You can’t really talk about Mega Man without mentioning the Robot Masters Mega Man faces at the end of every stage. Each of them brings something unique to the table, even if the theme they represent has been done half a dozen times. And today, I’m going to talk about which ones I think are the baddest bots of the bunch.
Now, couple ground rules:
Once again, 1 entry per game in the series. Honestly, this is just here because if I didn’t have some other means to narrow it down, I was tempted to count up even further than this, and that would take way too long. Thus, I’ll be restricting this to 1 entry per game so that I can narrow it down much more easily.
This is only for Robot Masters, not counting bosses such as Doc Robot, the Wily Fortress Bosses, the Dark Men, the Mega Man Killers, or anything else like that. Even though characters like Bass and Proto Man are technically part of the Robot Master series, they are also excluded from this list.
So with all that said, here we go!
10. Blade Man(Mega Man 10)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the inherent coolness of swords and anything involving swords does not have to be explained.
Mega Man 10 was...passable with its Robot Master selection. Some were solid, like Commando Man and Sheep Man. Others were great, like Nitro Man. And some were just...ugh. But out of all of them, Blade Man is by far the best of the bunch.
Blade Man isn’t the first Robot Master to be based on swordsmanship; that honor goes to Sword Man. But I would say that of the two, this guy is cooler for several reasons.
Let’s start with his design. Now, Sword Man’s isn’t bad; it evokes the image of a strong, stalwart warrior, which works well with his theme. But frankly, I’d have to say that literally having a sword for a face and arms trumps that on the cool factor.
His stage is pretty fun, too, clearly drawing from Knight Man’s stage from Mega Man 6 in terms of direction, what with the medieval aesthetic. The axe enemies, while annoying, are a nice touch, as was the challenging castle miniboss(it surrendering when you beat it killed me the first time;)). Its main gimmick, the platforms which move back and forth, is also pretty neat, although admittedly slows down the pacing. What would’ve been neat is if it had been, like, a knight-themed Sniper Joe was operating one side of it and you were operating the other, propelling it forward as you both tried to shoot each other off of the platform onto the spikes. Would’ve been a lot more exciting.
As for the fight, it’s also really good, but a bit annoying with his weakness. He’ll jump around to both of the walls and the ceiling and throw his trademark Triple Blade down at you. The trick with the Commando Bomb is to hit the wall near him so the shock wave will hit him and do more damage, but at the same time, you also need to account for the blades. You can’t fire the bomb while dodging the blades, or you risk accidentally changing the input to fire in the wrong direction. Not to mention when he jumps down to attack you from an opposite wall, it can be tough to dodge. This is one of those fights in Mega Man 10 that could’ve really benefited from the slide ability.
And I’ve already covered how awesome the Triple Blade is at taking out annoying enemies with triple sword projectiles.
Thus, with a decent fight, fun stage, awesome design, and an awesome weapon, Blade Man truly does make the cut.
9. Tengu Man(Mega Man 8)
Caw caw, motherfucker.
So Mega Man 8 was admittedly pretty meh with Robot Masters, ranging from the terrible(Clown Man, Aqua Man)to the decent(Frost Man, Astro Man, Sword Man, etc.)to the great: this guy.
Let's start out with his design. He's based on a Japanese yokai known as the Tengu, bird-like spirits who are masters of the blade and bring punishment upon the corrupt and the vain who besmirch the teachings of Dharma, the Buddhist law. Looking at this image here:
You can definitely see the resemblance, as well as the intimidating posture which Tengu Man possesses, reinforced by that giant shuriken. My only gripe is that, although his cocky character(aided by his Actually Good(TM) voice acting)is charming, it kinda goes against the concept he's derived from as the righteous hero of truth and justice.
His stage is also fun. The bubble sections can be very annoying, but the 2D shooter section through half of the first and second acts was a blast. It's interesting seeing Auto in aerial combat, tho. Like he knows that he's ill-suited for it, but is still like, "Aight, boi, let's go bust some bots."
And his boss fight is intense, albeit a bit formulaic. He mixes up his attacks fairly well and moves around enough to keep you on your toes, and the way his pattern is designed around his weakness is clever. Like all bosses in Mega Man 8, he's disrupted when you hit him with his weakness, but since his weakness, the Ice Wave, can only move along the ground, you gotta wait until he lands before you can actually hit him and disrupt his pattern. I find this to be particularly clever, and a nice way of keeping the fight challenging.
And his weapon isn't too shabby either. The Tornado Hold did make it into Smash for a reason: its tornado is great for taking out lines of enemies and works well on bosses, and it can also push up objects and allow you to access hidden or higher areas you couldn't otherwise reach.
Overall, with a charming personality, awesome concept, unique stage, and good boss fight and weapon, Tengu Man soars above the competition.
8. Splash Woman(Mega Man 9)
Talk about girl power, amirite?
She’s the only female robot master they’ve actually bothered to put into a game, so of course they had to have made something awesome.
First off, her design is solid-the mermaid motif is played up in all the right ways, the color scheme works, and it looks great.
Her weapon is equally awesome, consuming little ammo while dealing good damage and piercing through shields and projectiles otherwise unpierceable. Really made some minibosses a breeze, like those stupid elephants. >=(
However, there is a reason she isn’t higher: her stage. It’s incredibly well designed, presenting the player with spikes, fun little octopus enemies, a bubble section reminiscent of Wave Man’s(a boss whose stage was his only asset, unfortunately), and other obstacles. But that last few rooms with the water platforms over spikes can suck it. Especially the last one. I died to it a lot, and it soured my experience a bit.
Overall, tho, Splash Woman is the best Robot Master from Mega Man 9, worthy of making a splash on this list.
7. Shade Man(Mega Man 7)
Like Mega Man 10 and 8, Mega Man 7 wasn’t perfect when it came to Robot Masters. Freeze Man was generic, Burst Man’s theme didn’t quite make sense, and the less said about Cloud Man, the better. But it did have some okay/good bots-Junk Man’s okay, Slash Man’s cool, and, heck, even Spring Man isn’t bad(yeah, I said it. Fight me). But out of all of them, the best would have to be Shade Man.
For starters, his design is pretty cool. You can definitely see the inspiration from Bram Stoker’s depiction of Dracula-the hooked nose, the long face, and the thin figure. The giant buster cannon is a bit much, but the wings and the talons tie the thing together well enough.
And his stage is a blast to play through, taking place in a graveyard/cemetery with robot zombies which fall apart after taking enough damage, robot crows, and a giant pumpkin miniboss. The Proto Man fight is neat, but pretty bleh unless you’re a savant at dodging, so I’m not gonna talk about it much. Overall, good stage. And as for music, the theme is good enough, but the Ghosts and Goblins easter egg was a really nice touch.
As for his fight, it is a tad easy if you have good timing, as you can lock him into a pattern of getting hit with the Wild Coil, falling, and then flying up while still being in range. But when he isn’t locked, he’s pretty tough, being difficult to hit unless you charge the coil and having a pretty tough to avoid sweep attack which drains your health to add to his own if he catches you.
And his weapon is good too. The first shot is kinda weak, but its recoil effect works really well against enemies that move in a pattern, as it allows you to hit them on the rebound. And should you absorb the shot, the result is a free charged shot which does much more damage without consuming energy. In some cases, it’s kinda situational, but this is definitely one of the weapons I pulled out more than others in Mega Man 7.
So with all this in mind, Shade Man definitely doesn’t throw himself any shade.
6. Pharaoh Man(Mega Man 4)
Come on, I had to. I had to! You cannot exclude the robot who bitch slapped Mega Man into oblivion from a list of this nature:
You just can’t.
For real, tho, talk about a concept. His design is just magnificent, perfectly capturing the regal and arcane qualities they wanted to convey with the character.
His stage is pretty well designed, too, with a sand segment, moving platforms, disappearing wall panels from which enemies can pop out, a combination of any of the above-his fortress has it all. And it all culminates in what I think is a really engaging fight where he jumps around throwing all kinds of projectiles at you. Well, I mean, if you don’t have the Flash Stopper, anyway-if you do, then he’s a bitch. But otherwise, good luck fighting him.
The only downside with this guy is that his weapon is pretty situational, with the charged Pharoah Shot consuming way too much energy in one blast. It’s also a pain to fight Wily’s final mech with because the thing keeps beaming out of range. But all in all, great stage, great design, great fight, okay weapon, great Robot Master. It’s good to be the King.
5. Elec Man(Mega Man 1)
Mega Man’s had a number of electricity-based foes over the years: Spark Man in Mega Man 3, Cloud Man in Mega Man 7, Jupiter in Mega Man V, Dynamo Man in Mega Man & Bass, Plug Man in Mega Man 9, Sheep Man in Mega Man 10, and(regrettably)Clown Man in Mega Man 8, kind of. But out of all of them, I feel that Elec Man deserves recognition as the best of the bunch.
His design, while simple, is solid and conveys his purpose well, as well as gives him a properly light appearance. His stage is also notable for its integration of its theme in the form of the Watcher enemies, the circuit aesthetic of the walls, and electric generators. Not to mention it’s particularly challenging, yet still fair for the most part, and the lack of particularly tricky platforming helps.
His fight is difficult as well. While his pattern is simple, it’s also hard to dodge, as his Elec Beam has a lot of vertical coverage for a single projectile, he does a crap ton of damage, and he is relentless when it comes to moving forwards. The trick is to repel him so that he’s far enough away to where you can dodge the Elec Beam, because only a couple hits of it are needed to take you out.
But should you pull it off, you’ll be richly rewarded with the Thunder Beam, hands down the best electricity-based weapon. Three directions, reasonable ammo consumption, and remarkable power make it essential for getting through the game.
So overall, it may sound shocking to you, but in the case of Elec Man, sometimes the original truly is better.
4. Knight Man(Mega Man 6)
There are certain concepts which are pretty much universally awesome. Knights? Awesome. Robots? Pretty fucking awesome. Knight Robots? Fucking GGEENNIIIIUUUUUSSSSSSSS!!!!
Let’s start with his design. Knight Man is a rarity among the Robot Masters; he and Wind Man are the first two Robot Masters initially designed by non-Japanese fans in Capcom’s Robot Master Design Contests. The design of Daniel Vallée was different than the final design refined by Capcom’s designers, but he clearly was doing something right. The helmet which hides his face, the armor padding, the shield, the ball and chain out of the buster-everything about him conveys an impression of determination and power. When you look at this guy, it’s pretty clear that you really should not screw with him.
And can we talk about his stage? His epic castle stage filled with traps, well designed and occasionally adorable enemies, and that kick ass theme? Like, seriously, listen to this shit:
The aesthetic is naturally awesome, being based around English medieval castles, and the obstacles of lowering spikes, spinning platforms, and a hallway filled with bouncers which bounce you every which way present a tough challenge while also being pretty fun. Especially bounce gimmicks-I really like bounce gimmicks.
His fight is admittedly fairly easy, especially with the Yamato Spear, which pierces through his shield and does enough damage to take him out quickly. He’s bulky and hits hard, but he’s also slow, and his Knight Crusher is easy to dodge.
But for defeating him, you get the Knight Crusher, a multi-directional ball and chain which does good damage for little ammo consumption.
So, a good weapon, an awesome stage, a good fight, and an outstanding design make for one badass Robot Master.
3. Gravity Man(Mega Man 5)
As with before, universal concepts. Or I guess you could say...universal gravitation? Eh? Thematic science joke? Eh?
Kidding aside, gravity as a superpower has always intrigued me, so of course a Robot Master themed around this would be instantly well received.
First off, his design. Admittedly, without this kickass artistic render, it is a bit weird, but it’s nevertheless solid, with facial features which give him a lot of room for expression and a kind of intimidation. Also, I can’t be the only one who thinks “Super Saiyan Bot” with those rocks going every which way.
And his stage is an absolute blast. I don’t care what everyone else says: I like reverse gravity. I think it offers some intriguing possibilities, which this level utilizes rather effectively in a series of tricky combat and platforming maneuvers. Also, the music is great as always.
And the fight, while easy with his weakness, the Star Crash, is pretty fun and fast paced with the Buster. The way it’s structured, with you and him being on opposite sides of the room and the gravity constantly shifting, hitting him with charged shots is a matter of precise timing mixed with precision as you expertly dodge his attacks.
And I’ve already talked about how the Gravity Hold is one of the best weapons in the franchise. I mean, you reverse gravity. How awesome is that?
So in conclusion, Gravity Man’s definitely got the Laws on his side.
I’ll just go ahead and move on to Number 2.
2. Magnet Man(Mega Man 3)
God, I’m really repeating myself here, aren’t I? ;)
Let’s just get to his design; it’s simple, functional, and distinctive. Not only that, but the helmet really adds to the intimidation factor which I’m sure a magnetism robot would have with other robots, being that they are largely made of metal and thus his bitches.
As for his stage, it’s really fun, too, a great example of using enemies as an integral part of the level design. The Magfly enemies, while admittedly not too threatening, are still a cool concept, and the gust blowers made for an especially challenging time which was never unfair. The disappearing blocks were meh, but they were pretty easy and more easily avoided, especially if you already had the Rush Jet at that point.
And his fight is challenging as well, and also very fast-paced. His constant movement is something which will throw off newer players, and it required quite a few goes on my part before I could expect to survive long enough to take him out. And that was with the Spark Shock. His weapon in particular is tough to dodge, locking on to your position and firing downwards with dizzying speed.
I’ve already talked about how solid the Magnet Missile is as a weapon, so suffice it to say, it’s a heat-seeking missile. Why wouldn’t it be awesome?
All in all, Magnet Man succeeds in every aspect a Robot Master should; his concept is amazing, his design is great, his stage is fun, his fight is challenging, and his weapon is great. But there’s one Robot Master whose narrowly outpaces him.
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER, BZZT.
Galaxy Man would probably be Number 9 without the rules, if I’m being completely honest with you all. His design is cool and honestly kind of adorable, his stage is a blast with its teleporters and grabby enemies which restrict your movement, and his fight is incredibly solid and challenging. Not to mention his weapon is hands-down the best in the entire Classic series. I just thought Splash Woman did all that and just a tiny bit more.
He’s a ninja. From space.
Okay, I’ll elaborate on why he's here.
While his design and concept are unbelievably epic, he falls a bit short when it comes to “fair” with regards to his stage, although it is solidly designed in most areas. Also, his fight would be epic if his weakness wasn’t one of the worst weapons in the entire franchise, the Top Spin. And while his weapon is great, like I said in my Top Ten Weapons blog, it’s a bit clunky to handle compared to something like the Metal Blade. Speaking of which...
Ah, yes, the return of the overrated Robot Master. With a vengeance.
So let’s go over the positives; a kickass design, a fun stage with a neat conveyor gimmick and some great challenges built around that, a fun fight that keeps you on your toes, and a stupidly good weapon, to the point where it actually isn’t that great of a weapon. So why’s he in here? Well, he’s certainly a solid pick-probably Number 6 without the rules-but a certain other Robot Master buddy of his beat him out for the top spot.
Insert Incredibles 2 reference here.
Drill Man was the other bright spot amidst a sea of meh Robot Masters in Mega Man 4. His design is downright epic, with triple drills and a set of impressive looking armor. His stage is fun to play through, and the momentarily invisible platforms was a confusing, but nice touch. His fight is admittedly a bit formulaic, but it does keep you on your toes, and his weapon, the Drill Bomb, is solid, albeit a bit trickier to use than some other explosive weapons, as you have to press the button twice to make it explode. Once again, I just felt Pharaoh Man did that and also had a much cooler concept.
And finally, we have the ruler of the road, Nitro Man.
His design is solid, built upon the neat concept of a Robot Master biker, and his fight, while frustrating without his weakness, is doable. Plus, his weapon is pretty versatile, especially when it comes to scaling up walls. I love doing that. However, his stage was not that fun, filled with annoying trucks, annoying turret rollers, annoying mets, and littered with more spikes than a porcupine’s back. You need twitch reflexes to get past this stage, which is fitting, but also annoying, especially considering that I did his stage first. Hence, Blade Man made the cut and kicked Nitro Man to the curb.
So, with all that said, it’s time for Number 1!
1. Quick Man(Mega Man 2)
YOU’RE TOO SLO-
Yep, the speed demon is the one who made it to the finish line on this list. Why? Let me explain.
For starters, I just absolutely love the concept of a robot built purely for incredible speed. Characters like the Flash, Quicksilver, Sonic, and other speedy characters have always fascinated me, particularly with their characterizations and unique applications of their powers.
And his design is perfect. The feet, the crown he wears, that cocky smirk-everything about it suggests a guy who’s fast on his feet and proud of it, the perfect descriptor for Quick Man as a character.
His stage, while infamous, is incredibly fun for me. The laser sections are an adrenaline rush as you scramble to clear them, which I like, and the rest of the stage has a solid foundation in tough enemies and the darkness gimmick.
And his fight is incredibly challenging, but also interesting in that his is a rare case of a Robot Master having a custom arena shape instead of the usual square. His immense speed, size, and the rate at which he fires his projectiles make him incredibly hard to dodge, quickly forcing you to think on your feet. True, the Time Stopper takes out half of his health in one full charge and makes him considerably easier, but still, it’s not easy to get him down to that 50% health. And that makes for an experience which I won’t forget soon.
As for his weapon, it’s also pretty great, having a high rate of fire, decent damage, and good ammo consumption. Admittedly didn’t use it as much as the Metal Blade, but still, it’s a great fallback for dealing with tough enemies.
So overall, with an amazing concept, simple yet effective design, a blast of a stage, an exhilarating fight, and a great weapon, Quick Man edges out the competition for the title of Best Robot Master.
Although, it’s a shame; we haven’t really seen anything much like him since; another speedy Robot Master. Turbo Man and Nitro Man are speedy, but their theme is more vehicles. Hm...maybe Mega Man 11 is hiding a significant development on that front…
Welp, there are my thoughts on the Top 10 best Robot Masters, but let me know what yours are in the comments. I'd love to hear some differing opinions. If you like what you've read and would like to see more of it, make sure to stay tuned. I've got a lot of awesome stuff planned for this month, and I'm eager to share it all with you guys.
Until then, I hope you all have a fantastic night, and take care.