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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Favorite Robot Masters: Mega Man 3

20 years later and my Ire for those Porcupines burns just as bright

I've been playing 'Mega Man Zero Collection' for the past few days (after getting it from the TRU buy 2 get 1 free sale) and before I do a real review of that corner of the Mega Man franchise I'd like to talk about what got us all loving the Blue Bomber in the first place: the original games. More specifically, about the Robot Masters in those games

Shadow Man

Shadow Man deserves your love because he's a ninja and we all know ninja's are the greatest thing ever because they wield real ultimate power. So what else makes him great? Well he's got one of my favorite levels in 'Mega Man 3' which was unique because of all the vertical drops at the very start. There are those cool bubbles that turn off the lights and the breaking platforms that I prefer infinitely to the ubiquitous disappearing blocks we usually see (see Magnet Man's level). There's also one of those crazy jumping helmets with the hydraulic pumps on his legs. You know, the ones that you slide to get underneath Capcom.

Sorry, a little Mega Man 9 and 10 frustration slipping in there. Because when a move's in 6 out of 8 previous games, it's not a standard or anything.

Anyway, the music in Shadow Man's level is crazy; it sounds like it should take place in a railroad station or something. I love the Shadow Blade; sure it's just the Metal Blade with fewer directions and shorter range but the fact that you have to beat a robot ninja to get it has to count for something.
Fight Mega Man! Fight for everlasting peace!
Also, as I'm sure everyone realizes, the Mega Man universe is all about Balance. Dr. Light parallels Dr. Wily, Fire Man counters Ice Man, Rush is equaled by Treble. So if there's a Robot Master that's a Ninja you have to wonder: is there one that's a pirate?

Arr! I be a fan of ancient Internet jokes! You best be turning over all your LOLcats if you expect safe passage!

Magnet Man

I can't even decide which reason to best love Magnet Man.  He's got a giant magnet on his forehead, which is presumably where his hard drive/memory bank is, so he must suffer terrible memory loss. Or at least be in a state of constant delirium. Who knows, maybe Magnet man here thinks he's the Queen of Namibia or something...

What is he? The result of a drunken bet between Dr. Wily and Dr. Light that was followed up on years later? A giant 'eff you' to all the people who said it couldn't or shouldn't be done? Then of course, there's the old standard of Dr. Wily just being a total dick with an obscenely cruel sense of humor.

Though, I guess you could also make the argument that it's quite genius for him to be built that way: Wily could just as easily have done that because it'd make him totally jealous of Mega Man! Or maybe he's taunting Mags here with the promise of rebuilding him so that magnet sits in a place that won't make him infrequently believe he's a prize winning Greyhound.

For that matter, the Robot Masters of 'Mega Man 3' were originally built with a non-rampage purpose in mind though I find Magnet Man's somewhat suspect. Bomb Man? Demolitions. Ice Man? A relentless worker in sub-zero conditions. Cut Man? The ultimate Lumberjack. I know that Magnet Man was apparently built to destroy garbage and scrap metal with his powers but I have to wonder how a Magnet helps that. I guess his amnesia makes it so that all he's suited for is to pick things up and smash them together.

The Magnet Missile is great because it changes direction to home in on enemies like some kind of tech-geek nightmare smart bomb. Wily must hate bringing in Magnet Man for repairs because he'd probably come to think he's in the enemy base or something, firing missiles that would eliminate the Doc's cake recipes and prized research.

Magnet Man: Bad idea or Baddest idea?
So in the end, Magnet Man has a ton of potential: Tragic Amnesiac or comical Spaz? Powerful threat or dangerous loose cannon? Only the player knows for sure...

As you can probably tell I'm only getting started here; I picked Mega Man 3 because it was the first Mega Man game I ever really got to play for more than 5 minutes at a friend's house. It was brand new around the time I finally owned an NES and Mega Man 2 was a pain to rent as they only had it on the opposite side of town. That still didn't stop me though as it’s still my favorite (along with most other fans). You'll see that for sure next time when I discuss some choice Masters from it.

Yeah I don't know why he waggles his eyebrows so much either.

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