Mega Man, known as Rockman (ロックマン, Rokkuman) in Japan, is a 1987 action-platform video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was directed by Akira Kitamura, with Nobuyuki Matsushima as lead programmer, and is the first game of the Mega Man franchise and the original video game series. Mega Man was produced by a small team specifically for the home console market, a first for Capcom, who previously focused on arcade titles.
The game begins the struggle of the humanoid robot and player-character Mega Man against the mad scientist Dr. Wily and the six Robot Masters under his control. Mega Man’s nonlinear gameplay lets the player choose the order in which to complete its initial six stages. Each culminates in a “Robot Master” boss battle that awards the player-character a unique weapon. Part of the strategy of the game consists of choosing the order to tackle the stages in order to earn the weapons that will be most useful for future stages.
Mega Man consists of six side-scrolling platformer levels freely chosen by the player. In each level, the player-character, Mega Man, fights through various enemies and obstacles before facing a “Robot Master” boss at the level’s end. Upon defeating the boss, the player assimilates the Robot Master’s signature attack, or “Special Weapon”, into Mega Man’s arsenal for the rest of the game. Unlike the standard Mega Buster (Rock Buster in Japan), the Robot Master powers have limited ammunition replenished by collecting ammunition cells dropped by defeated enemies at random. Enemies also drop energy cells that replenish Mega Man’s health gauge. While the player is free to proceed through the game in any order, each Robot Master is especially vulnerable to a specific weapon, which encourages the player to complete certain stages before others. The player can also revisit cleared levels. Besides the weapons taken from the Robot Masters, the player is able to pick up a platform generator item known as the “Magnet Beam” in Elec Man’s stage.
Mega Man also features a scoring system where players score points for defeating enemies, and earn extra points for collecting power-ups from fallen enemies and for clearing each stage. Each robot master was worth a random number between 50,000 and 100,000 points whereas Dr. Wily was always worth 200,000 points. The scoring system was removed in later Mega Man games as it provided no benefit to the player. High scores did not earn extra lives, they were not recorded, etc. and were overall meaningless.
When all six Robot Master stages are completed, the seventh and last stage appears in the middle of the stage select menu. This stage, in which the player traverses Dr. Wily’s robot factory, is a chain of four regular stages linked together, each containing at least one new boss. During these final stages, the six Robot Masters must also be fought again in a predetermined order before the final confrontation against Dr. Wily.