Overall, the character of Mega Man has been well received by critics. IGN called him an icon of Capcom. Nintendo Power listed Mega Man as their fourth favourite hero, citing his ability to steal weapons from downed Robot Masters. Mega Man was also listed as the best robot in video games by many sources such Joystick Division, UGO Networks, and Complex. GameDaily ranked him as the best Capcom character of all time. UGO Networks listed Mega Man as one of their best heroes of all time, and called him "one of the most iconic video game heroes of all time". He was included in GameSpot's "All Time Greatest Video Game Hero" contest and reached the "Elite Eight" round before losing to Mario. In a Famitsu poll done in February 2010, Mega Man was voted by readers as the twenty-second most popular video game character. The 2011 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition lists Mega Man as the 23rd most popular video game character. In 2012, GamesRadar ranked him as the 12th "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in games.
The game introduces the double gear system. Using the shoulder buttons the player is able to activate either the power gear or the speed gear. The power gear makes your shots more powerful and the speed gear slows down enemies. You can only use each of these temporarily, because they'll over heat if you leave them active for too long. If this happens the double gear will will have to recharge before it can be used again. The game is perfectly designed so that you could make do without them, but it will push you to use these systems a lot. Some enemies are easier to dispatch with the speed gear, and most boss fights are made easier with the power gear. It seems gimmicky at first and upon first playing the game you'll often forget you have them, but once you settle in you'll find yourself using these systems more and more as you encounter hazards in levels that will encourage you to do so. There's another added benefit of the double gear system. When critically low on health you can press both shoulders at the same time to activate both the speed gear and power gear simultaneously. It's mostly a last ditch effort when low on health, and you can't actually turn this off, meaning your double gear will have to recharge without fail after its use, but it can help you out in a moment of desperation.
Though Capcom owns the rights to all Mega Man games and has been responsible for the development of all of his console titles, it has in the past licensed the Mega Man character to other companies for PC releases. Mega Man and Mega Man III (with no relation to the NES games of the same name) were developed by the US-based Hi-Tech Expressions, the Mega Man game published on the Game Gear by Sega, and Rockman Strategy was developed and released exclusively in China by AcerTWP. Neither title has since been regarded by Capcom as an official Mega Man series game.