Mega Man Zero
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The Mega Man Zero series, known as Rockman Zero (ロックマンゼロ Rokkuman Zero?) in Japan, is a series in Capcom's Mega Man video game franchise. It was developed by Inti Creates, with Co-Producer Keiji Inafune and Director Yoshinori Kawano. The series consists of four games that were first released on the Game Boy Advance and later on the Nintendo DS and the Virtual Console (Wii U).
The story plays a century after the Mega Man X storyline and follows the re-awakened Zero, who is fighting in a war between humans and Reploids — self-conscious, human-like robots — who are oppressed hunted down by mankind due to a worldwide energy shortage crisis. Together with the human scientist Ciel, Zero helps the Reploid resistance survive and fights against other Reploids sent by mankind to destroy them. However, this is only the setup for the story and events change drastically throughout the series.
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Similar to the Mega Man X series, the Mega Man Zero series is a two-dimensional action 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 the 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.
The game mechanics slightly change with every entry of the series. 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 become accessible from the start of the game. Weapons that return from the Mega Man X series are Zero's Z-Buster and his signature Z-Saber. In addition, the first 3 games also feature the Shield Boomerang (which can deflect bullets or be thrown at enemies), and a Rod weapon that differs in each of the three games. The first game has the Triple Rod; a spear with an ability to extend its reach. The second game features the Chain Rod, which could be used to latch on to things and grapple across the environment. The third game introduces the Recoil Rod which could knock enemies away a great distance, move heavy obstacles, or propel high in the air when used on the ground. The fourth game removes the Rod weapons and the Shield Boomerang but instead features the Z-Knuckle, which could steal weaponry from enemies and use it as the player's own.
A new entry in the series was the Score and Level System, which gives the player a score out of 100 and its corresponding level (which range from S, A, B, C, D, E, and F, from highest to lowest) depending on how well they performed on each mission. The number of attacks that the bosses use are reduced as Zero's level gets lower, but it also prevents the player from obtaining each bosses' EX Skill should Zero's level fall to B or lower, which allows Zero to perform special high-damaging attacks with his weapons.
The series also introduces 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 provide permanent enhancements--such as increasing Zero's maximum health capacity, or grant temporary benefits--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 Cyber-Elf used.
Finally, the series implements the elemental enhancements on Zero's 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 can be changed freely. Doing so adds elemental effects to his charge attacks which allow him to inflict higher damage onto bosses that are weak to a certain element, or no damage if they are immune to it.
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Mega Man Zero
A century after disappearing at the end of the Mega Man X series, Zero is found and awakened by Ciel, a human scientist. Unsure of who he is due to temporary memory loss, Zero protects Ciel and her band of Reploids from a group sent out to destroy them.
During the events of the game, as Zero fights off several attempts to destroy the remaining Reploids, it gets unveiled what happened during his 100-year absence: After the Maverick War that took place during the Mega Man X series - where humans were being purged by malevolent Reploids, known as Mavericks - drew to a close with the Mavericks suffering total defeat, humans and Reploids were able to live in harmony in a utopian state named Neo Arcadia. Unfortunately, this peace 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. It is also revealed that a copy of Mega Man X - Zero's former ally and best friend - is the leader of Neo Arcadia and the mastermind behind the Reploid genocide.
After defeating the Four Guardians - Copy X's right-hand generals - Zero eventually confronts Copy X and defeats him in battle. While dying, Copy X self-destructs and Zero barely manages to escape. He then finds himself in an endless desert, surrounded by Neo Arcadian troops.
Mega Man Zero 2
Set one year after the events of the first game, it is revealed that Zero has been hunted down by Neo Arcadian forces in desert the whole time. After defeating yet another group of Neo Arcadian forces, Zero finally collapses due to exhaustion. However, because of unknown reasons, he is rescued by Harpuia, one of Four Guardians and now leader of Neo Arcadia. Although they are enemies, Harpuia brings Zero to a location near the Resistance Base, where he eventually found by the Resistance members and repaired by Ciel.
While Ciel tries to develop a new energy source to end the war, the new leader of the Resistance, Elpizo, instead prepares for a head-on invasion on Neo Arcadia. The invasion results in total failure, with Elpizo being the only survivor. Frustrated by his powerlessness, he leaves the Resistance to search for the Dark Elf, a powerful, malevolent Cyber-Elf that brought 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, which acted as a seal to keep the Dark Elf contained. Elpizo absorbs the Dark Elf to obtain a colossal amount of power, but is narrowly 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 — which turned Reploids into Mavericks — in order to end the Maverick War during the Mega Man X series.
Mega Man Zero 3
Two months have passed since Elpizo's defeat, 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 generation, which was dubbed the "Ciel System". While en route to Neo Arcadia to propose the Ciel System in hopes of making peace as there would no longer be a reason to continue the genocide on the Reploids, a large spaceship with the Dark Elf's energy reading crashes to Earth.
Zero is sent out to investigate and find out more about the energy reading, but instead, finds the Four Guardians fighting against a gigantic Reploid named Omega and a scientist named Dr. Weil — both who were banished to space for life due to their crimes in instigating the Elf Wars by corrupting the Mother Elf into the Dark Elf. Dr. Weil then reveals that he had resurrected Copy X, who then resumes his reign in Neo Arcadia and forces the Four Guardians to submit to Dr. Weil's will and subsequently demotes them. The Four Guardians, suspecting that Copy X is being heavily influenced by Weil, leaves the Neo Arcadian army.
The Dark Elf soon reappears in a human residential district in Neo Arcadia. Wishing to capture it, Dr. Weil and Copy X authorize a missile to be launched at the district to incapacitate the Dark Elf. Although successful in capturing the Dark Elf, the missile attack causes thousands of innocent human casualties. Following this nefarious event, Ciel rescinds her offer to propose the Ciel System, leading Dr. Weil and Copy X to brand the Resistance as Mavericks and subsequently launches an all-out invasion against the Resistance. The Resistance is able to delay the invasion until Zero reaches Copy X and kills him once more, thus making the invasion lose its steam. However, Dr. Weil then succeeds Copy X as the new ruler of Neo Arcadia and announces his true intention for capturing the Dark Elf, which is to fuse the Dark Elf with Omega and pair the fusee with a colossal frequency transmitter that would enable Omega to control the minds of every Reploid on Earth. Dr. Weil justifies this as vengeance against both humanity and Reploids for his exile in space.
Zero eventually confronts and kills Omega in two different forms, but Omega then reveals his true form — a body that looks exactly like Zero. Weil appears in the background and reveals that while Zero was powered down during his 100-year hibernation, he had transferred Zero's conscience and memories to a copy body and then stole Zero's original body for it to be used by Omega due to its unmatched fighting abilities. Despite the revelation of this fact, Zero, with assistance from the Four Guardians, destroys his original body and kills Omega for good. Omega's death results in a large explosion, which releases the Dark Elf from Omega and frees it from Weil's corruption but also kills the Four Guardians in the process. X uses the last of his energy as a Cyber Elf to shield Zero from the explosion and tells the truth about Zero and his body to the Resistance before disappearing forever. The Dark Elf, now known as the Mother Elf once more, brings Zero back to the Resistance Base, before it too disappears, ending the game.
Mega Man Zero 4
Despite Omega being destroyed, Weil continued his revenge on humans and Reploids alike and 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 as Mavericks and began to purge them just like the Reploids.
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 100 years ago.
The large population of settlements like Area Zero attracts Weil's attention, who reveals a plan to use a meteor-sized space cannon called Ragnarok to vaporize all nature and make Neo Arcadia the only habitable location on Earth, which would force people to stay under his tyrannical rule. Zero eventually makes his way towards Ragnarok and defeats Weil, but not before Weil programs Ragnarok to crash into Area Zero and in an attempt to cause immense destruction on Earth.
Knowing that there is only one option to save the Earth, Zero rejects Ciel's plea to transfer out of Ragnarok and back to the Resistance Base and sacrifices his life to destroy Ragnarok's core before it crashes to Earth. 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 along with Ragnarok's debris.
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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. Review sources both criticized and praised the high difficulty level of the game and remarked that they were similar in nature to earlier instalments 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. The collection includes: Mega Man Zero, Mega Man Zero 2, Mega Man Zero 3, Mega Man Zero 4.
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 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.).
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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.
- Craig Harris (2002-09-23). "IGN: Mega Man Zero Review". IGN. Retrieved 2007-01-27.
- "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.