in an L-shape, but features much more variety than the last levels of 2 or 4.)
  • This is the last game in the NES series which features Mega Man's "throw" sprite when using some of his weapons (Rain Flush, Pharaoh Shot and Balloon). This sprite is absent from both Mega Man 5 and Mega Man 6.
  • This game offers the greatest number of weapons for Mega Man to use in the original series.
  • This is the last game in the original series to offer the Rush Marine adapter.


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