Mega Man was (and, shockingly, remains) one of the most consistently fun and musically funky game series of the 8-bit era. But let’s face it, everybody. Mega Man was weird. It takes place in the year 20XX. The main character is a blue robot that looks like a little boy and has a gun that shoots yellow pellets for an arm. The actual conflict is between a nice mad scientist who looks like Santa Claus and an evil mad scientist that looks sort of like Ben Kingsley playing Salman Rushdie in a biopic. Dr. Wily’s labs have ample room for mechanical dragons and weird clay monsters that disassemble and reassemble.
The weirdest thing about the series, though, has to be the level bosses — known commonly as robot masters. The very idea of a robot designed to look and hop around like a toad is goofy as hell, but some of the series’ 80-plus robot masters go beyond just weird to being downright bafflingly loony. These are those. And, before you ask, no, this list does not include of the Mega Man X-series mavericks. That’s a different series, and those things are all pretty much equally strange. A mammoth that shoots fire? What the fuck.
10) Tengu Man
Most robot masters are based on animals or common substances (like metal or concrete) or phenomena (like electricity or heat). Some are a little more out there. With Tengu Man, it’s not even that this robot master (from Mega Man 8, the fancy-graphics PlayStation entry in the series) is modeled after a revered Japanese monster spirit or yokai. It’s that he’s modeled after a yokai and has a jet engine on his back. In the Mega Man universe, yokai are super-sonic, I guess.
9) Plug Man
At first glance, Plug Man (one of the masters from the 8-bit revival game, Mega Man 9) seems to fit into the long tradition of electricity-based robot masters; one of his attacks is even a classic shock ball. But then you start to notice the strange stuff. His head is a plug, but so is his arm. He’s really Plugs Man. And then there’s his main attack, which involves trying to jump on Mega Man with is giant plug. He tries to make Mega Man into Outlet Man, basically. Not even considering the weird sexual vibe that gives off (more sexual than Hard Man, even), it also just makes no sense at all.
8) Magic Man
Why would you build a robot to do magic? It sort of defeats the purpose of magic, doesn’t it? Especially since, according to Magic Man’s bio (he’s in the game Mega Man & Bass), he’s constantly practicing his tricks. A robot that does magic should be able to do magic as soon as you hit its on switch, dammit! Also, it seems clear he was named after a Heart song.
7) Wood Man
Wood Man is a robot that is made of wood. He’s got gears and shit that are wooden. Listen. He would constantly be on fire. But ignoring practicalities (after all, he’s in Mega Man 2 with another robot master who can fucking stop time), Wood Man also has a weapon that is four leaves that spin around for a while. Four. Leaves.
6) Oil Man
None of the robot masters from the first Mega Man game are that crazy, despite the fact that Guts Man doesn’t have jack to do with guts (and if he did, he’d probably be on this list). However, the two masters that appeared in the PSP remake of the game, Powered Up, are both pretty weird. Oil Man is particularly odd, not only in that he looks like the mascot for a skateboard company, but also that his stage is full of Hotheads, robots that shoot fire. Guy’s got a death wish, is what I’m saying.
5) Pharaoh Man
Everything about Pharaoh Man (from Mega Man 4) is insane. He was originally designed to explore pyramids, because, you know, that’s a respectful way to excavate tombs, to dress up like the dead. He’s a born leader — he’s got mummy-like robots he commands. He really is a king! Craziest of all, “he becomes timid around beautiful women.” Is… is that a thing with pharaohs?
4) Strike Man
From the most recent Mega Man game, Mega Man 10, Strike Man is a big baseball that pitches baseballs. If intra-baseball abuse like that isn’t a hate crime, it’s at least highly immoral. Shame on you, Strike Man.
3) Centaur Man
Earlier, I mentioned Mega Man 2‘s time-controlling robot master (Flash Man, if you’re keeping score). Mega Man 6 has one, too, and, for some reason, he’s a centaur. Technically, he distorts reality, but that’s just splitting hairs. None of those things has anything to do with being a centaur. If they really wanted to make centaur man like a mythical centaur, all Mega Man should get from him is Trample Charge. That’s it.
2) Shade Man
From the only SNES entry in the series, Mega Man 7, Shade Man is a vampire. Well, technically, he’s an attraction at a haunted house (that’s mostly full of zombie robots) made to look like a vampire. A robot that’s a vampire is weird enough, but his power? Noise Crush, a big loud noise. Shade Man is a vampire, the classic skulkers of horror, and his power is he makes deafening sounds. Man, I don’t know. I guess it’s a bat thing? Make him Flying Rodent Man, then, Capcom.
1) Search Man
Mega Man 8‘s Search Man has like three different gimmicks and they are all weird. First: He’s a military sniper that hides behind bushes and tries to snipe you even though you are right there (he makes decoys). Second: He has two heads for some reason. Third: Despite having two heads, he only has one personality, which means he’s talking to himself between the two heads. It’s not like one of the heads just doesn’t have a personality. One of the personalities actually switches between the heads. That’s so goofy it’s brilliant.