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25 Best Mega Man Games Ranked Worst to Best

Despite his oscillating popularity over the years, Mega Man is one of the most iconic video game characters out there. The original NES Mega Man sparked a franchise that’s spanned so many reboots and spin-offs that we can’t fit them all in one list. This week, we’re taking a look at the top 25 Mega Man games ranked!

For this list, we set our sights on the entire Mega Man canon. Every series and spin-off was eligible for consideration, even if Rockman himself doesn’t play a starring role. This gives us a true top 25 that encompasses all Mega Man games ranked, both good and bad.

Sound like a plan? Let’s get started!

Mega Man Games Ranked Worst to Best

Beginning at #25, let’s work our way down to the best Mega Man game ever created.

25. Mega Man ZX Advent

Mega Man ZX Advent
  • Platform(s): Nintendo DS
  • Developer: Inti Creates
  • Release Date: October 23, 2007

Starting off our list is Mega Man ZX Advent, which takes place a few years after its predecessor. Grey and Ashe (both playable protagonists depending on your preferred gender) battle against other Mega Man fusions as they seek out the mysterious “Model W” and attempt to restore the lost peace between humans and Reploids.

Advent retains much of Mega Man ZX’s original gameplay, though certain elements have been streamlined. You can swap between Grey/Ashe’s forms much more easily using the DS touchscreen, allowing for smoother transitions and combat. The energy bar that powers certain weapons now regenerates over time, making resource management less of a pain. The game also has additional difficulty settings to make it more accessible to players of all skill levels.

24. Mega Man & Bass

Mega Man & Bass
  • Platform(s): GBA
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: March 11, 2003

While not as well-structured or iconic as some of the other titles on this list, Mega Man & Bass easily deserves a spot in our top 25. You can play through the game as either of the two titular characters, making for two distinct play styles that make this game stand out against the rest of the franchise.

When Dr. Light and Dr. Wily both get their blueprints stolen by a robot named King, Mega Man and Bass both set out to retrieve them. You can choose which character to play at the beginning, but choose wisely — both characters play a little differently, and you can’t change your mind once you’ve started!

23. Mega Man X8

Mega Man X8 Box
  • Platform(s): PC, PS2, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: December 7, 2004

How do you go on when evolution and technology begin to leave you behind? Mega Man X8 tells the story of the Maverick Hunters as they quest to save Lumine, a Reploid spearheading the development of next-gen robots. Lumine’s unfinished plan? To better protect humans and end the war with the Mavericks. When plans go awry, the Hunters must fight to save a world that may eventually leave them behind.

Mega Man X8 drops the 3D gameplay used in X7 in favor of a more traditional 2.5D style that’s reminiscent of earlier Mega Man titles. Fans were grateful for the change, as the game continued to evolve the franchise without completely sacrificing core gameplay elements. 

22. Mega Man V

Mega Man V
  • Platform(s): Game Boy
  • Developer: Minakuchi Engineering
  • Release Date: September 1994

Mega Man V is the only one of the Game Boy titles to make our list. Each of its predecessors was a handheld remake of the original Famicom/NES and featured bosses from the earlier games (though they did have unique plots). But Mega Man V featured an entirely new set of antagonists.

The game also introduces the Mega Arm, a new arm cannon that can detach and rocket toward enemies when charged, and Tango, a robotic cat that can assist Mega Man on his adventures. Though it’s since been outshined by more recent titles, Mega Man V was a fun induction into the franchise and one that fans still hold up as one of the best Mega Man games to date.

21. Mega Man Zero 2

Mega Man Zero 2
  • Platform(s): GBA
  • Developer: Inti Creates
  • Release Date: October 14, 2003

Mega Man Zero 2 takes place a year after the events of the previous game, following the still-amnesiac Maverick Hunter Zero as he leaves the war-torn city of Neo Arcadia and attempts to find himself and his purpose. He’s pulled back into the fray to stop the violent leader of the Reploid resistance, and must work to foil the villain’s plans without escalating the rebellion in Neo Arcadia.

While Mega Man Zero briefly broke the level-design formula by using a large, interconnected map, Zero 2 returns to form with a more traditional stage-select screen. This change was largely well-received by fans who preferred more streamlined menus and how they helped balance the game’s difficulty.

20. Mega Man X5

Mega Man X5
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: February 1, 2001

Mega Man X5 focuses a bit more on the Maverick Hunter Zero, with special emphasis placed on his origins and the consequences of your choices throughout the story. The campaign tasks you with finding parts for both a cannon and a space shuttle to stop the colony Eurasia from colliding with Earth, and the exact ending you get hinges on your ability to do so.

Gameplay remains relatively similar to X4, aside from some quality-of-life changes. This time around, you’re given the option to switch between X and Zero with every stage selected (rather than being stuck with your choice from the beginning of the game). Your initial choice does impact the game by limiting access to certain powers, but the ability to switch gives you a well-rounded experience with varied gameplay that’s worth the limitations.

19. Mega Man Zero 4

Mega Man Zero 4
  • Platform(s): GBA
  • Developer: Inti Creates, Natsume
  • Release Date: October 4, 2005

Neo Arcadia is nothing like the utopia it was designed to be. After years of violent oppression of Reploids by mandate of the twisted Copy X, it’s finally succumbed to dictatorship under Dr. Weil. Humans flee the once-great city in search of a new home, hoping to find shelter in the remains of the Eurasia colony. Dr. Weil brands the refugees as Mavericks and sends his Reploid forces after them. As a result, Zero must make one final stand as a champion of peace between humans and Reploids.

The last installment of the Mega Man Zero series finally introduces an Easy mode for players who aren’t quite up to the challenge of the standard game. Considering that the Zero series’ main complaint was its difficulty, it’s nice to see that the team took the feedback into account for their final release.

While it could have been #1 on a list of Mega Man games ranked by difficulty, it slides a bit further down the list for a lighthearted experience you’re sure to love.

18. Mega Man Zero

Mega Man Zero
  • Platform(s): GBA
  • Developer: Inti Creates
  • Release Date: September 10, 2002

Mega Man Zero somewhat continues the story of the Mega Man X series, taking place a century later and focusing on the Maverick Hunter Zero, who has forgotten his previous identity. Zero becomes a resistance fighter in the once-utopia of Neo Arcadia, whose violent ways are seemingly endorsed by the famous Mega Man X.

The gameplay is reminiscent of the Mega Man X series, though fans found the game much more difficult than the titles. One notable change to the game is a Metroidvania-style map, which replaces the stage selection mode of earlier titles.

17. Mega Man 8

Mega Man 8
  • Platform(s): PlayStation, Sega Saturn
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 1997

In Mega Man 8, the eponymous protagonist once again faces off against Dr. Wily and his powerful Robot Masters. This time, the world is threatened by an evil energy that Dr. Wily plans to use on his creations, spelling danger for the peace-keeping robots of the world.

The problem with having an established formula for your stories, gameplay, and overall game design is that it begins to get a little stale after a while. Mega Man 8 ranks the lowest of the core Mega Man games on this list because, despite being a good game overall, it fails to revolutionize or build on the formula in a substantial way. Throw in the fact that the story is mediocre compared to other installments, and you get a game that, while worth playing, doesn’t quite measure up to other titles in the franchise.

16. Mega Man Powered Up

Mega Man Powered Up Box
  • Platform(s): PSP
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: March 14, 2006

Mega Man Powered Up is a PSP remake of the original NES title (which appears later on our list), retelling the story of Mega Man and adding a fresh coat of paint to the character and level designs.

Rather than the 8-bit graphics of the original, Powered Up uses chibi-style 3D sprites for their characters and backgrounds. The level design remains relatively similar throughout the game. That said, the gameplay varies slightly between “Old Style” and “New Style,” with the latter being updated slightly to reflect the PSP’s improved capabilities.

15. Mega Man 10

Mega Man 10 Box
  • Platform(s): Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, Switch
  • Developer: Inti Creates, Capcom
  • Release Date: March 1, 2010

Following the positive response to Mega Man 9, Capcom attempted to recapture the charm of its original NES formula with a sequel that combined the storytelling abilities of Inti Creates with the classic Mega Man gameplay. It worked, but not incredibly well when compared to other classic Mega Man titles — in general, fans tend to favor the approaches of earlier games.

The game follows Mega Man as he attempts to cure a mysterious virus that causes robots to go berserk and attack humans. As with other classic Mega Man games, he must fight against eight powerful Robot Masters and overcome their unique abilities in order to press on, each providing him with a new source of power. Mega Man 10 differs from earlier titles in that it offers varying difficulty levels, making it a more rounded experience overall.

14. Mega Man 7

Mega Man 7
  • Platform(s): PC, SNES
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: September 1, 1995

Dr. Wily’s name isn’t just for show. Despite being imprisoned at the end of Mega Man 6, he found a way to continue his evil machinations with a series of Robot Masters that are triggered to respond to his radio silence. Once he’s locked away, the robots begin wreaking havoc in search of their master, and Mega Man must step up to thwart them.

13. Mega Man 6

Mega Man 6 Box
  • Platform(s): PC, NES
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: March 1994

Mega Man 6 rethinks the established formula of the games slightly in its storytelling. Rather than the Robot Masters being evil inventions of Dr. Wily’s, they’re actually peace-keeping robots that have been corrupted by a virus of the wicked doctor’s invention. Though originally sent to supervise the robots in a friendly tournament, Mega Man must instead hunt them down and capture them before their respective powers deal too much damage to the human world.

Where earlier titles used the robotic canine Rush’s transformation powers to overcome certain obstacles, Mega Man 6 introduces devices called Rush Adaptors that can fuse to Mega Man himself and help him transform. These Adaptors each come with pros and cons, and most of the game’s stages offer an alternate path to the boss that can only be traversed when a specific Adaptor is equipped.

12. Mega Man 5

Mega Man 5 Box
  • Platform(s): PC, NES
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: December 1992

It kinda seems like the core Mega Man games just get better with age, huh? There are a few notable exceptions to the rule, but the newer titles tend to underperform compared to their predecessors (spoiler alert — most of the early Mega Man titles make up our top 5).

Mega Man 5 was the beginning of the slow devolution in the core series’ quality that you see represented on this list. It’s by no means a bad game, just a little unoriginal. The story is a pretty generic rehashing of the Mega Man formula, and there aren’t enough modifications to gameplay or level design to make it stand out from the rest of the pack, especially considering how popular the earlier titles were.

11. Mega Man

Mega Man Box
  • Platform(s): NES, PlayStation, Mobile
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: December 1987

Rounding out our bottom 15 Mega Man games ranked is the original Mega Man in all of its charming and simplistic glory. It’s fair to say that the game doesn’t do anything particularly special — it’s a run-of-the-mill, run-and-gun 2D platformer with a simple story and straightforward gameplay. The real appeal is the nostalgia factor, though the game itself did lay down a solid and valuable foundation for the franchise to come.

The story varies somewhat in its Eastern and Western releases, oddly characterizing Mega Man himself in slightly different ways depending on the version you play. In the Japanese version, Mega Man starts as a simple helper robot who volunteers to become a fighter when the evil Dr. Wily corrupts Dr. Light’s other androids and turns them evil. In the American release, Mega Man starts as a fighting robot from the beginning, taking on the other androids when Dr. Wily betrays Dr. Light and corrupts the androids they created together.

10. Mega Man Legends 2

Mega Man Legends 2
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation, PSP
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: October 24, 2000

We’ve finally made it to our top 10 Mega Man games ranked, and we’re starting with a bit of an oddball. Mega Man Legends replaces the franchise’s usual 2D run-and-gun gameplay with 3D animation and third-person shooting — its sequel continues with these changes, modifying the gameplay and tightening the level design for a more cohesive and entertaining experience.

The story follows Mega Man Volnutt, a Digger bot tasked with exploring the remains of a flooded Earth. When explorers Barrel Caskett and Werner von Bluecher set their sights on a legendary treasure called the Mother Lode, Mega Man must keep them safe from the dangers that await them while also exploring mysterious secrets of his past.

9. Mega Man X3

Mega Man X3
  • Platform(s): PC, SNES, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Mobile
  • Developer: Minakuchi Engineering, Capcom
  • Release Date: January 31, 1996

Next up is Mega Man X3, the first of the series to make our top 10. Shortly after the events of Mega Man X2, a Reploid scientist called Dr. Doppler develops tech that prevents other Reploids from going Maverick. 

In celebration of their newfound improvements, the Reploids create a utopia for their kind. But things go awry, and the city is plunged into chaos when the tech fails, and the residents of Dopple Town turn into Mavericks. X and Zero work together once again to quash the threat and restore peace.

8. Mega Man X4

Mega Man X4
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Mobile
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: September 25, 1997

Mega Man X4 is the first of the series to allow players to choose between X and Zero as playable characters. The story varies slightly depending on which Maverick Hunter you choose at the beginning of the game. Both Hunters are wrapped up in a fierce battle between Reploids and humans, though Zero is haunted by nightmares compelling him to strike down an unidentified target. 

While gameplay remains relatively consistent, certain combat and stage mechanics vary slightly depending on which character you’ve chosen. X remains a ranged fighter, while Zero is more suited to melee combat — the enemies and environment pose unique challenges based on these two distinct fighting styles.

7. Mega Man 9

Mega Man 9 Box
  • Platform(s): PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Switch
  • Developer: Inti Creates, Capcom
  • Release Date: September 22, 2008

Mega Man 9 is, in many ways, a return to form. At the time of release, it had been about 10 years since a main-series Mega Man game hit the shelves. In that period, the franchise had evolved with several spin-offs and alternate series like Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero. Developer Keiji Inafune yearned for the nostalgic past and wanted Mega Man 9 to be as old-school as fans would allow.

Mega Man 9 revisited the classic Mega Man formula, and the results are truly stunning. The game feels like a true sequel to the original NES titles, with many fans believing its quality rivals that of Mega Man 2 (widely considered to be the best game in the series, but more on that later). Capcom had seemingly found its stride with the main series again, though subsequent titles would go on to challenge that assumption (Mega Man 11 didn’t even make our top 25!).

6. Mega Man Zero 3

Mega Man Zero 3
  • Platform(s): GBA
  • Developer: Inti Creates
  • Release Date: October 5, 2004

Mega Man Zero 3 is easily the best installment of the Mega Man Zero series, celebrated for delivering a compelling story that isn’t quite as difficult as its predecessors but still provides a fun challenge. 

Following the return of the Dark Elf, Zero and the Guardians come across a spaceship bearing the evil Dr. Weil and a massive Reploid called Omega. Dr. Weil firmly inserts himself into the politics of Neo Arcadia, and Zero must do his best to thwart the scientist’s plans. Along the way, he discovers a terrible secret about himself that leads him to question his own abilities. What could go wrong?

5. Mega Man 4

Mega Man 4 Box
  • Platform(s): NES
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 1992

Kicking off our top five Mega Man games ranked is Mega Man 4, which takes place shortly after the events of Mega Man 3. Following the supposed death of Dr. Wily, Mega Man is threatened by a new evil scientist named Dr. Cassock and his array of Robot Masters. Once again, Mega Man must venture into the eight cities being held hostage by the Masters and defeat them for the sake of the world.

Mega Man 4’s gameplay is highly similar to that of Mega Man 3, with both Mega Man’s sliding ability and Rush’s transformations returning as major mechanics. New to the game are two support items — the Wire and Balloon Adaptors — found within stages, and the Mega Buster, an upgraded version of Mega Man’s arm cannon.

4. Mega Man X

Mega Man X
  • Platform(s): PC, SNES, PSP, Mobile
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 1994

Mega Man X takes place one hundred years after the events of the original Mega Man series. Dr. Cain finds the ruins of Dr. Light’s laboratory and the hibernating form of Mega Man X, an android with free will. Fascinated by the design, he replicates the android and creates a race of robotic people called Reploids. When a worrying amount of the Reploids use their free will for evil, X and fellow Maverick Hunter Zero must team up to defeat their leader and restore peace and balance.

The game follows the run-and-gun gameplay of previous Mega Man titles, though you do have access to a few more abilities. As you defeat Mavericks across the game’s eight stages, you obtain their special weapons (and influence environmental effects) that can be used to your advantage in later stages.

3. Mega Man X2

Mega Man X2
  • Platform(s): PC, SNES, GameCube, PS2, PS4, Xbox, Xbox One, Switch
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 1995

Six months after defeating Sigma, X has become the leader of the Maverick Hunters and continues to hunt down villainous Reploids. When he comes across some newly-manufactured Mavericks bearing Sigma’s emblem, X pursues them and realizes that the Maverick rebellion is now being spearheaded by three mighty Mavericks known as Serges, Agile, and Violen. They and their minions taunt X with pieces of Zero’s disassembled body, and X must defeat them to reunite the pieces of his friend and defeat the new Maverick threat.

Mega Man X2 uses many of the same gameplay mechanics as its predecessor, while introducing the ability to control certain vehicles throughout the game. You also have the chance to face off against the head Mavericks for a chance to reassemble Zero — depending on your success, the ending of the game changes slightly.

Without a doubt, this is number one on the list of Mega Man X games ranked and number three overall.

2. Mega Man 3

Mega Man 3 Box
  • Platform(s): PC, NES, Mobile
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: November 1990

Mega Man 3 continues the story of the first two games, though the construction is a bit different this time around. Dr. Wily has given up his evil ways and now works with Dr. Light to build a peace-keeping robot named Gamma. But wouldn’t you know, the pieces are soon stolen by Robot Masters from other worlds. Mega Man, along with his cyber dog, Rush, must venture out and stop them before they use Gamma’s pieces for evil.

Rush’s introduction comes with a variety of new abilities that can assist Mega Man with certain obstacles. Your loyal canine companion can transform himself into a spring, a jet, and a submarine to help you traverse rugged terrain, and is all-around handy to have in a fight. Mega Man himself gets a new slide ability to allow for more dynamic platforming.

1. Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 Box
  • Platform(s): PC, NES, PlayStation, Mobile
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: June 1989

This brings us to number one on our list of Mega Man games ranked — Mega Man 2. The game builds on the story and mechanics of its predecessor, adding a slew of new antagonists and themed stages that match their respective powers. Each provides you with a unique challenge that you’ll have to overcome with a mix of determination and Mega Man’s unique abilities.

Mega Man 2 remains the best-selling game in the franchise, largely because of how well it developed on the foundation laid by the first game. It manages to be unique without being gimmicky, sticking to the original spirit of its predecessor while opening the door to an entirely new experience. It’s well-deserving of our top spot, and definitely a great choice if you enjoy the fun of retro gaming.

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Further Reading

Thanks for checking out our list of the top 25 Mega Man games ranked! If you’d like to talk about any of these games in more detail (or if there’s a spin-off you absolutely love that didn’t make this list), feel free to leave us a comment.

Happy gaming!

Featured Image by Scott910

 

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Nate

X2 is basically a synopsis of the story with “uses the similar mechanics as the first game.”


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