Mega Man (character)
|Mega Man character|
Mega Man in his latest design
|First game||Mega Man (1987)|
|Created by||Akira Kitamura|
|Designed by||Akira Kitamura|
|Voiced by (English)||Doug Parker (Captain N: The Game Master)
Ian James Corlett (Ruby-Spears Productions cartoon)
Ruth Shiraishi (Mega Man 8)
Cole Howard (Mega Man: Powered Up)
Chris Cason (Street Fighter X Tekken)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Hekiru Shiina (CD drama, Mega Man: The Power Battle, Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters)
Ai Orikasa (Mega Man 8, Mega Man Battle & Chase, Super Adventure Rockman)
Kaoru Fujino (Marvel vs. Capcom series)
Yumiko Kobayashi (Mega Man Powered Up)
Naoki Koshida (Street Fighter X Tekken)
Mega Man, known as Rockman (Japanese: ロックマン Hepburn: Rokkuman?) in Japan, is the title character and the protagonist of the Mega Man series by Capcom. The character was created by Akira Kitamura for the first Mega Man game released in 1987, with artist Keiji Inafune providing detailed character artwork based on Kitamura's pixel art design.
Since then, Mega Man has become one of Capcom's mascots, one of the company's primary original characters, and continues to be one of the video game industry's most recognizable icons. Having appeared on many consoles since the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mega Man has had a wide gaming audience, and his games continue to evolve with the ever-changing hardware demands of modern gaming systems. Mega Man's fictional universe can be divided into seven categories, each featuring different variations and incarnations of a robot boy hero. Although "Mega Man", or "Rockman", is usually the name used to describe only the original Mega Man from the classic series, it can also be used less specifically to describe the Mega Man series of fictional works, or the group of adherently named main characters within.
The several spin-off series that have emerged over the past years, each one continuing the Mega Man mythos in some unique way, includes but is not limited to the Mega Man X, Mega Man Legends, Mega Man Battle Network, and Mega Man Star Force series. A resulting animated series was also produced originally in Japan as well as a number of toys, comics, and collectables available both in and outside Japan.
Mega Man's role in the original story was to be an assistant to his creator Dr. Light, then when Light's colleague goes mad, Dr Light repurposes Mega Man to battle the mad scientist Dr. Wily and his ever-growing army of robots, and stop them from taking over the planet by using their own special abilities against them. Utilizing his Mega Buster arm cannon and his ability to copy the special weapons of the boss robots he defeats, Mega Man must travel the world and traverse harsh environments in order to bring Wily's menace to an end. With the help of his creator Dr. Light and his assorted cybernetic companions, Mega Man's eventual goal is to one day achieve "everlasting peace" for both humans and robots.
Conception and design
Although originally the names "Mighty Kid", "Knuckle Kid", and "Rainbow Battle Kid" were proposed, Capcom eventually settled on "Rockman" as Mega Man's Japanese moniker. The word "Rock" in Rockman is a reference to the music genre rock and roll, and is meant to work in tandem with his sister robot, Roll. However, Capcom Consumer Products Division president Joe Morici changed the name from Rockman to Mega Man because he felt "The title was horrible." In addition, the original Mega Man titles intentionally incorporated a "Rock, Paper, Scissors" gameplay mechanic into defeating certain enemies.
The pixel art for the character was created by the designer of the original game in the series, Akira Kitamura (credited under the pseudonym "A.K"), and later turned into a refined illustration by Keiji Inafune.
During a special event at TGS 2007, Inafune commented on the creation of Mega Man. "I'm often called the father of Mega Man, but actually, his design was already created when I joined Capcom," he explained. "My mentor (Capcom senior member Akira Kitamura), who was the designer of the original Mega Man, had a basic concept of what Mega Man was supposed to look like. So I only did half of the job in creating him. I didn't get to completely design a Mega Man [protagonist] from scratch until Zero (Mega Man X, SNES). Back when the SNES was coming out, I was asked to give Mega Man a redesign, so I created this character. But I realized that this design wouldn't be accepted as Mega Man, so I had another designer create the new Mega Man, and I worked on Zero to release him as the 'other main character' that would steal all the good scenes!"
The team decided to incorporate anime elements for the game's animation. Inafune explained, "[Mega Man's] hand transforms into a gun and you can actually see it come out of his arm. We wanted to make sure that the animation and the motion was realistic and actually made sense. So with Mega Man, we had this perfect blending of game character with animation ideas." Across the series Mega Man was given new skills to add more variety to the gameplay. For Mega Man 6, after having implemented so many different mechanics to the gameplay of past entries, Inafune thought that Rush adapter assembly was inevitable. The artist struggled with the adaptor designs and ultimately found them to be unrealistic. According to Inafune, "If you think about it, they shouldn't be able to combine like this. It would be awkward if parts of Rush like his neck were left over after they combined, so what was I supposed to do?"
In Mega Man video games
His most notable appearances have been within his own self-titled games, beginning with Rockman for the Family Computer in 1987. This, and all future Mega Man games released in North America and Europe, would bear the title "Mega Man" due to Capcom USA's early decision to change the name. Prior to decision on the name "Mega Man" which was proposed by Joseph Morici, Capcom had even considered the name "Rainbow Man" as a possible title due to the nature of Mega Man's color change when using different Robot Master weapons.
Nearly all of the classic series Mega Man titles have been two-dimensional sidescrollers involving horizontal movement through various levels. This mechanic continues even on titles developed for high performance platforms, such as the Sony PSP release of Mega Man Powered Up, which features 3D graphics, yet movement to both the background and foreground is restricted. The main series on both the NES and Nintendo Game Boy would follow this approach in the design of every game developed on those systems, and set the standard for all platformer Mega Man games to come. Mega Man himself has evolved very little cosmetically since his initial release, but has often been given new techniques in each game. The New Mega Buster, for instance, which was introduced in Mega Man 4, allowed him to charge up a shot. The slide was introduced in Mega Man 3. It was these which were needed in order to help him exceed any new challenges added by the level designers. However, In Mega Man 9 Mega Man's abilities were restricted back to that of the original game.
Capcom, recognizing Mega Man's versatility, has placed him in several different video game genres outside of his usual series. He has since been seen as a sports star in the Super NES game Mega Man Soccer, a race car driver in Mega Man Battle & Chase, and a board game piece in Wily and Right's RockBoard. A limited release arcade fighting game series containing Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters pitted Mega Man against several boss characters from his original series.
Though Capcom owns the rights to all Mega Man games and has been responsible for the development of all of his console titles, it has in the past licensed the Mega Man character to other companies for PC releases. Mega Man and Mega Man III were not ports of the NES games of the same name, but significantly different original games, and were developed by the US-based Hi Tech Expressions. The Mega Man game on the Game Gear was published by Sega. Rockman Strategy was developed and released exclusively in China by AcerTWP.
Mega Man was to have appeared in several iterations in the canceled Mega Man Universe. These included a redesigned Mega Man simply called 'Mega Man', the classic Keiji Inafune styled Mega Man referred to as 'Rock Man', and 'Bad Box Art Mega Man', who was based on the box-art featured on the North American version of the original Mega Man game. An updated version of the latter iteration, now sporting a noticeable round stomach, appeared as a playable character in the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of Street Fighter X Tekken.
In other games
Mega Man has made appearances in several game projects outside of his original series. He appears as a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 assisted by Rush and Beat as a representative of the Capcom brand. Mega Man makes another fighting game appearance in Street Fighter X Tekken but as an aged, obese depiction of the character on the North American box art of Mega Man, complete with pistol. Here he has the name "Mega Man" even in the Japanese version.
Mega Man also appears a special playable guest character in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. He is a very unorthodox character, as his moveset, animations, movement and playstyle are almost completely based upon the gameplay and graphical style of the original Mega Man games. He relies much more on ranged projectiles than he does on physical combat, and he utilizes abilities copied from various Robot Masters.
Non-playable cameo appearances by Mega Man occur most often in other Capcom licensed games, and he's often seen as a background character. Such appearances include Capcom World 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, Pocket Fighter, Mighty Final Fight, Power Stone 2, Boktai, Boktai 2, Lunar Knights, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne, Onimusha Blade Warriors, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars. Animated incarnations of Mega Man were common in the early 1990s, particularly in North America.
In other media
His first animated appearance was as a main character in the series Captain N: The Game Master, which features a myriad of characters that had appeared on Nintendo consoles up until that time. They all aid the title character, Captain N, in his quest to save the world of Videoland, encountering many villains, including Mega Man's own enemy Dr. Wily. Mega Man is voiced in this series by Doug Parker, and his character had a tendency to add the prefix "mega-" to words for emphasis. He also appeared in the animated Mega Man TV series, in which he is voiced by Ian James Corlett.
A three-episode Japanese anime OVA titled Mega Man: Upon a Star was produced in 1993 in an attempt to help spread information on Japanese culture. In it, Mega Man crosses paths with his adversary, Dr. Wily, while learning various facts about Japanese society, and receiving occasional help from Proto Man.
The story of Mega Man's origin and his bittersweet victory over the robotic forces of Dr. Wily has been adapted by The Protomen, a band from Tennessee who perform an original dystopian rock opera based on the dynamic between Mega Man and Proto Man. During the show, the band members wear costumes inspired by their take on the series, including motorcycle helmets with built-in microphones fashioned to look like those of Mega Man and Proto Man, and the iconic arm-blaster.
MegaRan performs a number of rap songs about Mega Man.
In May 2010, a live action full feature film was released directed by Eddie Lebron. The film using a mix of CGI and people in extreme sport equipment for the fighting robots based itself on the first game with slight modifications to the story and character designs to work. The film can currently be viewed for free at its own website.
In April 2011, Archie Comics released their first issue in an ongoing series of licensed comics based on the Mega Man franchise which features the titular character going against his nemesis Dr. Wily in various, original story arcs. The overall concept is created and almost exclusively written by Ian Flynn, who is also the current head writer for Archie Comics' other video game licensed comic series Sonic the Hedgehog. Consequently, as of May 2013, both series have been crossed-over in a major story arc called "Worlds Collide", which spans twelve issues between the Mega Man comics, the main Sonic the Hedgehog comics, and the latter's side-series Sonic Universe. The popularity of this crossover is such that another meeting of the two series, "Worlds Unite", was announced for spring of 2015.
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According to the game's franchise, in the year 20XX, robotics genius Dr. Thomas Light worked to create a humanoid robot (though in some direct translations he is referred to as a cyborg). This robot would demonstrate an advanced artificial intelligence program that would allow it to make decisions for itself based on stimulus and basic directions. He called the robot project "Robot Master", because the resulting robot would be able to supervise the work of other, less intelligent machines.
Before Dr. Light ever constructed what would eventually become Mega Man, he first designed the Robot Master known as "Proto Man" ("Blues" in Japan), named because it was a prototype of his future creations. Proto Man had the ability to lead a small squad of other robots in military applications. However, before Dr. Light could begin testing the true potential of his AI, the robot went rogue, escaped, and was thought to have been destroyed.
Because of the disappearance of Proto Man, Light decided to create another robot. Dr. Light, fearing that the disappearance of Proto Man was because he didn't have a peer, created two other robots at around the same time to work as a pair. These robots were called "Rock" (ロック) (Mega in the Powered Up remake) and "Roll". Rock was created as Dr. Light's lab assistant. His purpose was a general-purpose tool user. Simply by studying how a tool was used, he could mimic its use using a Variable Tool System, thus making him the ideal lab assistant. His "sister" (though not actually a sister, but a robot partner), Roll, was designed for housekeeping.
With the success of these two test-type robots, Light designed and built six production-type robots, mainly to be used in the construction and maintenance of public works. These robots were Cut Man, a timber felling robot; Guts Man, a construction and excavation robot; Ice Man, a robot designed for exploration in extreme freezing temperatures; Bomb Man, a demolition robot; Fire Man, designed for waste management; and Elec Man, designed to oversee and control atomic energy power plants. The enhanced remake Mega Man Powered Up has also retconned into existence Oil Man, designed for maintenance by generating oil for machinery and firing it through his arm cannon, and Time Man, designed to research time travel with his ability to slow down time, though was incomplete. Each of these robots had full use of the Robot Master's intelligence and reasoning potential. However, little did Dr. Light know that all of these robots including the missing Proto Man would later serve as the key to unlocking Rock's destiny.
The time finally came for Dr. Light to be recognized by the world for his brilliant contributions to science. Dr. Albert W. Wily, a colleague at that time and future rival, grew jealous when his unique research, which he studied with Dr. Light, was utterly overshadowed by his partner. He stumbled upon Proto Man one day, who was dying when his energy system was malfunctioning. He repaired him, using his specifications to create the police robot, Sniper Joe. He discovered while analyzing Proto Man that he had found a way to reprogram Light's robots. He decided that he could use these new robots to exact revenge. When Dr. Wily arrived at Dr. Light's laboratory, he failed to realize Rock and Roll's potential, claiming that helper robots are as good as scrap metal to him. He took and reprogrammed the six (eight in Mega Man Powered Up) construction robots so they were misled and forced under his rule. With his new followers, Wily constructed many more robots to use for destructive purposes with the aim of world domination, and seized control of the city demanding recognition. This string of events set in motion what would later become the purpose for Mega Man's existence.
Realizing that it would be very difficult for the armies to stop Wily without harming the city, Dr. Light knew something had to be done. Due to his programmed sense of right and wrong, Rock volunteered to be converted from his current state as a lab assistant into a fighting robot. Thus, from that day forth, he became known as "Mega Man" (Rockman in Japan).
From that day forward Mega Man volunteered himself for action against crime and serving to support and protect humankind's existence and coexistence with robots within society.
Mega Man along with help from his friends, thwarted the evil plans of Dr. Wily and other such villains numerous times, while saving lives and inspiring justice in the hearts of others.
Throughout his many adventures, Mega Man has encountered several enemies that have appeared to be too powerful for him to overcome on his own, yet in typical heroic fashion, Mega Man's pure intentions and strong will tend to be the determining factor in his steadfast battle for everlasting peace.
Constantly being tested and rivaled, most notably by his estranged "brother," Proto Man (aka Blues), Mega Man fought not for personal glory, unlike his adversaries, as exemplified during the 1st Annual Robot Tournament, held to determine which robot was truly the strongest. Mega Man didn't enter the tournament because he was a pacifist. However, in an attempt to bring Dr. Wily's crimes to an ultimate end, Mega Man considered killing him, but was quickly reminded by Wily that robots can't harm humans. Mega Man refuted this argument stating that he was more than a robot, suggesting that he was independent from his programming. Nevertheless, Mega Man didn't go through with this action, but only due to Wily's escape.
During the events of Mega Man 8, Mega Man is almost killed by the guardian of Wily's fortress, however, Duo, an alien robot whom the former had saved earlier, appeared to rescue him. Duo would do so again after Mega Man becomes infected by evil energy when escaping Wily's fortress.
Reception and legacy
Overall, the character of Mega Man has been well received by critics. IGN called him an icon of Capcom. Nintendo Power listed Mega Man as their fourth favourite hero, citing his ability to steal weapons from downed Robot Masters. Mega Man was also listed as the best robot in video games by many sources such Joystick Division, UGO Networks, and Complex. GameDaily ranked him as the best Capcom character of all time. UGO Networks listed Mega Man as one of their best heroes of all time, and called him "one of the most iconic video game heroes of all time". He was included in GameSpot's "All Time Greatest Video Game Hero" contest and reached the "Elite Eight" round before losing to Mario. In a Famitsu poll done in February 2010, Mega Man was voted by readers as the twenty-second most popular video game character. The 2011 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition lists Mega Man as the 23rd most popular video game character. In 2012, GamesRadar ranked him as the 12th "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in games.
Complex ranked him as having the tenth best fighting game cameos for his guest appearances in Street Fighter X Tekken in 2012. Joystick Division cited his rivalry with Dr. Wily as seventh of the ten greatest in video games, adding giving "great credit to this rivalry for its open-endedness" and GamesRadar listed him and Proto Man as having one of the best brotherly rivalries in gaming. UGO Networks have placed Mega Man as the eighth character who most deserves his own movie.
1UP.com described Mega Man as "Capcom's ill-treated mascot", and "one of the most incongruous characters of all time", saying "it wouldn't be completely incorrect to assume that the popularity of the series has almost nothing to do with Mega Man himself", but with "his rivals, his enemies, and their abilities." IGN agreed with his dependency on support characters, saying Zero is "cooler than Mega Man".
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