One of the most unique and fun things about the Mega Man series is the Variable Weapons System that lets Mega Man inherit weapons from his defeated opponents. In this series, we're going to take a look at just how useful each weapon is, how strong it is when compared to the Mega Buster, where it's best used, how much energy it uses, which bosses are weak to it, who you get the weapon from, and how each one stacks up to the other weapons from its corresponding game.
Starting off the series, we're going to take a look at the weapon you obtain from the very first Robot Master Keiji Inafune ever created, Elec Man!
Damage Data: The numbers represent the amount of hits it takes to kill each enemy.
By defeating Elec Man, you'll obtain the Thunder Beam: A very powerful, fast moving, multi-directional weapon. Each time you fire a shot, it will project a large wave of electricity forward while at the same time firing two smaller electric beams above and below Mega Man. You can have only one shot on the screen at a time, and each shot consumes one bar of weapon energy, thus giving you 28 uses to a full bar of weapon energy.
The frontal beam is effective because of how large the wave of electricity is; even if your aim is off, you'll still most likely hit your target. On some occasions the frontal beam might wave up and over small grounded enemies such as Gabyoalls or Screwdrivers; however, this is not the case most of the time. The upward and downward beams are very effective because they allow you to not only take out enemies coming at you from above or below, but they can also let you take out enemies before they can become a threat at all.
On top of being a great destructive weapon, the Thunder Beam also has a utility function. If you fire it at the Super Arm blocks that you see scattered throughout the different stages, it will destroy them. One interesting thing to point out is that when you shatter a Super Arm block with Thunder Beam, it's actually weaker than if you threw it with Super Arm. This is especially noticeable against Cut Man.
Hitting either a Super Cutter or Cut Man with any of the electric beams will cause the Thunder Beam to "shatter." Oddly enough, only the frontal beam will break apart. The fragments of the shattered Thunder Beam can still damage enemies, but they can't destroy Super Arm blocks.
The best bosses to use Thunder Beam on are Ice Man and the Yellow Devil, who are both weak to it. It's also somewhat effective on Dr. Wily, though you're better off using other weapons for that battle. We'll go more into which weapons are best for that at another time.
So where would be the best place to use this weapon? Anywhere! Once you've obtained this weapon, you can use it anywhere and it will be a very effective choice. It's efficient enough on weapon energy that you can run through entire stages using only this weapon until you reach the boss. You can only have one shot on the screen at a time, but the power of this weapon is very high. It can destroy almost every stage enemy in one hit, and the enemies it doesn't kill in one hit still go down in fewer hits than with the Mega Buster. The only exceptions are the Super Cutters, which can be avoided simply by running past them without stopping.
In comparison to the other weapons in Mega Man 1, the Thunder Beam is definitely the best of the bunch. It's fast, powerful, has an amazing range, is energy efficient, has a utility function, and is the weapon of choice on two of the toughest bosses in the game, making this a really great weapon. The Thunder Beam is not only the best weapon in Mega Man 1, but also one of the best in the entire Classic series.
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