Many gamers regard the North American box art of the original Mega Man NES game as the holy grail of bad game covers, and it's easy to see why: The artwork is amateur at best, and resembles nothing like the actual game...I'd be willing to bet the artist was told to draw a "mega man" without any knowledge about the game itself. But the cover has gone on to become an infamous piece of gaming history, and the "bad" box art Mega Man even makes an appearance as a playable character in the recently released Street Fighter X Tekken game.
The series has gone on to feature other interesting box art choices (to say the least), so let's take a look at the rest of the bunch. Here is the PAL box art version of the first game, which is superior in every way:
The NA version of Mega Man 2 might have been an improvement over the first...but not by much. Here, we see that the artist has the suit colored correctly, but this Mega Man is still holding a gun instead of an arm cannon, and he appears to be a middle-aged man instead of a kid. We really can't use the "couldn't play the game" excuse as the first game had been out for over a year at this point.
The PAL version of Mega Man 2 again trumps the NA version with this awesome painted cover:
The third time was a charm for the NA release of Mega Man 3. They finally got the character right, but it looks like Lucky the Leprechaun snuck into the Mega Man suit this time around with that wily grin on his face. The enemies look good at least, and it's a huge improvement over the first two covers.
The PAL version of Mega Man 3 is again superior, but that crazy-looking Dr. Wily in the background has always freaked me out:
Mega Man 4 would mark the first time both versions would feature the same artwork...a wise decision:
Mega Man 5 continued that trend with artwork that looks to be by the same artist:
Then came Mega Man 6, the last version for the NES console:
Mega Man 7 sports the same style as 4 & 5:
And the Mega Man 8 cover featured a more cartoony style, in what might be the most bland-looking of the bunch.
And after well over a decade, the series made a return with Mega Man 9 featuring a homage to the box art of old with this awesome cover. Gotta love Dr. Wily's look in this one, and I still chuckle when I see this Mega Man holding a laser pistol along with his arm-cannon.
And finally we have Mega Man 10, which also features a nice homage cover of awesome NA-flavored artwork:
And here is the full, fold-out version:
Lastly, I decided to throw in my favorite fan made cover of all time:
And there you have it. Of course, there is a ton of other Mega Man games, versions, etc...so if you want to see the whole shebang, take a look at this Mega Man collection here.