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Mega Man Classic Series

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Page 1:
Intro
Characters

Page 2:
Mega Man
Mega Man 2

Page 3:
Mega Man 3
Mega Man 4

Page 4:
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 6

Page 5:
Mega Man 7
Mega Man 8
Mega Man & Bass

Page 6:
Mega Man 9
Mega Man 10

Page 7:
Mega Man (Game Boy)
Mega Man II
Mega Man III

Page 8:
Mega Man IV
Mega Man V

Page 9:
The Power Battle
The Power Fighters

Page 10:
The Wily Wars
Mega Man (Game Gear)
Complete Works

Page 11:
Battle & Fighters
Anniversary Collection
Powered Up

Page 12:
Wily & Right no RockBoard
Mega Man Soccer

Page 13:
Battle & Chase
Super Adventure Rockman

Page 14:
Tiger LCDs
IBM PC Games
Rockman & Forte Wonderswan

Page 15:
Rockman's IQ Challenge
Rockman Gold Empire
Rockman Strategy

Page 16:
Mobile Games
Panic Shot! Rockman
Street Fighter x Mega Man

Page 17:
Unreleased Games
The Krion Conquest

Page 18:
Cameos
Other Media
Legacy

Back to the Index


Cameos

With a popular mass-marketable icon like Mega Man, it's no surprise he appeared in anything Capcom could squeeze him into, playable or not. As such one of the big fighting game makers shoe-horned or let our Blue Bomber tussle with the big boys many a time. From standing in the the background, having his robo-noggin plastered on billboards in the background, or as a silly costume for both Felicia in Pocket Fighter or for the Japan-only Norimaro's Super in Marvel vs. Street Fighter, Capcom has thrown these silly nods before Mega Man threw his helmet into the ring. His showtime arrived in Marvel vs. Capcom, along with his sister Roll hidden away via a control input. Both of them proved viable to charge and blast the like of Hulk and Venom away in team-ups in the first two MvC games before becoming relegated to pic-only appearances in Ultimate MvC3 (the Classic series, that is. Tron Bonne and Zero were deemed worthy to stay). As a strange cross-continuity nod, in the Days of Future's Past stage, the famous wanted poster in the background has Mega Man in the Wolverine slot of being the only non-reappearing MvC fighter not tagged as Apprehended or Slain. As for other crossover fighters, Roll appeared in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom with an entirely new moveset based around cleaning with Mega Man X's Zero and Legends' Mega Man Volnutt, and a pudgy middle-aged sendup of Bad Box Art Mega Man glitched his way around in Street Fighter x Tekken.

The other major playable outing from the Blue Bomber came in the Naomi/Dreamcast Cannon Spike arcade game, hidden alongside B.B. Hood from Darkstalkers. Multiple other non-playable cameos were scattered throughout the years. Many Capcom puzzle titles would have quizes on Mega Man trivia, art from the series and characters, and even battles against Wily and a few of his Robot Masters deep within Capcom Quiz/Capcom World arcade games. The SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters series had many stars from Capcom stars as cards to collect, so many various Mega Man characters from classic and beyond were no exception. The Wily Stage 1 track from Mega Man 2 as well as an 8-bit sprite of Mega Man himself as a hidden treasure were included in the cult Wii game Zack ∧ Wiki. Even the new iOS Sound Rangers app isn't Mega Man-proof, including a very strange merged super-bot with Rush, Tango, and Eddie. If Mega Man isn't to appear in his own game anymore, at least you can still spot him in future titles in some manner, meaning Capcom at least remembers him. When's the last time Higemaru's made a cameo?

Cannon Spike (Dreamcast)

Whenever Capcom forgets Mega Man, at least other companies still remember. Other companies have made clever nods to the blue robo fighter. Sega poked fun with having one of the creatable games in Segagaga with a parody titled "Rokujyou Man" (meaning "6 Tatami mats sized Man") and looking like the Mega Man 2 Complete Works cover art. Magicka has a DLC robe set for the wizards, based on Elec Man, Ice Man, and Fire Man. Double Dragon Neon has the boss Mecha Biker, who's design and theme is a loose parody of Mega Man himself. Even better, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS announced with a bang the inclusion of Mega Man with Rush, a stage stationed right outside Wily's Fortress, and Yellow Devil as a stage hazard.

Marvel vs. Capcom (Arcade)

Cannon Spike (Dreamcast)

Street Fighter x Tekken

Super Smash Bros. (Wii U)


Captain N: The Game Master

In 1989 NBC began airing the DiC Entertainment-produced saturday morning cartoon that starred an all-star cast of Nintendo's greatest characters - that didn't already have their own show like Mario or Link. Very loosely based on the short-lived serial stories "Captain Nintendo" from the early Nintendo Power magazines, Captain N: The Game Master told the tale of the cool late-80s teen Kevin Keene and his dog Duke being sucked into the gaming universe Videoland from his TV via a warp zone. Using his trusty NES controller on his belt and his Zapper, he helps defend the Palace of Power and Princess Lana from Mother Brain and her evil forces with some help from other 8-bit heroes, including Mega Man.

The Blue Bomber is a mainstay amongst the N Team alongside Pit (referred to as Kid Icarus from the game of the same name) and Simon Belmont from the Castlevania series. Character-wise, he stays truer to his game incartnation in comparison to the drastic vain egotisitcal take DiC did on Simon, though his appearance was given several liberties, possibly due to the cartoon creators' lack of good source material to work with. His pint-size green-suited body with yellow touches make it seem as though they merged elements from the first game's box art rendition and his sprtie in-game from a monitor with its tint unadjusted. Canadian VA Doug Parker's performance of Mega Man makes the robot sound like an old circus midget that smokes three unfiltered packs a day. Our dimunitive hero also likes to sprinkle "Mega-" as a prefix to his words, mostly to emphasize adjectives or adverbs, though the cartoon's intro has him waving and shouting "Mega hi!" to the screen when he first appears. Expect to find Mega Man to be mega-grating after a while.

Mega Man himself is not the only character from the game series to make the leap onto the show. Though not seen in every episode like Punch-Out!!'s King Hippo or Kid Icarus' Eggplant Man, Dr. Wily is a perennial head henchman for Mother Brain and looks very close to his sprite form. He is clearly the smartest and most competent of the bad guy bunch, building whatever gadget or monstrosity needed for each episode, even once constructing an android replica of Kevin's school bully to challenge the N Team in the world of Castlevania. Dr. Light (called Dr. Wright on the cartoon like the original US manual called him) is only seen in a few episodes, looking quite odd with pointed ears, shaved sides of his head, and his long nose. A pigtailed pink-and-white female version of Mega Man called Mega Girl appears in the first season finale, filling in for Roll as a robot companion. Rush is also a one episode occurrence, showing up well into season 3 looking roughly the same as he does in the games.

Out of the complete 34-episode run going into many game worlds, only four focus on Mega Man. "Mega Trouble in Megaland" was the latter of a two-parter with both sides competing in a Videolympics challenge. With Simon Belmont and Kid Icarus dealing with Medusa on Mount Icarus, Kevin, Lana, Mega Man and Duke battle through Cut Man's level, dying many times to a giant Big Eye before confronting and dispatching the first six Robot Masters easily - except for Cut Man, who is somehow the hardest of them all. The less said of DiC's renditions of these bosses, the better. The next episode "Happy Birthday, Mega Man", finds Blue Bomber depressed that he'll never be a real boy or have others like him. The cursed amusement park his surprise birthday party occurs in feeds on wishes, and the team must destroy the park to rid the curse. This episode is the only time Mega Girl is ever seen. "The Big Game" has Kevin's buddies from the real world warped in to assist in a football game against Dr. Wily and his Mega Man 2 Robot Masters, who for the most part barely match their game designs at all. Finally, "A Tale of Two Dogs" has Dr. Wright and Dr. Wily working together on Gamma, only for the good doctor to be duped like he was in Mega Man 3. Top Man is the only Robot Master to appear, though Mega Man somehow has access to Hard Knuckle and Shadow Blade. Gamma itself looks terrible with a giant smiley face painted on it and a big peace sign in the middle.

The entire show is super-cheesy and ridiculous, but with the right mindset and child-like wonder (or drug-induced haze), it can be a riot to snark at.

Captain N: The Game Master

Captain N: The Game Master

Captain N: The Game Master


Additional Screenshots


Mega Man: Upon a Star / Rockman: Wishing Upon a Star (ロックマン 星に願いを)

Japanese Cover

American Cover

1993 marked the release for three OVAs produced by Ashi (now called Production Reed Co., Ltd.) centered around Mega Man. From a glance the episodes were looking like a worthy adaptation of the classic games compared to DiC's rendition, sticking true to Inafune's artstyle and sporting decent production values. However, the sight of an average Japanese family raises a worrisome sign. Not to mention the credits flashing "Presented by Japan Center for Intercultural Communications". Why are Mega Man characters interacting with the present day world?

Congratulations! You've been suckered into an educational program! The Upon a Star video series was vehicle to teach other countries about Japanese culture. After all, who better to entertain kids from other First World countries than a futuristic robot boy from a best-selling video game franchise? The premise for the OVA centers around Yuuta, a typical Japanese boy who plays Mega Man 5 (the latest title out at the time of production). The anime does a perfect job replicating the gameplay onto cels for the beginning shots before Yuuta has to hit pause due to bedtime. Turns out Mega Man and everyone inside his TV merely act out their actions much like in Wreck-It-Ralph decades later, only Dr. Wily isn't content with just waiting frozen in place when there's a portal to another world. Yuuta's TV screen somehow serves as a link from the video realm to ours as the mad scientists escapes into our Japan, leaving Mega Man and the rest of the good guys to chase after him.

Each OVA release follows this formula: Wily escapes the game and Mega Man and sometimes others try to find and capture him while learning lessons about Japan from Yuuta, his sister Akane, and sometimes their parents. In "Appearance in Japan", Mega Man learns about cram school and takes a ride on Rush Jet with Yuuta onhand to take in lengthy bouts of info about Japan's regions, climates, and a few landmarks. Dr. Wily is found at Mt. Fuji, having created Magma - er, Lava Men, which Mega Man dowses with Water Wave before taking on all the Mega Man 5 Robot Masters and four forms of Dark Men and sucking Wily back into Yuuta's TV. The "Wishing Upon a Star"-titled OVA again starts off with Yuuta playing MM5 before he gets into a fight with Akane, accidentally kicking the console and causing Mega Man to get sucked out of the game and transport Wily to Dr. Light's lab (funny, usually that just freezes the game when I knock into my systems). Wily quickly steals the time machine that Thomas Light was constructing, having Roll as a fiesty kidnapee tagalong as he sets off to moments in the future. These skips in time conveniently appear on major holidays in Japan such as Setsubun, Hinamatsuri, and Children's Day before finally ending on Tanabata, where Wily plans to drop meteors upon the population wishing upon the shooting stars on that holiday. The final OVA, "Future Beware", Mega Man and Roll are called out from the game just because Yuuta and Akane want to play with them during a local shrine matsuri/festival, offering more education jammed in before Wily beats Proto Man and escapes. Mega Man and Roll skip ahead one year in time in Light's machine to find a desolate Japan and a floating city controlled by Wily and his evil bots. They return to stop this horrible future from occurring, but not after learning about Japanese schools' athletic meets. Wily appears to be using a giant robot to control typhoons (Japan is hit with typhoons a lot. Did you know that, Mega Man and audience watching?), so Mega Man must stop him using a special fan. The OVA ends with Mega Man and Wily playing Santa, dropping gifts to everyone in Japan.

The major issue with this OVA set is the focus. Much of the action you'd expect from Mega Man, something that the other cartoon adaptations tied to give, are generally kept to tiny portions at the beginning and end in order to cram as much boring learning time inbetween. There are a few brand-new giant Wily Machine armors and bots made specifically for this anime, but the battles with them never last too long. The Robot Masters are relegated to cameo status, never given any lines or general interest in their attacks. At least the presentation is cute and the characters stay on-model to the game, unlike many of the abominations from Captain N. For many young kids watching, just seeing Mega Man onscreen in bright colors and talking might be enough, and they might learn a thing or two about Japan (which was the intent, after all), but as a whole this OVA series is too tepid to keep much attention for long.

There is a slight difference in order between the US and Japan, with the first intended for the West stuck last on the Japanese DVD print. "Appearance in Japan" was specifically created with the international audience in mind. Yuuta is shown playing on the recently released redesigned NES-101 top loader rather than a Famicom, his game an NES cart with the title screen using the Mega Man 5 logo. All other OVA episodes feature the game as Rockman 5 instead. "Appearance in Japan" was also dubbed into English back in 1993, using much of the usual Canadian voice acting cast from Blue Water / Ocean Group studios. The other two OVAs were not dubbed until ADV released the set on DVD in 2002. Majority of the original voice cast returned to record, aside from a handful including Mega Man himself, who was voiced by a child actor in the 1st episode.

Mega Man: Upon a Star

Mega Man: Upon a Star

Mega Man: Upon a Star

Mega Man: Upon a Star

Mega Man: Upon a Star


Additional Screenshots


Mega Man

DVD Volume 1

DVD Volume 1

After co-producing the OVAs, Ruby-Spears and Ashi created a promo for their upcoming animated series, running 2 minutes long and keeping the same models and designs from Upon a Star. The promo showcased Mega Man doing what he does best: leaping about and blasting robo-butt without any forced cultural lessons along the way. The villians would expand to include baddies and Robot Masters from the first five games and looked highly promising.

Unfortunately, the characters were "Americanized" due to test audience and executive input, mostly due to the anime style not taking as strong a hold in the early-to-mid-'90s just yet. All designs were revamped to appear similar to superhero and action cartoons of the US of the late '80s proportioned and voiced to sound like late teens/young tweens for most of the robotic characters. In practice, the reinterpretations keep fairly close to their game counterparts aside from more muscled pecs and broad shoulders. A few Robot Masters were given slight tweaks and alterations to look more threatening like Snake Man's serpent eyes and giving Dust Man and Air Man actual heads. Roll, on the other hand, was changed into more of an action girl with a jumpsuit and a utility arm that can transform into stereotypical housewife cooking-and-cleaning tools and appliances including a frying pan, toaster, and egg beater. Proto Man, while looking very close his game persona (minus his shield), is the cocky right-hand man to Dr. Wily. Obviously they stuck with Mega Man 5's tease that he might be evil for dramatic reasons. Either way, they're all far closer to the source material than Captain N ever was.

The plot of nearly every episode strictly followed textbook kid-oriented action cartoon formula. Wily finds some scheme to take over the world, Mega Man comes in, uses a power or two from the Robot Master(s) of the week, and saves the day. Generally Dr. Light will add in that he made sure Dr. Wily can never use the same plot again, then Rush does something wacky for all the good guys to laugh before fading to credits. Many of the episodes use clichéd tropes like the mind-control rock band, the shrinking hero episode, the body switcheroo, and more. Every so often an interchangable human kid character is placed in a single episode for the child audience's analogue and vested interest. Catchphrases were shoehorned in for characters, with Mega Man interjecting "Sizzling circuits!" at the sight of danger and proclaiming "Now I've got your power!" whenever he gains a weapon from his foes. The second season even gave him extra suits like scuba gear for planned toys that never went into production. The show had a whole "written by committee" feel to it.

Mega Man: Upon a Star

Bad puns and wise-cracks littered the show. Guts Man and Cut Man appeared alongside Wily and Proto Man in every episode, with Guts Man sprouting off dumb macho remarks to "Mega Twerp" and Cut Man making lame cut-related jokes in his snivling Peter Lorre voice. Mega Man gave out corny one-liners and Proto Man was always ready with a snide comeback to just about anyone. Many of the Canadian voice talent from Upon a Star returned to perform in the Ruby-Spears show, keeping Jim Byrnes as Dr. Light exactly the same and Scott McNeil returning as Dr. Wily, this time with a gruffer German accent.

The animation on the first episode is done quite well, but slips quickly into bland shadeless stunted movement fairly quickly, but at least keeps on-model. Obviously all the best animated sequences, like many cartoons of the time, is exclusive to the intro. The somewhat catchy American theme song falls flat as heroic melody when it's played during fight scenes (the German dub uses a pulse-pounding hard club song during the intro instead). Though the plots were formulaic, the writers do throw in some odd quirks late in the 27-episode run. In "Night of the Living Monsters", Dr. Wily resides in a dark castle, filming Mega Man and friends' run through the traps in his lair as if he was directing a horror picture. "Curse of the Lion Men" is a bizarre episode with humanoid lion beastmen that turn people into fellow obedient lion beast slaves with rays. Arguably the best episode is the Mega Man Xcross-over with Mavericks Vile, Spark Mandrill and X himself travelling back in time meeting the classic characters. It was one of the last episodes in the entire run, the series cancelled before its third season was produced due to lack of merchandise sales. The entire show was sold on two DVD sets back in 2003, now long out-of-print from the defunct anime distributor ADV Films that also released the abysmal / laughable US Darkstalkers and Street Fighter cartoons. Much of the enjoyment from the show nowadays is laughing at its lameness, along with spawning such memes as Guts Man's ass (DUH-NUHHHHHN!!!).

Segments from the promo tape were later used briefly in the final cartoon's intro, Rockman 7's Japanese commerical, and even in TV adverts for the show.

Mega Man

Mega Man

Mega Man

Mega Man

Mega Man

Mega Man: Upon a Star


Additional Screenshots


Mega Man 2: Worlds of Power

The first written work of the series made for American shores was a junior novel adaptation of Mega Man 2 as part of Scholastic's Worlds of Power series. Written by Ellen Miles (under the print series' pseudonym F.X. Nine), the Mega Man novelization was only one of two in the series written at a lower-grade level than the main selection, the other being Bases Loaded II: Second Season. Thus, this book is a very easy-to-read rendition of a playthrough of the game, with just a few errors in details. A major shift to the story is given at the beginning with Dr. Light attempting to clone Mega Man but instead transforming the robot into a real boy. Luckily, he can still take down Wily and the Robot Masters, so long as he's "extra careful". The rest of the book serves as a rudimentary hint book in prose, though with a few embelishments such as calling Item-2 a jet ski and stating that all of Mega Man's weapons are stored in a backpack he hides on his person. As a book for kids still learning to read, it does its job well. Like many of the Worlds of Power novellas, any questionable content like referring to death is scrubbed away in the most sanitary of euphemisms. The cover itself uses the American Mega Man 2 boxart but airbrushes Mega Man's gun away so as not to portray him as violent.

Cover


Comics / Manga

Shigeto Ikehara Rockman 2 Cover

DreamWave Vol.1 Paperback Cover

Gigamix Vol.1 Cover

Chinese Battle & Chase Cover

Archie Comics #8 Cover

Rockman & Forte Vol.2 Cover

Novas Aventuras de Mega Man ("New Adventures of Mega Man") was a 16 issue Brazilian comic first written by José Roberto Pereira then by Orlando Tosetto Jr. from issue 7 onwards with the editor-in-chief Sérgio Peixoto Silva filling in for issue 6. The comics ran for two years starting in 1996 and was plagued with many disasterous problems, mainly due to severe amounts of unprofessionalism. The story plays out like fan fiction-- BAD fan fiction. Set sometime after most of the main classic series ended, Dr. Wily is placed in jail and all of Earth's governments decide to dismantle all outdated robots to make way for NeoMavericks androids. Dr. Light hid Mega Man and Roll in stasis capsules to spare them. They awake 30 years later in a dystopian time where the NeoMavericks lead my Dr. Wily have taken over the world and Dr. Light was killed in a nuclear explosion from an atomic bomb dropped on his house. Also, X from Mega Man X is there somehow. Also Dr. Wily is now a robot, or at least has an android body. And the comic focuses more on Roll and other female characters and has wacky anime slapstick and antics while also being dark and brooding and violent with nudity and cursing abound. The lousy sophmoric plot goes all over the place and is riddled with plot holes.

Keeping with the inconsistent tone, all art for the comic was created by submitted work from the fans, leading to a different artist with each new issue with no effort to keep styles in line. Characters go from looking child-like and goofy to grown and superheroic, though almost all art leans toward anime and manga superficialites like pasting on big eyes or randomly going chibi. Very often the art has an amateurish Westernized anime design to everything that'd looks more in line with Deviantart pinups than Ninja High School. Many of the artists wouldn't complete their work on time, leading to multiple delays. Over time the focus became less on the Mega Man games with battling Robot Masters and more on the new characters and settings. In fact, part of the reason José Roberto was kicked off the writing position was him desire to have the comic-made character Princess slaughter all the other main characters to be replaced with more new non-Mega Man replacements.

The series ended abruptly in 1998 as sales quickly diminished. The entire mess would've likely been swept under the rug weren't it not for the trainwreck-gawking fans resurfacing the comic for others to admire the audacity of it all. The entire run has been scanned and translated into English, though much of the humor and tone is in line with Brazilian culture and colloquialisms. For the curious, it's a quick and bizarre read, though don't expect Roll's clothes to stay on too long.

The first American Mega Man comic was unfortunately doomed very early on despite good intentions. In 2003 Dreamwave Productions had planned many licensed comics thanks to a deal with Capcom, but only four issues of the Blue Bomber ever saw print before the company went under, unable to release any of the others based on the likes of Maximo and Darkstalkers. As for the comic itself, it was decent if misguided. For some reason, Mega Man is forced to go in his normal Rock form to junior high school under the name Rocky Light, even though he's a robot. While at school he quickly gains a friend named Alan and a possible love interest Chelsea, along with making enemies with a bully trio. It is only at occasional moments that Rocky becomes Mega Man to fight bad Robot Masters, though many of his battles are with newly-created villians to fight like Barrage Man and Express Man. At least the art is good, with Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic fame pencilling the fourth and final issue. The last page teased and plugged a meet-up with X in a crossover that obviously never came to be. All issues were compiled in a digest trade for those interested, even though most of the comic is focused on school life than being a super fighting robot.

Currently Archie Comics has been publishing an ongoing comic series since 2011, worked on by many of the Sonic comic team and adhering quite well to its source material with nice little nods and cameos to fans of the series. Though it embeillishes the game plots with added human characters and a new robot creation Quake Woman, the comic keeps its focus where it should be: battling bad robots. Each tale is told in four issue arcs for easy kid-friendly reading (it is Archie Comics, after all), weaving in elements including Powered Up and even Super Adventure Rockman so far. A crossover arc with Archie's other video game publication Sonic the Hedgehog called "Worlds Collide" debuted in 2013 and lasted 4-5 issues apiece for each publication.

On the Eastern shores Mega Man has had a fair share of manga and even Chinese manhua published over the years, many of them published within Kodansha's Comic Bom Bom. Shigeto Ikehara adapted the stories from the NES and Game Boy titles, having art that mimicked Osamu Tezuka's style before shifting into it's own by his Mega Man 7 manga. Afterwards Kouji Izuka wrote and drew manga about Mega Man 8 and Mega Man & Bass along with a mini-manga centered around Bass for the Image Soundtrack of Mega Man 10. Wu Yang created a Battle & Chase adaptation that included other Robot Masters as well as Mavericks from the first Mega Man X game as spectators.

Perhaps the most prolific of Mega Man manga writers is Hitoshi Ariga. Since 1994, he has created comic strips as well as a fictionalized tale of the development of the first two games starring the staff at Capcom. His best known, however, are collected pieces as part of the Remix/Megamix/Gigamix series, alongside side projects Maniax, and Soccer. While there's a slice of humor given within his take on the franchise (especially his 4koma strips and Maniax), his art and storylines add a touch of a shounen edge to the proceedings without going too overboard. Nevertheless, the manga places darker twists within the adapted plots not seen in other printed works, showcasing some violent cracks and breaks on the robots's casings and the emotional weight of destruction. It's nothing too severe, sticking closer to the content of Japanese superhero shows like Kamen Rider. The Arrange album for Mega Man 9 included a 16-page mini manga prequel also done by Hitoshi Ariga. Majority of Ariga's manga has been published and available translated in English by Udon Entertainment.

Novas Aventuras de Mega Man

Mega Man 5 (Shigeto Ikehara)

Megamig Third & Seventh

Nintendo Power - Howard & Nester


Legacy

A long-lasting and prolific series like Mega Man has its share of spin-offs, but many of those are franchises in and of themselves with their own take on their respective Mega Men with majority staying true to the timeline. The first of which was released in 1993 as the sequel series to the classic Mega Man titles, taking place one century later. Dr. Light encapsulated his final creation X to be opened later once his AI programming was finished. X carried the potential as the first robot unchained from Asimov's laws and free to think for himself, along with the great risk saddled with such free will. Though X followed the path of a pacifist once unearthed by Dr. Cain, one activated robot from the past held the dangerous Maverick virus that causes infected automations to go berserk and thus "Maverick" ("Irregular" in Japan). This Patient Zero is aptly named Zero, built by Dr. Wily along with his vicious strand which took over the Maverick Hunter general Sigma, whom would become the big bad leader throughout the series, becoming the manifestation of the virus itself. The series would span over 11 titles as you play the Maverick Hunters X, Zero, and later Axl and more as you follow the similar 8-boss structure of the classic Mega Man games. The major differences are the animal themed Maverick bosses, the theme of gaining armor parts to beef up X's prowless as a fighter from multiple hidden Dr. Light capsules, and the growing darker, more grown-up shounen tale of the growing battle amongst the Hunters and the Maverick wars.

Oddly, Zero was originally the intended main character Inafune designed when Mega Man X was more of its own independent game. However, his protégé Hayato Kaji's design of an updated Blue Bomber became the focus as the game moved closer and closer to Mega Man in fear that such a dramatic shift to Zero's melee fighting would have deviated to much from the established formula. At least as the first offshoot series, as a form of Zero will take the lead later.

Late 1997 brought the first 3D foray for Mega Man, thanks to pressure from Sony: Mega Man Legends. Dubbed Rockman DASH (DASH an acronym for "Digouter's Adventure Story in Halcyon Days") in Japan and originally to be called "Mega Man Neo" overseas, the game and its sequels and prequel are set several millenia after all the events that occur after the original series as a family friendly Waterworld-like post-apocalyptic tale with many Hayao Miyazaki and Tatsunoko references and inspirations. The main character is named Mega Man Volnutt, an archaeologist known here as a Digger who excavates ancient robot-filled ruins for energy source Refractor crystals with the help of his radio relaying potential love interest Spotter Roll Caskett and further assistance of her grandfather and a mysterious cute dancing monkey named Data. Along with dealing with the robo-zombie like Reaverbots on and underneath the islands they fly to, there's the heavily Time Bokan-inspired villian trio air pirate Bonne family that clash against Volnutt and co. Of the Bonnes, the handy mech-building Tron Bonne is one of the most popular of the franchise, cameoing in many other Capcom games as the playful aspiring anti-heroine with her temperal but determined personality and love interest to her newfound crush Volnutt. She takes center stage in the prequel The Misadventures of Tron Bonne, which takes an assorted drastic shift to the gameplay, mixing managements, puzzles, mech action and more into the mix (where else can you torture robots?). Possibly more popular than Tron Bonne herself is her 40+ mass-produced Lego/Kubrick-designed Servbot minions which serve as the mascot for the spin-off series and appeared in many other games including the Dead Rising series. Tragically, as a fan favorite set of games and sort of a pet project for Inafune himself, the 3D Mega Man series never got the sales numbers it deserved, leaving a cliffhanger ending in the sequel with a stranded Volnutt and many unanswered questions to what happened to the last of humanity and the mystery of the Reaverbots, Purifier Units, and Volnutt himself. Further salt on the wound came with the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 for the 3DS after months of fan assistance and contributions on Capcom Unity's website and the announcements of a demo and a new gang of characters, including a Proto Man analogue with Barrett and his Spotter Aero. While Capcom places the blame on the lack of fan input and hype, many place it on the resignation of Keiji Inafune and the money-first mentality at Capcom. For now, the future of Legends (and much of Mega Man, honestly) looks grim.

After the new millenium began, Capcom created another Mega Man spin-off, this one not tied to the plot threads that began with the classic series. In this alternate universe, every piece of electronic equipment, from stereos to kitchen appliances, is connected to the world wide web. This vast network is so complex that executable programs known as NetNavigators - NetNavis, for short - are necessary to send data across. This action-RPG hybrid is called Mega Man Battle Network (Rockman.EXE in Japan), and centers around Lan Hikari and his NetNavi MegaMan.EXE fighting off hackers and rogue viruses by "decking" into the net. The story and many of the characters and .EXE Navis mirror characters and robots from the classic series, including a nefarious Lord Wily as the antagonist. Fights within the game largely took place on a 6x3 grid with Battle Chips augmenting or dishing out attacks on enemies. These Battle Chips could be collected throughout the net and, taking from a page from Pokémon, served as part of the collectibles within the series. Capcom would captialize on this factor by releasing two versions of each title with Battle Chips exclusive to each version starting with the 3rd game. Outside of the 6 main games, a few offshoot titles including a 2.5D platformer on Gamecube were churned out during a span of 5 years, as well as an anime titled Mega Man NT Warrior that lasted 56 episodes.

Not long after releasing Battle Network on the GBA that another spin-off debuted on the portable system. Rather than be a light-hearted romp chatting with family and friends inbetween net skirmishes, this sequel series continues the dark war story after the events of Mega Man X. Mega Man Zero places players in the robotic shoes of Zero, as he awakes after 100 years of being sealed at the end of the Elf Wars. The game series was commisioned to Inti Creates with much of the new design work by freelancer artist Toru Nakayama. The game itself plays largely as a refinement and expansion of Zero's controls from the latter Mega Man X games, though with RPG-lite upgrading of weapons and skills by defeating enemies and bosses along with a more mission-based structure. The difficulty and stage lengths have risen higher than much of the predecessors', though attaching Cyber Elves you collect throughout the game can levy the burden at the cost of overall score. A bit of the darker tones of death and violence on the robotic splurts of reddish blood oil was edited out in the Western release in order to meet all-ages standards. The story is woven in a tight knit across the four titles in the series, finally released in a collection on the Nintendo DS that adds an Easy Mode as well as digital E-reader cards for the 3rd installment, making this collection the easiest and cheapest means of playing the tetralogy.

Also on the DS was the sequel to Mega Man Zero known as Mega Man ZX. Taking place 200 years after Zero, humans and Reploids began coexisting enough that the border blurred, resulting in the hybrid race Humanoids. With a new Maverick uprising a chosen Humanoid boy/girl called Vent/Aile must used Biometals forged with the powers of X, Zero, and others to do battle. Though not too far removed from Zero's gameplay (which builts upon the X and classic series), the levels shifted to a Metroidvania layout, interconnected with missions spread out throughout the game world. Ties to the series' timeline were thick with many callbacks to existing spin-offs, including building toward the early events of Legends, but after one sequel, ZX Advent, the game series was placed on indefinite hold.

Instead yet another DS sequel series was created called Mega Man Star Force/Ryuusei no Rockman. The games take place 200 years after Battle Network, but is built to stand on its own storywise and it's mostly brand-new analogues rather than try to greatly tie into older titles. While much of the gameplay stays true to Battle Network, it adapts the Biometal power switching from ZX by having the player character Geo Stelar synch with various alien Electromagnetic Beings. Most of the villians are rogue extraterrestial FM-ians that are based on constellations. Also like Battle Network, Star Force had nearly-identical variant releases of its three titles as well as an anime that ran concurrently.

Perhaps the most notorious offshoot was the botched mega-crossover game released on mobile devices in 2012 known as Rockman Xover. As OVER-1, you run from left to right blasting any foe in your way as an older Kalinka serves as your navigator. You collect Battle Memory cards as well as earn various armors to assist you destroying bosses and minions from all the franchises. The game garnered tons of flak from gamers and fans for regurgitating sprites and artwork and creating a cheap cash shop on a game that mostly plays itself on a boring scrolling background with little input and agency on the player. In fact, OVER-1 is basically an edit of the cheap HD sprite from the iOS port of Mega Man X. Feedback for the game was so severe, Capcom cancelled its Western release.

Currently Mega Man's future stands on shakey ground. Outside of minor cameos, the Blue Bomber has seen little action after routinely serving multiple tours for over 25 years. A killer blow to his development was the resignation of Keiji Inafune from Capcom after his disappointment with the management at Capcom. He left to form his own compay Comcept. While he's no longer in charge of his robo-baby, his new spiritual successor was funded in spades through Kickstarter. This new follow-up, Mighty No.9, is slated to create a new yet familiar take on Mega Man, sticking close to the classic series as legally allowed. With $4 million in the bank, hopes are high that this new pseudo spin-off will keep Mega Man fans happy as Keiji fights for everlasting fun.

Mega Man X Artwork

Mega Man Battle Network Artwork

Mega Man ZX Advent Artwork

Rockman Xover Artwork

Migthy No.9 Artwork


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Intro
Characters

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Mega Man
Mega Man 2

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Mega Man 3
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Mega Man (Game Boy)
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Mega Man (Game Gear)
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