Tag Archives: wily

FGC #417 Mega Man 11

Here comes a Mega Man!So here’s why Mega Man 11 is an excellent videogame, but an awful Mega Man game.

Good videogames are good teachers. Whether you’re a veteran of gaming culture or a random scrub that was just handed a controller, if you’ve ever played a videogame, you first had to learn that game. And while there’s always going to be some overlap between disparate games (Super Mario Bros. and Bioshock both, technically, have jump buttons), every game has its own rules and tricks that must be memorized. Heck, right from the get-go, most videogames ask you to do something you’ve been doing for years, like walking forward, but all sorts of buttons and levers must be employed to do this simplest of tasks (or, well, at least one button). As such, any game worth its salt takes the time to teach the player “the basics”, and then gradually ramps up the difficulty as the adventure progresses.

Yes, this is all a basic way of saying “Level 1-1 is easier than 8-1”, but I like hitting a word count sometimes, okay?

Mega Man games are their own little universe, however. Somewhere out there (or right here), there’s a poor child (who is now an adult, and me) that fired up Mega Man 2 for the first time (because Captain N was a cool television show), was greeted with the ability to choose his first level (unlike every non-Duck Tales NES game ever), and immediately chose Quick Man (because head-boomerangs are awesome). This ended incredibly poorly, as this poor boy (who is literally writing this article) was forever scarred (not really) by immediately and unmercifully dying repeatedly to the instant death lasers of Quick Man’s stage. And an attempt at the deadly platforming of Air Man’s stage didn’t go much better! It wasn’t until Flash Man’s stage that the poor boy discovered that one of these stages could end. Mega Man 2 Crispypossesses no tutorial or opening stage, so, without trial and error, the instant death of spikes is initially equally as threatening as a common mettaur. It is only through trial and error that these lessons are learned, and if you chose the hardest stage to start, well, hope you have the patience to discover the rest of the game isn’t nearly that punishing.

Mega Man 11 tries something a little different.

Mega Man 11 does not include an introductory stage, so, once again, you are given the choice of where exactly you would like to begin your Robot Master rampage. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to showcase Acid Man’s stage. Why? Because it’s color-coded.

The theme of Acid Man’s stage is “chemistry”. Or… maybe something to do with how liquid changes colors? Ugh, you know what? It’s a water level. It’s the water level of the game. The end. Water levels in Mega Man games are always interesting (if not fun), as water makes Mega Man move slightly slower, but with an incredibly high jump. And you can get your sealegs pretty easily in the opening, blue areas of Acid Man’s stage.

Acid!

Look at that! There might be a few hazards around, but life is better down where it’s wetter in the opening bits of Acid Man’s lab.

Acid!

Things escalate by the middle area, though. It’s still pretty easy, but instant-kill traps are more prevalent. Yes, they’re effortlessly avoided, but the very fact that your adventure could be over in a hit is now going to be the new normal. Will things escalate for the Blue Bomber? We’ll find out, right after this break!

Acid!

Yay! Mini-boss! These things are apparently required by law now, and we’re lucky that this beast only pops up once in this stage (other stages seem to feature “a big guy” twice, once ala carte, and once with some extra stage hazard added). Unfortunately, since this device only has one chance to shine, it’s kind of a bullet sponge, and feels like it overstays its welcome by about half. Does this mean we should use the new Power Gear? Probably! But good luck timing/aiming that sucker properly.

Acid!

Now we get a checkpoint, and Mega Man 11 really kicks into gear. We’re still in the yellow area, but either thanks to the close proximity of the respawn point or the fact that we’ve now entered flavor country, there are a lot of spikes around. You must either know the exact arc of Mega’s signature water jump, cheese your way through with some invincibility-through-damage, or die. Yes, Mega Man will be teleported back to life nearby, so it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s clear at this point that the kid gloves have come off the robot kid. And should you survive…

Acid!

Now we’re in the thick of the “old school” “you gonna die” “exploding robots forever” challenge of Mega Man games of yore. There are spikes everywhere. Entire rooms are just instant death traps, and, even with that brand new Speed Gear, you damn well better know exactly how Mega Man controls, or you’re dead. It’s not the end of the world, these are challenges you can complete, but…

Acid!

Never mind. This is bullshit. Don’t make me do this! Don’t make me perfectly navigate some wall of spikes, or jump up through a vertically scrolling area that may or may not have a ceiling full of instant death (okay, the ceiling is, obviously, completely fatal, but the question is how close is that ceiling). This is the closing rush before the finale, but it doesn’t have to be this bad. I would kind of like to see that Robot Master I selected.

Acid!

Oh, there he is. Time to beat down Acid Man and call it a stage clear. Wow, nothing about this fight could be as difficult as the challenges that preceded it. Is that a problem? Maybe. But it’s not the problem.

The problem is that this level design is incompatible with the lives system of classic Mega Man titles.

Mega Man 11 emulates the traditional Mega Man style of defaulting to three lives to complete a stage, and, should you lose those lives, it’s back to the very beginning. This setup carried us blissfully through all of the NES titles (and a few X jaunts), and, while there may have been a problem with the system here or there (hello, damn Boo Beam Trap), it worked out well enough that Mega Man became a cherished franchise complete with this “handicap”. Even though Mega Man 11 showcases some new advances (like being able to replay Wily stages, or really excellent weapon switching), the “lives factor” wasn’t the worst part of the classic series (that would be the Boo Beam Trap, again), so that tradition should have worked out just fine.

It didn’t. It didn’t work out at all.

Lose all your lives, and it’s back to start. It is tradition, but it completely fails in a game that so rigidly adheres to the “graduating lesson” structure of every Mega Man 11 stage. Fail at the opening? No big deal, you start back right at the start. But fail in the middle, and you have to repeat the basics of the beginning all over again. Got past the miniboss? Well, that’s super, but you’re going to have to waste time on that bullet sponge again if you only got that far with zero lives remaining. And the final gauntlet areas? Awful, because these areas are literally designed to kill you quickly and often, and you’re going to boomerang back to the easy opening all over again if you lose your precious 1-up stock. And that makes it nearly impossible to clear the most dangerous areas, because, in order to practice the difficult parts, you have to waste time on the tranquil bits over and over and over again. By the time you return to your robotic remains, can you even remember what killed you the last time? Oh, right, it was those spikes. Back to the top.

And let’s not pretend this was always a problem with the Mega Man series. Yes, the lives/continue system was always there, but what happens on literally the second screen with buoyant water in the franchise ever?

Bubbles!

Sink or swim, Mega Man. Classic Mega Man stages are less about teaching the player new tricks, and more about tossing ‘em in the deep end right from the start.

Bubbles!

Or at least like ten seconds later. And, don’t worry, this kind of thinking did continue when classic became slightly less classic, as, lest we forget, the most unforgiving jump ever in the franchise is before its stage’s midway point.

Run the Jewels!

And, while my ruler might not be close enough at hand to give it a check, it seems Mega Man 11’s levels are longer than most of the classic stages. Which makes sense! When you’re ruled by the concept of gradually increasing difficulty through three-part stages that include a generous sprinkling of mini bosses, you’re going to wind up with a lot o’ level. And it means you’re going to repeat a lot of those levels.

And the saddest part of all of this? There was a modest solution to avoiding this mess built right into the Mega Man formula: Dr. Wily Stages. Take all those “final”, super difficult areas, and weld them together for the actual final areas. Make four Wily stages by combining the hardest bits of eight Robot Master stages. Simple! It’s happened before! It’s worked really well before!

So, in the end, Mega Man 11 winds up being a game that uses traditional videogame structure in a traditional franchise that does not work well with traditional structure at all. Mega Man 11 is a great game, it’s just not a great Mega Man game.

FGC #417 Mega Man 11

  • Look out!System: Available now for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. And PC! The only system actually seen during the game…
  • Number of players: Capcom refuses to acknowledge my requests for a Secret of Mana-esque Mega Man adventure featuring Bass and Proto Man, so just one.
  • Hey, why don’t you just crank down the difficulty, smart guy? If Capcom wants to claim one difficulty is “Normal”, then I’m going to assume that is the way the game is meant to be played until further notice.
  • Special Ed: Yes, I did have to pay a premium to buy the version with an amiibo, stickers, and a microfiber cloth (which I think is a kind of Final Fantasy equipment). If you thought you lived in a universe where I would not buy such a thing, then hi, welcome to GoggleBob.com for the first time!
  • Classic Rumblings: Electric beats ice, ice beats fire, fire beats… bomb? Bomb beats the dude with the blocks. This is the foundation of our universe.
  • Favorite Robot Master: I still think Bomb Man has the dumbest design. And, appropriately enough, Blast Man seems to have a similarly lazy visual design. But there is more to Blast Man than his dumb haircut, and this explosion loving pyrotechnic and his dedication to theme parks has won me over in a big way. You’re a blast, Blast Man.
  • Did you know? This is the first time a new “classic” Mega Man game has had a physical release on a Nintendo console since Mega Man & Bass. Am I talking about the original Super Famicom release or the aggravating Gameboy Advance rerelease? Yes!
  • Would I play again: I really like this game! It makes “lives” the worst thing ever, but the rest of the game is tops. I’m a lot more likely to play this again than Mighty No. 9, and, frankly, I think that says it all.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen to take Halloween off, so we’re going for spooky times with… Castlevania Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon! Yes, two modern-retro style games in a row! It happens! And maybe there will be skeletons! Please look forward to it!

Little Devils

FGC #410 Mega Man Battle Network 6 Cybeast Gregar & Falzar

GWARHere lies the Mega Man Battle Network series. May it soon return to us.

In a way, Mega Man is videogames. He was right there at the dawn of the NES, and starred in a new, great title every year. He was one of the chosen few to star in Captain N: The Gamemaster, and he had a few shows of his own over the years. But all of his media traced back to one videogame franchise, and as the decades and technology went by, Mega Man grew and changed with them. Mega Man X heralded the dawn of a new, super age, and Mega Man Legends introduced us to the glory of polygons. And when Mega Man seemingly faltered on the consoles, he sought shelter on the handheld systems of the day. Mega Man Zero and Z/X continued the action-based gameplay of Mega Man X, while Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force made an attempt at the new action JRPG genre that had cropped up around gamers’ unpleasant need for games with more and more words. By the time the DS’s popularity was winding down, it was time for Original Mega Man to make his retro return to consoles, and thus could the whole cycle begin anew.

Except… Mega Man’s adopted father, Keiji Inafune, left Capcom in 2010, and the franchise has been slow to restart since. Mega Man 11 is apparently on the way, complete with its own tie-in animated series, but, by and large, Mega Man has languished in cameos for the past decade. Poor little metal boy, left all alone with nary an e-tank to keep him company! Where will we find that amazing Mega Man gameplay now!?

Jackin' itBut that’s the joy of this glorious new future: we do not want for Mega Man games, because Mega Man so greatly influenced gaming, there are now modern successors to his legacy. Shovel Knight is totally its own thing and absolutely a Mega Man game occasionally starring Explosion Man trying to impress his fabulous girlfriend. Walking and gunning opponents until they give up their abilities seems to have become a staple of many 2-D games, and, even though the queen is dead, long live the queen. Mega Man may not have had a new official release in years, but the fan community has also kept the bot alive, and if you want to see the lil’ guy take out the Street Fighter cast, go ahead and download that exe. We’ve got Mega Man games oozing out of our arm cannons!

But we need a few more Mega Man Battle Networks.

Every (mainline) Mega Man Battle Network game is unquestionably a JRPG. What’s more, the entire franchise is basically Pokémon. You’ve got a shorts-clad protagonist that pals around with a bunch of random archetype kids, solves all of the world’s problems through pet (sorry, PET) battling, and, for some inexplicable reason, the villains that could potentially just kick over our rollerblading hero somehow lose to the power of friendship and teamwork. But all of that is just precursor for the best part of any MMBN/Pokémon game: futzing around in the world and becoming a Level 100 battle demigod. The post-game of this franchise is always amazing, and all that talky talk can get lost in the recycling bin for all anybody cares. Who doesn’t enjoy earning icons that forever signify your victory over the super, super, super hidden boss?

But Mega Man Battle Network has one thing that is completely missing from Pokémon: it’s actually fun to play.

WoofOkay, as someone that has sunk a legitimate 400 hours into the last three Pokémon titles, I know that’s absurd hyperbole. Pokémon games are fun to play, in their way, but they are, at their cores, little more than chess. It’s all about strategy and planning, but the game itself could technically be played by a thumb attached to a jar (the jar, like most jars, contains a brain, duh). Mega Man Battle Network still relies heavily on strategy and planning, but actual physical skill is required for every battle. It doesn’t matter if you have the best chip folder on the net, you need to actually move that MegaMan.exe around the screen, dodge incoming projectiles, and maybe score an all-important counter so you can attack a weak point for maximum damage. Mega Man Battle Network is an action JRPG that amazingly adapts Mega Man gameplay. That’s no small feat! Looking at you, Mega Man X Command Mission!

And, what’s more, MMBN doesn’t make “action JRPG” a scary phrase. There have been many titles that attempted to add action heroes to the JRPG formula, and failed miserably. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood could have been an interesting adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog’s “gotta go fast” gameplay to the traditionally slow world of JRPGs (wait, this was always a terrible idea), but its constant need for timed hits every encounter quickly made battles a disappointing slog. There’s no such problem in MMBN, though, as, if you know what you’re doing, your average fight can be over in literally a second. And that’s not a glitch; you will receive all sorts of prizes for unleashing a 700 HP Program Advance at the starting bell. You’re encouraged to be as ruthless as possible, and that means snappy, fun gameplay. Just ask Kratos!

So it’s a bit of a pisser that this glorious action-JRPG gameplay from 2001 is apparently gone forever.

BY THE PITFull disclosure? At its core, the Mega Man Battle Network series is a card-based action JRPG. And I hate card-based games! I would sooner send the entire genre to the Shadow Realm than spend another moment of my life waiting to draw from my deck so I can actually do something. By my view, there are people that rave about the great gameplay of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and, on the other side of the aisle, there are sane people. Nine times out of ten, a card-based action JRPG just means you’re doing the same action you’d normally be performing, but maybe weaker, because you have the same luck as John McClane, and, by God, you’ll be walking barefoot over broken glass before you draw an actually useful card. I don’t care how dutifully you stack the deck beforehand, you’ll be wasting turn after turn waiting for the one card that completes your hand.

But Mega Man Battle Network doesn’t have that problem. Battles are snappy to the point of absurdity, and even if you’ve got a bad draw, you’re still essentially playing Mega Man (albeit one without jumping). It’s fun, exciting, and there isn’t the unending lingering found in its other card-based brethren. Mega Man Battle Network is wholly unique in its dedication to action and strategy!

And nothing else even comes close. So, please, Capcom, Inafune, or somebody, please bring back Mega Man Battle Network.

(But you can keep making regular Mega Man games, too.)

FGC #410 Mega Man Battle Network 6 Cybeast Gregar & Falzar

  • System: Gameboy Advance. It also made it to the WiiU virtual console in 2016, but fat lot of good that does us all now.
  • Scary!Number of players: Like Pokémon, MMBN also always had a robust “meta game” where you could fight your friends. I… don’t think I ever had a friend that was also playing this game… so… uh… I’m sad now.
  • Going to talk about the plot? Maybe if ROB chooses another MMBN game, and I’m not cripplingly nostalgic for the good ol’ days of its gameplay. Look, for MMBN6, just know that the internet was once inexplicably ravaged by a pair of magical monsters, and Dr. Wily wants to bring them into the real world because he’s mad at his adopted son (because his regular son has amnesia).
  • Which version is best? There’s a lot to unpack there, because, not only are there unique Navis between versions, but both versions are direct sequels to the separate versions of Mega Man Battle Network 5. Which story would you like to continue? Which navis would you like to fight? What unique forms would you like to utilize? I chose Gregar version, because it includes a choo-choo.
  • Favorite Navi (this game): EraseMan.exe is a play at featuring the grim reaper in a children’s game, and that’s always fun for everybody. He’s got guillotines for feet! He’s also known as KillerMan.exe in Japan, which is a little less subtle.
  • Did you know? Speaking of EraseMan.exe, if Killer Cross, the version of MegaMan.exe when he’s fused with EraseMan.exe, attacks a virus with a 4 in its HP, the virus will be instantly erased. This is because 4 is a number of death in Japan… which must really make counting in that country a real pain in the ass.
  • Would I play again: Cooooome on, Mega Man Battle Network Collection for Switch. You can do it, Capcom!

What’s next? Random Rob has chosen… Clayfighter 63⅓ for the N64! Is it just two thirds shy of being a good game? We’ll find out! Please look forward to it!

Slashy slashy

FGC #319 Mega Man 6 & Mega Man 7 (Live!)

So I’ve done three streams for the site, and I haven’t actually “finished” a game in a single one. This had to be rectified, so, in order to test Discord chat, we had a live stream of Mega Man 6. And then it segued into a stream of Mega Man 7, because… why not? And then there was a little Sonic Mania, because I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to that title. It happens. Anywhere, here you go:

Notes! With Time Annotations!

3:00 – After a few adjustments, we’re ready to go. Mega Man 6 has always been one of my favorite Mega Man games, so, finally, we’re doing a stream of a game I’m actually good at playing. Our guests to start are Fanboy Master and A Turtle Does Bite.

15:00 – And then BEAT shows up! He’s drinking Victory Golden Monkey booz. Does this count as a plug? Should… should I be getting paid for this?

22:00 – At this point, I randomly start singing what I can remember from We Are Rockman, which was a Japanese song used to peddle Mega Man’s Soccer. Submitted without comment, here’s a sampling of lyrics:

You don’t have to be a president to clock mad dough (yo)
Run you own show (yo) drive a phat car (yo)
Fuck blond ho (New York)
Bro, act like you know

30:00 – We’re going to talk about centaurs now. The Penny Arcade strip mentioned, Unhorse, can be found here (https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/05/26 ). It’s almost a decade old… and honestly, I thought it was older. Huh.

40:00 – LancerECM joins us in the text portion of the stream. Yay! Someone is watching! Oh, I think this is also whereabouts I compare Dr. Wily to confederate war general statues. They’re both bad.

50:00 – I seriously believed I was the first to propose the dual timelines theory of Bubble Bobble, but it apparently originated in a Bad Rats episode. There is nothing new under the sun.

How to live1:09:00 – And thus did Mega Man 6 end. I guess it took an hour to complete? That sounds about right. So, naturally, we talk about the ages of Street Fighters.

1:15:00 – Because I’m rather enjoying myself, we flip over to Mega Man 7, the immediate sequel to Mega Man 6. I realize this should seem obvious, but it’s not like Mega Man 6 requires a complete understanding of the rich lore of Mega Man 5.

1:19:00 – Hey everybody, it’s the first appearance of Shadow the Hedgehog Bass! Also, Muteki stops into the stream. Always room for one more.

1:37:00 – Here’s an actual videogame relevant fact: in Mega Man 7, you can’t obtain the RUSH letter and the RUSH part on the same run-through, so you either have to return to the stage later, or suicide. I choose the option that leads to a dead robot. Also, BEAT talks about streaming his wedding.

1:45:00 – I apologize, the Mighty No. 9 quote about female characters was in reference to Mighty No. 3, the electrical lady. The full quote is “This is pretty much the No. 3 design by Inafune-san himself. You can see how much he likes strong female characters.” –Kimokimo. Maybe there were secret “strong female characters” in the Mega Man franchise?

1:56:00 – I can actually hear the gameplay now, and, yes, I did successfully activate the Ghouls ‘n Ghosts music for Shade Man’s stage. Also, to prove I’m not insane, here’s Mega-Caveman:

Ook

2:09:00 – We’re mostly just talking about Sonic throughout the stream. How many chaos emeralds has Knuckles lost over the years? The world may never know.

2:15:00 – You can fight Protoman and steal his shield in Mega Man 7. For all the talk of how this game was rushed out the door, there are a lot of fun little details in this adventure.

2:23:00 – Though the “thoughtless”, rushed game design does show itself with the lack of an easy “escape module” (like in Mega Man X). Having to repeat an entire stage because you chose the wrong option on the menu is just terrible.

2:33:00 – Another day, another Wily Castle. Let’s talk about Atari landfills.

2:40:00 – Bass and Treble are known as Forte and Gospel in Japan. It’s still a basic music theme, but “Gospel” does at least make certain organizations in Mega Man Battle Network 2 sound more interesting.

I hate you2:52:00 – Nobody cares that Freeze Man can “freeze” the game, so let’s talk about fictional characters liking fictional universes. I’m sticking to my theory that Dr. Light sits around watching century-old cartoons when no one is around.

2:58:00 – Mega Man 7 final boss! I hate everything about this!

3:10:00 – And then it finally ends. BEAT talks about “Fifteen Minute Classics”, which is a book that I’m almost certain doesn’t in any way exist.

3:17:00 – We’ve been talking about Sonic Mania all night, so I finally decide to play it. Knuckles is clearly the main character of Sonic Mania, right?

3:25 – BEAT leaves, because it’s 1 AM. I try to stop the stream, but then we start talking about Trump, and I can’t pass up a good chance to deride that idiot, so the stream continues for about another half hour.

And that’s it! Four hours of complete nonsense! If you decided to actually watch the whole thing through (during the live stream or now) congratulations, you’re a Gogglebob.com super fan! Thanks for watching, and thanks to everyone that participated! See you on the next stream!

FGC #319 Mega Man 6 & Mega Man 7

  • System: They’re not quite as ubiquitous as Mega Man 2 & 3, but 6 & 7 have appeared on a number of systems. In this case, it was the Playstation 4, but I’m pretty sure these games have been available on every Playstation model… and Xbox… and maybe like 75% of Nintendo consoles, too.
  • Number of players: One person plays, like four people watch and comment.
  • Pew PewMaybe actually talk about the game for a second: Mega Man 6 isn’t the apex of the NES Mega Man games, but it’s a tight, fun experience. Mega Man 7 is loose, but pretty, and generally inoffensive. If we could even out the difficulty of both final bosses, we’d have some kickass games here.
  • Favorite Robot Master (Mega Man 6): Centaur Man, because 70% horse, 50% man forever.
  • Favorite Robot Master (Mega Man 7): Shade Man, because robot vampire. I guess I just like the “mythical” robot masters… but then again, when the competition includes friggen’ Spring Man…
  • Goggle Bob Fact: Mega Man 6 was one of two games I kept at my grandmother’s house, so it got played roughly 600% more than other NES titles. This is likely why the level layouts of that title are now a part of my DNA.
  • Did you know? Wind Man and Knight Man were both “designed” by American fans (and specifically Nintendo Power readers), but if you look up the “original” designs, they’re pretty far off from the actual final product. I guess it’s more like they officially “named” a couple of robot masters. And I’m not jealous. Not at all.
  • Would I play again: I will play every Mega Man game again until the end of time.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Low G Man for the NES! Time for some low-down dirty gravity hijinks! Please look forward to it!

The news!

FGC #201 Mega Man Zero 4

Here is the complete history of one reploid named Zero.

Our story begins back in the olden days of 20XX, when one Dr. Thomas Light worked together with Dr. Albert Wily. The two had been friends for many years, and, while Light was always considered the greater scientist, Wily possessed more of what is colloquially referred to as “drive”. This drove Wily to, upon the completion of Light’s initial eight numbers, steal the living hell out of the most dangerous robots this world had ever seen. Fireman may have been built for waste disposal, but any creature with flamethrowers for hands and a head does possess significant destructive potential. In response, Dr. Light modified the super cleaning robot, Rock, into Megaman, the little metal boy with a heart full of righteousness and an arm full of bullets. Megaman went on to totally crush Wily’s Robot Rebellion and demolish that hastily assembled Skull Fortress.

From that point on, the roguish Wily did everything he could to defeat Megaman. He built his own robots. He framed other robots. He hired Russian labor. He invented the worst board game ever. Soccer happened. Through it all, Megaman triumphed, and Wily was barely capable of achieving even fleeting victories. Couple this with severe budgetary issues (building a colossal fortress shaped like a robot’s helmet sounds like a great idea on paper…) and it’s a wonder Wily ever found the time to engineer his greatest creation.

GET IT!?As ever, Light and Wily worked in parallel. When Wily weaponized Gutsman, Light developed Megaman. When Gutsman became a tank, Megaman gained a hoverboard. Wily threw a giant cat into the mix, so Megaman got a dog. Angry robot birds to fight angry robot birds, and companion mecha armor to fling robot dog punches about. Years after their rivalry started lowering Monsteropolis property values, Light and Wily had transferred their enmity to their most prominent creations: Megaman, still defending Dr. Light, and Bass, the very similar robot designed by Dr. Wily.

But neither scientist was satisfied. And this rivalry would lead to the end of mankind.

Light was proud of Megaman, but his creation was not a true artificial intelligence. “It” was programmed to be good and noble and true, but the problem was that it was literally built that way. Megaman, for all his victories, was still just a robot, and could never be the real “son” Thomas had always desired. With this in mind, Light began work on the X project, a mechanical biped capable of more than simple computed thought, something more than a robot, something that would one day be known as a reploid.

Dr. Wily had much the same thought at the same time, but he was more focused on a bot that could double jump. Oh, and a virus that would infect that blasted Megaman if he ever defeated the beast. That would show ‘em.

Both scientists succeed in their endeavors, but, unfortunately, did not live to see it. Light sealed his newly created Megaman X in a capsule so it could run diagnostics confirming “he” would not go crazy and kill everybody upon awakening (Light watched a few too many Matrix movies during the project). Wily sealed Zero in a similar time capsule. It is not known exactly why the traditionally impatient Wily would do such a thing, but there is some record of a mishap involving a jealous Bass and, to quote a discovered recording, “that beautiful girl hair”. Whatever the case, both proto-reploids were sent forward in time to an age when the Wily Wars were long forgotten. And those that ignore history…

ScaryMegaman X was discovered by one Dr. Cain. Dr. Cain, unfortunately, was a complete idiot. Like, seriously, the guy couldn’t find his butt with both hands on a good day, and, on a bad day, he decided to arbitrarily clone a mysterious robot he found in a capsule. And from there, he decided modifications to the design would be a good idea, and created perfectly invisible chameleons made of spikes and octopuses equipped with all the missiles on Earth. Though he did make one adorable penguin, and that was pretty alright. Cain decided to call the reproductions of X “reploids”, and then he knocked off to the pub to have a pint and tell the guys about his great idea for a horsey that could punch fireballs.

Unfortunately, Cain’s sloppiness led to cataclysmic consequences. X had undergone a century of diagnostics to guarantee his heart was in the right place. Cain hastily copy ‘n pasted that code into a number of modified units, and found that the untested dittos had about a 20% chance of becoming instantly homicidal. Rather than halt production, Cain decided the best answer was more reploids (dude was all in on this project, it was either this or live with his mom), and, to answer the murderous “maverick” reploids, the Maverick Hunters were created, with Sigma, a reploid designed to never go maverick, at the helm. For the record, Cain didn’t implement that “immune to being maverick” code in every reploid because, as stated earlier, Cain was an idiot.

WeeeeSigma had a pretty good run as head Maverick Hunter, but eventually happened upon a long sealed cave that housed a certain red reploid. Yes, Dr. Wily’s long lost final creation had finally awakened, and, when Sigma attempted to subdue the rampaging Zero, the hero of humanity became infected with the Zero Virus meant for Megaman. Whoops! From that point on, Sigma started wearing clown makeup and commanding his trusted Maverick Hunters to hunt humans for sport. It was right about that point that it was a really good idea to grab a vacation home on some secluded island somewhere, as highway repair was about to fall far off to the wayside.

Mega Man X, who had previously been sitting out this whole war while reading a book on arm cannon philosophy, decided to wade into the fray to stop Sigma. It was on this adventure that he met Zero, now rehabilitated and working for the (human friendly) Maverick Hunters. Zero was far more experienced in the ways of combat than X, so it was only natural when, toward the end of X’s journey, Zero gloriously and suicidally exploded in an effort to destroy some ride armor that usually can only withstand like eight hits. Zero was blown into exactly three pieces, and X soldiered on to separate Sigma into many, many more pieces. Zero, Wily’s greatest creation, died saving Light’s legacy. There was poetry in the final, friendly end of an eternal rivalry.

But it didn’t last.

Wily’s Zero Virus had mutated in Sigma to become the Sigma Virus. So Sigma lived on past his destruction, and gained the ability to transfer his sentience through cyberspace, thus becoming more malware than man. Zero survived, too, after a fashion. Yes, Zero was trisected, but X was able to retrieve those pieces, and Dr. Cain was able to successfully weld those pieces together with superglue. Ultimately, it was Wily’s superior engineering that allowed his creation to breathe again. Yes, it only took a hundred or so robots, but Wily did finally realize that “extra lives” was the source of his constant failures.

He'll be back laterSo X and Zero defeated Sigma time and time again, fighting side by side, and only occasionally pausing to fight each other. Zero died again, came back, picked up a lightsaber, and killed Boba Fett a whole bunch. X quietly wondered what he was fighting for (Zero had a tendency to scream it), and dreamed of a day when Sigma was finally defeated, and all could live in harmony. Took about a century to get to that point.

Sigma’s defeat came from the most unlikely of sources: an elf. A “cyber elf” is a small, module-like piece of sentient programming that is capable of rewriting or overwriting code. Considering Sigma had essentially become code, the lead Mother Elf finally able to wipe Sigma off the face of the Earth. Yay! Now it was just a matter of eliminating the last remaining mavericks, and all would be well. Oh, my bad, I mean, everything would be Weil. Dr. Weil decided that the Maverick Wars weren’t ending fast enough, so why not kick Zero out of his (apparently immortal) body, drop the Mother Elf in there, and use her new invincible body and mind to overwrite and control every reploid on Earth. That would put an end to Mavericks/free will, right? That should make everything fine!

Zero and X weren’t into this plan. Zero got a new, slightly sexier body, and fought with X on the frontlines against his old body (now dubbed Omega). This led to a four year conflict where, somehow, 90% of all reploids and 60% of all humans died. Also, six cats were seriously inconvenienced. In the end, Zero and X defeated Omega before it could combine with Mother Elf, and Scary dudeWeil was transformed into a cyborg that was doomed to forever wander the mostly ruined Earth. Zero decided that, after centuries of fighting, he’d knock off and take a nap for a few years, and X was left with cleanup duty.

X wound up ruling what was left of the planet’s population admirably for a while, but, when faced with the Mother Elf still causing mischief for the population, he decided to sacrifice his body to seal the Elf for a solid couple of years. X lived on as a disembodied consciousness, though, and four Guardians who all embodied some random part of his personality. Fairy Leviathan, for instance, was born of the part of X that was a lady fish. But the universe abhors a vacuum, and, with only “segments” of X to keep the world happy, a young prodigy decided to be the second idiot in history to make a duplicate of X and hope for the best. It went about as well as the first time.

Copy X became, with very little exaggeration, Robot Hitler. Ciel, his creator (who also happened to be nine), regretted her decision, and founded a resistance movement consisting of reploids and humans. By the time she was the ripe old age of twelve, Ciel found Zero’s newish, sleeping body, and awakened him to fight once again. Zero finally fulfilled his destiny when, after fighting through four lesser versions of X, he finally got to slice Copy X in twain. Thus a Wily bot had finally and completely defeated the last Light number, and all was well.

Do not touchWhoops, did it again. All is Weil, as it turns out that sentencing a dangerous lunatic to become an immortal, unkillable monster man is not the best idea. Weil resurfaced shortly after Zero quit and then rejoined the resistance, and tormented the red reploid with vague hints that Zero was in the wrong body. Zero apparently didn’t have much a memory at this point (can’t blame him, death is tough on the brains), and fought Weil to discover the truth of Omega and the Elf Wars and why Fairy Leviathan keeps hitting on him. Finally, after every last aspect of X is sacrificed, Zero discovers the truth, and learns that he wasn’t really attached to his old body, anyway. Zero destroys Omega… but Weil still takes over the last vestige of humanity, Neo Arcadia. Win some, lose some.

Weil, it turns out, was really, really insane (like, more insane than usual), so he decided to destroy the planet. Like, literally, with a space laser. Dude belongs in a Final Fantasy universe. Regardless, Zero is called upon to save the world yet again, and, in his final mission, destroys Weil once and for all as the Ragnarok Orbiting Death Laser crashes to Earth.

Sorry?And, thus Zero’s story ends while being burned up in reentry. The rivalry between Wily and Light that started over construction robots ended with the near destruction of the very planet itself and literal centuries of war. In time, humanity as we know it would give way to reploid/human hybrids, and the very concept of saving without a monkey companion would become a long forgotten memory. Zero died as he lived: fighting some random lunatic over the fate of the universe, and Wily’s dreams died with him.

… And then some damn kids started wearing Zero like a suit because that idiot with the ponytail couldn’t leave well enough alone. But that’s a story for another day.

FGC #201 Mega Man Zero 4

  • System: Gameboy Advance for the original, DS for part of the Mega Man Zero Collection, and WiiU if you feel like playing a GBA game on the TV.
  • Number of players: Zero. Wait. I mean one.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: It’s a Mega Man Zero game, the end. I’m sure I’ll have more time to examine what that exactly means in the other three Zero games, but, in short, it’s a difficult, “close range” Mega Man game. This seems to be the easiest of the Zero titles, primarily thanks to how the elves (well, elf) and ranking work. Though, an “easy” Mega Man Zero game is still pretty damn difficult.
  • RAWR?Favorite Einherjar Eight Warrior (seriously, that’s what they call the Robot Masters): Mino Magnus is a minotaur… wait… most reploids are half animal hybrids, is he still a minotaur, or just a bull/man reploid? No matter, what’s important is that he’s got a crazy axe and magnet powers. This guy gets my vote because he’s the archetypal “big guy” maverick, but he has the ability to magnetically separate and reassemble himself, so he isn’t just the typical “stand and slash” giant. Also, he’s dumb as a post.
  • Made it through a whole Mega Man Zero article without mentioning Mighty No. 9? Well… kinda.
  • What’s in a name? Mega Man somehow survived, in one way or another, through Mega Man Zero 3. He also makes a return as part of the X biometal in Mega Man ZX. But Mega Man X is completely absent from this adventure, so, despite the title, there is no Mega Man in this game. Technically.
  • Did you know: Albert Wily was named after Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein had an ancestor named Jakob Weil. … Well, I thought that was neat.
  • Would I play again: Of the Mega Man Zero games, this one might be the easiest to pick up and play. All the same, I’d rather be playing a straight up Mega Man game, so the odds are good, but not great.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Plok for the SNES! Guess it’s a good week for action heroes that gradually get disassembled! Please look forward to it!

Huh?