Behind The Pixels – Mega Man 6

Welcome to another edition of Behind the Pixels. Our journey continues with the final NES version of the Mega Man series: Mega Man 6, or “Rockman 6: The Greatest Battle of All Time!!”.

That sounds bad ass. Why is this the greatest battle of all time?

The story behind this game focuses on a big tournament hosted by a mysterious billionaire called “Mr X”.

Bruce Wayne.

Huh?

It’s Bruce Wayne. The billionaire, right?

Bruce Wayne doesn’t exist in the Mega Man universe.

Do you think there’s a “Bat Man” in the Mega Man universe? Get it? Bat Man?

Yeah… I see what you did there… Anyway, Mr X encourages the world’s most talented robot designers to build the most powerful robots for the tournament. In the final event, Mr X informs everyone the robots are going to assist him in conquering the world.

That’s a hell of a final round.

Also, Mr X decides to randomly tell everyone it was he who Dr Wily was reporting to throughout the series.

That’s a random thing to tell everyone. It’s like this mysterious Mr X is trying to make people think he isn’t Dr Wily for some reason…

I know, right? It’s up to Mega Man to save the day again… For the sixth time. He defeats the eight robot masters and…

Wins the tournament.

Wins the tournament?

If he just defeated eight of the world’s best robots who were fighting for the title of the world’s most powerful robot, wouldn’t that make Mega Man the world’s most powerful robot.

Technically… Yes. I guess that means Mega Man would officially be recognised as the world’s most powerful robot.

So Mega Man wins the tournament, wins a billion dollars, and lives out the rest of his cyber life in a villa in Tuscany.

No. He can do that after Mega Man 11. Until then, Mega Man needs to go deal with Mr X and – surprise, surprise – Mr X turns out to be none other than…

Bruce Wayne?

Dr Wily.

Of course, Dr Wily! Why wouldn’t it be him?! Mr X even looks like him!

And, for the sixth time in a row, Mega Man defeats the evil scientist. This time, Wily is captured and it sent straight to prison!

Seriously, why hasn’t Mega Man put a bullet, or glowing pea, through Wily’s head?

I think if Mega Man did defeat Wily, Mega Man wouldn’t have a purpose to exist anymore. Think about it, Mega Man’s purpose is to defend the world. If Wily isn’t around to threaten world peace, Mega Man would have no reason to keep functioning. He’d deactivate himself and just rust away as everyone else continues with their lives.

That answer was a lot more depressing than I thought it would be.

Fine. Mega Man doesn’t kill Wily because Light programmed him not to harm humans. Happy now?

Very happy. Ok. We’re certain these robots weren’t designed by Wily, yes?

Yes. As I mentioned, all the robots were built by the best inventors from around the world. Who do you have an issue with this week?

Before I reveal who, I just want to clarify this tournament was to determine who could build the most powerful robot, right?

That’s correct.

Most of them look tough. Centaur Man. Knight Man. Hell, Plant Man looks like he could hold his own. But in a fighting tournament, why would you design a robot who is basically a skiing snowball?

You’re referring to Blizzard Man.

Correct! Blizzard Man shouldn’t look like something a bunch of children built in their front yard!

You do have a point. I always thought Blizzard Man looked a bit odd. The name doesn’t suit the look. Maybe if he was called Snow Man, I’d be ok with it. But when you think of blizzard, you think of something terrifying.

Diablo: Immortal?

An actual blizzard, not Blizzard. Let me ask you a question. If you were designing Blizzard Man, what look would you give him?

I’d make him look like a yeti.

That’s actually a good design. I couldn’t think of anything else.

Or I’d make Blizzard Man look like an ice-cube dispenser. That way, you can reprogram him after the tournament to serve another purpose. I’d feel guilty after Blizzard Man deactivates himself after winning the tournament he was designed to win.

How sincere of you. On that note, that brings Mega Man 6 to an end. Next week we move on to the Super Nintendo’s Mega Man 7. See you then!

Behind The Pixels – Mega Man 5

Welcome to another edition of Behind the Pixels. The Mega Man series continues with the fifth installment of the game: Mega Man 5 aka Rockman 5: Blues’ Trap!?

Who’s Blues?

Blues is Proto Man’s name in the Japanese version.

Oh yeah, you briefly mentioned that in Mega Man 1. Why did Dr Light call him Blues?

I guess he was sticking to the Rock and Roll theme? Mega Man is Rock, his sister his Roll, and Proto Man is Blues.

Blues seems out of place… He should’ve called him Sex and/or Drugs. That goes better with Rock and Roll.

No. You can’t have Sex Man or Drugs Man in a game marketed for children.

Slap an MA15+ rating on it.

Anyway, back to the game. Mega Man 5 takes place a few months after Mega Man 4. This time, our old friend Proto Man is the main antagonist. He’s assumed control of a robot army and has launched an attack on the city. In the game’s manual, the spaceport and City Hall have been “totally destroyed”!

Oh no, not City Hall! Whatever will be do?!

Light’s laboratory is also attacked, and Proto Man kidnaps the world’s greatest scientist in the process.

Oh no, not Dr Light?! Whatever will we do?!

Why are you being such a jerk today?

Shouldn’t you be asking yourself that very question?

I just did?

…Shall we move on?

Please. Mega Man gets assistance from Dr Cossack and goes after his former ally. Mega Man, for the fifth time in a row, defeats the new eight robot masters and confronts Proto Man. It turns out, it wasn’t Proto Man who was behind the chaos because the REAL Proto Man appears.

An imposter?! Who dares attempt to besmirch the name of Proto Man? Who would be so evil, so bitter, so scientifically capable of…

Dr Wily.

Of course! Dr Wily… Again! Five times in a row!

Wily builds a new robot called Dark Man to frame Proto Man. Wily’s mad Proto Man betrayed him in Mega Man 4.

So let me get this straight, Wily didn’t kidnap Light for revenge, Wily kidnapped Light to make Proto Man look bad?

Pretty much.

…I’m starting to think Wily ain’t as smart as he thinks he is.

Mega Man heads off to Wily’s castle, battles the evil scientist and saves Dr Light. As per usual, the castle collapses and Wily escapes to fight another day.

Serious question now…

Yes, Wily designed all the robots in this game.

Oh, I wasn’t going to ask if Wily designed the bots. What I want to ask is, how the hell does Wily keep funding his evil ambitions?

Assuming everything in the Nintendo world is connected, Wily could be building robots and weapons for other video game villains. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a firm grip on the black market.

That’s an interesting theory. Now, since you mentioned it, these robots…

Charge Man? Is that who you have the issue with?

Hell no! Why would I have an issue with Thomas the Tank Engine on roids?

Oh. Well, who do you have the issue with?

Gyro Man.

Why do you dislike Gyro Man?

Why would you design a robot around meat?

What?

You know, gyros. The meat used in souvlakis. Tender lamb or chicken coated in a delicious marinade that’s been slowly cooking for hours.

Wait, you actually thought Gyro Man was Souvlaki Man? That’s not what Gyro Man is based off! Have you even seen what he looks like?

I have, hence why I’m so confused about why he looks like a helicopter.

Gyro is short for gyrocopter, a small helicopter-like aircraft which generally has a big propeller. He’s the wind robot boss of the game. Was that not obvious to you?

It is now. Thanks for the clarification.

Anytime. That’s a wrap of Mega Man 5. See you next week for Mega Man 6!

You know, I could really go for a souvlaki…

Now that you mention it, I really want one too.

Behind The Pixels – Mega Man 4

Behind the Pixels returns and what better way to get back into this series by kicking off from where we left off. If you haven’t read up on the previous installments, feel to click here for Mega Man 1, here for Mega Man 2, and here for Mega Man 3!

All caught up? Excellent! Let’s begin (again)!

It looked like everyone’s favourite 8-bit blue bomber was in for some serious vacation time with the death of Dr Wily, but Mega Man is back. Mega Man 4, or “Rockman 4: A New Evil Ambition!!” as it’s known in Japan, introduces us to a new, evil scientist.

Same old story, different evil scientist?

Somewhat. Mega Man 4 introduces us to Dr Cossack, a man who claims to be the greatest inventor in the world but is constantly being overlooked.

Dr Cossack? I take it he’s Russian?

I’m going to assume, yes. I say this because in the game manual mentions Cossack’s “Siberian citadel”. So yes, we have a Russian scientist called Dr Cossack. Very original name, right? It’s like naming an evil Japanese scientist Dr Shogun, or naming an evil Italian scientist Dr Roman.

Capcom if you’re reading this, let Dr Shogun and/or Dr Roman be the main antagonist/s for Mega Man 12! We know you’re going to make one eventually…

Until we get a Mega Man 12, let’s go back to Mega Man 4. Cossack sends his eight best robots to murder Mega Man to prove he’s better than Dr Light. Once he has killed Mega Man, Cossack intends on parading his robotic corpse around as proof he is the greatest of all time.

Holy sh*t! You’re making this up, right?

This can be found in the game manual. Imagine reading that as a kid. Cossack is going to put Mega Man’s body on display after his robots kill him. Don’t worry, Mega Man defeats the eight robots and battles the evil Cossack. That is, until Proto Man shows up with Cossack’s daughter, Kalinka.

Really? Kalinka? That’s like naming Dr Shogun’s daughter, Katana. Or naming Dr Roman’s daughter…

Mona Lisa?

I was gonna go with Arancini, but I guess Mona Lisa works too.

Cossack reveals he isn’t evil. Kalinka was kidnapped by the game’s real antagonist. He was being manipulated this whole time. The true mastermind behind the chaos was…

Let me guess, Dr Wily?

Correct. It was Dr Wily all along!

Why doesn’t that surprise me?

History repeats itself again as Mega Man defeats Wily, who escapes to fight another day.

For another seven games at the very least. Ok, so Wily’s back. The real question is, who designed the robots?

Cossack build them all.

Did Wily approve them all?

One would assume so. Why do I have a feeling you’re going to single out a specific robot and say Wily’s a dumb scientist?

It’s like you know me too well.

Let me guess, Skull Man?

Why would I not like Skull Man? He’s basically a death robot! My issue is with Bright Man.

What’s wrong with Bright Man?

He’s just a light bulb. I mean, there are a few other dumb ones in the mix in this game, but what’s the point of building a robot whose purpose is to light up a room?

To light up a room? You just answered your own question. When you think about it, if the very vulnerable light bulb on Bright Man’s head was to be destroyed, he’d be screwed. Your argument should’ve based on this huge design flaw.

Yeah… Well.. Your face is a huge design flaw.

Now who’s the one being unoriginal?

…Well that’s wrap for Mega Man 4. See you all next week for Mega Man 5!

I get to say that, not you!

Behind The Pixels – Mega Man 3

Megaman3_boxThey’ll be no debating the hardcore credentials of Bubble Man this week as we look at Mega Man 3, also known as Rockman 3: The end of Dr Wily!?

Why are you shouting?

I’m not. That’s the name of the Japanese version, including the exclamation mark.

Oh ok. I thought you were still mad about Bubble Man.

I wasn’t mad, you were!

Sounds like you’re mad to me.

Ok I’m just going to ignore this and move right along. In Mega Man 3, Dr Light decides to construct a gigantic, peace-keeping robot called Gamma. Why he didn’t do this from the start I’m not sure. He could’ve at least built Gamma right after Mega Man 1 to stop Dr Wily from attempting world domination again.

Why would he when he has Cena Man to stop him?

To power Gamma, Light constructs eight robot masters to gather Energy Elements (or crystals depending on the version you’re playing) from various worlds. Since it’s a pretty big project, Light decides to recruit someone to assist him.

Good plan. It’s tough to do all of this by yourself. I’m guessing he hires someone who is just as intelligent as he is?

He does.

I’m guessing someone who he’s known for years?

That’s correct.

And that would be, who?

Dr Wily.

…Dr Wily?!

wilyApparently Wily has turned a new leaf. Light doesn’t need any psychiatric assessment to determine whether Wily is outright bullsh*tting him or not. Wily just rocks up and is like, “Hey I’m good now. Can I help”? and Light basically replies, “Ok”.

Seriously?! Why would Light trust him after two Mega Man games?! At least wait until a few more like, I dunno, like after Mega Man 10?!

In any case, the two build Gamma and the new eight robots to mine the crystals they need to power Gamma.

And of course, they all malfunction, right?

You guessed it! The eight robots go crazy for some damn reason so Mega Man’s off to murder them for the crystals. At various points throughout his quest, Mega Man clashes with Break Man AKA Proto Man. This is the first time Proto Man makes an appearance in the series though, if you recall my breakdown of Mega Man 1, he’s mentioned in the backstory of the Japanese version of the game.

Now before we continue, you said Light and Wily designed the robots together?

They did.

Did they build specific ones, or did they build them together?

I’m not sure… Why do I have a feeling this is going to lead to robot man criticism?

I wasn’t going to criticise anyone. I’d just like to know who’s responsible for the creation of Top Man.

What’s wrong with Top Man?

You’ve got all these bad ass robots in this game, like Shadow Man and Gemini Man, but you design a robot which is basically a spinning top?

Maybe they were running out of ideas?

They had plenty! Wily could’ve redeemed himself for Bubble Man’s creation with Water Man!

topmanReally? You’re still mad about Bubble Man? Looks, there’s nothing wrong with Top Man. He spins around and… Shoots spinning tops… I guess you’re right however, there is logic behind designing at least one bad robot per batch.

Why?

People will know who to kill first when they pick up the game for the first time. Based on looks alone, people are going to assume Top Man is the easiest to kill. I mean, I did when I was a kid. You’re telling me if you played Mega Man 3 for the first time you’d start off on Hard Man?

That’s a very good point. Now I think about it, I probably would’ve started off on Bubble Man if I picked up Mega Man 2 for the first time.

Back to the story. After defeating the eight robots, Mega Man returns home only to find out Wily was lying this whole time!

No sh*t he wasn’t!

Not only has Wily stolen the crystals, he’s stolen and reprogrammed Gamma for world domination!

Come on! Seriously?! How was Light that stupid to trust Wily from the start?!

Maybe he thought Wily did change his ways. Maybe Light thinks deep down there’s good in a person no matter how bad they are. Then again for someone that smart, Light isn’t that bright.

Pun intended?

Not really but I’ll take it. Mega Man now has to defeat Wily and the world destroyer Gamma. The blue bomber defeats the duo but the evil scientist’s castle collapses on them. Proto Man rescues Mega Man and leaves Wily for dead.

Good! That’s exactly what should happen! It’s like Proto Man knew Wily was going to return for another fifty games.

But we both know that didn’t happen. That’s all for Mega Man 3. Next week we’ll continue with series with the fourth installment of the series. Thanks for reading!

Behind The Pixels – Mega Man 2

megaman2Mega Man 2, also known as Rock Man 2: Mystery of Dr Wily in Japan, is responsible for putting the 8-bit blue bomber on the map. It’s regarded as being one of the best in the series as well as being one of the best NES games.

Let’s not forget that’s awesome soundtrack. Best in the series.

Some would argue that Mega Man 3 has the best soundtrack.

Some would argue that, but they’re wrong.

Anyway, Mega Man 2 takes place in the year of 200X. It’s been a year since Mega Man defeated the evil Dr Wily. Now the evil doctor has returned seeking revenge for his defeat, and this time he’s created eight of his own robots to do his bidding.

Wily built all of them?

All of them.

All eight of them?

Yes.

We’re certain Wily designed all eight? Are we sure he didn’t reprogram Dr Light’s robots again, or reprogram at least one of them?

For the third time, yes these robots are Wily’s creations? Why do you keep asking this?

MM2BubbleManIf Wily is meant to be pure evil, why design a robot who shoots bubbles?! How is Bubble Man dangerous?

The name of the weapon you get is called Bubble Lead. Bullets are made from lead. Therefore, the bubbles are bullets.

Seriously? That’s your answer? Why not just redesign him and call him Water Man? Was Wily just saving Water Man for a later game?

There never was a Water Man in any of the Mega Man games.

…That’s even worse! Bubble Man is officially the first water-based robot master. He should have a powerful high-pressured water cannon, not crappy bubbles.

Don’t go crapping on Bubble Man’s bubbles! His weapon is the only weapon that can damage the final boss.

How?! How, out of ALL the weapons in Mega Man 2, are bubbles the weakness of the final F#$@ing boss!

bubbleleadWell, that’s kind of a good point. You can charge up a powerful fireball when you defeat Heat Man. You can fire off streams of boomerangs when you defeat Quick Man. You can throw razor-sharp buzzsaws when you defeat Metal Man.

You can flash when you defeat Flash Man. Why can’t we just flash the final boss to death?

Because you don’t “flash” the boss, you stop time. Look, you don’t have to like Bubble Man’s bubbles, but you got to give him props for his awesome stage music.

I’m more of a Wood Man theme fan, but Bubble’s is good too.

Back to the story, or what little there is of it, Wily wants revenge and Mega Man battles him and his eight robots. Mega Man defeats them all as well as Wily. The evil doctor surrenders and peace is restored.

That’s it?

That’s it. The end. See, not much of a storyline going on here.

So, if I wasn’t raging about Bubbles this post would’ve ended a long time ago.

Pretty much! See you next week for Mega Man 3!

F#$@ing bubbles…

Behind The Pixels – Mega Man 1

Mega Man – everyone’s favourite 8-bit blue character! If you live in Japan, you’ll know him as Rock Man. Mega Man was one of the first video games I played on the Nintendo. The Mega Man series would spawn ten games from 1987 – 2010. In 2018 we’ll say hello to Mega Man 11!

Ah Capcom. If there’s one video game company that really knows how to water down a series, it’s them.

I love the Mega Man series. They’re fun to play, easy to pick up and learn, and slightly rage-inducing.

HA! “Slightly” with you is an extreme understatement.

Anyway, I never paid much attention to the story behind Mega Man when I was a kid. I always assumed it was about an evil inventor named Dr Wily looking to conquer the world. Dr Light invents Mega Man to stop him and save the day.

But there’s more to it, isn’t there?

Yes, there is, and the story of the first Mega Man game varies depending on what version of the game.

How can the story vary between the two? Wait, why do you even need more of a story than “stop the evil scientist?”

Well, how about we start off simple and look at Mega Man?

megaman1us

Oh God! Mega Man looks like he needs to ease up on shoulder days at the gym. Dr Light should’ve built him a neck.

According to the game manual, in a city called Monsteropolis lives a great inventor called Dr Light. With his assistant, Dr Wily, Light builds the first near-human robot – Mega Man. Six more robots are built to help society. Wily turns on Light by reprogramming all the robots to conquer the world. Mega Man resists, so Light reprograms him to defend the city and save the day.

For someone who should be protecting the city, there seems to be a lot of destruction going on in the background of that video game cover. Ok a few things. First, why did Wily turn on Light?

I’m guessing Wily’s jealous of Light, or maybe he Dr Light to fulfil his dreams of world domination. It’s never explained in the game manual.

Fair enough. Now my second question, how the HELL are these robots meant to help humanity?! I mean seriously, why did Dr Light think a robot called “Bomb Man” would be any benefit to society?

bombmanLook at the size of that bomb!

The game manual says Bomb Man was designed to clear lands for construction.

Really? That’s what Dr Light wanted people to think? What about Cut Man?You seriously think Decapitation Man was designed to just cut paper?

cutmanThe game manual says he was designed to clear forests. All of Light’s robots were designed for construction building. Fire Man to melt metal. Guts Man to do the heavy lifting. Elec Man to oversee electrical operations.

Ice Man to cool off everyone after a long, hard day of work?

He was designed to work under freezing conditions.

WOW! Sucks to be him. Alright, so let’s move on to Rock Man.

Sure thing.

megamanjap

Now this cover is much more adorable than the Mega Man cover. Still, don’t let the cuteness of the murder bots fool you.

The story of Rock Man goes back prior to the game. It begins with two university students studying robotics, Thomas Light and Albert Wily.

I’m guessing Thomas Light was named after Thomas “I Didn’t Steal My Inventions from Nikola Telsa” Edison and Albert Wily was named after Albert Einstein?

Yes.

Wait, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Why did they name Dr Wily after Albert Einstein? How was he evil?

Einstein’s research lead to the development of the atomic bomb.

wilyYeah I could see why Japan would villainise him. Now I think about it, Dr Wily kinda looks like Albert Einstein.

Light and Wily graduate and go on an invention spree. Light eventually creates the first artificial intelligent robot naming him Proto Man (who is known as Blues in the Japanese version). Proto Man ends up running away thinking Light wanted to reprogram him when in fact he wanted to just repair his malfunctioning power core.

Light continues his work and ends up making Rock (Mega Man) and his sister Roll who become his assistants. He then builds the six robot masters which leads to Wily sabotaging them for his world domination.

So why didn’t Wily reprogram Mega and/or Rock Man or Roll?

Basically, he thought they sucked. With Wily out of control, Rock offers to stop Wily so Light upgrades him into a murder bot. And the rest, as they say, is history. Mega Man goes on to defeat Wily and save the world.

Ten times.

Yeah… You’d think after Wily’s second attempt at world domination, Mega Man would put the evil scientist down for good, but I guess Mega Man is only capable of killing other robots like him, not real people.

Seems like a lotta back story for a basic game. Were the stories behind the other games in the Mega Man series just as interesting?

Some were very basic while others were… interesting.

I look forward to hearing about them!

And I look forward to telling them! Next week, we’ll dive into Mega Man 2. Until then, thanks for reading!

Whatcha Writing There, Thorne? (26 Feb Book Update)

Howdy Thorne! Been doing much writing lately?

Of course! I’ve managed to do a bit of work on Encyclopedia Sarcadia as well as work on a blog series I’ll be debuting in the very near future.

Sounds like you’ve been busy. Let’s talk Encyclopedia Sarcadia. Where are we at?

As I mentioned last week I’ve been working on the creatures and beings who exist in Tenebris, Sarcadia’s version of Hell. Currently I’m working on the Tenebites who make up the rebellious faction known as the Synod.

You mentioned that Lycans, Daemons, Orcs, and Hobgoblins are part of this group last week. Any new additions to the alliance against the Dark Mother?

The Verminkin. As their name would suggest they’re rat-like humanoids who are masterful inventors.

So why do the Verminkin oppose the Dark Mother?

Their reasons are driven by greed rather than loyalty. The Verminkin love to make a profit so since the Synod forces greatly outnumber Elysia’s forces, it makes sense to side with the group who will be buying a lot more weapons.

Those dirty rats! You mentioned you’re working on a blog series? Care to enlighten us?

Sure! “Behind the Pixels” will be debuting on my blog in the upcoming weeks. This series will take a look at the storylines behind video games. I’ll be starting off with old school classics before venturing into the modern era. So far I’ve been working on an old school Nintendo series which is a personal favourite of mine. Three games examined, another seven to go.

Thanks for the little clue. Well, I’ll let you get back to it! Remember to keep us updated! And please, please don’t get too distracted with Path of Exile this weekend…

Oh yeah the new league starts at the end of the week! Thanks for the reminder!

Ah crap…

Photo Credit @minan1398