The ultimate Mega Man retrospective

Mega Man Week kicks off with a massive look back at Capcom's enduring mascot

Mega Man 8 is the only game in the classic series to be released on disc - even its pseudo sequel, Mega Man & Bass, went back to cartridge format. The CD tech brought higher quality visuals, animation and music to the series, plus lengthy anime cutscenes that weave a slightly too-detailed story. We're treated to a freakishly squeaky voice for Mega Man, a stuttering Dr. Light and did we mention how annoying Mega Man's voice is? It's really obnoxious. He was better mute.

This was originally meant for Sega's ill-fated Saturn but ended up on the vastly more popular PlayStation later in 1997.The two versions were largely identical, though the Saturn game had cameos from Cut Man and Wood Man, making it the ideal choice for fans. When MM8 was ported into '04's Anniversary Collection, the PlayStation version was chosen over Saturn, presumably because it was easier to port PS1 to PS2 than Saturn to PS2.

In addition to prologue stages and a new store with enhancing items, part eight let you use more than one acquired weapon at a time and easily switch between them with L1 and R1. Previously you had to choose one weapon at a time; this allowed for new level structure and puzzle elements not possible in the older games. Still, you could easily plow through it all with little attention to the feature.

As for bosses...

Tengu Man | Frost Man
Clown Man | Grenade Man

Each boss has a few taunts and random quotes it'll spout when selected, encountered or beaten. Voices sort of humanize them, but overall the addition of voices made gameplay more annoying than appealing.

Astro Man | Sword Man
Search Man | Aqua Man

Wait a second... Aqua Man? How'd DC let this one slip by? This was prime money-grubbing season for comic books, it's hard to believe no one blew a fuse and tried to make a quick buck. Maybe that factored in to his exclusion in the next game...

Japanese fans were playing this on the Super Famicom waaaay back in 1998, not long after Mega Man 8 made Bass so popular. Some consider it Mega Man 9, but recent rumors of an official MM9 would make that untrue. It's not like Capcom to be stingy with numbers in Mega Man titles, so this is obviously meant as a companion game to eight, and was one of the last Super Famicom games released. It finally released elsewhere in 2003 on the portable SNES machine otherwise know as Game Boy Advance.

You could play the whole game as Bass, who's on a mission to prove he's stronger than the latest villain in the series, some robot called King. Bass can shoot at angles and double jump, but has no charge shot and can't fire while running. Strange, seeing as he could charge in the VS mode of Mega Man 7.

There were eight robots, but two returned from eight, Tengu Man and Astro Man. Dynamo Man, Cold Man, Ground Man, Pirate Man, Burner Man and Magic Man made the cut.

This game's sort-of sequel, a Japan-only Wonderswan game with six new enemy robots, is still the most recent "classic" iteration of Mega Man, itself nearly 10 years old at this point. We'll have a first look at the latest iteration, Mega Man 9, this Thursday.

We know that's a crippling amount of Mega Man knowledge to digest, but there's still more to go - the weird, wonderful world of shaky spin-offs!

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