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The Mega Man franchise is known for two main things. Firstly, being so darn difficult that it makes the infamous Dark Souls series look like Barney The Dinosaur’s Super-Simple Adorable Purple Platformer For Toddlers. Mega Man’s fiendish level design—featuring perilous areas filled with insta-death spikes and enemy spawns perfectly calculated to knock you into bottomless pits—speaks for itself.
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Secondly, the freedom to pick your own route through the game’s levels, and so the order you take on the Robot Masters in. This is important because each usually has a weakness to another’s weapon, and Mega Man acquires each one upon their defeat. Today, we’re going to take a look at all of these weapons from across the main series and pick out some of the very best.
The Water Wave, obtained from Wave Man (unsurprisingly) in Mega Man 5, is an unusual weapon. The ‘splashes’ it fires travel in such a way that they can serve as a shield of sorts, taking certain enemy projectiles out of the equation and keeping more minor foes at bay. When things get especially hairy (which is all the darn time in these games), it can be as useful defensively as it is offensively. It also works very nicely underwater.
At the same time, though, the Water Wave isn’t the most powerful pick in terms of raw damage. It’s also unwieldy to use, as it can only be fired while Mega Man is on solid ground. Definitely worthy of the shoutout, but we couldn’t rank it any higher.
Air Shooter is another weapon that’s a bit of a double-edged sword. If you’ve fallen victim to Mega Man’s shenanigans in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you’ll have seen first-hand how effective this tool can be (at achieving Star KOs off the top of the screen). In Mega Man 2, it’s a top pick for dealing with flying enemies.
The issue is, it’s quite situational. Several of the biggest foes in the game, such as Mecha Dragon and Alien, are immune to its teeny tornados of doom. It’s an top-notch weapon, but it’s not as reliable as some of the other entries coming up.
The original release of Mega Man 2 made the Quick Boomerang far too effective. Due to a programming error or oversight, no enemies in the game were immune to it, not even those who weren’t supposed to be able to take damage through conventional means. It’s super strong by default, then.
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That issue aside, though, the weapon’s a great all-rounder. It has a low range, but is very fast and doesn’t eat through your weapon energy. As such, it’s handy against a wide range of opponents. It just doesn’t really excel anywhere.
The Laser Trident is Splash Woman’s signature weapon from Mega Man 9. It has a lot in common with the Quick Boomerang: it’s quick, convenient and effective at handling a range of opponents. Energy management can be an issue with some of the series’ most powerful weapons, but you don’t have to be quite so conservative with this one.
The Laser Trident is excellent for dispatching shielded enemies, as it strikes right through their defenses. Outside of that, though, it’s just a very solid fast-moving projectile volley that doesn’t offer any special tricks or abilities.
In the Mega Man series, weapons aren"t just about offense. Matching the weaknesses of bosses is crucial and will make them much easier to handle, but that’s not the only thing to think about when it comes to picking the right tool for the right situation.
Weapons such as Acid Man’s Acid Barrier bring something equally important to the table: defense. This one is much more interesting than other shield-type weapons in the series, spawning a protective ball of acid around our hero. It can only absorb projectiles (slowly shrinking away like a Super Smash Bros. shield as it does so) and also gives Mega Man an acid gun so as to be able to fight back while protecting himself. It’s limited but very unique, a good pick for the middle entry of our list.
The Black Hole Bomb (courtesy of Galaxy Man in Mega Man 9) is one of the series’ more unique weapons. It fires a slow-moving projectile that the player can manually control (vertically) to put it into the best position before detonating it. Doing so unleashes a black hole that pulls in nearby enemies and their shots.
It’s effective against all kinds of enemies, allowing the player to remove irritating foes or keep themselves safe in an otherwise-tricky spot. The downside is that it can’t be spammed and is tough to use on the fly as it’s so unwieldy.
4 Pharaoh Shot (Mega Man 4)
Via: YouTube (Peter Sjöstrand)
Mega Man 4’s Pharaoh Shot is a little controversial among series fans. Many will tell you that it’s overpowered and among the best in the series, and there’s some validity to that for sure. The ability to aim it in six directions was a huge plus at this time in the series, it’s powerful (absurdly so when charged) and works just fine when uncharged too.
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It’s tough to argue any of that, but there are a couple of factors that bring the Pharaoh Shot down a peg or two. A lot of its popularity is the result of a glitch that prevents charged shots from costing energy, and the plain old Mega Buster dealt great charged damage itself too. It’s a contender, but those disadvantages just prevent it from claiming the top spot.
For our next entry, we’re going to party like it’s 1987 and revisit the original Mega Man. Of the weapons available in the iconic original, two in particular stand out: the Thunder Beam and the defense-boosting Fire Storm. For us, the Thunder Beam is superior.
What’s to dislike about Elec Man’s favorite tool of destruction? Hitting below and above the player, it was a super useful at a time when Mega Man has basically zero manoeuvrability. Throw in the fact that the Thunder Beam can also deal multiple hits and handily deal with barriers, and you’re dispensing thunder-based justice all over the darn place like an angry Electric-type Pokémon.
What can we say about the infamous Metal Blade that hasn’t already been said? Another star of the Mega Man 2 arsenal, this fantastic weapon just seems to have everything going for it. It barely uses any energy at all to fire, meaning that it can essentially function as a primary weapon (similarly to the Laser Trident). It’s fast, powerful and effective, and you can’t really ask for more from a Mega Man weapon.
Well, you could also ask for it to be able to fire straight through darn walls as well. That’d be super greedy of you, but don’t worry, because the Metal Blade can do that too! If this is only the runner-up weapon, what the heck came in first place?
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Naturally, it’s the Mega Buster. Over the course of the decades-long Mega Man franchise, our robotic hero (in his various guises) has been able to find, unlock and equip all kinds of curious weapons. Some, as we’ve seen here, have been utterly devastating.
When it comes to the Mega Man character himself, though, there’s only one iconic weapon worth mentioning: the one that’s been strapped to his darn arm the whole time. The Mega Buster is his default, primary weapon, which requires no energy to fire and isn’t really effective or ineffective against any enemies. It’s the completely standard, run-of-the-mill, normal mode of Mega Man weaponry. That’s exactly the thing, though. You don’t need to scrabble for ammo for it. It can (sometimes) fire charged shots that compete with the very best for damage (as seen with the Pharaoh Shot). It’s completely iconic, and you’ve got to respect that.
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