Mega Man (NES) Boss Guide

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Mega Man (Nintendo Entertainment System) Boss Guide

~tankMage (May 2017)


Mega Man is not only the first installment in the series, but the shortest and most basic of the classic NES titles. In some ways this makes Mega Man more difficult than later titles, because players are not able to slide and must kill bosses without the benefit of Energy Tanks. Fortunately, special weapons damage many of the Robot Masters and Wiley stage bosses far more than in later games in the series. Simply knowing what weapon to use on many of the bosses is more than half the battle and approaching the Robot Masters in the right order will make life easier for anyone who wishes to take the original Mega Man on. With that said, I am not as versed in this title as I am in Mega Man IV and the advice in this guide is rather rudimentary. However, I have developed some techniques that may prove useful in addition to boss strategies.

1. Robot Master Order

There are several ways you can approach the bosses in this game, but this method has worked well for me. Going about the bosses in this manner is not only easy, but will guarantee that you have everything you need, when you need it to avoid future grief or backtracking. The order I challenge the bosses in is as follows:


2. Robot Master Strategy

The following section includes detailed instructions on how to fight each boss.

a. Bombman

Weakness: Mega Buster/Firebeam

Bombman is the easiest Robot Master, but his stage is long and filled with hazards. Still, he is the best boss to take on, because he moves predictably, his weapon is easy to avoid, and the Mega Buster deals decent damage to him. BombMan will pitch bombs that travel in an arc at you. The bombs have a set destination and explode upon impact (their blast radius is about for paces) with the ground, so walking away from them is generally the best way to avoid them. Bombman moves around by jumping. He’ll either perform a leap to the other side of the room if you are far from him or a series of short hops if you are close. Run under him to avoid taking contact damage. It’s best to keep your distance so you can react to his bombs and force him to leap, which gives you time to move out of the way. Fire away at Bombman whenever possible and you will have him down in about seven hits.

b. Gutsman

Weakness: Bomb

Gutsman’s stage is more formidable than Bombman’s, but you should be able to clear it with the Mega Buster. Ultimately, it’s the moving platforms in the beginning that require the most patience to deal with. Gutsman himself is a push over if you use Bombman’s weapon on him. Guts will jump around a lot and cause the ground to tremble, which will trip Mega Man up. Try to jump just as he is landing and fire off a bomb. Sometimes a chunk of rock will fall from the ceiling after Guts lands, which he will catch and then hurl at you. The rock will split into three pieces, but it’s easy to jump over. Try to stay on the raised platforms and time your shots carefully so they hit him. About three bombs will take the oomph out of this boss.

c. Cutman

Weakness: Guts Block/Mega Buster

Cutman’s stage is big, but shouldn’t prove to be a problem. Cutman will always attempt to jump onto you. Try to stand far away from him and jump over his scissors when they come at you and when they return. Use Guts strength to lift the blocks and toss them at Cut; two hits will kill him. If you run out of blocks, or want to fight him differently, the Mega Buster works well on Cutman. Just keep your distance and he’ll run at you, throwing his scissors periodically. Shoot him with the Buster and he’ll be pushed back. You can lock him into a loop using the Buster, because Cutman will be unable to cover enough ground before being pushed back again by your shots.

d. Elecman

Weakness: Boomerang Cutter

You have to climb up a ladder past some hazards to reach Elecman. Make sure Mega Man is facing right; a tap on the right part of the crosspiece while on the ladder should ensure that he is facing right. Have Cutman’s weapon ready before entering the boss room. After entering Elec’s chamber, the boss will drop down as usual. Fire a cutter at him immediately and jump away from him onto the blocks, then pivot and follow up with another boomerang cutter. With any luck, the first shot will hit him once and the second shot will hit him not only upon being fired, but on its return trip as well. This tactic should kill the boss in three hits. Keep in mind that shooting Elecman just as he raises his hands to unleash an elec beam will cancel his attack. If you happen to miss, just hop over Elec and fire off another cutter.

e. Iceman

Weakness: Elecbeam

Iceman’s stage is rife with danger, but the boss himself is a push over. He’ll jump in the air, fire off three slow moving ice shots and take a few steps towards you before firing another three shots. You can let the first shot pass over your head and jump over the next two. It’s best to hit him with Elecman’s weapon either when he is on the ground or just about to fire his first shot. Three hits should do the trick.

f. Fireman

Weakness: Icebeam

You guessed it: Fireman is weak against Iceman’s weapon. This boss is highly aggressive and it will take carefully timed jumps to avoid his shots. Drift Jumping (as explained in section 4) is a great way to dodge the tall waves of fire the boss emits. On the other hand, you can just shoot Icebeams at him at a rapid rate to kill him before you run out of life.

3. Wiley Fortress Bosses

Some of the most notorious foes in the series wait at the end of each Wiley Stage and players need to either practice diligently or be willing to cheat to overcome some of these obstacles.

a. WIley Fortress Stage 1: The Yellow Devil (Rock Monster)

Weakness: Elecbeam

Wow, this guy is tough. You’ll need to really memorize his pattern and master jumping in order to beat him. There’s no gate here to serve as a warning that you are approaching the boss; you’ll just enter the room, a barrier will drop, and creepy music will play. Quickly walk to the center of the room and wait for bits of the boss to start flying in from the left side to the right side of the room. The pieces follow a set pattern and form up into the Yellow Devil. Once he is fully assembled, his eye will open and he’ll fire a shot at Mega Man. Be ready to fire Elecman’s weapon at the eye the moment it opens, because that’s the only time this boss is vulnerable. Once the eye closes, he’ll disassemble himself in the same pattern and reform on the other side of the room, then open his eye to shoot you, and repeat the process.

Below is a detailed breakdown of the Yellow Devil’s pattern and how you should react to each flying block. Take note that I will differentiate between high jumps and low jumps as “jumps” and “hops” respectively. The elevation of each block will either be referred to as low ( coming toward Mega Man’s feet), mid (Mega Man’s head) or high (above Mega Man’s head); be careful not to jump too high, because it’s possible to crash into a high block that would normally miss you. You may have to inch your way towards the middle of the room at times to avoid being hit by the boss’s foot or knee.

1st Block- Mid, jump over it.

2nd Block- High, let it pass over you.

3rd Block- Low, hop.

4th Block- High, let it pass.

5th Block- High, let it pass.

6th Block- Mid, jump over it.

7th Block- High, let it pass.*

8th Block- High, let it pass.

9th Block- Low, hop.

10th Block- Mid, jump. (Try to jump away from this block and over it, so you land just under the next one. See Drift Jumping, Section 4a)

11th Block- High, let it pass.

12th Block- High, let it pass.

13th Block- High, let it pass.

14th Block- Mid, jump.

15th Block- High, let it pass.

16th Block- High, let it pass.

17th Block- High, let it pass.

18th Block- Low, hop.

19th Block- High, let pass.

At this point the eye will appear and you should pivot and fire the Elecbeam off at it. The Yellow Devil fires a shot of its own from its eye, but you should be able to avoid it if you hop or take a few steps to the left or right after firing the Elecbeam.

*You may want to reposition yourself so that you are in the center of the room while blocks 7 & 8 fly overhead. Same for blocks 11 through 13.

The Glitch Method

You probably noticed that this boss is fairly demanding in terms of patience and skill to defeat and some people may not want or be able to invest the time it takes to master this fight. Fortunately the NES version of Mega Man is bugged and pressing start just as a weapon hits the boss will end it’s invincibility, allowing you to deal massive damage to the boss (see Pause Glitch in part 4 of this guide). Using the pause glitch will kill the Yellow Devil in one or two rounds if done properly and save some time and grief.

b. Wiley Fortress Stage 2: Cutman, Elecman, and Copy Bot

Cutman (Wiley Stage 2)

Weakness: Mega Buster

In the second stage of Wiley’s domain you will encounter Cutman. This time there are no Guts Blocks to toss at him. All this means is that the battle will take a few more seconds to end. Keep him at a distance and pelt him with the Mega Buster. Jump over his scissors, shoot him, and jump again to avoid them on their return trip. As before, the Mega Buster should push Cutman back and lock him in a pattern that is easily predicted. The flat terrain in this room is also advantageous to Mega Man, because it gives him plenty of room to get out Cutman’s way if he manages to close the distance and start hopping around.

Elecman (Wiley Stage 2)

Weakness: Boomerang Cutter/Mega Buster

Another flat room, another Robot Master waiting to get sent to the scrap yard. Stand in the right-hand corner of the room and fire the Cutter at Elecman. He’ll often jump away from Cutman’s weapon, but you’ll nail him if you shoot just before he unleashes his beam. Three shots should do the trick. You can also stand in the corner you land in and use the Mega Buster to cancel his attack by timing your shots so they hit Elecman just as he motions to use the Elecbeam. Either way, you can win this battle without taking damage or even moving.

Copy Bot

Weakness: Flamebeam

Drop down from the ladder and Mega Man will be pulled into some sort of cloning machine. A copy of the Blue Bomber will be created in a matter of seconds, but fear not, this guy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Copy Bot will run back and forth across the room, sometimes firing a shot off if you do nothing. He also won’t step into the far left or right corners, making them a safe spot for you (He will jump into them, however, but I’ll get to that later). The fake Mega Man will also equip the weapon you are currently using, which gives you tremendous control over the battle; in fact I recommend equipping the Magnet Beam or Gutsman’s weapon before dropping into Copy Bot’s room to prevent him from attacking at all when the battle begins. Finally, Copy Bot will only jump when you take a shot at him. He’ll very often leap over your shot and crash into you, but we can take advantage of this as well…

Ready Fireman’s weapon and stand in the corner of your liking. Jump over the boss’s shots and counter with your own; try to aim just above his head and you should catch him as he hops. Now, when Copy gets close enough to jump into you as you shoot at him (a few paces away) , jump and fire away. The Firebeam surrounds Mega Man in a short lived veil of flame that will hit Copy Bot and push him away if he tries to jump into you. If done correctly, Copy will get locked into a pattern where he jumps into your shots or your barrier, takes damage, and gets pushed back until he dies.

c. Wiley Fortress Stage 3: CW-01Ps

Weaknesses: Bomb/Guts Block/Elecbeam

It took me a long time to come up with a reliable strategy for this boss and even now it’s not foolproof, because of the way the encounter is designed. The CW-01P is actually seven different machines that come out of holes in the walls of the chamber. Fortunately, they only spawn one at a time, but there is no set pattern to how these bosses spawn and one can come out of any of the gaps. This often means you will get pinned in a corner and take damage if you happen to be in the wrong spot. Furthermore, each CW-01P will travel along the parameter of the room in a clockwise fashion and fire bubble-like projectiles at you. You may notice four Guts Blocks sitting in the center of the room; these blocks can kill a CW-01P in one hit, but it’s best to save them for when the fight heats up. The CW-01Ps will move faster as the battle progresses and you’ll want to save those easy kills for the end of the fight.

You can always predict that the CW-01Ps will circle the room in the same way and two well planted bombs can kill one in two shots. Stand on the highest block and chuck one of Bombman’s bombs in the corner a few seconds before the boss reaches it. Timing is everything here, because you want the bomb to blow just as the CW-01P is approaching it. If you manage to kill three CW-01Ps, switch to Guts and toss blocks at the remaining four. Alternatively, you can use the Elecbeam on this boss, but make sure you toss the Guts Blocks at it first, because Elecman’s weapon can destroy the blocks. This method may work better for some people who have difficulty timing the bombs.

Block Duplication Method

It’s possible to duplicate Guts Blocks (see section 4), which is great for this fight, because you can take out the CW-01Ps in one hit with a block. This method requires precise timing however, since you must first throw a block and then pick up the block you want to duplicate just as the last chunk of the block you threw disappears. While this method is difficult to master, you can end the boss fight very quickly if you pull it off.

d. Wiley Fortress Stage 4: Bombman, Fireman, Iceman, Gutsman, and  Wiley Machine No. 1

Bombman (Wiley Stage 4)

Weakness: Firebeam

Oddly enough, there are no weapons Bombman is massively damaged by, unlike most other Robot Masters. Fireman’s weapon is marginally better than the Mega Buster at least, so use it along with the same strategy as before.

Fireman (Wiley Stage 4)

Weakness: Icebeam

There’s nothing new to this fight. Use the same tactics as before and try to avoid taking too much damage, more foes await.

Iceman (Wiley Stage 4)

Weakness: Elecbeam

Make sure you equip the Elecbeam after defeating Fireman and blast away at Iceman the moment he appears. Three shots should do the job and you should only have to jump over one Icebeam.

Gutsman (Wiley Stage 4)

Weakness: Bomb

Gutsman is much harder to deal with here. Learn to time your jumps just so, to avoid the tremors Gutsman produces by hopping. Of course the bomb is still effective in this fight, just don’t try to use it while still standing in the teleporter (it won’t go far). Luck plays a big role in this fight, since the boss may jump towards you and pin you in the corner, plus the blocks he tosses fall from the ceiling at random.

Wiley Machine No. 1

Phase 1  

Weakness: Firebeam

At first the Wiley Machine will float to and fro lobbing orbs at you. Get in close and blast the gun on the front with the Firebeam. Try to aim your attacks so both the heat field and the projectile generated by Fireman’s weapon hit the sphere just under the barrel of the gun on the Wiley Machine when possible. The gun will target Mega Man’s position, so be sure to take a few steps to the left or right as it fires to avoid damage. Drift Jumping works well here, since it will allow you to weave in and out of Wiley’s attacks.

Phase 2

Weakness: Boomerang Cutter/Elecbeam

This part of the battle can be tough, because the rotating shot Wiley fires deals a good bit of damage. Drift Jumping (see section 4) works well in this fight, because you can jump away from the shot and fire Cutman’s weapon at the orb just above gun. If you time it just right, the Boomerang Cutter will hit Wiley several times. To do this, fire the weapon when Mega Man is just a few pixels away from the gun and level with it. Then run to the left, Drift Jump, and repeat the process.

You can also use the Elecbeam to defeat Wiley fairly easily, but this method is less reliable. Stand just under the gun and the projectiles Wiley fires will miss you (most of the time). You can still hit him by using the Elecbeam and aiming it so the vertical bolts hit the gun on the front end of Wiley’s machine. Unfortunately, Wiley’s shots will sometimes be directed at you and you won’t be able to avoid them if you are under his machine. This seems to happen most often when the Wiley Machine approaches the left or right edge of the screen and begins floating back the other way.

Once you destroy the second phase of the Wiley Machine, victory will be yours and the game will end. Congratulations!

4. Tips and Tricks

The following is a collection of tactics and glitch exploits that may make life a bit easier. While many of these tricks are optional (and some may even be considered cheating by some), you will almost certainly want to pay attention to parts a, c, and e, because they are useful and at times necessary features of the game.

a. Drift Jumping

This is more of a technique than a trick, but it’s very useful. Learn to jump away from certain projectiles and obstacles and quickly turn Mega Man to face them just before he begins to descend. This will allow you to sort of float over difficult to avoid attacks and is especially useful against the Yellow Devil and Fireman.

b. Power up Grinding

Ok, so this isn’t much fun, but it can save you in a pinch if you need weapon energy, life, or a 1-Up. There are several points in the game where you can kill relatively weak, respawning enemies just by running back and forth shooting your Mega Buster. In same cases, there are respawning power ups just waiting to be taken. This is a great way to stock up before a boss, recharge the Magnet Beam, or replenish your reserves in Wiley’s Fortress. Here are a few good grinding spots:

Gutsman Stage- The gated area right before the boss is a good place to fill up on life. Just run back and forth, shooting the mets as they appear.

Cutman Stage- Once again, enemies occupy the area just before the boss. This time it’s turrets. You can walk around and blast these guys for power-ups as well, but beware of the one on the ceiling. Make sure you keep your distance and shoot it so it can’t fire back.

Fireman Stage- The room before the boss is just like the one in Cutman’s stage, so use the same strategy if you need some power-ups.

Dr. Wiley Stage 1- There’s a room with respawning bullet bill type enemies that can be farmed. It’s best to drop down to the lowest section of the room (just below the spikes) to do so, stand on the left-hand side of the room, and fire at them as they approach you. This will allow you to collect power-ups with less risk of being hit.

Dr. Wiley Stage 1 (infinite weapon energy)- There’s a room in this stage that has a spike lined floor and ceiling. On the right-hand side of the room is a ladder with two weapon energy capsules next to it. These capsules will always respawn when you enter the room, so feel free to climb up and down the ladder to gather them, just watch out for the shots fired by the Foot Holders that float around the chamber..

Dr. Wiley Stage 4 (more infinite weapon energy)- After climbing up the second ladder, you will see a large wagon energy sitting on top of some blocks. Use Guts to lift the top two blocks and leave the bottom one alone. You can jump on this block to easily reach the energy and refill your weapon, plus moving until it’s off screen and coming back will make it respawn. The usefulness of this strategy is limited, because you will be able to grab an item that restores all your weapon energy if you go right a few screens, but it can help refill your Magnet Beam in a pinch.

c. The Magnet Beam

There are some really annoying block puzzles and dangerous platforms in this game. The handy Magnet Beam will let you bypass these nasty things, however. You can find it in Elecman’s stage behind some blocks by using Gutsman’s weapon.

d. Pause Glitch

Bosses are usually invincible for a few seconds after being hit in order to maintain game balance. Hitting the select button to pause will cancel a boss’s immunity and cause weapons to deal tremendous amounts of damage. This trick works best with attacks that aren’t destroyed upon hitting something, like the Elec Beam or Boomerang Cutter. Press the select button rapidly just as the projectile makes contact to get the most out of this glitch.

e. The Ice Beam

Iceman’s weapon doubles as a powerful tool. The Ice Beam can freeze enemies in their tracks, rendering deadly bots like Big Eyes helpless (keep in mind this weapon does not have the same effect on bosses). You can either bypass a frozen foe or change weapons and start blasting it. You can also use it to freeze certain obstacles, like the rising and falling flame pillars in Fireman’s stage and level one of Dr. Wiley’s Fortress. Remember that the Icebeam will not freeze Robot Masters or Wiley Stage bosses.

f. Guts Block Glitch (AKA Block Duplication)        

With careful timing you can clone Guts Blocks, which is useful against the CW-01Ps in stage 3 of Wiley’s Fortress. First pick up a block and position yourself next to the next block you want to grab. Throw the block you just picked up and wait for the last piece of it to vanish off of the screen. Hit B to pick the next block on the exact second the one you threw disappears and you should pick up the block without it despawning. Throw the block, hit B just as the last piece vanishes, and Mega Man should be holding yet another block. This should give the player infinite ammo in the CW-01Ps Boss fight, making the battle far easier.   

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