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Classic Mega Man: Your Favorite Robot Masters and Why


Kōyamaki
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Robot Masters - read "villains." I don't know how often this subject comes up in gaming circles but, I was always curious how other people perceived the antagonists in the original series ( 1-8 ). I enjoyed playing the games when I wasn't getting creamed, yet I saw something more in the series than just having fun on the bean bag. The enemy characters were often a pain to play against when you didn't have their weakness in your inventory but, I always really admired the conceptual design that went into some of the characters from an artistic point of view. I would always look at the stage boss and think, "I wanna play as this other dude, he's cool!" In comparison, Rock's armor was always very plain Jane - it looks like the costumes used for the film "Tron," only not as cool. Even after receiving the signature weapon of the defeated master, it was often nerfed and didn't even look as impressive to watch being used; Elecman's Thunder Beam was one exception to the general rule. Rock himself was basically a jack of all trades, master of none. ( Rock = Mega Man )

Back on topic though, I always saw a lot of untapped potential in the backstories behind the Robot Masters. I would actually argue that some of them should have gotten their own spinoffs with them as the main characters. I'm aware that attempts have been made toward this route in titles like the remake of the original, "Megaman: Powered Up." To be honest, I didn't like everything they did with that; they turned Iceman into a deranged mentalist, Fireman sounds way too bombastic, and they transposed Vega's personality in "Street Fighter" onto Elecman ( both games are Capcom titles I know ) . Also, what's with the whole 'chibi' art style? Do they have to make some cutesy bobblehead version of every franchise? I don't get that.

Does anyone else get the feeling that Capcom was wrong not to use the enemy characters to create something resembling the DC Universe's Justice League instead?

In any case, does anyone have any particular favorite robot masters from the classic game series? What are the charismatic qualities they have that make them appealing to you? I thought about making this a poll but, there's too many. It would be almost impossible for me to choose only one that I like more than all the others, I could more easily name the ones I didn't like. so I'll just name some of mine and describe my thoughts about them. No particular order.

 

Shadow Man - Perhaps the most popular robot master. He always seemed very over with the fans of the series and I can see why. He's like Mega Man's answer to the Hitman - he's the excellence in execution, the greatest technical robot master; the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be -- okay, I was just being facetious with that analogy ( or at least half of it ). It would actually be great to see some fan art where he's got Rock in the sharp shooter. He's got the cool helmet which basically resembles the New England Patriots Logo with a 4-sided star on it. For the longest time, I didn't even know he was actually supposed to be patterned after ninjas as his motif. He was noted for being one of the more formidable masters of Megaman 3. They definitely should have given this character his own game. It would have sold, and likely quite well if done competently.

Gemini Man - Easily one of the coolest and most unique characters in the entire franchise. His ability to attack with a clone duplicate of himself was really freaky ( and frustrating ). His silver armor is totally rad. This is another one I could imagine selling like hotcakes as the protagonist of his own game. His official info describes him as a narcissist so, maybe doesn't have the most likable personality. I still think they could market him as the cool anti-hero pretty effectively though.

Quick Man - Yeah, I know that it's obvious that this character drew heavy inspiration from the Flash but, there are certain aspects to his design that also set him apart. Another character with one of the coolest helmets I've ever seen. His actual projectile weapon in the game left a lot to be desired visually, but he did move around quite well. Despite having a weak name, and an even cheesier stage theme, there is something special about him that gives him that babyface quality that the fans would root for. Although the canonicity of "Super Adventure Rockman" is questionable, there was an actual cutscene where for one brief moment Quickman actually turned babyface and took a shadow blade, sacrificing himself to save Rock's life. This shows that the writers were actually thinking about it.

Skull Man - For a character in a game aimed at kids, this guy's motif was rather edgy. Then again, if anyone has watched the original Japanese versions of "Power Rangers" ( Super Sentai ), they would appreciate that the tone is usually darker ( which I actually prefer ). I never did read any of the manga based on the "Rockman" Universe, but apparently this robot master was given a sympathetic redemption ending as a tragic anti-hero. I always thought it odd how covers of his stage theme are generally done in an 80s synth rock style...I guess Skullman must be a real maniac on the dance floor. lol Seriously, I don't understand why they didn't experiment more with the idea of giving this guy his own series too.

Fire Man - Arguably one of the most original character designs in the first game - often imitated, never duplicated. He's got the head with the always burning torch, and a pretty flashy attack animation for the time. This would be another winner here.

Elec Man - My favorite robot master from the first game, though Fire Man follows a close second. His design is maybe not the most original but, still pretty neat. His weapon is so destructive that it forces the player to respect him. I hated how weak they made him in the Ruby-Spears cartoon from the 90s. I honestly don't care if his theme sounds like it was ripped off from other songs, it was still the best one in the game. Although he's said to have taken up playing the electric guitar in his official info, you never see any art of him playing the analogue synth on a keyboard like Mortal Kombat's Rayden is sometimes depicted doing in fan art - it's actually disappointing.☹️

Star Man - I know that tactically he's really just a filler character to cover all of the eight villain slots in MM5 but, he's still kinda cool. Wish his weapon was something never seen before up to that point though.

Gravity Man - As cool as this character already is, there was so much more they could have done with him, albeit not without making him practically unbeatable. The name says it all, need I say more about him?

Crash Man - The guy with the "G-Force" style helmet and drills for hands. Little bit of trivia, the name "Drill Man" was actually suggested for him before settling on the name Crash Man. The name "Drill Man" would later be used for a future robot master in "Mega Man 4." I'm not sure if he would be material for his own game without having more tricks or abilities. Still a very deadly opponent if you didn't have his weakness equipped.

Flash Man - Despite his attributes, he was the easiest robot master to beat in MM2. Even so, I love the concept of a weapon that freezes time. I also love his stage theme.

Snake Man - This is one of those characters that looks cool but doesn't do anything really flashy. A big let down in regards to abilities. Well composed theme song though.

Spark Man - One of the less human looking droids, his design was original. He had some rather visually impressive attacks for the graphical capability on an 8-Bit system in the day.

Magnet Man - Cool motif, though it would seem that the character would lack versatility in any situations that didn't involve metal or electronics in-game. How would one make a solo act out of such a specialized character?🤔

Freeze Man - Entering the 16-Bit Era, he was the one robot master that really stood out to me in the cast of MM7. He looked much more menacing than his predecessor Ice Man did. He was also one of the most difficult opponents in the game.

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  • 7 months later...
On 7/3/2022 at 7:11 PM, Kōyamaki said:

Robot Masters - read "villains." I don't know how often this subject comes up in gaming circles but, I was always curious how other people perceived the antagonists in the original series ( 1-8 ). I enjoyed playing the games when I wasn't getting creamed, yet I saw something more in the series than just having fun on the bean bag. The enemy characters were often a pain to play against when you didn't have their weakness in your inventory but, I always really admired the conceptual design that went into some of the characters from an artistic point of view. I would always look at the stage boss and think, "I wanna play as this other dude, he's cool!" In comparison, Rock's armor was always very plain Jane - it looks like the costumes used for the film "Tron," only not as cool. Even after receiving the signature weapon of the defeated master, it was often nerfed and didn't even look as impressive to watch being used; Elecman's Thunder Beam was one exception to the general rule. Rock himself was basically a jack of all trades, master of none. ( Rock = Mega Man )

Back on topic though, I always saw a lot of untapped potential in the backstories behind the Robot Masters. I would actually argue that some of them should have gotten their own spinoffs with them as the main characters. I'm aware that attempts have been made toward this route in titles like the remake of the original, "Megaman: Powered Up." To be honest, I didn't like everything they did with that; they turned Iceman into a deranged mentalist, Fireman sounds way too bombastic, and they transposed Vega's personality in "Street Fighter" onto Elecman ( both games are Capcom titles I know ) . Also, what's with the whole 'chibi' art style? Do they have to make some cutesy bobblehead version of every franchise? I don't get that.

Does anyone else get the feeling that Capcom was wrong not to use the enemy characters to create something resembling the DC Universe's Justice League instead?

In any case, does anyone have any particular favorite robot masters from the classic game series? What are the charismatic qualities they have that make them appealing to you? I thought about making this a poll but, there's too many. It would be almost impossible for me to choose only one that I like more than all the others, I could more easily name the ones I didn't like. so I'll just name some of mine and describe my thoughts about them. No particular order.

 

Shadow Man - Perhaps the most popular robot master. He always seemed very over with the fans of the series and I can see why. He's like Mega Man's answer to the Hitman - he's the excellence in execution, the greatest technical robot master; the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be -- okay, I was just being facetious with that analogy ( or at least half of it ). It would actually be great to see some fan art where he's got Rock in the sharp shooter. He's got the cool helmet which basically resembles the New England Patriots Logo with a 4-sided star on it. For the longest time, I didn't even know he was actually supposed to be patterned after ninjas as his motif. He was noted for being one of the more formidable masters of Megaman 3. They definitely should have given this character his own game. It would have sold, and likely quite well if done competently.

Gemini Man - Easily one of the coolest and most unique characters in the entire franchise. His ability to attack with a clone duplicate of himself was really freaky ( and frustrating ). His silver armor is totally rad. This is another one I could imagine selling like hotcakes as the protagonist of his own game. His official info describes him as a narcissist so, maybe doesn't have the most likable personality. I still think they could market him as the cool anti-hero pretty effectively though.

Quick Man - Yeah, I know that it's obvious that this character drew heavy inspiration from the Flash but, there are certain aspects to his design that also set him apart. Another character with one of the coolest helmets I've ever seen. His actual projectile weapon in the game left a lot to be desired visually, but he did move around quite well. Despite having a weak name, and an even cheesier stage theme, there is something special about him that gives him that babyface quality that the fans would root for. Although the canonicity of "Super Adventure Rockman" is questionable, there was an actual cutscene where for one brief moment Quickman actually turned babyface and took a shadow blade, sacrificing himself to save Rock's life. This shows that the writers were actually thinking about it.

Skull Man - For a character in a game aimed at kids, this guy's motif was rather edgy. Then again, if anyone has watched the original Japanese versions of "Power Rangers" ( Super Sentai ), they would appreciate that the tone is usually darker ( which I actually prefer ). I never did read any of the manga based on the "Rockman" Universe, but apparently this robot master was given a sympathetic redemption ending as a tragic anti-hero. I always thought it odd how covers of his stage theme are generally done in an 80s synth rock style...I guess Skullman must be a real maniac on the dance floor. lol Seriously, I don't understand why they didn't experiment more with the idea of giving this guy his own series too.

Fire Man - Arguably one of the most original character designs in the first game - often imitated, never duplicated. He's got the head with the always burning torch, and a pretty flashy attack animation for the time. This would be another winner here.

Elec Man - My favorite robot master from the first game, though Fire Man follows a close second. His design is maybe not the most original but, still pretty neat. His weapon is so destructive that it forces the player to respect him. I hated how weak they made him in the Ruby-Spears cartoon from the 90s. I honestly don't care if his theme sounds like it was ripped off from other songs, it was still the best one in the game. Although he's said to have taken up playing the electric guitar in his official info, you never see any art of him playing the analogue synth on a keyboard like Mortal Kombat's Rayden is sometimes depicted doing in fan art - it's actually disappointing.☹️

Star Man - I know that tactically he's really just a filler character to cover all of the eight villain slots in MM5 but, he's still kinda cool. Wish his weapon was something never seen before up to that point though.

Gravity Man - As cool as this character already is, there was so much more they could have done with him, albeit not without making him practically unbeatable. The name says it all, need I say more about him?

Crash Man - The guy with the "G-Force" style helmet and drills for hands. Little bit of trivia, the name "Drill Man" was actually suggested for him before settling on the name Crash Man. The name "Drill Man" would later be used for a future robot master in "Mega Man 4." I'm not sure if he would be material for his own game without having more tricks or abilities. Still a very deadly opponent if you didn't have his weakness equipped.

Flash Man - Despite his attributes, he was the easiest robot master to beat in MM2. Even so, I love the concept of a weapon that freezes time. I also love his stage theme.

Snake Man - This is one of those characters that looks cool but doesn't do anything really flashy. A big let down in regards to abilities. Well composed theme song though.

Spark Man - One of the less human looking droids, his design was original. He had some rather visually impressive attacks for the graphical capability on an 8-Bit system in the day.

Magnet Man - Cool motif, though it would seem that the character would lack versatility in any situations that didn't involve metal or electronics in-game. How would one make a solo act out of such a specialized character?🤔

Freeze Man - Entering the 16-Bit Era, he was the one robot master that really stood out to me in the cast of MM7. He looked much more menacing than his predecessor Ice Man did. He was also one of the most difficult opponents in the game.

You named a lot of good ones lol. Shadow Man, Gemini Man, Crash Man and Quick Man are some of my personal favorites too. I think, to a lot of people, the robot masters were definitely the main appeal of the original Mega Man games rather than Mega Man himself. It was always exciting to see what new bosses they would come up with.

I really like Fuse Man from 11, Knight Man from 6, and Metal Man from 2, to name a few others. Mostly for their designs and powers.

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7 hours ago, Rose said:

You named a lot of good ones lol. Shadow Man, Gemini Man, Crash Man and Quick Man are some of my personal favorites too. I think, to a lot of people, the robot masters were definitely the main appeal of the original Mega Man games rather than Mega Man himself. It was always exciting to see what new bosses they would come up with.

I really like Fuse Man from 11, Knight Man from 6, and Metal Man from 2, to name a few others. Mostly for their designs and powers.

I'm actually kinda fond of Metal Man myself. I thought it odd that many of the comments seen online about him insinuate that he was one of the easy ones to beat just because he's destroyed with only two hits from his own weapon. lol I don't know how anybody beats Metal Man without the Quick Boomerang. In my honest opinion, Metal Man was actually one of the toughest ones to beat in MM2 - definitely in the upper echelon of bosses along with Quick Man, Air Man and Crash Man. I guess I can add Bubble Man since he's almost invincible before obtaining the Metal Blade from Metal Man. It is disappointing that Metal Man never made an appearance in "The Power Battle" or "Power Fighters".

Regarding Knight Man, it is kinda cool that he shares his name with better known characters ( like Shadow Man ) although I was personally more impressed with his stage theme than the character himself. I was underwhelmed by his battle capabilities. Knight Man looked cool, I'll give him that.

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Fuse Man was introduced much later and since I have not played these newer titles I cannot comment about him.

Edited by Kōyamaki
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