Capcom has an annoying habit of periodically forgetting about its iconic blue mascot, but Mega Man's impact on gaming culture cannot and should not be understated. In 1987, Capcom published a visually stunning but hard-as-nails action platformer called Rockman to rapturous applause from critics and a shrug from customers. Three decades later, Mega Man has 11 core games, six other series with their own range of sequels, various spin-offs, and more remakes than Disney's upcoming release schedule. Reports estimate Capcom's franchise has surpassed 33 million sold units worldwide, a figure pre-dating Mega Man 11. Stepping away from gaming, Capcom’s hero has starred in a handful of anime and Western cartoons, with 2018's Mega Man: Fully Charged serving as the most contemporary example. Rockman’s appeal transcends genre, medium, or decade.
Understandably, a franchise responsible for producing approximately 10 million games is destined to run the gamut in terms of quality. While Mega Man has unquestionably produced some stinkers, most of the main games hold up reasonably well and even the lesser titles offer something to enjoy. While the classic series appears set to continue until the end of time, Capcom loves to explore fresh storylines in lines like Mega Man X, the 3D Mega Man Legends, and the RPG-inspired Mega Man Battle Network. Some have aged better than others.
In an attempt to keep this list’s length somewhat reasonable, only main series entries shall be considered. Spin-offs (Mega Man & Bass, Mega Man Soccer, Mega Man Xtreme), remasters/remakes (Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge, Mega Man Powered Up) and mobile games (Rockman Xover) are out of contention.
Utilizing an absolute algorithm to accurately and definitively place all of the Mega Men, here is every Mega Man game ranked!
Please note, the order may vary depending on personal preference.
35 Mega Man X7
While not consistent enough to automatically serve as a stamp of quality, Mega Man's name holds a significant amount of weight. When it comes to the core lines of games, Capcom almost never misses the mark completely. Mega Man X7 is a rare exception.
How about some positives? Mega Man X7 deserves credit for daring to trade 2D for 3D, a first in the X series. It is just a shame this change meant the gameplay had to be scrapped and simplified to such a bothersome degree. Adding insult to injury, Mega Man plays second fiddle to an annoying new character, Axl, for most of the campaign.
34 Mega Man X6
Mega Man X6's existence goes a long way in forgiving many of its sequel's shortcomings. Analyzed in a vacuum, Mega Man X7 is undoubtedly a worse offender; however, 2001's sequel marks the lowest point in Mega Man X's history.
Along with wholeheartedly opposing the urge to inject any innovate twists or interesting gimmicks, Mega Man X6 cannot even claim to be a redundant but adequate rehash. Owning the worst level design in the series, Mega Man X6 was bad enough to force Capcom to take the sequel in a different direction.
33 Mega Man Star Force (All Of Them)
Due to none of the entries altering or improving the formula in any significant way, Mega Man Star Force's three games are going to be lumped into a single spot. Do not let the name fool you, Star Force is basically Mega Man Battle Network with a 3D combat system. Like the Game Boy Advance RPGs, battles are enjoyable enough in their own right, although Star Force's over-the-shoulder camera limits Mega Man's field of play.
Straight out of the gate, Star Force felt tired and devoid of original ideas. There are worse RPGs out there, but that is not really saying much.
32 Mega Man Battle Network 4
In hindsight, Mega Man and JRPGs are a match made in heaven. Capcom's handheld Battle Network line has to rank among the franchise's most beloved secondary series. Due to a personal admiration for Final Fantasy, Pokémon, and every JRPG caught in between; Battle Network holds a special place inside this writer's heart. Nevertheless, we can begrudgingly admit that Battle Network 4 is slightly awful.
The fourth entry's saving grace is Soul Unison, an ability allowing Mega Man to temporarily assume another character's attributes. Battle Network 4 also introduces Dark Chips, a mechanic influenced by Mega Man's emotional state in battle. While they provide a temporary power boost, Dark Chips come with too many consequences to be viable options.
31 Mega Man 6
Addressing solely the core series, Mega Man has never truly produced an awful sequel. As nearly all of the entries have their positives and negatives, newbies should consider playing through the entire collection rather than sticking to the conventionally adored games.
Mega Man 6 reeks of complacency. With Mega Man X on the horizon, Capcom's 1993 sequel feels like an afterthought created to tide fans over until the debut of the 16-bit series. The story, stages, and bosses are – at best – serviceable; at worst, Mega Man 6 is redundant.
30 Mega Man 7
The only entry in the main series produced for the SNES, Mega Man 7's colorful 16-bit aesthetic distracts from the sequel's refusal to alter anything about the core experience. Just to be clear, 1995's platformer is perfectly playable – few Mega Man titles fail to exceed such a low bar – and the visuals are pleasing on the eyes.
The gameplay is fine, although there is less of it than the preceding entries. In fact, Mega Man 7 drops the eight selectable stages for a measly four. Despite its shortcomings, Mega Man 7 is a-okay.
29 Mega Man Battle Network
The original deserves credit for boldly altering the fundamental ingredients associated with Capcom's license. Gone were the platforming sections and situational weapons, replaced by real-time action-RPG battles and a card based attack system. Mega Man Battle Network has our respect.
The sequels improve pretty much every element introduced in 2001's original RPG, but Battle Network is still a satisfying experience in its own right.
28 Mega Man X5
Taking into account Mega Man X5 was meant to be the last entry in this particular series, the subsequent games' noticeable decline makes a bit of sense. For all intent and purposes, X's story reaches a satisfying conclusion in Mega Man X5. Everything past this point is filler.
Mega Man X5 is a fitting finale. While a couple of interesting mechanics are introduced, including the ability to freely switch between X and Zero, Mega Man X5 understandably prioritizes its story over altering the formula. A worthwhile ending to a fantastic adventure.
27 Mega Man 8
Up until 2018, Mega Man 8 owned the distinction of being the prettiest entry of the core series. In fact, some may argue Mega Man 11 does not compare to the series' only 32-bit release. Published for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, Mega Man 8 is arguably the license's most divisive representative.
Ignoring the laughable voice acting and the unwelcome return of Mega Man 7's four stages, Mega Man 8 satisfyingly reproduces many of the franchise's central elements in a fresh coat of paint. Want to experience a classic Mega Man adventure in 32-bit? Mega Man 8 should hit the spot.
26 Mega Man Legends
Mega Man Legends' status comes down to a user's willingness to forgive archaic 3D controls. Originally released on the PlayStation 1 but later ported to the Nintendo 64 and PC, Mega Man Legends is the lovable mascot's first proper 3D adventure. Permitting no shooting is involved, Mega Man moves well enough for the era; unfortunately, Legends predates The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and its lock-on targeting system. Consequently, the gameplay falls apart the second Mega Man remembers he is in a third-person shooter!
Mega Man Legends' world-building is impressive, with an NPC's dialogue options evolving along with the narrative. Now Capcom has finally remembered Mega Man exists, a Legends remake needs to happen!
25 Mega Man Battle Network 5
If nothing else, Battle Network 5 succeeds in actualizing a couple of the fourth entry's intriguing but poorly executed ideas. Instead of tempting players with a temporary power boost when Mega Man is low on health, Dark Chips are normal cards that – once used – block the ability to activate Soul Unison. DarkSouls are also pretty awesome.
Battle Network 5 is a safe bet for anyone remotely interested in Mega Man or JRPGs. The Nintendo DS version contains the campaigns of both Game Boy Advance releases (Team Protoman and Team Colonel).
24 Mega Man 10
A direct successor to Mega Man 9, 2010's continuation retains the 8-bit aesthetic and traditional mechanics stripped right out of the original two games. Mega Man 10 is more of the same, which is not an awful thing when the latter happens to be the fantastic Mega Man 9.
Mega Man 10's bosses and stages are somewhat uninspired, and Capcom missed an opportunity to solidify the lovable mascot in the modern era. At the very least, the Slide Move and Charge Shot should have been reinstated.
23 Mega Man X8
Mega Man X6 and X7 set the bar so low, a grasshopper could have cleared it. Mega Man X8 amounts to far more than an insect! Mega Man X's last entry is such a blast to play, we can almost forgive Capcom's greedy attempt to milk the franchise for all its worth.
Mega Man X8 wisely limits the 3D elements to the visuals, while the actual gameplay reverts back to traditional 2D. Featuring three swappable characters with their own unique playstyles, Mega Man X8 provides various ways to complete missions.
22 Mega Man Battle Network 2
Battle Network piqued the public's interest, the sequel guaranteed customers continue to return for more. Mega Man Battle Network 2 carries a certain degree of confidence absent from the first game. Capcom realized they had potentially a massive hit on their hands, and the publisher was not going to waste it!
Battle Network 2 is the original game plus a handful of quality of life improvements. Players can now prepare three folders to quickly swap as necessary prior to a battle. Town Square serves as a (limited) hub world to interact with NPCs, while the number of chips has been raised to 250.
21 Mega Man ZX
Be honest, have you heard of this one? There is more to Mega Man sub-series than Battle Network and X. Developed by the same team responsible for Mega Man Zero, ZX consists of two Nintendo DS exclusives set two centuries following the events of the former. After choosing between a male or female human character, players pick from a list of missions packed with Mega Man's typical fast-paced action.
As the fourth traditional action-platformer branch based on Capcom's legendary property, great gameplay should be expected. Mega Man ZX's crowning achievement is Biometals, artifacts that unlock various unique units based on X or Zero.
20 The Misadventures Of Tron Bonne
Released as a stop-gap between the two numbered Legends games, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne is comfortably Mega Man's most unjustly overlooked project. A sequel starring the endearing pirate introduced in 1997's Mega Man Legends, Tron Bonne fares better when not demoted to a comedic character with a crush on Mega Man.
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne's combat suffers from the stiff controls associated with this entire sub-series; however, Tron Bonne reduces this annoyance by framing missions as mini-games rather than traditional action-adventure levels.
19 Mega Man 5
The easiest Mega Man on the NES, 1992's sequel marked the beginning of the end for original series' classic run of games. While not the last to make use of 8-bit graphics, Mega Man 5 has a lot more going for it than 1993's follow-up.
Mega Man 5 does nearly everything well. In fact, the sequel basically combines the best elements of the preceding titles to create an enjoyable albeit familiar adventure. Mega Man 5 is a competent rehash. Unfortunately, a rehash is all it is.
18 Mega Man Zero
Marking the first appearance of Zero's Game Boy Advance line of games, Mega Man Zero has a convincing case for being the franchise's most consistently great sub-series. While all four games are quite enjoyable, Mega Man Zero is noticeably rougher around the edges than any of its sequels. Set a century after Mega Man X, Zero awakens to a war between androids and humans. Zero evolves Mega Man's lore better than any other series.
While the sequels stick to Mega Man's traditional stage select format, Zero's handful of stages are interconnected through a hub. Blending hack and slash, platforming, and shooting mechanics; Mega Man Zero is too ambitious for its own good.
17 Mega Man 4
At this point, very little distinguishes one entry from the next. On any other day of the week, Mega Man 4 could have very well ranked in the top 10. By the fourth game, Capcom ironed out the Mega Man formula to facilitate for annual publications. While not completely devoid of innovation, Mega Man 4 marks the point when the series began to resist the winds of change.
Mega Man 4 introduces the ability to charge the hero's Mega Buster for a boost in damage, a feature destined to become a prominent mechanics in the series. This addition is so fantastic, the earlier entries feel restrictive without it.
16 Mega Man
Every franchise must start from somewhere. While the latter games fine-tuned the formula, the original Mega Man arrived already possessing many of the elements that would come to define the property. Released in 1997 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Rockman boasts stellar graphics, brilliant music, and exciting weapon-based gameplay that blends pitch-perfect controls with visual flair.
Certain things like the scoring system are ultimately discarded, while the fact there are two fewer bosses definitely works against the original Mega Man, but Capcom’s blue mascot came out of the gate firing on all cylinders.
15 Mega Man 11
Perhaps the principle of recency is partly to blame, but Mega Man 11 is a spectacular return to action for Capcom's mistreated icon! With the exception of the occasional cameo or guest appearance, Rockman essentially went on a hiatus following 2010's Mega Man 10. Announced in 2017 and released a year later, Mega Man 11 transfers the original series' traditional gameplay loop into a beautiful adventure suitable for modern consoles.
Unlike its immediate predecessors, Mega Man 11 is not satisfied with principally recreating Mega Man 2. After more than two decades, Mega Man can once again slide and charge his Mega Buster. Mega Man 11 is held back due to the occasional difficulty spike and certain stages overstaying their welcome.
14 Mega Man Zero 4
Following the promising albeit crude Mega Man Zero, Inti Creates identified the components worth exploring in the sequels. The subsequent installments expand Zero's moveset and conjure up new ways for Cyber Elves to assist the sharply dressed reploid during combat.
Mega Man Zero 4 is a great game that falls short of the lofty heights set by its predecessors. Limiting the Cyber Elves to just one and locking Zero's customization options behind random enemy drops are steps in the wrong direction, while the Z-Knuckle is not an adequate replacement for the removed Shield Boomerang.
13 Mega Man ZX Advent
Mega Man's platformers love to insert the occasional RPG mechanic in the form of a customizable Zero or upgradable weapons. The ZX games came the closest to blending the two genres without plunging headfirst into Battle Network territory. Released shortly after the first game, ZX Advent once again offers the option to select between two playable characters; however, unlike its predecessor, Grey and Ashe's playstyles are quite different.
Unlocking a boss' powers is par for the course for Mega Man, but ZX Advent takes things one step further by allowing Grey/Ashe to literally become their enemies. Certain transformations open up previously inaccessible paths to explore.
12 Mega Man X3
Emboldened by the positive responses to X's opening two entries, Capcom elected to go for broke with the third game. Mega Man X3 is the product of a developer amplifying a franchise's successful elements without questioning whether bigger is necessarily better.
Mega Man X3 offers more optional boss fights, armor upgrades, mechs, and weapons than ever before. For a short (and underwhelming) period, users can even play as Zero. Mega Man X3 is a masterpiece weighed down by too many distractions.
11 Mega Man Battle Network 6
Bringing Mega Man's Game Boy Advance RPG series to a close, Battle Network 6 garnered a mixed reception from critics. In a desperate attempt to forge their equivalent of Pokémon, Capcom drove Battle Network into the ground by releasing six games over the span of five years.
By the time Battle Network 6 arrived on shelves, the tide had firmly turned against the series. Which is unfortunate, as the final game is comfortably one of the franchise's greatest entries. As a celebration of all that came before, Battle Network 6 accomplishes its task effortlessly.
10 Mega Man Legends 2
A proper lock-on system makes a world of difference! Copying a page from Ocarina of Time's manual, Mega Man Legends 2 allows Rock to actually strife while aiming at an enemy. Due to the implementation of full analog controls, the playable character's movement is considerably more responsive than either of the previous two entries in Capcom's sub-series.
Putting aside the awful water stage - another trait presumably inspired by Ocarina of Time – Mega Man Legends 2's dungeons are thematically interesting and an improvement over the first game's smaller areas.
9 Mega Man 9
More than a decade separates the original series' eighth and ninth entries, and the two could not be further apart! While the resurgence proved to be short-lived, Mega Man 9 revitalized interest in Capcom's mascot. Embracing the retro push popular during the seventh console generation, Mega Man 9 could convincingly pass as a direct successor to Mega Man 2.
Opting to pretend the 90s never happened, Mega Man 9 strips the eponymous hero's moveset to its bare minimum and pumps up the difficulty to frustrating heights. The platforming sections are challenging without resorting to cheap hazards, while Mega Man 9's unlockable weapons put to shame every entry except Mega Man 2.
8 Mega Man X
Set roughly a century after the events of the (still on-going) Mega Man series, Mega Man X brought the franchise into the 16-bit era with a bang! Replacing Dr. Wily's Robot Masters with Sigma's Maverick Hunters, the campaign should contain little to no surprises for veterans of the property. Following a brief but brilliant tutorial level, players are free to challenge eight distinct bosses as they see fit.
Despite looking and playing like a traditional Mega Man, X adds plenty of cool options to help set it apart from the original series. Along with an awesome wall-jump ability, Mega Man X adds upgradable armor for the playable character.
7 Mega Man Zero 2
Inti Creates' sub-series respects the fact not everyone likes to play a game in the exact same way. In the name of accessibility, Mega Man Zero 2's controls can be customized to suit a player's fancy. Ditching the interconnected map for a return to Mega Man's stage select menu, Mega Man Zero 2 strikes the right balance between tradition and progression.
While there are only four weapons, new attacks and abilities are unlocked as Zero grows comfortable with the item. A boss' special attack can also be learned, permitting a minimum A rank was attained for the preceding stage.
6 Mega Man X2
Taking the 16-bit world by storm and effectively superseding the original Mega Man line as the mascot's definitive series, Mega Man X2 faced the arduous task of succeeding 1993's beloved game. The introduction of the Air Dash just about pushes the sequel ahead of its predecessor. With the exception of the Charge Shot, no other mechanic improved the franchise as greatly as the Air Dash.
While the gameplay does not deviate too far from the status quo, Mega Man X2's narrative coincides with a significant step-up from the franchise's typical storylines at the time.
5 Mega Man Battle Network 3
Released in two versions, Blue or White, Mega Man Battle Network 3 elevated the RPG series to a height Capcom would never come close to matching. Like the previous games, Doctor Wily's WWW organization want to take over the world and it is up to Lan and a digital Mega Man to ruin their day.
Battle Network 3's Navi Customizer is exactly the type of mechanic that needed to be included from the start. By altering a plugin's layout, Mega Man unlocks new abilities or stat boosts. Along with dividing chips into unique categories, which entails adopting a strategic approach when crafting a folder, Battle Network 3 boasts many of the coolest style transformations in the series!
4 Mega Man 3
The third entry induced one significant but crucial change to the core Mega Man experience: The slide move. This single innovation guarantees Mega Man 3's spot among the best of the best, even though the campaign is less cohesive than both of its predecessors. The weapons, while enjoyable to use, feel like rehashes of Mega Man 2’s arsenal. Mega Man 3 makes up for its inconsistent level design by providing quantity AND quality.
After defeating the campaign’s eight Robot Masters and prior to tackling the Skull Fortress’ six stages, four new levels based on Mega Man 2 are unlocked. Once these are completed, a short fight against Break Man (Proto Man) is next in line. Regardless of personal preference, Mega Man 3 earned every ounce of accumulated praise.
3 Mega Man X4
Favoring Mega Man X4 over any of the preceding releases is likely to be a rather contentious decision. For some, the lame voice acting instantly disqualifies Mega Man X4 from contesting for the top spot. Even with the occasional misstep, 1997's sequel perfectly captures the tight gameplay and effective storytelling associated with the X line.
Now, in truth, Mega Man X's initial five games should be viewed as a connected whole. While Capcom's original series pays little attention to its narrative, X genuinely explores the characters of X, Sigma, and Zero. Along with all of X's typical goodness, Mega Man X4 introduces Zero as a distinct playable character rather than a Mega Man clone.
2 Mega Man Zero 3
Mega Man Zero 3 only adjusts minor characteristics of its brilliant prequel and none of the alterations are unequivocally superior. Previously, Zero progressively unlocked new attacks by repeatedly using a weapon; this time around, the reploid's full moveset is available from the start. As before, a high score rewards players with a boss' special attack.
Mega Man Zero 2's Forms alter Zero's abilities and are unlocked by completing a stage's secondary missions. The sequel drops this element in favor of the far more flexible and experimental customization chips.
1 Mega Man 2
While critics loved 1987’s Mega Man, the platformer was far from a commercial hit. In fact, Capcom needed quite a bit of convincing to publish a sequel; thankfully, the developers refused to give up! The end result? The most important game to bear the Mega Man name.
A huge critical and financial success, Mega Man 2 mainly focuses on enhancing the framework established by its predecessor. Along with increasing the boss count from six to eight distinctive Robot Masters and, by extension, the number of unique weapons, Mega Man 2 introduces various ways to solve puzzles and possesses arguably the greatest soundtrack in the core series. Slightly less difficult than the preceding entry, Mega Man 2 hits the perfect middle-ground between accessibility and challenge.