With all the talk recently about Keiji Inafune’s hugely successful Kickstarter for Might No. 9, I have been doing a lot of recollecting about Mega Man. The Blue Bomber has always had a very special place in my heart, as many of you will already know should you follow this blog or listen to the Recurring Bosscast. I’ve played most all of the classic Mega Man games and was naturally more than excited when this spiritual successor by the original creator turned up on Kickstarter. All the thinking about Mega Man and his storied past got me on a mental spree about which were my favorite Robot Masters.With dozens to choose from, narrowing down the list to just ten was certainly not easy.
10. Needle Man
Hailing from what I consider to be the best Mega Man game in the classic series (MMIII), Needle Man made a name for himself by having a fairly powerful weapon with barely any energy use while firing. Though not as practical a weapon as others, the Needle Cannon was an easy replacement to the Mega Buster when in a pinch. As for Needle Man himself, his design was sort of silly, what with the goofy eyes and pointy needles on his head, but there wasn’t much else they could do, right?
9. Wood Man
The awesomeness of Wood Man certainly doesn’t come from his design. Or his name… No, it comes from his weapon Mega Man gains upon his downfall: the Leaf Shield. Acting as both a protective barrier from a single shot and a weapon, the Leaf Shield is one of the rare versatile weapons gained in the series. For that fact Wood Man is cool in my book. Also, it was easy for my childhood mind to wrap around which other weapon he would be weak against!
8. Dust Man
Sure, Dust Man’s purpose is kind of lame but he has a sweet level. Any stage where Mega Man could be killed by falling cubes of garbage is always going to be high in my book. Also, the power that the Blue Bomber gains is a powerful attack that can split into four separate projectiles which can be useful in a tight spot. But really the reason I like him is because he has a giant air duct on his head.
Snake Man is the first Robot Master on this list solely because of his music. Just take a listen!
That intro gets me every time, and reminds me of the giant gyrating snake bots you have to jump and battle, or the snake heads that shoot you no matter where you’re standing, or that Snake Man has a ridiculous voice in the animated series!
6. Ice Man
It doesn’t get more classic than Ice Man. Hailing (haha!) from the very first Mega Man, Ice Man is rocking everything that makes a Robot Master great: interesting level, useful powerup, and creative design. Also worth noting, Ice Man has a rather peculiar storyline going in the Mega Man Comics as well. And if that isn’t enough to justify his worth, he shares a name with one of my favorite X-Men!
5. Gemini Man
Perhaps it’s nostalgia yet again getting the best of me, but I recall Gemini Man’s stage being well designed and … frustrating! Thankfully the Rush upgrades could help you out a lot. That is until you get to the boss chamber and fight TWO Gemini Mans. Gemini Men? Though his attack pattern is predictable, his Gemini Laser weapon is one of my all time favorites in the entire series.
4. Metal Man
The Metal Blade weapon might very well be the best, most powerful weapon in the entire series. It can fire in eight directions, it barely uses any energy, it deals a good bit of damage, and it even travels through enemies to hit other foes! And what might be the greatest use of all, Metal Man himself succumbs to his own power in just one hit. Alright, now I fee like I need to justify Metal Man’s credentials more: throwing metal serrated blades is wicked cool and his level was one of the better ones in Mega Man II.
3. Skull Man
Much like Wood Man, Skull Man’s power allows Mega Man to produce a shield that can absorb a hit. But that’s not why Skull Man is on this list. Skull Man is here because he is one of the most morbid Robot Masters in the whole series. His level has Mega Man running over miles and miles of bones, likely from all the victims Skull Man has decimated. He summons skulls (souls?) to attack Mega Man. And he single handily made Mega Man IV worthwhile, despite how hard Pharaoh Man tried.
2. Magnet Man
Magnet Man’s stage is the most memorable from my childhood: jumping on the disappearing and reappearing blocks while they make that strange “BWAHHHH” noise is nothing short of unforgettable. Oh, and then there’s Magnet Man himself, who fittingly sports a giant magnet on his head and fires tinier magnets that hone in on Mega Man’s position. I suppose that’s one of the disadvantages of being a robot made of metal. Hmm, perhaps Dr. Wily should incorporate magnetism into more of his Robot Masters’ weapons.
1. Cut Man
There really couldn’t be any other Robot Master at this position. When players think of Mega Man, or more specifically a Robot Master, Cut Man is bound to come up eventually. And that’s because he epitomizes everything that is right about a Robot Master: he’s practical (things always need cutting), he’s got a memorable design, his weapon is clever and useful, he has the greatest voice in the animated series, and he speaks in nothing but puns in the comics! It should say something when a Robot Master from the very first game outranks nearly 100 other candidates. You could say he’s a cut above the rest…