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My Personal Throwback: Rocking Along the Megaman Franchise!

I will admit that I haven't played all the Megaman games but I certainly played a lot of them.  The only Megaman series that I have tried playing are the Classic Megaman series (except for Megaman 9 and 10), Megaman X (except the handhelds) and Megaman Legends.  Now t's time to travel down the memory lane with Megaman.

As a child, I was confused why some Family Computer cartridges and Super Nintendo were listed as Rockman and that they were basically the same game in some way.  I always thought Megaman was an upgraded Rockman hence the name change.  Years later, I found out that Megaman was simply the American version of Rockman and that names differed between both releases like Bass is Forte and Protoman is Blues.  It was just like Street Fighter Zero is the Japanese version of Street Fighter Alpha.

Rockman or Megaman itself was a game created by Keiji Inafune.  The game itself started off as a game of what can be considered as Rock, Paper and Scissors which may have caused Megaman to be called Rockman by the Japanese audience.  For some reason, he was released as Megaman for the American audience perhaps the name Rockman didn't click too much with them.  I'll only talk about the Megaman series that I've played and not those I haven't played.

 The Classic Megaman series... aka the first Megaman series!

I started with the Classic Megaman series and the very first game I had was Megaman 3 on the Family Computer.  The other Megaman games I played on the Family Computer were Megaman 5 and Megaman 6 but they were all labeled as "Rockman" when I first played them.  I was only able to play through Megaman 1, 2 and 4 in the Megaman Anniversary Collection for the Playstation 2 which allowed me to learn of the plot even more than just doing simple text reading. 

The plot of the Classic Megaman series is what I'd call a lighter and softer version of Metalder.  Dr. Thomas Light and Dr. Albert Wily were once the best of friends but one day, both sides showed different views.  Dr. Light had science with a conscience and Dr. Wily wanted to dominate the world.  Dr. Wily stole away their first failure prototype known as Protoman (Blues in Japan) and got Dr. Light's six other robots.  To combat Dr. Wily's menace, Dr. Light re-formats his robot Rock into fighting robot we'd know as Rockman in Japan and Megaman in America.  

The game series ran with this basic concept where the hero Megaman chooses which stage he wants to tackle on first, get the boss' weapon and if you know the weaknesses of the other bosses, you will have an easier time than when you don't.  A good example is in the first Megaman game that Cutman was weak to to the blocks that the Super Arm can be picked at him and Gutsman was weak against Flash Bombs.  The formula persisted in the next few Classic Megaman games with additional innovations like Megaman 2 introduced the password system due to the lack of a save feature, Megaman 3 introduced Rush, Megaman 4 introduced the charged shot attack, Megaman 5 introduced Beat and Megaman 6 introduced Megaman to the concept of giving Megaman power-ups.

The Classic Megaman series would also release sequels which would serve as prequels for the Megaman X franchise.  If you remember, the first three Megaman X games were released before Megaman 7.  Megaman 7 serves as a bridge to both eras of Megaman X and that while it wasn't that well-received, I still think it's a decent game.  It also introduced us to one of the most important characters namely Bass.  Bass was Dr. Wily's latest Anti-Megaman robot complete with an Anti-Rush canine in Treble.  This new character although he was first introduced as a Wily minion, he would frequently rebel against his own creator for his own agenda or that he actually has justice energy since he was built based on Megaman's blueprints.

Other sequel games released were Megaman 8, Megaman The Power Fighters, Megaman The Power Battle and the rather infamously difficult Megaman & Bass (Rockman and Forte) which came after Megaman X4 and started out as a Japan-only release.  As far as Megaman & Bass is concerned, I only cheated to complete the game because of the infamous difficulty.  So far I haven't played Megaman 9 and Megaman 10 (yet) but learning about the plot per game, they both somehow try to bridge some gaps between the Classic Megaman and Megaman X series.

What was also interesting was that Classic Megaman also appeared in Marvel vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (as an unlockable character).  When playing as Classic Megaman, he was really very cheap as it was easy to spam his buster shots, charge up and let all sorts of crazy tactics just to win the round.  He was pretty short but a very powerful character hence making him a real cheap character to play as and an irritating character to fight against.

Megaman X series... taking a huge leap in both timeline and gameplay

Megaman X is a game that game out as a huge leap sequel to Megaman 6 and three games later, Classic Megaman games were also released as prequels.  Unlike Classic Megaman, Megaman X is apparently a new robot and character but he shares some personality traits with the original Megaman like his extreme naiveness and peace-loving nature.  It has been 100 years or so after the original Megaman.  Megaman X is the new type of robot with the ability to make his own decisions like a human being (this concept was explored in Megaman 7's ending).  Because of the potential danger he had, he was sealed away with a thirty year testing period, something Dr. Light placed into consideration.  While Dr. Light would not live long enough, he did create a holographic version of himself to assist Megaman X beyond his death.

While the X series held to the traditional play of "rock-paper-scissors" with robot masters, the game featured more challenges.  Megaman X is known for "It's time to gather armor parts and heart tanks." and it required the player to return to certain stages because of certain requirements like having a certain boss weapon or armor part equipped.  Gathering the armor parts and heart tanks can be a challenge.  Provided I played Megaman X4 on the Playstation One first (since I never had a Super NES/Famicom) before the first three games, I had a harder time getting through them which I ended up using the Armor Cheat password for some time.  I was able to get the Hadoken for Megaman X but never the Shoryuken for Megaman X2 or the Z-Saber for Megaman X3.  What was also different than the original Megaman series was that the bosses were based on plants, real life animals and legendary animals instead of having the suffix "-man" attached to them.

Megaman X is considerably more serious than the Classic Megaman series in terms of plot.  While the parallelism is there but the game itself has more edgy moments.  The first Megaman X game's plot was involved with the Maverick Rebellion led by Sigma.  Sigma has recruited some of Dr. Cain's best robots which end up serving as the robot masters and the mercenary soldier Vile (Vava in Japan) felt like a more powerful version of the Darkman robot from Megaman 5.  As the main villain, Sigma is more menacing and threatening than Dr. Wily ever was in Classic Megaman considering he's a scheming psychopathic monster.

While the first three games only allowed you to use Megaman X, Megaman X4 was going to change a bit of that trend.  So we had Megaman X and in between there was Megaman The Power Fighters so why not allow players to fully use Zero?  Zero was playable in Megaman X3 but it was very limited to just tagging him in.  Megaman X4 allowed you to play as Megaman X or Zero but you can only choose one for the rest of the game.  Megaman X4 somehow bridged the prequels and sequels since it revealed that Zero is actually Dr. Wily's final creation which isn't much of a surprise but an interesting plot point nonetheless.  It was also speculated but never confirmed that Serges in Megaman X2 was really Dr. Wily back from the dead or a robot based on Dr. Wily.  Megaman X5 tried to wrap up the series but later, Megaman X games without Keiji Inafune were also created.

Megaman X6 became a game with mixed fan reaction because it was ridiculously difficult with its unusual level designs.  My opinion is that Megaman X6 is a fun game to play in spite of the infuriating level designs because the game's programmers were merciful enough to refill your weapons every time you lost a turn.  If people complain about Megaman 7, I think Megaman X7 is much worse with the inconsistent gameplay, bad voice acting and ugh I pretend it doesn't exist.  Megaman X7 featured the arrival of Axl who I felt like was a Bass tribute and he was pretty fun.  Megaman X8 was more consistent in its gameplay which had more positive reception than Megaman X7's rather inconsistent gameplay.  

Zero also became pretty popular that he had his four part series called Megaman Zero which I haven't played at all.  He also appeared in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 which was nice but it personally, I wish Megaman X were also in that game too.  

You can tell how much I love Megaman X by how long this section is! ^_^

Megaman Legends... where's the third game?!

Megaman Legends presents itself as a spin-off that while some sources says Megaman Legends happens thousands of years after Megaman X, however the game's setting makes it feel like it's more of a spin-off and has no place in the original Megaman timeline whatsoever.  I think like Megaman.EXE, Megaman Legends does not belong to the original Megaman timeline but it is its own separate continuity that makes a lot of references to the original Megaman games.  The game goes back to the lighter and softer for most of its run.

I remembered these two games from the first Playstation system and how I still had fun with them.  Unlike the traditional Megaman game, it is a 3D game that contains Role Playing Game elements such as talking with people and buying equipment.  However it is not an RPG compared the Megaman X Command Mission game for the Playstation 2.  The main protagonist is Megaman Volnutt who is an entirely new character.  The world looks much less futuristic than the setting of Megaman X which might support my theory that Megaman Legends is indeed its own continuity judging by all the references the series makes.

Megaman Legends' plot features the unraveling of ancient mysteries and archaeological digs.  The recurring villains are the Bonnes a family of comedic pirate villains.  Unlike the traditional Megaman enemies, they do not launch robot masters but they create robotic machines to do their crazy pirate schemes.  Megaman Volnutt and his adoptive sister Roll Caskett (who is not the Roll of Classic Megaman) go on digs and they seek to find the treasure called the "Mother Lode" unaware that it's not what they think it is.  It's because of that quest to get some treasures that Megaman Volnutt ends up fighting the Bonnes while he unlocks the secrets of his past.  He was found as a baby and Roll named him as Megaman, after the famous video game character.

The Legends series had two games which focused mostly on the history of the Ancients.  Megaman Volnutt was once a peace-keeping character named Megaman Trigger.  He was in charge of hunting down the Aberrant Units which are like the Mavericks of Megaman X.  There was also the problem between the two characters Sera and Yuna who are later referred to as the sky goddess and the earth goddess.  In between, there was also the Misadventures of Tron Bonne which was a prequel to Megaman Legends game.  Too bad a third Megaman Legends game never came which for me is a real major piss off that even with all the campaigns to return it, the game may never see light. =( 

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