Mega Man Zero
The Mega Man Zero series, known as Rockman Zero (ロックマンゼロ Rokkuman Zero?) in Japan, is the series succeeding the Mega Man X story-line, and a series in Capcom's Mega Man video game franchise, co-produced by Keiji Inafune, and directed by Mega Man Legends series director Yoshinori Kawano. Consisting of four games developed for the Game Boy Advance by Inti Creates, the series began with the release of Mega Man Zero in 2002. The story follows Zero who is awakened by Ciel from a century-long hibernation to face his former friend Mega Man X, who has begun a genocide on the Reploids.
Like the Mega Man X series, the Mega Man Zero series is a two-dimensional platform game with run and gun elements that places a heavy emphasis on memorizing boss patterns and selecting the correct weapons to use against enemies. Unlike previous series, the stages of Mega Man Zero are inside of areas that are part of a larger map, and the player could freely explore these areas once the respective mission(s) in each area is completed. However, Mega Man Zero 2 and later entries removed this and returned to the standard format that allowed the player to select a mission from a stage select screen.
Zero is also given a variety of weapons to use and can level them up to unlock new abilities, although this was removed from Mega Man Zero 3 and onward as the abilities are accessible from the beginning of the game. Returning from the Mega Man X series are Zero's Z-Buster and his trademark weapon: the Z-Saber. In addition, the first 3 games also featured the Shield Boomerang (which could deflect bullets or be thrown at enemies), and a Rod weapon that differed in each of the three games. The first game had the Triple Rod, which is a spear with an ability to extend its reach. The second game featured the Chain Rod, which could be used to latch on to things and grapple across the environment. The third game introduced the Recoil Rod which could knock enemies away a great distance and could also be used to jump higher or move heavy obstacles. The fourth game removed the Rod weapons and the Shield Boomerang but instead featured the Z-Knuckle, which could steal weaponry from enemies and use it as your own.
A new entry to the series was the Score and Level System, which gives the player a score out of 100 and its respective Level (S being the highest, A being the 2nd highest, and F being the lowest) depending on how they performed on each mission. The number of different attacks bosses can perform are reduced as Zero's level is lower, but it also prevents the player from obtain each bosses' EX Skill, which allow Zero to perform special high-damaging attacks with his weapons.
The series also introduced the Cyber Elf System, which allows Zero to equip small helper beings known as "Cyber Elves" to assist him in combat. After feeding them with a certain amount of E-Crystals that are dropped by enemies, the elves can either cause permanent changes such as increasing Zero's maximum health capacity, or grant temporary enhancements such as the ability to deflect bullets for a short time. However, the score at the end of each mission will be deducted for every Elf used.
Finally, the series implemented the elemental enhancements for weapons in every game except Mega Man Zero 4. Acting like a Rock-Paper-Scissor system, Zero gains three element chips (Fire, Ice, Thunder) that can be attached to all of his weapons and also be changed if desired. Doing so adds elemental effects to his charge attacks which allows him to inflict higher damage onto bosses that are weak to a certain element, or no damage if they are immune to it.
Mega Man Zero
Approximately a century after being powered down and sealed away in the end of the Mega Man X series, Zero is awakened by Ciel, a human scientist. Ciel pleads Zero to help her and her band of Reploids against troops sent out to kill them from the ruling government: Neo Arcadia. Unsure of who he is due to temporary memory loss, Zero helps Ciel and her band of Reploids, who in turn marvel at his superb combat skills.
Ciel then explains the events during Zero's 100 year absence: While Humans and Reploids were able to live in harmony for a while under Neo Arcadia, it was short-lived due to the energy shortage crisis which led to the murdering of countless innocent Reploids to reduce energy consumption. Ciel thus banded with the Reploids and founded the Resistance. Mega Man X--Zero's former ally and best friend--is revealed to be the leader Neo Arcadia and the mastermind behind the Reploid genocide.
After defeating the Four Guardians--X's right-hand generals--Zero eventually confronts X and defeats him in battle. However, Zero finds that the tyrannical Mega Man X that instigated the Reploid genocide was merely a copy. Zero kills Copy X and a huge explosion follows with Zero barely managing to escape. He finds himself in an endless desert as an army of Neo Arcadian troops surround him, ending the game.
Mega Man Zero 2
Set one year after the events of the first game, Zero is still actively hunted by Neo Arcadian forces in the colossal desert, with the Resistance declaring Zero as MIA. The year-long assault finally comes to an end when Zero defeats the boss commanding the troops, but collapses soon afterward due to exhaustion. Facing certain death, he is rescued by Harpuia, one of the members of the Four Guardians and now the leader of Neo Arcadia. Deeming death by exhaustion unfitting of his worth, Harpuia brings Zero to a location near the Resistance Base, where Zero is eventually found by the Resistance members.
Zero meets Ciel along with the new leader of the Resistance, Elpizo, and continues assisting the Resistance in various missions against Neo Arcadia and to also prepare for a massive invasion on Neo Arcadia. After the invasion results in total failure, Elpizo becomes frustrated by his powerlessness and is driven mad by his thirst for power. He leaves the Resistance to search for the Dark Elf, a powerful, malevolent Cyber-Elf that played a crucial role in bringing unparalleled destruction to Earth during the Elf Wars, an event that happened during Zero's 100-year absence.
Elpizo eventually revives the Dark Elf by finding and destroying the original Mega Man X's physical body, who lied dormant in Yggdrasil--an area deep within Neo Arcadia--acting as a seal to keep the Dark Elf from escaping. Elpizo absorbs the revived Dark Elf to obtain huge power, but is defeated by Zero. The game ends with the Dark Elf escaping and the original X--now a Cyber-Elf--telling Zero that the Dark Elf was once known as the Mother Elf, whose original purpose was to cure the Maverick Virus to end the Maverick Wars during the Mega Man X series.
Mega Man Zero 3
Two months have passed since Elpizo's betrayal with the Dark Elf's location still unknown. During this time, Ciel has finished her research on a new energy supply that allowed virtually unlimited energy production, which was dubbed the "Ciel System." While preparing to propose the Ciel System to Neo Arcadia and make peace as they would no longer have a reason to continue the genocide, a large spaceship with the Dark Elf's energy reading suddenly crashed to Earth.
Zero is sent out to investigate and find the Dark Elf, but instead finds the Four Guardians fighting against the legendary Reploid Omega and a scientist named Dr. Weil--both who were banished for life due to their crimes in instigating the Elf Wars by corrupting the Mother Elf into the Dark Elf. Dr. Weil then reveals a resurrected Copy X, who then resumes his reign in Neo Arcadia and forces the Four Guardians to submit to Dr. Weil.
Weil and Copy X rejects the truce with the Resistance and instead declares his plan to capture the Dark Elf and use it over the Ciel System to generate unlimited energy. However, it is eventually revealed that Weil was instead planning to fuse the Dark Elf with Omega to recreate the ultimate Reploid that was responsible for much of the casualties during the Elf Wars. With Omega, Weil planned to have vengeance against both Humanity and Reploids for his exile. After learning Weil's true motive, the Four Guardians leave Neo Arcadia.
Weil succeeds in locating and capturing the Dark Elf, and Omega subsequently fuses with it. Zero eventually confronts and successfully kills Omega, but Omega revives in a body exactly like Zero's. Weil appears in the background and reveals that while Zero was powered down during his 100-year hibernation, he had transferred Zero's memories to a copy of his body and then stole his original body for it to be used by Omega due to its unmatched fighting capabilities. Despite the revelation of this fact, Zero, with assistance from the Four Guardians, destroys his original body and kills Omega for good. However, Omega's death results in a large explosion, which while it frees the Dark Elf from Weil's corruption, kills the Four Guardians.
Mega Man Zero 4
With the Four Guardians gone, Weil assumed a dictatorial reign over Neo Arcadia and stripped much of its citizen's rights, leading many humans to flee and start their own settlements. In response, Weil labeled the escapees and insurrectionists and began to purge them.
The game starts with Zero, Ciel, and the Resistance members encountering a group of humans fleeing from Weil's forces. Zero protects the humans, who then reveals to the Resistance that they are headed towards a large, nature-filled settlement in Area Zero, the location where the Eurasia colony crashed during the events of "Mega Man X5" more than a 100 years ago.
The large population of the settlement in Area Zero attracts Weil's attention, who reveals a plan to use a meteor-sized space cannon named Ragnarok to vaporize all nature and make Neo Arcadia the only habitable on Earth. Zero eventually makes his way towards Ragnarok and defeats Weil there, but not before Weil programs Ragnarok to crash into Area Zero and cause immense destruction on Earth.
Knowing that there is only one option to save the Earth, Zero rejects Ciel's plea to transfer back to the Resistance Base and sacrifices his life to destroy Ragnarok before it crashes. Ciel, watching the pieces of Ragnarok fall to earth, promises to recreate the Earth as a better place where there will once again be peace between Reploids and Humans. The series ends with an image of Zero's shattered helmet on the ground.
In the original Japanese version, robot characters that were wounded by being cut in half or sliced up would spurt oil. Due to the oil's resemblance to blood, much of this was removed in the North American and European versions (Mega Man Zero) to obtain an E rating for the game (similarly, this blood-like oil appeared in the animated cutscenes of Mega Man X4 a few years earlier, though the game still received an E rating (then known as K-A at the time)). This is most notable in the opening sequence of Mega Man Zero.
The English version of the Mega Man Zero series has also edited some instances of words such as "die" or "death," replacing them with terms such as "perish," "destroy," or "retire," most likely to maintain an E rating.
When the first game in the series came out, reviewers were quick to hail a return to what they considered "the Mega Man roots", however some fans criticized that the lack of knowing which boss the player will face next was a change for the worse, and that it "takes away what made the series unique in the past".
Mega Man Zero games have earned generally positive reviews from most review sources, with metacritic scores averaging in the high 70s to low 80s for most games in the series. Review sources both criticized and praised the high difficulty level of the game, and remarked that they were similar in nature to earlier installments in the Mega Man series. Positive reviews noted the variety of abilities and customization along with an engaging story than compared to its prequel series, while negative reviews focused on the series repetitiveness and lack of originality. Review scores were lower for the last two titles in the series, with critics pointing out that the games were just using the same gameplay without introducing anything new.
Capcom bundled all four Mega Man Zero games in a single release for the Nintendo DS titled Mega Man Zero Collection (Rockman Zero Collection in Japan). The game was released in North America on June 8, 2010, two days later in Japan and Australia, and was slated for release in Europe on 11 June 2010, however, release in the European region has been patchy, with the game not being released in some nations.
No changes have been made to the games in comparison with the original versions, but a few new features were added to the compilation, like an artwork gallery and the ability to remap certain actions to different buttons, as well as an "Easy Scenario" mode that allow the four games to be played as if they were as a single one, with some alterations to make the game easier (e.g. blocks covering spikes, no need to feed Elves, all Cyber Elf powers automatically activated, etc.).
A manga series was authored by Hideto Kajima and serialized in CoroCoro Comic in 2003. However, the series diverges greatly from the video-game series in terms of storyline and tone. Whereas the video-games are always dark and serious, the manga is light-hearted and comical. Zero and Ciel in particular experience greatly altered personalities. Ciel is much more dominating and callous than her video-game persona, while Zero now experiences a sort of split-personality disorder: typically, he is weak, frail, and cowardly (indicated by a lack of a helmet), but when danger arises, his helmet appears and he transforms into the powerful "Rockman Zero". This usually occurs to protect Lito, a young boy who accompanies Zero throughout the manga. The series has since been released across three tankōbon.
- "Game Credits for Mega Man Zero". MobyGames. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Megaman Zero Collection Manual, Capcom. Retrieved 9/10/2014
- "More Mega Man Zero game play details". GameSpot.com. March 26, 2002. Retrieved January 27, 2007.
- "Mega Man Zero metacritic scores". metacritic.com. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- jgonzo (8 June 2010). "Happy Mega Man Zero Collection Day!". Capcom Unity. Capcom Entertainment. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "CAPCOM：ロックマン ゼロ コレクション 公式サイト". Capcom Entertainment. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- RawmeatCowboy (28 May 2010). "Mega Man Zero Collection dated for Australia". GoNintendo. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "Mega Man Zero Collection (Nintendo DS)". Capcom Europe. Capcom Entertainment. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- Jeremy Parish (8 June 2010). "Mega Man Zero Collection Review for the Nintendo DS from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. UGO Entertainment.
Otherwise, it's more or less four GBA games running in a DS wrapper: No new graphics or sound, no relocalization to restore the missing blood and goofy typos in the U.S., not even an expansion of the screen boundaries to take advantage of the DS's slight resolution advantage over the GBA.
- Jonathan Holmes (10 June 2010). "Review: Mega Man Zero Collection". Destructoid. Modernmethod. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
First, you get some additional art... and all of which is viewable in gallery mode. (...) The second new feature is the option to map "L" and "R" button moves to the "X" and "Y" face buttons.
- "Mega Man Zero Collection". Capcom Entertainment. Retrieved 15 June 2010.