Robot masters are the first major threats Mega Man must face in the classic series of Mega Man games. You can forget about going after Dr. Wily until you’ve mastered each one of the master’s levels and destroyed the evil robots. But with 10 games in the classic series (not including Mega Man & Bass, the Game Boy Games, The Wily Wars, etc.) and 8 robot masters per game, that’s…a lot of robot masters! How did Capcom avoid giving stale, rehashed designs and gimmicks to each boss? Aside from plain old creativity and ingenuity, they held contests and accepted submissions from tens of thousands of fans for robot master concepts and designs for each game after Mega Man 1. With so many submissions, employees of Capcom must have had a hard time choosing only a handful to make it into a game. Even harder? Determining which out of the 80 that made it are deemed worthy of a top ten list.
But what makes a great robot master? Considering none are truly characterized with personality, everything else about them has to be considered – stage design, music, the battle, the weapon-get, and of course, the character design. Coming up with a list of our favorite masters was not an easy task, and one that demanded our utmost attention. So finally, after many sleepless nights, angry rants, smashed TVs, and tearful bro-hugs, here is Kris and Jonathan’s top ten robot masters!
Jonathan’s 10. Slash Man – Looking like an anthropomorphic porcupine, Slash Man from Mega Man 7 gets the #10 spot. This prehistoric-era themed robot has a fun level full of robotic dinosaurs, some of which you get to ride on (that’s right, this was cool BEFORE Jurassic World did it)! And I dare, nay, DOUBLE-dare you to sit still during his samba-inspired stage music. Slash Man is extremely fast and it can be difficult to land a shot as he jumps around his lair acrobatically. Occasionally he disappears into the ceiling and begins dropping eggs on you. That’s right, amidst the egg-citement of battle, he tries to drop eggs on your head that temporarily suspend your jumping and shooting abilities. When compared to other robot masters, Slash Man’s design is certainly unique (you could say he looks quite sharp, especially with the spiked hair). Plus, he’s got Wolverine’s claws. You can’t go wrong with that – just look at Hugh Jackman.
Kris’s 10. Air Man – Slash Man is a bold choice, and a wise one. The only thing that kept him off my list was how derivative his design is of Wolverine, but he certainly does provide one heck of an intense boss battle. My #10 goes to Air Man. This guy’s design is absolute insanity. He’s basically a walking desk fan that can create mini-death tornados. What really gets me with him is his perpetual pissed off looking face. I mean, when your “mouth” is a fan, it’s not exactly easy to express anything other than anger. His color scheme is bright and bold, his attacks are predictable yet difficult to avoid, and his weapon is called “Air Shooter” which somehow sounds even less threatening than “Bubble Lead,” yet in actuality is 10 times as lethal. Then you have his stage, which is also completely bananas. It takes place in the clouds, which makes total sense, but less than 5 seconds in, a GIGANTIC FREAKY-LOOKING RED FACE WITH RETRACTIBLE DEVIL HORNS MATERIALIZES IN FRONT OF YOU! Not weird enough? It then starts shooting miniature versions of itself OUT OF ITS FREAKING EARS! In no universe should this work, and yet somehow it does in Mega Man 2. Finish with some killer music and it’s obvious why Air Man deserves a spot on the list.
Jonathan’s #9. Charge Man – Speaking of a pissed-off-looking face, my #9 goes to Charge Man. Thought a robot master with a train engine for a head was inconceivable? This robot master derails such disbelief. Not only does all of Charge Man’s stage take place on a train, but the robot incorporates elements of a train from head to toe (including a whistle when he blows his stack). His music is exciting and appropriately pumps you up for the battle – and you’ll need your energy because he moves quickly and erratically. When he turns dark red, get out of his way because he is pissed and he is going to charge right at you (oh, so THAT’S why he’s called Charge Man). While not the best weapon, the charge kick causes your sliding ability to deal damage to enemies, which is certainly a bonus. And let’s not forget the enemy chickens in his level that produce deadly, jumping eggs that attack you! Why are deadly chicken robots hanging out on a train? Because Charge Man said so! I always have an excellent time taking on this robot master and I love everything about Charge Man…except for his expression. Geez, he looks angry…
Kris’s #9. Burst Man – Fun fact: Charge Man’s stage music is my favorite music in Mega Man 5. Ture story. Anyhoo, my #9 goes to Burst Man from Mega Man 7. Let’s start with his stage. It looks like some sort of bubbly science lab, with gigantic beakers and potions everywhere. But then you’ve got bouncy bubbles and bombs all over. Seriously, where the heck is this place? What purpose could this location possibly serve besides just looking awesome and being fun to run around in? Why does Mega Man float in some bubbly liquids and not others? Who cares? It’s awesome, from beginning to end. Then you have Burst Man himself. He seems to have a castle for a head (because why not?), he’s big enough to be pretty imposing, and he’s full of soap and bombs. Why is there a robot that’s full of soap and bombs??? Speaking of soap and bombs, you fight him in a room covered in bouncy bubbles with spikes on the ceiling, which is the perfect combination of fun and deadly, while he shoots at you with his signature weapon: Danger Wrap! Now, Danger Wrap may sound like a lethal food storage system, but in actuality it’s an extremely cool weapon. It’s a bomb in a bubble! When it hits its target, it encases it in a bubble with the bomb and explodes. It’s really fun to look at too, because usually when it connects, the enemy just floats there for a minute before exploding. Good times. The most important thing though is that fighting Burst man is a blast. It’s not too tough, especially if you’ve got the right weapons on hand, but if you go at it weapon-free, it’s an intense and very rewarding battle. Burst Man rules.
Jonathan’s #8. Clown Man – Burst Man is definitely a fun battle to attempt buster-only. By the way, Danger Wrap is what everyone calls my Christmas wrapping. Alright, enough clowning around. After hating this robot master for years, I couldn’t imagine Clown Man not on this list. His level is beautiful and has a ton of cute, deadly gimmicks. Jack-in-the-boxes punch you if you’re not careful, little toy-soldiers bomb you from above, and toy trains try to knock you into bottomless pits. The graphics are stunning and there are nods a-plenty to past Mega Man games with toy Ice Mans and Guts Mans. Once Clown Man is reached, it becomes apparent that he’s no joker with squirting flowers or magic tricks. No, this robot master gives you quite the shock with his electricity-based attacks either by flying around his trapeze or turning into a ball of energy and throwing himself at you. Clown Man is definitely a colorful robot master and visually interesting with his extendable arms. Speaking of which, he tries to grab you in a not-so-nice area and electrocute you, so be ready to jump at all times! As someone who is not a fan of clowns, the fact that he’s on this list means he deserves the recognition.
Kris’s #8. Crash Man – You know, my gut reaction was to call you crazy for including this clown, but when I really think about him, the only thing I really hate is his voice (and I hate his voice a LOT). But you make some very valid points. And Clown Man’s stage music is some of the catchiest in all of Mega Man 8. Anyway, let’s go from a robot master with incredibly useful hands to one with no hands at all. Crash Man is awesome. His stage isn’t all that interesting, the stage music is a joyous ditty that while I love, doesn’t really match the rest of the game, and there aren’t any interesting enemies unique to it. But what his stage lacks in awesomeness, Crash Man himself more than makes up for. His design is simple, yet dangerous. He doesn’t have any hands, which makes is clear that this guy wasn’t designed for any functions other than dispensing crash bombs, which are absolutely awesome. Similar to Danger Wrap, Crash Bomb is a timed explosive that latches onto things before detonating, but instead of a bubble, it actually grabs things with its attached metal claws, and explodes. It can also stick to just about anything, and is powerful enough to destroy solid walls. His lack of versatility keeps him down in the lower numbers on the list, but the parts of him that work, work so well that he’s still leagues above many other robot masters.
Jonathan’s #7. Dive Man – Crash Man is an excellent pick, Kris, and I will give you a hand for your choice since he can’t. Though water-themed stages have certainly been overdone in Mega Man games, Dive Man excels in deadliness where other aquatic robot masters fall flat. First, his stage is full of deadly sea-life from robotic manta rays to enormous whales that spit missiles and launch mines. Before you reach Dive Man, you must maneuver through a deadly underwater mine-field while instant-death spikes litter the top of the screen. Dive Man can be quite an epic battle, and one that I practiced as a child to perform buster-only. He shoots homing missiles at you that can be destroyed, but destroy them quickly or there is little hope of survival. His other attack involves him shooting himself at you like a torpedo. However, Dive Man has a lightning-fast tell for what move he’s about to perform. If he opens his mouth, he’s about to shoot a torpedo. If his mouth is closed when he lowers his arms, he’s about to torpedo himself at you. Boy, did it take some time for my reflexes to get quick enough, but they did, and I always have fun taking on this robot master. As a bonus, he appears to be modeled after a submarine, which is certainly much cooler than a certain “bubbly” robot master.
Kris’s #7. Gravity Man – Let’s get this out of the way. Bubble Man isn’t on either of our lists. Bubble Man sucks. His stage is cool as hell, but as a boss, he’s a complete pushover. He’s not imposing. His personality has no gravity. This guy, on the other hand, is nothing but gravity. Mega Man 5’s cover athlete, Gravity Man is one of the coolest “Air Man-Type” robot master designs in the whole series. He’s got this gigantic red torso, a gravity meter on his stomach, ridiculously oversized shoulders, and a “G” on his belt, just in case you forgot who he was. He’s armed with his very own buster cannon, he towers over Mega Man as one of the tallest robot masters there is (well, on the cover art anyway) and he can control gravity itself! His entire stage is built around this concept, with awesome gravity reversals at every turn. The enemies even play off it by sticking to the ceiling and floor at will to throw you off your game. The battle against Gravity Man is also a great time. He’s constantly reversing the gravity on you, so the two of you are rarely on the same plane at the same time. It’s not the toughest battle you’ll ever face, but it’s really, really fun.
Jonathan’s #6. Tornado Man – I agree with you regarding Bubble Man, and I read an interview with Keiji Inafune (co-creator of Mega Man, for those of you who didn’t know) where he stated that he created Bubble Man specifically to be a goofy character. I would have used a different word than goofy, but this is a family-friendly website. Your #7 choice has some definite weight, and Gravity Man came very close to making it onto my list. My #6 robot master has easily one of the best pieces of music to ever grace a Mega Man game, but Tornado Man gets this spot for a variety of reasons, including a diverse and challenging stage. In one area it’s snowing over slippery ice, in other areas it’s raining, and in even other areas it just seems like a nice, spring afternoon. Similar to Toad Man’s level in Mega Man 4, the rain makes jumping a difficult task as it lessens your ability to move forward while in the air. In other parts of his level, the rain pushes you forward, making it possible to overshoot a jump onto platforms. One neat feature is the rotating platforms throughout the level over spikes and bottomless pits that take carefully timed jumps to traverse. The battle with Tornado Man is one where you want to avoid jumping as much as possible. The fans attached to his gloves cause tornadoes to rise from the ground, increasing your jumps right into the spikes littering the top of his room. He also turns half of his body into a tornado, flies into the air and tries to land on you. I’m a huge fan of the way he looks with those “wings” on his helmet, which seem to be a nod to the character, Sage Harpuia, from the Mega Man Zero series. In keeping with his nature-esque theme, the majority of his outfit is green. Maybe he just wants Mega Man to care about the environment.
Kris’s #6. Napalm Man – This is a family friendly website? Have you listened to Between 2 Beards??? My #6 is the walking (or sometimes rolling) arsenal, Napalm Man. Just look at this thing. Hands? Heck no. Bombs. Shoulders? Who need’s em? Bombs. How about a head? Nah! Giant bomb. Feet? Okay fine. But they’re also going to be freaking tank treads! Seriously, this dude can’t do anything except explode. And it is AWESOME! First, let’s take a look at the absurdity of this design. You’re going to fill a robot with more bombs than could possibly be necessary, and you’re going to paint him purple? Why not? It’s not like this guy needs camouflage! Who cares if you can see him? He’s going to blow you up! Next, he’s got eyes, but he can’t see anything above him because there’s a gigantic bomb blocking hit vertical peripheral vision. Again, who cares, right? He’s got no less than 6 bombs pointed upwards out of his shoulders at any given time. He doesn’t need to see up there. Anyone dumb enough to attack from there is already taking a 6-bomb risk. He also appears to have a jetpack on his back, which is absolutely hilarious, because what you want in proximity to all those bombs is enough jet propulsion to provide flight capabilities to something as obviously heavy as Napalm Man. But somehow it works! All of this absurdity works to create one of the most colorful, intimidating, and all around awesome looking robot masters ever conceived. But let’s not gloss over his stage, which opens in a jungle with subtly animated trees, giant robot tigers, and some pretty catchy music to boot. He may not be the most versatile robot master ever created, but he’s threatening enough to make up for it.
Jonathan’s #5. Pharaoh Man – Napalm Man is a great choice! I never thought about how he’s quite the fashionable robot master with roller-skate-like tank treads and a nice shade of purple completing his ensemble. Onto Pharaoh Man, and I have to admit, this mummified pharaoh robot scares the hell out of me (except for the cute little snake on his crown). Before dropping into the catacombs that make up the majority of his level, you have to deal with flies dropping poop, well, energy pellets…no, that could also mean poop, on you and scorpion robots from below. The biggest difficulty, but most fun, of Pharaoh Man’s stage is riding the hover robots over routes of deadly spikes split by bottomless pits. Egyptian robots definitely didn’t want Mega Man unearthing their Pharaoh, as mummy robots throw their heads at you. Terrified yet? Pharaoh Man attacks by jumping around the room and throwing small balls of fire at you, or charging up his energy to shoot large blasts of fire at you. The fight can get tricky if you’re going at it buster-only, or when using his weakness against him. The flash-stopper which you obtain from Bright Man stops enemies dead in their tracks for a period of time and still allows you to fire your mega buster (where was this feature in Mega Man 2, dammit?!), but once you stop Pharaoh Man from moving, your thumb better be quick on that shoot button if you expect to defeat him before the flash stopper runs out! Pharaoh Man is brilliantly designed and frightening, has great stage music, and you get the incredibly powerful “Pharaoh Shot” from him. There’s no reason this robot master should not be on a top ten list.
Kris’s #5. Quick Man – Speaking of flash Stopper, my #5 goes to Quick Man. And let me just say, fighting Quick Man is intense! But let’s back up a bit. Flash Man’s stage is one of those infamous stages from the early days of the NES. Like getting past the birds in Ninja Gaiden, or Death in Castlevania, getting past the instant kill lasers in Quick Man’s stage was a freaking badge of honor. Most of the rest of his stage is forgettable, especially when stacked up against the other stages Mega Man 2 has to offer, but at least 75% of Quick Man’s stage is dropping through a series of maze-like corridors while avoiding lasers that kill you with a single hit. Even after you memorize the pattern and know exactly what to do, there’s still no guarantee you’ll be able to execute it without dying at least once. Of course, you could use Flash stopper and walk on by, but then you wouldn’t have any weapon energy left for the battle against Quick Man, and you’ll need all the help you can get. Quick Man lives up to his namesake by bolting around the room as fast as can be, all while throwing Quick Boomerangs at you. They may look dangerous, but if it’s a choice between getting nailed by a boomerang and getting by Quick Man himself, take the boomerangs, because if you so much as touch this robot master, you’ll take some massive damage. His boss room doesn’t have a flat floor either, so it’s very easy for the high-jumping boss to gain the advantage. Now, unlike Pharaoh Man, Quick Man takes damage from the Flash Stopper itself. The trouble is, he only takes half the damage as the stopper dishes out. So, when you’re done using it, he still has half a life bar to attack you with. This makes his battle one of the most intense in the series for a couple of reasons. One, because he’s tough as nails on his own, and two, because you get to stand still, staring him down, unable to do anything but anticipate his attack, until your Flash stopper runs out of gas. And the whole time, he’s looking right at you, ready to pounce. His design is also killer. Sleek, stylish, and lethal. He’s everything a robot master should be.
Jonathan’s #4. Spark Man – Quick Man is a great choice, Kris! Keep reading to find out just how much I love that robot master (or do I?!)! At first glance, Spark Man may appear silly, but he definitely has one of the coolest designs of any robot master. His body is an enormous bolt and he has no hands, just electrical conduits. Visually, Spark Man has the perfect combination of a fun, scary and deadly design making him an instant classic. Don’t let the fact that he’s a giant bolt fool you, the battle with Spark Man can be truly electrifying as you must keep a good distance from him when he releases tiny sparks of energy. Immediately after that attack he will release an enormous ball of energy and direct it right at you. Making the fight more difficult, his room isn’t flat and he’s constantly hopping from one small area of level ground to the next, increasing your chances of taking damage. The shadow blade is the weapon of choice to use against him, but it unfortunately has limited distance, and remember, do your best to keep your distance from Spark Man! His stage music is amazing, and I love it so much it’s currently set as my wake-up alarm. His stage is perfectly designed to fit with his theme, with flashing lights and robots that shoot beams of electricity from ceiling to floor. Though a visually interesting stage, it’s certainly deadly because even the platforms you need to jump on to get across bottomless pits are trying to kill you! Still, everything regarding this robot master is a shocking good time.
Kris’s #4. Junk Man – Oh, Spark Man. If there’s anything this list taught me it’s that picking only 10 robot masters is one heck of a tough task. Spark Man is awesome, and so is his stage. My #4 though, is a piece of junk. Several pieces of junk, actually. Junk Man is a fantastic design. He’s from Mega Man 7, so the power of the super NES was there to give certain characters a sense of scale over Mega Man that they didn’t have before, and Junk Man towers over the blue bomber. He’s got this very Frankenstein’s monster look to him, and since he’s made of junk, he can disappear into piles of junk, swim around in them Scrooge McDuck-style, and reassemble himself wherever he likes. This is especially useful because his stage is a giant junkyard. Actually, it’s more of a junk disposal plant. There’s metal bits, compactors, and freaking lava everywhere. That said, the two things that put Junk Man so high on my list are level design and animation. The animation quality in Mega Man 7 is on point no matter how you slice it, but the way Junk Man moves during his battle is so freaking cool. The way he tornados out of the junk pile, spinning around beautifully, while keeping his head straight ahead, locked on Mega Man’s, is awesome. He could have been throwaway boss, but they managed to elevate this character with brilliant design, and some killer animation. Then you have his stage design. The aesthetics are quite something, but the way you can use the Freeze Cracker to freeze the lava is not only practical, but it opens up hidden passages. It’s just classic, clever Capcom level design. Plus, and speaking of incredible animation, there are gigantic robotic cockroaches running around the stage! Who builds gigantic robotic cockroaches? What possible purpose could they serve, besides looking cool? (which they do).
Jonathan’s #3. Metal Man – Including Junk Man was a bold move, and I have to say that I’m surprised to see him on a top ten list (because choices like Charge man and Clown Man are just so obvious). The deadliest dentist of them all, Metal Man gets the #3 spot with really no need for an explanation. So I’m gonna explain. This first robot master that Wily built on his own doesn’t just have an intimidating design like, say, Guts Man, Metal Man just looks downright evil. And what’s up with his mouth? Does it even exist? Is he hiding it in shame because he doesn’t actually know how to take care of teeth?! Obsessed with exercise, Metal Man has treadmills throughout his stage and even in his lair (or conveyor belts…whatever, same thing) – this guy loves running…and jumping! He will jump from one side of his room to the other, tossing metal blades right at you. Funny enough, his own weapon is his greatest weakness! So the second time you fight him, he can be destroyed very quickly. In all earnestness, Metal Man has an amazing design and a great stage. Who can forget the drills coming from the floor and ceiling? Those things will spoil the hell out of anyone’s no-damage run of the level. The music is classic and probably one of the most well-known and loved tracks from any mega man game. The metal blade you obtain from him is quite the abusive weapon, as it fires in all 8 directions and goes the entire length of the screen. The abusiveness is the fact that it drains very little of your weapon energy, so you’re almost guaranteed to get it refilled from a weapon power up before it ever runs out. Metal Man was an instant classic, and no top 10 list would be complete without him.
Kris’s #3. Guts Man – I love me some Metal Man, but my #3 goes to the very best of the original robot masters, Guts Man. This dude is classic Mega Man design 101. He’s huge, intimidating, colorful, and pretty much everything a robot master should be. If he’s got one drawback, it would have to be his weapon. The Super arm is a very cool idea for a weapon, but its usefulness in-game is fairly limited. Guts Man uses it pretty well though, pounding the ground, causing boulders to crash down from the ceiling to throw directly at Mega Man’s face. Another thing I like about this guy is his name. He’s one of the only robot masters whose name really doesn’t make much sense. Traditional naming conventions would have had him called Lift Man, Throw Man, or Strong Man, but they went with Guts Man. Shouldn’t he be covered in guts or something? Perhaps he could throw intestines and lungs at Mega Man? Nope, they threw common sense out the window, and gave him a name that fits him oddly well. It’s also remarkable just how much personality comes through in his design, even in his original NES sprite. Guts Man is great. Guts Man’s stage is great. Guts Man’s stage music is great. Great, great, great.
Jonathan’s #2. Crash Man – Don’t forget, Guts Man also promotes job-safety by always wearing a helmet! Time to get serious! I’m glad you included Crash Man on your list, but he gets a higher spot on my list as he’s been one of my favorites since childhood (and almost tied with my #1 pick). The music isn’t just a joyous ditty (thanks Kris for giving me the opportunity to use the word “ditty”), it’s some of the happiest music in a classic Mega Man game. Considering literally everything is trying to kill you, it really makes this stage stand out! It didn’t dawn on me until recent years, but I think I’ve figured out the reason behind Crash Man’s stage, and just why the heck he’s called Crash Man. You go from underground (and for whatever reason, the city really likes its pipes green), to a very long climb bordering on outer space. Why is he so high up and his weakness a few mini tornadoes? Crash Man’s function is clearly high-altitude destruction, with his bombs causing aircraft to crash after he detonates them. With the speed and accuracy of his crash bombs, he could likely do a lot of damage to bystanders on the ground. That fact alone gets Crash Man a high spot on this list. Like Spark Man and other robots of the “no-hands club,” Crash Man doesn’t need fingers to be deadly. Those drill-like protrusions are actually designed to bury into a target so the bomb is guaranteed to detonate on Crash Man’s prey. Once obtained, the crash bomb itself is actually more useful than destroying thick walls as it can be used effectively against a handful of robot masters (but not Heat Man, TRUST ME), and it’s essential in order to defeat the wall cannon boss in Wily’s castle. His stage is bright and colorful, and who can forget the nightmarish baby bird swarms on those ladders? Don’t let his happy stage music fool you, Crash Man is one deadly robot master.
Kris’s #2. Metal Man – Always happy to help someone use the word “ditty.” Anyway, on to Metal Man. You covered him pretty well in your write-up. He’s a fantastic design, his stage rules, and that music is all-time. So I’ll focus on what puts Metal Man so high on this list, and that’s the actual fight with him. On the hard difficulty (which is the only difficulty in Japan), Metal Man is so well matched with Mega Man that the battle is one of the most fun and intense fights you can have. Metal Man is a range fighter. He has no desire to get close, and if you start to crowd him, he’ll jump to the opposite side of the room. His pattern is pretty straightforward, but deadly. He jumps to different heights, and throws metal blades at different angles as he falls. It’s your job to shoot as fast as you can, while dodging his attacks, and maintaining your balance because the battle takes place on a conveyor belt that changes direction at random intervals. It almost plays out like a boss fight in a bullet hell shooter, and even though it’s not the most difficult boss fight in Mega Man history, but it plays out like such an even match that it’s one of the most tremendously fun battles to have. I adore Metal Man. Almost as much as my #1.
Jonathan’s #1. Quick Man – I was extremely happy to see Quick Man on your list and I understand why you’d consider most of his stage forgettable, but the impact that those lasers have had on me runs deep. At the age of 5, my friends and I had enough trouble trying to master this game without dealing with his stage, so when one of us beat him, we shared the password amongst ourselves so none of us would ever have to deal with him again (26 years later, I still remember the password). This experience can be a nightmare for the faint of heart. As I grew up, however, I occasionally felt a bit ballsy and would give it a try. His stage has an off-putting background and epic music that it feels as if it’s already near the end of the game regardless of the option to choose him first. The first round of rooms with lasers aren’t too difficult to maneuver through, which in good Mega Man fashion is a set up to let you know that something much more difficult is in store. The middle of the stage has a beautiful aesthetic when the lights go out and the hotheads illuminate the corridor with…well, their hot heads, when the electricity is turned off. The final slew of rooms with the lasers is a true challenge as reaction time has to be on point. This stage can give any new player a quick game over, and it’s understandable to want to use the flash stopper to get through it. Armored Sniper Joes await the floor outside of his room, and if you thought those death lasers were a pain, Quick Man himself lives up to the name as the fastest and most unpredictable robot master. As Kris mentioned, his weakness only accounts for half of his energy, meaning you have to have a plan b for this fight. Out of the many times I’ve challenged this robot master, I’ve only managed to do it without taking damage once. Inafune said that he wanted Quick Man to have a special role in Mega Man 2, as a Bass or Proto Man-like character, but it seems he was limited. In my opinion, Quick Man has a special role in the game, as he has one of the most notoriously challenging levels and robot master battles. Mega Man games are known for their difficulty, and that’s part of what makes them enjoyable. This stage, though extremely difficult, is not unfairly hard, nor is Quick Man too tough once you know what to generally expect. Call me a masochist, but Quick Man illustrates a memorable experience to any gamer from any generation, and his slick, confident design, along with that badass boomerang on his head makes Quick Man my favorite robot master, and a legend in Mega Man history.
Kris’s #1. Magnet Man – You wield some excellent points about Quick Man, but there’s just something about Magnet Man that has enthralled me since the very first time I picked up Mega Man 3. First, let me say that Mega Man 3 is easily my favorite in the series. And in a game I hold in this high regard, Magnet Man’s stage, music, design, and fight are at the top of my list for all those categories. Let’s start with his stage music. This song is not only my favorite song in any Mega Man game, it’s one of my favorite songs to ever come out of an NES. It’s some of the most perfect 8-bit music ever composed, with the instruments positively singing every note. It plays to the strengths of the NES’s sound chip so intelligently, with the way the layers play off one another, but for every technical thing it knocks out of the park, it’s the melody that’s just flawless. Yasuaki Fujita doesn’t have a ton of in-game credits, but the ones he has are pretty impressive (including the majority of the original Breath of Fire soundtrack, and writing the 16-bit Capcom logo sound) but the Mega Man 3 soundtrack is far and away his finest work. Magnet Man’s stage is the pinnacle of that work, in my humble opinion, and it’s still one of the very best tunes the NES has to offer.
Then we have the stage itself. It starts with one of the best looking color schemes I’ve ever seen on the NES. The sunset colored clouds in the sky contrast against the harshly metallic silver and red brilliantly. After a short while, you leave this beautiful overworld and enter a fully enclosed factory-type setting, where the gorgeous blue skies are replaced by a bland yellowish background that’s broken up by the occasional gigantic purple transistor looking thing. What makes the bland yellow work so well is that you never lost the silver metal wrapped in red wires, so there’s this cohesion to the whole thing, and that silver and red combo just works so unbelievable well. What else helps keep things looking lively are the colorful and imaginative enemies, starting with the magnet bots flying through the sky. Now, I’ve always thought magnets were cool. Ever since I was a kid, the whole concept of magnetism has fascinated me, but I’ve always loved the design of those bright red cartoony U shaped magnets. These magnet creatures flying around, lifting you off the ground and threatening to drop you to your death are such a cool realization of how to incorporate them into an enemy design. There are also those awesome eyeballs with the two suction cup legs walking around, and the gigantic spring dudes that shoot the blue missiles out of their heads. Every enemy you face in this stage is some of the most clever the series has to offer. Then there’s the disappearing block section. Usually one of the most dreaded sections of any Mega Man stage, this set is just difficult enough to provide challenge without making you want to pull your hair out. It’s so incredibly well designed. And speaking of well designed…
Magnet Man’s design is spectacular. Bearing more than a few similarities to my #2 Metal Man, Magnet Man embodies the spirit of what Mega Man 3 is. It took Mega Man 2, and took everything to the next level. He has that awesome red and black color scheme, but just like Quick Man, he has green eyes and a touch of yellow on the front to keep things interesting. He’s got Metal Man’s helmet concept, but loses the extra shoulder blades to keep the design more sleek. He again borrows from Quick Man’s design in the helmet department, but replaces the boomerang with a classic red magnet. He’s one of the most functionally awesomely designed robot masters there is, and he’s got a kick ass weapon to boot.
Then you have the actual fight against him. Again, this is one of those fights that seems like two evenly matched robots going at it. I love the incorporation of magnetism in the battle, as he strains to pull Mega Man toward him for damage, or how he basically floats at the top of the stage so he can shoot his Magnet Missiles at you. Now, this battle isn’t exactly super hard, but when you really master fighting him, you feel like a damn ninja. Dodging his attacks, sliding under his jumps, and running away from his stream of missiles always feels great to do. Top it all off with some of the best boss fight music in the series, and you have a recipe for complete success.
And there are our lists! One thing is for certain, there are a lot of great robot masters in the Mega Man series. Which one of us is right? Were either of us right? What are your favorite robot masters? Sound off in the comments, and join us in hoping that one day we’ll see a new Mega Man game.
*Editor’s note: Geekade does not claim ownership of any of the images above. If you know who was responsible for the images used in this article (with the exception of the robot master images in each ranking) let us know and we will gladly credit them.