Traditions are wonderful things. Just ask the cast of Fiddler on the Roof. We here at Geekade have a few traditions of our own, and one of them is to get Jonathan from Mutant Musings and Kris from Stone Age Gamer together to write a top ten list about something Mega Man-related. This year they’ve been tasked with ranking their least favorite Robot Master weapons. Did your worst weapon make the list? Let’s find out!
Jonathan’s #10. Blizzard Attack
Of course this isn’t the worst weapon, but it has no business being called “Blizzard Attack.” This is more of a “Snowflake Inconvenience.” I don’t know in what world 4 snowflakes constitute a blizzard, but I know that it is not the world of Mega Man. The snowflakes of Blizzard Attack are small and two shoot forward while the other two shoot upward and downward at an angle, but since the flakes are small and there are only a few, it is difficult to aim the ones that don’t shoot straight. This makes them pretty useless. Never mind the fact that throwing individual snowflakes at robots trying to kill you probably isn’t the best course of action. Many weapons from Mega Man 6 fall very short in the function and creativity departments, and this is one of them. You’ll be seeing more of them later.
Kris’s #10. Bubble Lead.
Yeah, Blizzard Attack was nearly on my list too, but it got knocked down by a few other stinkers. At the very least, it looks like Blizzard Attack might cheer Mega Man up on a sad day. “Man, I’m feeling a little mopey today. Oh hey, pretty snowflakes! And they blew something up! I feel much better now!”
Anyway, my #10 goes to Bubble Lead. I initially felt that it should be higher on the list, but its ultimate purpose of beating Alien Wily was enough to land it where it is. Seriously though, without the cool Wily fight to boost it, what does this weapon have? It’s a freaking bubble that rolls along the floor. Mega Man turns a drab gray when using it, it doesn’t make a cool noise, and it doesn’t bounce like Bubble Man’s does. At least if it could do that it would be a heck of a lot more useful. This weapon stinks, so this lead leads my list.
Jonathan’s #9. Chill Spike
It’s very ice of you to want Mega Man to cheer up. And here’s another opportunity for you.
Mega Man shoots an icy glob and if it hits the ground instead of an enemy, a few small spikes stick up. That’s it. Then the spikes sit there and watch enemies ignore it. Except for Nitro Man because he drives way too fast and that’s really the moral of this story – don’t drive too fast or you might hit a terrible Mega Man weapon. I feel like the people who have worked on Mega Man games have struggled to create good ice-based weapons, and I don’t really understand why they have often failed. Really, the only good reason to use this weapon is to blow out Nitro Man’s tires and cause him a high-speed death, but other than that, it deserves to be left out in the cold.
Kris’s #9. Top Spin
You aren’t wrong, I never really saw the POINT of that weapon. But I think its sheer absurdity kept it off of my list. Not by much, though. It’s well-deserving of your icy disappointment.
My #9 goes to Top Man’s Top Spin. This “weapon” is darn near useless, which is extra infuriating considering it didn’t have to be. Top Man shoots weaponized tops at you, which would have made for an excellent item to equip. But no, defeating Top Man awards you his other ability, Top Spin. When he uses it, he becomes invincible, deflecting your blasts while zooming across the ground, and dealing damage along the way. That could be cool ability. But instead, Mega Man just does a little twirl in the air, rapidly draining its weapon energy on contact, and not deflecting jack. It does basically nothing to every enemy in the game except Shadow Man and Wily. HOWEVER, it does have a few saving graces. For one, it’s absolutely hilarious. I mean, just look at this attack go. How much fun is it to turn on Top Spin and just jump around like an idiot? Second, and this is kind of a cheat, but Top Spin is incredibly useful in Smash Bros. Mega Man uses it more like Top Man himself does, and it’s functionally great. But most of all, just like Bubble Lead, it’s what kills Wily at the end, and that has to count for something. Not much, but something. Boy, it’s hard to imagine that it actually gets worse from here…
Jonathan’s #8. Water Balloon
Oh you’ll be hearing about the Top Spin from me a little later. No matter how you spin it, it’s just a bad weapon. But for now, onto the Water Balloon.
Wait…what? Water Balloon?! There’s an endless barrage of robots trying to kill you and the worst caricature of a robot master gives you something you can buy from the friggin DOLLAR STORE?! It’s not that this weapon is functionally so terrible, but the idea of it is so stupid it’s practically insulting. Seriously, getting this joke of a weapon after the insult of the robot master, whose name I refuse to mention, is like putting salt on a fresh wound. And clearly, I’m a little salty about it. But really, I find no humor in this weapon or anything it is attached to.
Kris’s #8. Water Balloon
When you’re right, you’re right. It’s a real shame too, since this weapon, while not exactly Metal Blade, is kinda fun to use. At least Bubble Lead had the decency to make an attempt at sounding threatening with the word “lead.” Water Balloon, a weapon you acquire in a level you have to swim through to get, doesn’t seem like it should be a threat to any robots in the game. Most of the bad guys in tis game seem to be water-proof. And you know what? It’s not even a water balloon. It’s water blobules that faff about, gently splashing and I assume cleaning off whatever they hit. They aren’t even contained in some sort of deadly balloon casing. It’s just a dumb super soaker without the continuous stream.
And I’m not afraid to name names. It’s Aqua Man. A complete, miserable failure of a robot master, with a dumb weapon. If it wasn’t actually fun to use, it would have been way higher. But alas, things get much worse in the realm of weaponry.
Jonathan’s #7. Gemini Laser
“Gemini” literally means “twin.” YOU CAN ONLY SHOOT ONE LASER. There is no reason to call this the Gemini Laser, nor is there even a reason for Gemini Man to shoot this laser considering he only does so once his twin is defeated. If Mega Man could shoot two lasers at the same time, or if even two beams were allowed on the screen at the same time, this weapon probably wouldn’t have made my list. As it stands, one beam slowly bounces around and you cannot switch weapons until it disappears, which takes quite some time if you miss. Basically, firing this weapon is taking a huge risk, and I have only found one or two situations in the entire game where I could even conceive of using it outside of the fight against Needle Man. Gemini? I say Gemi-NAH, man.
Kris’s #7. Gemini Laser
Were we sharing notes or something? We must be…TWINS!!!
You pretty much nailed it there, so I’ll just go into my personal frustration with this weapon, the fight with Needle Man. You shoot the laser, he jumps over it, and it starts bouncing around the room, constantly missing him and causing massive, incapacitating SLOWDOWN. Ugh, I hate it so much. What a great idea though, right? A laser that bounces all over the freaking place? Should have been great. But instead, it’s slow as molasses and never hits anything that isn’t directly in front of it. It’s my least favorite weapon in my favorite Mega Man game, so it still holds its ground by merely existing in the work of art that is Mega Man 3, but whoo boy, this weapon stinks.
Jonathan’s #6. Time Stopper
I’d love to say that this weapon stinks, but really…it’s not even a weapon!
Yes, I know. All of us have used this thing to get past the lasers in Quick Man’s stage at some point in our lives. It’s also handy for taking out half of Quick Man’s health. But…you can’t shoot while time is stopped and enemies are frozen. Is a large enemy in your way so you can’t jump over it without taking damage? Congratulations, you just wasted this entire weapon because using it once automatically depletes it and you cannot switch weapons until it’s done. Thankfully, the Flash Stopper in Mega Man 4 fixed both of these problems, but the inability to shoot while Time Stopper is in effect made absolutely no sense, especially considering the development team allowed Flash Man to shoot while time was frozen. The only reason this doesn’t land in my top 3 is because it saved my ass when I was a kid and scared of Quick Man and his stage. But looking back, I would have called it Time Waster instead of Time Stopper, which is probably why Capcom didn’t ask for my help when developing Mega Man 2. That and I was 4 years old.
Kris’s #6. Charge Kick
Time Stopper may come with its share of limitations, but Charge Kick is pretty much nothing but limitations. This move attempts to weaponize your slide, which isn’t necessarily a terrible idea, except that it doesn’t freaking work. Every time you try to use the darn thing, you wind up finishing right next to or on top of an enemy, instantly taking damage. It’s unwieldy, and what exactly does it have to do with trains? Why not a shoulder charge like Wario? Why not adding some sort of physical pushback instead of just flying through enemies constantly taking damage? This is an ability I wanted to like, but I just don’t. Because it’s dumb. It doesn’t matter how much you train, this power should be kicked to the curb.
Jonathan’s #5. Centaur Flash
I love everything about Charge Man as well as the animation for the Charge Kick so it gets a pass from me. The next weapon on my list, however, requires no training whatsoever.
What even is a Centaur Flash?! I know what a centaur is and I know what a flash is, but why are these words together?! It sounds dirty and I don’t like it. There is occasionally a screen clearing weapon in a Mega Man game like the Rain Flush, Gravity Hold and Astro Crush, that have neat animations and are definitely handy, but more than that, they make sense. Centaur Flash makes no sense and there’s no animation on the screen to indicate what the hell has just actually happened other than some weird sound and the screen literally flashing for a second. Another uninspired and uncreative Mega Man 6 weapon that has me saying “nay,” instead of “neigh.”
Kris’s #5. Water Wave
See, I always liked the complete insanity that is Centaur Flash. What does it do? Who knows? But it’s neat! I’ll tell you what robot master weapon failed to make a splash with me though, and that’s Water Wave.
This weapon is stupid. It’s a great idea, sure. Create a big ol’ wave to knock enemies around and whatnot. But this thing doesn’t do jack. If it was more powerful, that would be a different story. But it isn’t. It’s boring and I hate it. Mega Man sure has a problem with water themed weapons.
Jonathan’s #4. Plant Barrier
Maybe we can use that water to drown these plants! Which don’t even look like plants!
Shields haven’t always been the best weapons in Mega Man games, but even the Skull Barrier at least looks a hell of a lot cooler than this nonsense. I’ve written about my dislike of Plant Man’s design, battle, and even this weapon, but it bears repeating – the Plant Barrier looks like garbage. The petals don’t look like petals at all, which is a shame, because the graphics and colors in Mega Man 6 are fantastic. Plant Man’s official artwork makes him look so damn cool, and for a robot named Plant Man, you’d think he could do more than just form this shield, jump, then shoot it at you, but he doesn’t, so this shield is what you get from him. And it’s garbage. His name should be Garbage Man because you get the garbage barrier. Made of garbage.
Kris’s #4. Plant Barrier
No, Junk Man is in Mega Man 7 and he gives you the vastly superior Junk Shield.
I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. Plant Barrier also landed at my #4 because it’s the worst of all the shield weapons, which are themselves mostly garbage. I’m honestly baffled at how these things kept getting worse until 7. Leaf Shield was pretty neat in concept, except that you threw it whenever you started to move. Skull Barrier lets you move, but you can’t throw it. Star Crash was the best of both worlds, if a little slow, but then we take this huge step back with Plant Barrier. Plant Man can throw it, why can’t I? Thankfully they finally got the shield item right with Junk Man, but why, oh why did it take so long to get there? The seeds of good shield weapons were planted long ago. These petals should have stayed underground.
Jonathan’s #3. Thunder Wool
Alright, on to the weapons that are strikingly bad. Sheep Man is cute, the fight against him is fun, and even his stage has good music and some neat gimmicks. But Thunder Wool is horrible. Why does the “wool” slowly lumber forward in the air before lightning strikes? Couldn’t the wool just quickly fall from the sky and shoot lightning in a few designated spots? This weapon is such a pain in the ass to use and precision is nearly impossible, and that’s really the problem. So many enemies, robot masters, and other bosses move so quickly that much of this weapon is wasted on attempts at hitting the target. It is effective when used against certain bosses and the sounds it makes are cool, so that’s why it lands at #3 and no higher. As ridiculous as Thunder Wool sounds, it could have been something more interesting and practical than what it was. Capcom should’ve sheared this from the game.
Kris’s #3. Power Stone
I thought about adding Thunder Wool to my list, but the… ahem… shear ridiculousness of it wraps all the way back around to being good for me. I love this dumb thing, and honestly all the complete insanity that is Sheep Man. What I don’t love is Power Stone.
The Dreamcast game Power Stone is amazing. This weapon is not. It’s almost like they said to themselves “You know, these shield weapons are pretty terrible. But how can we make them worse?” So they made a rotating shield power that doesn’t work as a shield OR a projectile! Just a big, dumb spiral of counter clockwise rocks hurling through the sky. You can’t hit things right in front of you, you can’t’ hit things across the screen. Yes, with some serious practice you can become proficient with this complete waste of a weapon, but a robot master weapon isn’t the kind of thing that should take decades of practice to become useful.
How though? Mega Man, sorry, ROCK Man finally gets a genuinely rock-themed power and it’s freaking this? Why not just have the guy shoot rocks? Turn into rock like Kirby or Tanooki Mario? Why not give Stone Man the shield power and give Star Man a power that uses something cosmic? Why is Mega Man 5 the way it is? I’d rather be equipped with Kidney Stones than Power Stone.
Jonathan’s #2. Top Spin
I’ll leave it at this for the moment: Now you are not playing with power.
But nearly at the top of my list is the Top Spin. I cannot be the only one who was never able to use this weapon without taking damage. I get it, it’s Top Man – he spins, dances, and protects a planet full of weed, so the guy is probably dizzy a whole lot. But he also shoots spinning tops that act as homing missiles, so why couldn’t Mega Man get those instead? I remember using this weapon on Shadow Man and one use would occasionally drain the entire weapon energy. I still cannot hit the final boss while using Top Spin without taking damage. I played Mega Man 3 so much as a kid and for years I quietly harbored so much resentment toward this weapon. I admit, however, I like the animation – it’s adorable. That’s the only thing that keeps it from being my most hated Mega Man weapon.
Kris’s #2. Deep Digger
You’re not alone. Top Spin is a guaranteed way to get yourself hurt.
But let’s turn our attention to a different physical attack. I understand that Guts Man’s Super Arm is pretty situational at best, and one could be forgiven for considering it one of the worst Mega Man weapons. When I was putting my list together, it definitely came up. It’s mostly useless, especially after you get Elec Man’s weapon, which can blow up most rocks Super Arm can pick up anyway. The weapon’s saving grace is that it’s pretty powerful when you can make it work, and it’s just inherently cool to be able to pick up these giant pieces of the environment and toss them around.
This concept was revisited exactly once, and they made it so very much worse. In Mega Man V, you get the Deep Digger from Uranus, and with the exception of using it against Terra, it’s worthless. Like the Super Arm, Deep Digger is completely situational. You can only use it to pick up specific rocks. Unlike with the Super Arm, these rocks are tiny, sparse, and do very little damage. There are few things I dislike more in Mega Man games than when they take an established Robot Master weapon and make it demonstrably worse. Shadow Blade made sense because Metal Blade was overpowered and at least it was still useful (and looked/sounded super cool). You nerf things because they’re too powerful. You don’t nerf things that were already pretty cruddy to begin with. It doesn’t look cool, it doesn’t feel good to use, it isn’t very powerful, its usefulness is incredibly rare, and it’s just plain dumb. Maybe if you could summon the rocks necessary to use it like Uranus does it would be a different story. But it’s not, and it’s a blemish on an otherwise really great Mega Man title. This is the game that had actually good versions of Charge Kick (Break Dash), Water Balloon (Salt Water), and Bubble Lead (Bubble Bomb). How they managed to take garbage weapons and make them good, while taking a half decent weapon and making it utter trash is beyond me.
Jonathan’s #1. Power Stone
The Super Arm sure is not super, but it is pretty neat. But the Deep Digger definitely sounds like some deep doo-doo. And speaking of doo-doo…
The Power Stone has baffled me since I first played this game nearly 30 years ago (crying emoji). This weapon does not have the rare usefulness of Thunder Wool or the adorable animation of Top Spin – it is just solid bullshit. What I’m saying is – Capcom allowed a virtual bull’s shit to sit for so long that it hardened together, then they gave it to Mega Man. In fact, I posit that kidney stones are much more effective because they will actually hurt someone whereas the Power Stone almost definitely will not.
On paper, this weapon sounds fine – big stones spin around Mega Man in an outward motion. Great! But these stones spin at awkward angles and are almost guaranteed to miss whatever you need to hit. Much worse than Thunder Wool, you’re all but guaranteed to miss an enemy on the first shot unless you’re right next to it. What’s the point of having the stones circle the screen for so damn long if distance makes accuracy impossible?
It’s been many years, but I do remember a fan-made Mega Man game where the creator actually fixed Power Stone and the weapon was perfectly balanced and did not spiral at a weird angle. Again, the idea of Power Stone is fine, but I cannot believe that this weapon made it into the game like this. I have quietly resented Top Spin for over three decades, but I have aggressively loathed Power Stone since I first put it into action so long ago. Even shooting a pixel-sized pebble straight out of the Mega Buster would have been better than this.
If you couldn’t tell, I hate Power Stone more than any other weapon in a Mega Man game so there’s my #1 choice.
Kris’s #1. Napalm Bomb
I won’t argue with you there. Power Stone is wretched. But for me, my most hated of all Mega Man weapons goes to what I consider to be the biggest missed opportunity in the franchise. The weapon that could have been so easy to get right. It didn’t have to do much, it just had to be what the name of the weapon implied. We aren’t treading into territory where you need to use your imagination. No Gemini Laser or Centaur Flash here. The weapon is Napalm Bomb. That’s not science fiction. That’s a real thing. WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST MAKE THAT?
Napalm bombs are incredibly destructive. They’re full of gel and fuel that when detonated, ignite and spread a wave of fire. Think Wave Man’s Water Wave, except fire and it comes out of a bomb. It’s just about the easiest weapon to make cool in a Mega Man game. And designing a robot master around this kind of weapon made him potentially terrifying and exciting. So when I booted up Mega Man 5 and saw this guy with tank treads on his feet and napalm bombs in his hands and head, I was under the impression that I was going to be in for an awesome, fiery fight. But no. That didn’t happen at all. Instead I got… this.
Napalm Bomb seems to be designed as a less powerful iteration of Bomb Man’s Hyper Bomb. You know, the bomb that doesn’t detonate on impact so it just sits there waiting for whatever enemy you threw it at to casually mosey away from it so they don’t get hit? Napalm Bomb though, is shaped kind of like a football, so it just keeps rolling and bouncing off of everything until it finally explodes with a whimper. Yes, unlike Hyper Bomb, Napalm bomb detonates on impact. Congrats, they managed to get at least that part right, but where’s the fire? That’s the whole point of napalm! It’s a bomb that spreads fire! Not a weak-ass exploding football! HOW DID THEY MESS THIS UP?
At least Hyper Bomb has the decency to explode in an impressive manner. That’s the trade off. Sure, it’s tough to use with any accuracy, but if you can pull it off, it packs a punch, visually, audibly, and effectively. Napalm Bomb just gives you one of those circle explosions you see every time you blow up an enemy that’s bigger than a Metall. Oh, unless you actually make contact with the bomb. Then its explosion is even smaller. THAT’S NOT HOW NAPALM WORKS, CAPCOM!
I can’t with this weapon. This was a home run. This could have been one of my absolute favorite Mega Man weapons. But no, whoever designed this flopping turd clearly has no idea what napalm actually is, and I will hate them for it forever.
Boy, that sure was quite a cathartic airing of grievances! But let’s not end this negative article on a negative note, shall we? We both love Mega Man so darn much and it’s only because of that love that we can make a list like this and have fun doing it. There is so much good in the Mega Man franchise that some missteps and questionable decisions can absolutely be forgiven. But what do you think of our choices? Are there weapons here that shouldn’t have made the cut, man? Let us know in the comments!
And if you want to check out our top 10 Mega Man weapons, check out our list from 2 years ago!
And if you want a laugh, here’s a video of Mega Man trying to use every one of his weapons to kill a Metall.