|Developers||Capcom, Inti Creates|
|Platform of origin||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|First release||Mega Man
December 17, 1987
|Latest release||Street Fighter X Mega Man
December 17, 2012
Mega Man, alternatively written as Megaman and MegaMan, known as Rockman (ロックマン Rokkuman?) in Japan, is a video game franchise from Capcom, starring the robot character Mega Man, or one of his many counterparts. Mega Man, released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987, began a series of over 50 games on multiple systems. As of December 31, 2010, the series has sold approximately twenty-nine million copies worldwide, making it Capcom's most prolific franchise.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Games
- 3 Timeline
- 4 In other media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The classic Mega Man series consists of ten main titles including the original game, as well as all Game Boy and PC titles featuring the original design of Mega Man. The classic series is considered to be the origin of the story, with Mega Man being the first installment, and continuing with ten direct sequels. Chronologically after Mega Man 8 comes Mega Man & Bass, followed by Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10.
Although the classic series has yet to reach an ending, the storyline shifts to the Mega Man X series, followed by the Mega Man Zero series, Mega Man ZX and Mega Man Legends. Although it is confirmed that the Legends series takes place sometime in the distant future after the ZX series, there is an uncertain amount of time as to when it actually takes place. All series follow one continuous timeline except for Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force which exist in an alternate universe (one in which network technology flourished instead of robotics technology), with Star Force occurring two centuries after the Battle Network series.
The official source book Rockman Perfect Memories outlines the Classic, X, and Legends series and makes mention of the Battle Network and Zero series (which were fairly new at the time of the book's publication). While the ZX and Star Force series were not yet conceived when the source book was published, Capcom is explicit within the games themselves regarding their placement in the timeline(s).
The Classic series
|1987–||- Mega Man|
|1988–||- Mega Man 2|
|1990–||- Mega Man 3|
|1991–||- Mega Man 4|
|1992–||- Mega Man 5|
|1993–||- Mega Man 6|
|1995–||- Mega Man 7|
|1996–||- Mega Man 8|
|1998–||- Mega Man & Bass|
|2008–||- Mega Man 9|
|2010–||- Mega Man 10|
In the story behind the original series, Mega Man is an android called Rock, created as a lab assistant by the scientist Dr. Light. Following treachery by Dr. Wily, Rock was converted into a battle robot to defend the world from Wily's violent robotic threats. Thus he becomes Mega Man.
Though all Mega Man games feature unique stories, settings, and characters, they nevertheless share several common features that have made the series one of the most consistent in video game history. All main Mega Man games released prior to 1997 are side scrolling with 2D platforming levels. The player character is Mega Man, who must fight through the levels using some variation of the "Mega Buster"—a cannon attached to his arm—to shoot the robotic enemies inhabiting his environment. When Mega Man was released in 1987, the characteristic that made it revolutionary was the choice given to the player of which robot master to attempt first. After defeating a Robot Master—the boss of a level—Mega Man gains the ability to use that Robot Master's special weapon. Each Robot Master is representative of a specific element or object, with such bosses as Fire Man, Ice Man, Stone Man, and Elec Man. The weapons Mega Man gains share the theme of the defeated boss. After defeating all of the Robot Masters, Mega Man travels to a multi-stage fortress to confront Dr. Wily, the person responsible for the robotic enemies' destructive acts. In the fortress, Mega Man fights past new bosses, clones of the game's Robot Masters, and Wily, who is usually in a large multi-phase war machine.
Enemies are weak to at least one weapon; for instance, Fire Man will take more damage from Ice Man's weapon than from other weapons. This concept draws inspiration from rock-paper-scissors. Robot Master levels can generally be completed in any order, resulting in a strategic hallmark of the series: determining the best order to defeat bosses and earn weapons. Sequels of Mega Man games contain new enemies alongside familiar ones, new bosses and weapons, and perhaps new gadgets. Later installments of the game give the player the option of commanding other player characters with different abilities, such as Proto Man, Duo, and Bass.
To date, the Classic series has not reached a definite conclusion, although later entries in the series have hinted at possible connections to the X series (such as the "Roboenza" of Mega Man 10 possibly being a precursor to the Maverick Virus and Wily's schematic of a robot resembling Zero in the ending of Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters). But due to the Classic series' light-hearted and nostalgic nature, it may never reach a definite conclusion. Originally developed for the NES, the original Mega Man series experienced graphical improvements in fourth and fifth generation installments. The series had no titles developed for sixth generation consoles but returned in the seventh generation purposely sporting graphics, sound and gameplay similar to the original NES titles to inspire a nostalgic look and feel, distributed as downloadable content instead of retail titles like the previous installments.
Handheld original series
- Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge – Game Boy, 1991
- Mega Man II – Game Boy, 1991 (JP), 1992 (US)
- Mega Man III – Game Boy, 1992
- Mega Man IV – Game Boy, 1993
- Mega Man V – Game Boy, 1994
- Mega Man (Game Gear) – Game Gear, 1995, (US only)
- Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future – WonderSwan, 1999, (JP Only)
- Rockman Battle & Fighters – Neo Geo Pocket Color, 2000, (Japanese Only)
Mega Man X
- Mega Man X – Super Famicom/SNES, PC, 1993
- Mega Man X2 – Super Famicom/SNES, 1994
- Mega Man X3 – Super Famicom/SNES, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC, 1995, 1996
- Mega Man X4 – PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC, 1997
- Mega Man X5 – PlayStation, PC, 2000
- Mega Man Xtreme – Game Boy Color, 2000
- Mega Man X6 – PlayStation, PC (South Korean version only), 2001
- Mega Man Xtreme 2 – Game Boy Color, 2001
- Mega Man X7 – PlayStation 2, PC (South Korean version only), 2003
- Mega Man X8 (subtitle: Paradise Lost) – PlayStation 2, PC, 2004
- Mega Man X Command Mission – Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, 2004
Capcom wanted a redesign in graphics and control as the Mega Man series moved from the NES to the SNES, prompting the creation of the Mega Man X series in 1993. Set in the future, this series follows the story of Mega Man's successor, Mega Man X, a new, advanced robot that has complete free will over his actions, thoughts and feelings. This character—often referred to as simply "X"—is also a creation of Dr. Light, put into suspended animation and uncovered 100 years in the future by a researcher named Dr. Cain. The Mega Man X series features more realistic 16-bit graphics and greater freedom of movement. In the Mega Man X series, the characters grow in abilities and power as the game progresses.
As the series progressed, various other player characters have appeared, such as fellow Maverick Hunter Zero who was created by Dr. Wily of the Classic series, OVER-1, created jointly by Dr. Light and Dr. Cossack, a Reploid with an adolescent personality named Axl who has the ability to shape-shift into other Reploids. Zero would later star in his own spin-off series, Mega Man Zero.
To date, the Mega Man X series has not reached a definite conclusion, and in fact has been dangling from a cliff-hanger since the eighth title.
Mega Man Legends
- Mega Man Legends/Mega Man 64 – PlayStation, Nintendo 64, PC, PlayStation Portable (Japan only), 1997, 1998
- The Misadventures of Tron Bonne – PlayStation, 1999, 2000 - a prequel set before the events of the original Mega Man Legends.
- Mega Man Legends 2 – PlayStation, PC, PlayStation Portable (Japan only) 2000
Beginning on the PlayStation in 1997, a 3D action game series called Mega Man Legends was created to take advantage of the console's advanced graphics hardware. This series is in the same world as the other games, though thousands of years in the future. The world is covered by immense bodies of water, marked by a re-occurrence of several major characters from the original series in different situations. The hero, Mega Man (Rock) Volnutt, is a relic hunter called a "Digger" who scavenges various ruins laden throughout the world in search of refractor shards that can be mined and traded as currency. Mega Man Legends brings the gameplay into 3D and is an action adventure with role-playing game elements.
The Legends series concluded with only two main titles and a spin-off starring mainstay antagonist Tron Bonne before being seemingly discontinued. Unlike Battle Network and Zero, the final title in the series does not resolve the storyline. For over the past 12 years, a continuation to the Legends series has become an oft-requested title among many Capcom and Mega Man fans. A third title was once under development for the Nintendo 3DS, but on July 17, 2011, Capcom cancelled the project saying it did not meet certain requirements. This decision was met with mass criticism from gamers and gaming news outlets.
Despite the fact that the no new games in the series had been released in years, various characters from the Legends series consistently appear in Capcom cross-over titles such as Marvel vs. Capcom, and the Servbot characters have become iconic within the Capcom community, making many cameo appearances in non-Mega Man titles such as Dead Rising and is part of the outfit obtained via achievements in Lost Planet 2.
Mega Man Battle Network
- Mega Man Battle Network – Game Boy Advance, 2001
- Mega Man Battle Network 2 – Game Boy Advance, 2001
- Mega Man Battle Network 3 - White version / Blue version – Game Boy Advance, 2002
- Mega Man Network Transmission – Nintendo GameCube, 2003
- Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge - Game Boy Advance, 2003
- Mega Man Battle Network 4 - Red Sun version / Blue Moon version – Game Boy Advance, 2003
- Mega Man Battle Network 5 - Team ProtoMan version / Team Colonel version – Game Boy Advance, 2004
- Mega Man Battle Network 6 - Cybeast Falzar version / Cybeast Gregar version – Game Boy Advance, 2005
Mega Man Battle Network, a series primarily on the Game Boy Advance, began in 2001 as a way for the Mega Man games to branch out into the role-playing video game market and to celebrate MegaMan's 15th anniversary. This series features a Net Navi called MegaMan.EXE. Net Navis act as virtual assistants to Operators, such as the protagonist Lan, an elementary school student and future hero who uses his Net Navi to help battle computer viruses and other Internet-based threats. The game combines elements from collectible card games to create a unique fast-paced battle system. An anime series, MegaMan NT Warrior, was also produced, ending with 209 episodes and a 50-minute film adaptation. Mega Man Network Transmission, the only entry in the series released on a home console rather than a handheld, takes place chronologically between the first two Battle Network games, although it was released between the third and fourth. It is also different from other titles in the Battle Network universe in that its game play reminds strongly of the Classic series.
Mega Man Battle Network was, with its sixth title, the second series in the franchise to reach a definitive conclusion, although the storyline continues in the distant future with Mega Man Star Force.
Mega Man Zero
In 2002, a follow-up series to the Mega Man X franchise was developed for the Game Boy Advance which starred Zero, a character from Mega Man X. The series revolved around Zero battling a powerful human-supremacy force as he protects the oppressed remaining reploids. In the Mega Man Zero series, the gameplay is largely similar to Zero's play style in the later Mega Man X titles and features an in-depth ranking system that rewards the player with new abilities and enhancements (such as copied abilities from boss characters) in exchange for better play performance. In the fourth title, Zero can also physically steal weapons from enemies (such as axes and guns).
Mega Man Zero was, with its fourth title, the first series in the franchise to reach a definitive conclusion, although its storyline continues in the distant future with Mega Man ZX.
Mega Man ZX
The first game in the Mega Man ZX series was released in 2006. It takes place about 200 years after the Zero series in which progression has led to the mixing of physical attributes between humans and robots; humans are given the physical advantages of robots, and robots are given lifespans. Therefore, this is the first title in the main storyline in which the player can control a human character. Players collect Biometals containing data on the legendary heroes of the past (including X, Zero, and the Four Guardians of the Mega Man Zero series). Using these Biometals, they are able to "Mega-Merge" with them to don the powers of the fallen heroes.
Gameplay remains largely similar to the Mega Man Zero series, although the ranking system is mostly removed. In the second title, the player character is able to physically transform into fallen boss characters upon defeating them.
The player is given the choice of choosing a male or female human protagonist in each installment, and the games imply that both characters do not exist in the same continuity. For example, Vent and Aile both have identical back-stories of being orphaned, have very similar appearances, and both work for Giro Express, and they are never seen on-screen together or mentioned to one another, therefore implying that they do not co-exist. The same occurs in the series's only sequel, Mega Man ZX Advent between protagonists Grey and Ashe, both of which meet either Vent or Aile (depending on which character is chosen), but not both.
This makes ZX unique in that it creates two parallel timelines depending on which character is chosen: a timeline in which Vent and Ashe exist and are the heroes donning the Biometals, or a timeline in which Aile and Grey assume their roles instead.
Although the second title in the series leaves the story open for possible sequels, the series is seemingly on hiatus at this time.
Mega Man Star Force
A follow-up to the Mega Man Battle Network series and released on the Nintendo DS, Star Forces's launch commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Mega Man franchise. The Star Force games are very similar to the Battle Network games, and also takes place roughly 200 years later in the timeline. Network technology has progressed with electromagnetic wave technology to connect the world via radio waves. The series stars a timid boy named Geo Stelar and an extraterrestrial EM-wave being named Omega-Xis who can merge into an EM-Human known as "Mega Man," allowing the player to explore both the real world and the EM-world. Although each title has a different set of antagonists, they are usually EM-beings that are able to merge with humans to create new threats. The gameplay is very similar to the Battle Network series with an over-the-shoulder battle system and more simplified collectible card game elements. An anime based on this series began airing on TV Tokyo in October 2006 for 76 episodes.
Although the storyline appears to have been resolved with the third title, it is unclear whether it is a definitive conclusion like those of Battle Network and Zero or simply a hiatus in production due to decreasing sales figures.
Rockman Xover (ロックマン Xover Rokkuman Kurosuōbā, pronounced Rockman Crossover) is a title for Apple's iOS platform marking the 25th anniversary of the Mega Man franchise, and was released on November 29, 2012 on the Japanese iTunes Store. The game features a new protagonist, OVER-1 (オーバー ワン Ōbā Wan), a Reploid created by Dr. Light and Dr. Cossack, confronting villains from the entire Mega Man franchise, who have crossed between dimensions to join forces. Capcom have stated that a release in North America has been put on hold due to largely negative feedback from fans.
The timeline for the series and its spinoffs is somewhat complicated. According to Rockman Perfect Memories, an official Capcom sourcebook only available in Japan:
- Mega Man takes place from 200X to 20XX.
- Mega Man X begins in 21XX; most likely in 2114, according to Dr. Cain's log.
- Mega Man Zero set 102 years after Mega Man X series.
- Mega Man ZX is set approximately 200 years after the Zero series.
- Mega Man Legends takes place in an undetermined future, far ahead of the other titles.
An alternate universe where computer technology flourished instead of robotics.
In other media
In other video games
Mega Man is one of the many playable fighters in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. He was a playable fighter in the Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and returned in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. He is assisted by his companion robots, Rush, Beat and Eddie. His sister robot, Roll, also appears in both games, but she is a secret character in the first game. Although he did not make a playable appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and its successor, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, he makes several cameos. The character Mega Man X appears as an alternate costume for Zero and Frank West and as a card in Heroes and Heralds mode. The original Mega Man appears in the arcade endings of Thor and Nova, and also appears on a poster in the Days of Future Past stage, and finally, as another card in Heroes and Heralds Mode. In 2013, Mega Man was confirmed as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
The classic series was the source material for two animated television series both aptly named Mega Man and featuring the heroes, villains, and themes of the games. The first show was a three-part OVA called Mega Man: Upon a Star developed in Japan; the other, simply called Mega Man, was developed specifically for North American audiences by animation studio Ruby-Spears. Spin-off versions of the hero led to the series Mega Man NT Warrior and Mega Man Star Force. Mega Man was also a main character in Nintendo-themed series Captain N: The Game Master.
Various artbooks and source books have been released for many years in Japan, often including conceptual artwork, interviews with production staff, and background information on the storyline and concepts that are not present within the games themselves. One of the most well-known is the Rockman Perfect Memories sourcebook released in 2002 which first confirmed the presence of an alternate timeline (for Battle Network), as well as exactly where the Legends series fit into the fictional Mega Man universe.
Recently a series of artbooks called the Official Complete Works has been published for individual Mega Man series, showcasing a large collection of artwork and background information. To date, books for the Zero, Classic and X (released together as R20), Star Force, and Battle Network series have been produced. Although these books have for many years been exclusive to Japan, UDON Entertainment Corporation has begun translating the Official Complete Works series for the North American market.
Comics and manga
The most well-known series is produced by Hitoshi Ariga (who went on to provide character designs and artwork for future official Capcom releases, including the Super Famicom game Mega Man and Bass). The series began with Rockman Remix, followed with Rockman Megamix, and is currently being serialized as Rockman Gigamix. The Megamix portion of the series would eventually be brought to North American shores thanks to UDON Entertainment Corporation, also responsible for the localization of the short Mega Man ZX manga by Shin Ogino. In the original Mega Man series, Dr. Light was known as Dr. Right, so many of his robots featured in Ariga's comic have "R"s in their designs. UDON did not alter this detail in the English version of Mega Man Megamix.
In addition, Viz Media localized the 13-volume Rockman EXE manga by Ryo Takamisaki under the name MegaMan NT Warrior. Takamisaki would later serialize a short adaptation of Mega Man Star Force 3 that was never published outside of Japan.
Some other manga series that have not been localized outside of Japan include a 12-volume Rockman X adaptation by Yoshihiro Iwamoto, over 15 Classic and X adaptations by Shigeto Ikehara, a light-hearted adaptation of Rockman Zero by Hideto Kajima, a slapstick adaptation of Shooting Star Rockman by Masaya Itagaki, another Battle Network adaptation by Keijima Jun and Asada Miho called Rockman EXE Battle Story, and a short series of slapstick Battle Network and Star Force-themed adaptations by Kawano Takumi.
Dreamwave Productions and Brazilian publisher Magnum Press made its own comic books based on the classic game series, entitled "Novas Aventuras de Megaman" ("New Adventures of Megaman"). The Magnum Press comics were originally published and sold in Brazil between 1996 and 1997 and drew certain criticism for featuring bizarrely altered storylines (with characters from several installments appearing at random, as well as erotic and sexual innuendo in Mega Man and X's relationship with Roll); its sudden end on a cliffhanger is rumored to have been caused by Capcom's lawsuit threat to the publishers. The Dreamwave series lasted only four issues and also ended abruptly, with plot-threads from the first three issues being dropped completely in the final issue and the inclusion of a short story promising a Mega Man X follow-up that never materialized. This was one of several Dreamwave Capcom comics that were cut short or simply never made it to issue #1, including Maximo, DarkStalkers and Rival Schools. A new Mega Man comic series produced by Archie Comics was announced at New York Comic Con 2010. The series began publication in April 2011 with Ian Flynn, who has written many stories for Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog series, involved with the production. The series has proved highly successful, and in 2013 a crossover took place between the Mega Man and Sonic series, under the title "Worlds Collide."
In 1990, a junior novel version of Mega Man 2 was released as part of the Worlds of Power novel series. Mega Man is turned human by Dr. Light during an accident in a machine designed to clone Mega Man. Instead of a Mega Buster, human Mega Man uses a hand gun and instead of being able to copy the robot master's weapons, he instead takes them off of their arms. For some reason being human does not affect him much and he is still able to consume E-drinks (Energy Tanks) and gain a power boost. The book follows the general plot of Mega Man 2 and even provides game hints at the end of some chapters.
Ascertaining the identity of video game composers, especially prior to the fifth generation of consoles, can be difficult, as the composers were often uncredited or credited under a pseudonym. Recent soundtrack releases and interviews have discovered the true names of the composers; and in some cases, specific track credits.
- Mega Man: Manami Matsumae
- Mega Man 2: Takashi Tateishi, Manami Matsumae (Opening and Air Man BGM)
- Mega Man 3: Yasuaki Fujita, Harumi Fujita (Magnet Man and Gemini Man BGM)
- Mega Man 4: Minae Fujii
- Mega Man 5: Mari Yamaguchi, Yoko Shimomura (Dr. Wily Stage)
- Mega Man 6: Yuko Takehara
- Mega Man 7: Yuko Takehara, Toshihiko Horiyama, Makoto Tomozawa
- Mega Man 8: Shusaku Uchiyama
- Mega Man 9: Ippo Yamada, Ryo Kawakami, Yu Shimoda, Hiroki Isogai
- Mega Man 10: Ippo Yamada, Ryo Kawakami, Yu Shimoda, Hiroki Isogai, Manami Matsumae, Takashi Tateishi, Yasuaki Fujita, Minae Fujii, Mari Yamaguchi, Yuko Takehara, Makoto Tomozawa, Shusaku Uchiyama, Akari Kaida
- Mega Man & Bass: Toshihiko Horiyama, Akari Kaida, Naoshi Mizuta
- Mega Man II: Kenji Yamazaki
- Mega Man III: Kouji Murata
- Mega Man IV: Kouji Murata
- Mega Man V: Kouji Murata
- "CAPCOM Total Sales Units". Capcom.co.jp. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- Rockman Perfect Memories (ロックマンパーフェクトメモリーズ). 2002-12-20. ISBN 4-575-16354-6.
- "Revive MegaMan Legends 3".
- "100,000 Strong for Bringing Back Mega Man Legends 3".
- George, Richard. "E3 2013: Mega Man Joins Super Smash Bros.". IGN.
- Shaun Manning. "Ariga Talks "Mega Man Gigamix"". Comic Book Resources.
- Ariga, Hitoshi. Mega Man Megamix Volume 1. UDON. Table of Contents.
- "Mega Man NT Warrior Official Site". Megaman-ntwarrior.com. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
- "The Mega Man Network » Archie Announces New Mega Man Comic Book at NYCC (Updated)". Themmnetwork.com. Retrieved 2010-12-27.