Top 100 Games of All-Time: #57

Mega Man 4

Release Date: January 1992 (NA)

Platform Played On: NES

2018 Placement: #70 (+13)


What It Is:

The fourth game in the Mega Man series.

Oh, you want more?

Well first, it’s the game that introduces an iconic staple of the Mega Man franchise: the charge buster. That’s right, this is the first game to include a charge shot as one of Mega Man’s abilities. It’s also the first game to introduce the idea that maybe it’s not Dr. Wily behind all the bad stuff this time! Your enemy initially is Dr. Cossack and the eight robots are under his command – until, of course, you find out that Dr. Wily was actually behind all the bad stuff the whole time. It plays like any other typical Mega Man platformer – you run and shoot and try not to die from evilly placed enemies. And you get some weird-ass powers from some weird-ass Robot Masters: from the much-made-fun-of Toad Man to the oddly named Dust Man, it’s a very eclectic line-up of baddies.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I originally had this game much lower on the list, but after careful consideration I realized just how important this game was. It was the first Mega Man game that I owned and really was the game that got me into the franchise in the first place. And since Mega Man is one of my favorite franchises it holds a special place in the Mega Man pantheon for me. It has some great music: Dive Man’s theme rocks and so does Skull Man’s. I can also hear the Dr. Cossack Stage 1 theme in my nightmares. And finally, the Wily Machine music is absolutely the most bad-ass 10 second loop in existence. The music + the actual final fight makes it probably my favorite final boss in the entire Mega Man series.

I played this game a lot because it was my first Mega Man, and also preferred it to 5 and 6 (which I owned before 3). There’s just something comfort food about it to me. Despite it not being my favorite Mega Man game, it is one that I’ve probably replayed the most by quantity surprisingly. It feels the best: having the slide and the charge buster is optimal Mega Man performance in my opinion. It also just has the great nostalgia feeling of being my first.

My Strongest Memory:

Skull Man was the first Robot Master I ever defeated. I can still remember my glee at succeeding the first time as a kid and putting Skull Man in a dumpster. But that’s not my strongest memory.

Back in the days of Mega Man, you had to enter passwords to continue your progress. And one of the sticking points is that once you got to the endgame, you couldn’t password into the final stage. You’d always start from the first stage of Dr. Wily’s castle. Or, in the case of MM4, Dr. Cossack’s castle. So you basically had to run through both Dr. Cossack AND Dr. Wily’s castle in one sitting, otherwise you’d lose your progress and have to start over.

So there I was: an elementary school kid, having finally beaten Dr. Cossack’s castle for the very first time. In fact, I’d made it all the way to the Dr. Wily Stage 2 boss. My parents called me to do something so I paused the game and went to do whatever chores I needed to do. When I came back, I had discovered that my dad had UNPLUGGED THE NES because he was VACUUMING and need the plug. I think that was the most furious I’d ever been with my parents (I was a good kid) and I was so upset that my run to Dr. Wily had been ruined by a vacuum cleaner.

It still haunts me to this day.

Why It’s #57:

Look, it’s not the highest regarded Mega Man by the public, but it’s special to me. Every time I tried putting it lower on the list I looked at some of the games above it and went “no, I like this one more” or “this means more to me.” I just have a strong connection to the game that made me fall in love with the Blue Bomber. It’s not the flashiest or the one that gets the most music remixes, but it is a damn quality game and one that I will always champion.