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 the fifth 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 from hibernation by Ciel to face X who has began 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 memorising boss patterns and selecting the correct weapons to use against enemies. Unlike previous series, the stages of Mega Man Zero are connected, with the player being assigned missions. However, Mega Man Zero 2 and later entries returned to the standard format that allowed the player to select a mission from a stage select screen. Zero is also able to level up his weapons and gain new skills by defeating enemies, though the levelling up of weapons was eventually discontinued from Mega Man Zero 3 onwards.
The Zero series also introduced a brand new Cyber Elf System, which allows Zero to equip small helper beings known as "Cyber Elves" to assist him in combat. This system can cause permanent changes such as increasing Zero's life bar or even covering dangerous spikes, or grant temporary enhancements, such as the ability to deflect bullets for a short time. Zero can use three different types of Cyber Elves, but your overall game score will be deducted for every Elf used. Later entries in the Zero series had more lenient prerequisites for the usage and consumption of Cyber Elves.
A new addition to the franchise is the presence of elemental weapons; in every game except Zero 4, Zero gains three element chips that can be attached to any of his weapons. Doing so adds elemental effects to his attacks and allows him to use them to attack bosses' weak points for massive damage.
Mega Man Zero
Approximately a century after being sealed away in the Mega Man X series, Zero is awakened to help the Reploids who are being pursued by the government body, called Neo Arcadia. Unsure of who he is, Zero helps the band of Reploids, who in turn marvel at his skills. Ciel, a human who lives with the Reploids, explains that Neo Arcadia has begun destroying all Reploids due to a shortage on energy. X is revealed to be the leader of Neo Arcadia and Zero confronts X in battle. Finding that the 'X' he defeats is only a mere copy, Zero destroys him and a huge explosion follows with Zero managing to escape. He finds himself in a desert as a group of Neo Arcadians surround him, ending the game.
Mega Man Zero 2
Set one year after the events of the first game, Neo Arcadia still actively hunts Zero, and the battle comes to a head out in the desert. Zero survives the assault, but collapses soon afterward, and is rescued by Harpuia. He is brought back to the Resistance Base, where he meets the new leader of the Resistance, Elpizo. Zero assists in various missions against Neo Arcadia, but Elpizo becomes mad with power with the baby elves, copies of the Dark Elf. Elpizo eventually revives the Dark Elf by finding and destroying X's physical body, which acted as a seal. As Elpizo powers up with 2 baby elves and the revived Dark Elf, Zero confronts and defeats him. Elpizo is transformed to a cyber-elf and flies away, while Cyber-elf X appears, explaining the origins of the Dark Elf to Zero.
Mega Man Zero 3
Two months have passed since Elpizo's betrayal, Ciel has finished her research on a new energy supply allowing them to end the feud over the shortage of energy. Zero leads the group towards Neo Arcadia to make peace but are interrupted by a massive Reploid called Omega, and the enigmatic Dr. Weil, the one X spoke of who controlled the Dark Elf. Weil has built a new Copy X under his control and instates a new regime in Neo Arcadia. Weil refuses to make peace and continues Neo Arcadia's attack on the resistance. Zero eventually confronts Omega and finds that Omega has Zero's true body with Zero himself using a copy. Zero kills Omega with the help of the remaining 3 guardians and The Dark Elf breaks free from Weil's control and becomes the Mother Elf once again.
Mega Man Zero 4
Weil's dictatorial reign over Neo Acadia forces the residents to flee from the haven. A group of humans known as the caravan migrate to Area Zero in hopes of starting a new life. Zero protects the caravan as Weil sends reploids to attack them. Weil reveals his plan to use a space satellite Ragnarok to make all but Neo Arcadia uninhabitable. Zero defeats Weil on Ragnarok but is seemingly killed when he is unable to escape the falling satellite of Ragnarok. Ciel, watching the pieces fall to earth, promises to recreate the Earth as a better place where there will be peace between reploids and humans. The series ends with an image of Zero's shattered helmet on the ground with a shadow like figure.
Mega Man Zero Collection
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, etc.).
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 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.
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.
- "More Mega Man Zero gameplay details". GameSpot.com. March 26, 2002. Retrieved January 27, 2007.
- 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.
- "Mega Man Zero metacritic scores". metacritic.com. Retrieved 2008-04-10.