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Mega Man 11’s Special Weapons All Have Their Own Useful Niche


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For a series all about beating bosses and taking their powers, nothing really sucks the fun out of the Mega Man games as finding out that a power-up is really disappointing. Fortunately, Mega Man 11 provides the player with a set of special weapons that all feel useful, and make it easy to switch to to encourage their use more often.


Before diving into the specifics, I’d like to reiterate that using the Power Gear mainly enhances the strength of the weapon, though some have changed properties. As a rule of thumb, if it works normally, it’ll do even better with Power Gear active, but out of the eight weapons, it’s Chain Blast and Tundra Storm that really benefit from Power Gear.


Bounce Ball

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While cutesy-looking, Bounce Ball is great for enclosed areas thanks to its wall bounce properties. It can also bounce off enemies to hit enemies diagonally below or above you, which was a great help in Wily Stage 1. The spread shot can be aimed diagonally, but with the three-way shot, aiming it felt a bit pointless. If multiple of the balls hit at once, it does more damage than a Mega Buster shot, so I found myself defaulting to this weapon in tight situations.


Turning on Power Gear makes Mega Man shoot out all six balls at once, which is the maximum amount that can be on-screen at once. It’s probably better to shoot a non-Power Gear version of the weapon twice instead.


Tundra Storm

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This is one weapon that, as I mentioned before, you want to have Power Gear on for whenever you use it. Normally, it sends out an instant tornado that hits above and below Mega Man, with a little bit of horizontal distance. As far as I can tell, any common enemy hit in the tornado dies in one hit.


If you turn on Power Geaer, the weapon becomes a screen nuke, similar to other special weapons from past games such as Gravity Hold. Really handy when you want to make platforming progress without impediment, and also most likely a speedrunner’s second-best friend.


Block Dropper

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This one has seen the most publicity, being shown off in the reveal trailer for Mega Man 11. It drops four blocks from up high, making it an easy way to clear mid-air enemies, and enemies unprotected from the top. It doesn’t deal that much damage, but is enough to destroy enemies that would die in one Buster shot anyways, and it always seemed like a lot of the mooks were weak to this one.


Turning on Power Gear fills in the gaps in the blocks, and adds another four rows on top for more blocks for your buck. While not very useful against regular low-HP enemies, against mid-bosses and Sniper Joe robots, this weapon is a godsend.


Pile Driver

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Gained from Impact Man, who’s unfortunately named Pile Man in Japanese, the Pile Driver evokes Japanese mecha anime by solving every problem with a stake explosion in the guts of your enemies. Not only is this the most flashy move, it also acts as a dash that can also be used mid-air for speedrunning or just skipping through an area if there’s a high point to start at.


One unfortunate downside I found is that the hitbox for the weapon is wider than it looks, meaning that if you plan to dash through a tight gap, you might accidentally hit the sides, and fall backwards from the recoil. Turning on the Power Gear lets you go further and does more damage, but this is less useful unless you’re already familiar with a stage.


Blazing Torch

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The Blazing Torch first fires upwards a short distance at a 50 degree angle, then shoots downwards at a 45 degree angle, evoking the image of Torch Man’s dive kicks. Because it goes through walls and armor or shields, this weapon is surprisingly useful despite the trajectory. It helped me remove enemies above Mega Man for safe platforming, and can also manually detonate Blast Man’s explosives, making it easier to traverse the stage.


The Power Gear turns Blazing Torch into three different streaks of fire at different angles from the high point, making it easier to hit your target. I found that so long as you’re accurate, you rarely need the Powered version.


Acid Barrier

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This is one of the most useful shield-type special weapons across the whole classic Mega Man series, as it doesn’t lock you in place, or prevent you from shooting normally. After opening the shield up, you can shoot lightly-arcing acid shots. It’s about as useful as you might imagine, being the perfect anti-projectile weapon, especially while crossing tight sections of platforming in Wily Stage 1.


The Power Gear version doesn’t extend the length of time the shield stays open, but instead it reflects acid in the direction any projectiles hit the shield. Those tiny pellets are deadly, but because in most cases you’ll be rushing to the next screen anyways, it’s mostly a bonus property that may not be necessary.


Chain Blast

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Here’s one weapon that is basically the worst weapon of the bunch, but still makes quite an impact. Usually, Chain Blast sends out timed explosives, which you can connect four of at a time. However, these take too long to detonate, and can’t be maneuvered. So when you’re using this weapon, you want to be using Power Gear 100% of the time. The Powered version creates a large explosion on contact, and is useful against most bosses for the sheer damage.


Tip – you can break down Block Man’s conveyer belt wall challenges with the Chain Blast, as it instantly destroys the wall for you. It’ll even earn you a trophy for doing so. A certain Wily Stage boss is also weak to this weapon.


Scramble Thunder

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Scramble Thunder shoots two balls of thunder downwards that travel along the surface, and can also be aimed upwards. I found it especially useful taking care of enemies directly above me, or when multiple enemies were lined up along the same surface.


Power Gear turns the balls of electricity larger, and makes them go through enemies instead of staying at the position of first contact with an enemy. One good idea is to shoot one Scramble Thunder, and slide behind it so that it stays on-screen and clears everything in the way.


Rush Coil / Rush Jet

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This time, Rush Coil and Rush Jet are by default mapped to the top button and the right button. I suspect this is the reason that Mega Man isn’t able to use the Mega Buster while having a different special weapon equipped, but it does remove some of the clutter by having Rush be available anytime, instead of through the menu.


Rush Coil is as useful as always, and this is enhanced by it being at your beck and call with a button press. There are just some rooms that are too much of a pain to jump through, after all. Rush Jet feels a bit less useful this time, as there aren’t many sections that would obviously be helped by Rush Jet, and because Pile Driver has the same function. Rush Jet also lost a bit of range, and Rush slows down when energy is running low, acting as a warning.


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Overall, this set of special weapons is among my top three within the classic series games, each fulfilling a useful function that helps out with platforming, and none having any obvious downsides. This made Mega Man 11 the first game where I felt I truly used every weapon often, compounded by the right stick weapon wheel. After memorizing where each weapon is (based on the stage select screen), it becomes second nature to switch to a weapon you want. There’s just something for every situation.


Mega Man 11 is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. A demo is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!