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Mega Man (NES)

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Title Screen

Mega Man

Also known as: Rockman (JP)
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: NES, FamicomBox
Released in JP: December 17, 1987
Released in US: December 1987
Released in EU: December 13, 1989
Released in AU: December 29, 1987
Released in KR: December 15, 1990


CodeIcon.png This game has unused code.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article
BugsIcon.png This game has a bugs page
DCIcon.png This game has a Data Crystal page

Mega Man is one of the great icons of the NES. This game would go on to found a number of basic principles for 2-D sidescrolling action, and is also considered to be one of the hardest games on the NES. These principles would be better refined in sequels and offshoots, but this is where the little blue robot first got his starts.

Sub-Pages

Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info
Read about notable bugs and errors in this game.
Bugs

Unused Code

Mega Man put on a few pounds, I guess...

The Game Genie code PEXPIIAA (all versions) re-enables a strange bit of unused code: hold A on controller 2 while landing on the ground, and Mega Man will act as though he's been stunned by Guts Man's earthquakes. The purpose of this code is completely unknown, though it may have just been for testing purposes.

Unused Sprites

Dr. Light has a fascination with headings.
Sprites of Dr. Light talking and pointing upwards while wearing colored pants (the used sprite has white pants). They would have fit best in the ending, but really could have been used anywhere.

Let's give Guts Man a hand! There, good as new!
Unused tiles found in Guts Man's graphics, intended to be used when he squats down to jump. The image on the right shows how it would've looked.

It's about time these enemies stand up for themselves.
Unused sprite for the Kamadoma enemy, showing it standing upright.

The most minor of differences...
Unused sprite for the Pickelman enemy. It's almost identical to its used throwing sprite, except that the shield is shifted one pixel forward.

Super Cutter tiles and mockup
Super Cutter has three unused sphere-like details with its tiles. Concept art shows it was planned to have a large body made of spheres, with the cutter being the head. Under the tiles is a mockup of how it would've looked.

A switch? A core? A lightbulb?
Unknown tiles located between the enemies Pickelman and Watcher.

Unused Background Tiles

Open Sesame!

Close Sesame!
An unused door that would have fit with the house from the ending. Mega Man: The Wily Wars would later add a door to its version of this scene, but it looks quite different, and is even a different shape.


(Source: The Mechanical Maniacs)

No need to rail on this tile!
Unused tiles found in the graphics for Guts Man's stage. Vertical versions of the lift rails either used for the lifts to ride along, or to hold up the horizontal rails.

Hmmm...
To do:
Find out if these connect to any of the used tiles, and if so, add mockups which show that.

Too hot for Fire Man's stage? Now THAT'S hot!
Unused tiles found in the graphics for Fire Man's stage. A giant fireball, presumably some sort of insta-kill hazard.

MegaMan1 UnusedWily1Tile.png
Unused tile found in the graphics for Wily Stage 1. Purpose unknown.

MegaMan1 UnusedWily3Tile.png
Unused tiles found in the graphics for Wily Stage 3. Purpose unknown.

Unseen Title Screen Details

In-Game With sprite layer disabled
RM1Title.png RM1 Hidden Title Details.png

Normally, Mega Man's face on the Japanese title screen is a sprite overlay to get around palette limitations, just like on his actual sprite. However, removing the sprite layer reveals that an identical background version is present underneath, using the same palette as the rest of his body (And as such also flashes when pressing Start). As expected, this isn't the case for the international title screen.

Partially Unused Music

Intended In-Game

Part of the jingle heard when selecting a Robot Master is obscured by sound effects, giving the song a noticably different melody in the beginning. Interestingly, the arrangement of the song featured in The Wily Wars is directly based on the in-game version.

Unused Copy Robot Behavior

Criss-cross'll make ya... JUMP, JUMP. (NOTE: This room was modified to showcase this behavior.)

As the Copy Robot boss in Wily Stage 2 has the same behavior as Elec Man, it has some unused behavior.

Normally, the boss room is a completely flat plain with nothing in the way of either the boss or the player. However, if the room is modified to include solid obstacles (as in the image), the Copy Robot boss will go to its "jump" script when blocked. This jump script is the same one used when the player presses the Fire button, which makes it hop randomly to the left or to the right.

It's also of note that if the player presses Fire while Copy Robot is falling from a higher platform, the "jump" script will still trigger, making it appear as though the Copy Robot is jumping in mid-air.

Unused Level Data

Hmmm...
To do:
Get or make a better video.

Located beyond the end of Elec Man's stage is unused room data. Internally, it has the player go down 1 screen, right 8 screens, then into a boss chamber.

The data contains repeated sectors of Elec Man's stage with what seems to be a segment that looks to have originally belonged in a Wily stage. It can be accessed by changing some pointers in Elec Man's stage (show below), but direct access to this stage segment can also be reached by changing the stage value of $31 to 0A (shown right), suggesting that it was intended to be a fifth Wily Stage. However, in May of 2024, Mega Man director Akira Kitamura confirmed via Twitter that this was not the case.

Mega Man "Stage 0A" (via Elec Man's Stage)
Mega Man 1 Unused Wily Level Data.png
Mega Man Stage Wily Stage 4 (partial)
MegaMan1-NES Stage09-Hallway.png
Mega Man: Powered Up Wily Stage 4 (mockup)
MegaManPoweredUp WilyStage4-BeginningMockup.png

By coincidence or intent, the fourth Wily stage of Mega Man: Powered Up bears a slight similarity to the unused stage layout at the beginning (though it is more so based on the original Wily 4, minus the second boss gauntlet.)

Unused Decoration Behavior

Zappo!! (Note: The level was modified to showcase this.)

Throughout Elec Man's stage are vacuum tubes with electrical currents (enemy type $19 (normal), $25 (delayed)) running through them. The tiles themselves are solid ground and embedded in walls besides, but if the currents are placed somewhere the player can reach them, they can hurt the player for 4 damage.

Unused Enemy Behavior

Note: The level was modified to showcase these.

Peek-a-boo! We see you!

Both the Watcher enemy ($06) and Fire Storm Shooter ($0E) are coded with special spawn behavior if placed at the extreme bottom edge of a screen. They have unused functionality, however, if placed elsewhere.

Normally, a Watcher spawn placed at the bottom edge of a screen will generate two waves of six Watcher units at the left and right of the screen. If a Watcher is placed anywhere else in a level, however, it appears instantly and act as a normal enemy.

Wish it worked like that in the real game...

The Fire Storm Shooter in Fire Man's stage usually generates at Fire Storm every 30 frames at 201, 0 (relative to the screen), and follows a somewhat C-shaped path. If a Fire Storm Shooter is placed anywhere else in a level, it will spawn right where it was placed, then once it passes by 201, 91, it snaps to 207, 80 and continues on its usual path. Difference being, instead of having to deal with 4 Fire Storms, it will only spawn the single one.

It's like a shooting gallery!

Other enemies have weird or quirky behavior depending on where the spawn point is placed.

  • Killer Bullets, Pengs, and Flying Shells all wrap around the screen from the right. If placed anywhere in a level, however, they will initially spawn right there before returning to their intended behavior.
  • Any enemy that doesn't have specific instructions for spawning at the bottom edge reverts to an odd behavior where 16 of them spawn in fixed locations over 2,255 frames (35.583~ seconds).
    • Curiously, the Big Eye is specifically coded not to do this and, instead, spawns two of themselves at the center-top of the screen.

Regional Differences

Title Screen

Japan US Europe
RM1Title.png Mega Man 1-title.png Mega Man Title Europe.png

Probably the most recognizable change. Aside from the obvious complete overhaul, the American and European versions were given a logo that remained the series staple outside Japan (at least in-game, the international boxarts could never agree on a consistent logo), up until Mega Man 8.

The sound effect that plays when selecting a Robot Master also plays when pressing Start in the Japanese version, with Mega Man and the borders also flashing gray and white. The US and European versions silently flash the "PRESS START" text. While Mega Man Anniversary Collection still retains most of the international versions' changes, the title screen is no longer silent while pressing the "Start" button.

Sound Effects

In the European version of the game, two sound effects are noticeably different from their US or Japanese counterparts.

Japan/US Europe (60 hz)

The firing sound effect for the default weapon, the Mega Buster, is supposed to play an upward-scaling set of eight notes, but in the European version, only five of these notes play while the other three are replaced by a sequence of five notes being played at the lowest possible key. The end result makes it sound like the weapon is buzzing every time it fires.

Japan/US Europe (60 hz)

The landing sound effect also sounds quite different from the international versions. It actually bears a close similarity to the landing noise heard in the first two Game Boy games, though that might just be a coincidence.

Bizarrely, the European versions of these sounds ended up in the Rockman Complete Works version of Mega Man on the PlayStation and the version included on the PlayStation 2/GameCube/Xbox compilation, and Mega Man Anniversary Collection. Mega Man: Powered Up also uses these sounds in the intro when it's referencing this game!

Ending

Japan US Europe
Rockman Ending Japan.png Mega Man Ending USA.png Mega Man Ending Europe.png

The "Presented by" text in the North American version contains an out of place comma due to having omitted "Inc.". The Japanese version of this text is used in Mega Man Anniversary Collection.