01/05/2013

ROBOT MASTER RAMBLINGS

A combination attack of busyness and illness has assailed me this week, so in lieu of a full-size article here are some ramblings about a subject that has fascinated me since childhood - the Robot Masters of the Mega Man series. I already made a video about Cut Man, but that was just a brief glimpse in to the baffling engineering decisions of the Mega Man universe, a world where Dr. Wily could take over in the blink of an eye if he'd just stop making robots with such glaring mechanical flaws that you'd think they'd been built by the North Korean arm of Poundland.
So then, some thoughts on Robot Masters. You can only hope that Dr. Wily didn't program them with true sentience, so that they can live blissfully unaware of their defects.

Top Man


Having twice been defeated by Mega Man, Dr. Wily decides that for Mega Man 3 he needs to fight fire with fire - except he's already tried Fire Man and Heat Man and it didn't work, so he goes with his back-up plan of fighting plasma blasts with spinning around really fast. A limited skill set, you might think, but don't forget Top Man's many other practical applications, like drilling holes in frozen lakes to facilitate ice fishing, or doing Spirographs really quickly.

Pharaoh Man


Sometimes Dr. Wily gets it right, and I'm certainly not going to complain about a Robot Master being patterned after a Pharaoh. He has the regal bearing and haughty demeanour of those ancient Egyptian kings, but without all the brother-sister interbreeding and propensities toward slave labour. Pharaoh Man is okay by me, but I brought him up for a reason: in Mega Man & Bass, you can collect CDs that each contain information about a Mega Man character, including their strengths and flaws. Pharaoh Man's weakness? Beautiful women. This has to be evidence that Dr. Wily doesn't program each Robot Master with a specific personality, because surely even Wily isn't so much of a dick that he'd build a thinking, feeling android and then purposefully make it scared of relationships. There's world-conqueringly evil, and then there's just downright mean.

Gyro Man


Gyro Man is a helicopter robot. Why is he a helicopter robot? Because Dr. Wily ran out of money and couldn't afford to give him the jet engine he was supposed to have. He tries to play it cool on the subject, his CD database quote saying "that is not a problem," but we all know that inside he's filled with seething rage at being born a Budgie when he could have been a Top Gun.

Astro Man


I can't speak for the veracity of their information, but I've seen a few Mega Man sites claim that Astro Man is the "world hide-and-seek champion." Alright, for one thing, who organised the World Hide-and-Seek Championships, and why did they let the robot with the ability to create new dimensions enter? Surely that devalues the whole event, it's like letting formula one cars enter the Olympic hundred metres.

Toad Man


So, he's a toad. That's kind of rough on him - I've got nothing against toads, but amongst the vast diversity of the animal kingdom they're hardly the most threatening choice to design a robot around, are they? Even Sheep Man looks like he'd be more of a challenge. That said, I think I've figured out a way for Toad Man to at least look a little tougher. He should paint a zig-zag line on his eyelids and start every battle with his eyes closed, because then he'd look like this:


See? Now he's far more menacing. If only he'd ditch the jazz hands, then he could be truly terrifying.

Clown Man and Shade Man


First off, I should mention that Dr. Wily didn't create Clown Man and Shade Man. That means there's someone else in the world of Mega Man who is so utterly despicable that they created a robot clown.
No, Wily merely reprogrammed these Robot Masters for his own evil ends... after he'd stolen them from the amusement parks where they were working as attractions. Just think about that for a moment. Let the scene fill your mind, a scene where an elderly scientist lurks outside a haunted house, waiting for his moment to nab the mechanical vampire that will surely be the final catalyst for his eventual domination of the world. It's a good job Mega Man spends his time fighting this idiot and not whatever sicko decided that cyberclowns would be a good idea.

Hard Man


Hee hee hee, "Hard" Man.
What, were you expecting something more mature? Let me remind you that I'm a grown man writing about goofy robots from a children's videogame. Maturity is perhaps not my strong suit.


14 comments:

  1. I'd like to remind you that Toadborg, the half robot, half withered remnants of a toad soldier from the short lived and terribly animated Bucky O'Hare series, may be the most terrifying toad based robot knocking around out there. Maybe it was just me, but the rest of that cartoon was perfectly reasonable fare, but then the designers stuck in something that wouldn't go amiss from the Warhammer 40k universe. Wily should have taken a leaf out of his book...

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    1. Are there any toad-based robots in 40k? Oh man, I hope there are. I think I might have to paint up a marine chapter that uses a giant robot frog as a dreadnaut. All hail the Blood Croakers!

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  2. The Pharoah Man CD database info tidbit is nothing compared to Top Man's "You spin me right round, baby!"

    Thanks to this article, I have now noticed that Toad Man's eyes make up the "mouth" of the "toad." I can't believe it took me this long to figure it out.

    And who DOESN'T laugh at the name Hard Man?

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    Replies
    1. Everyone laughs at Hard Man, surely. Even Wind Man, who doesn't get off much better in the name stakes.

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  3. Have you ever noticed that Heat Man's design in based on a zippo lighter? I can't decide if that's genius or just lazy robot design.

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    Replies
    1. I'm embarrassed to admit I did not notice that about Heat Man until I was well into adulthood, ha ha. Knowing Dr. Wily, it has to be lazy design and he just happened to have a giant novelty lighter knocking about that he could turn into a robot.

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    2. It's like how Tom Servo was made out of a gumball machine.

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  4. Actually Pharaoh Man was created by Dr Cossack. First we get to beat the crap out of Albert Einstein and now it's a Russian. Hell yeah Cold War!

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    Replies
    1. So it's Dr. Cossack's fault that Pharaoh Man cannot find love? Man, maybe he was a villain after all...

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  5. Wasn't the World Hide and Seek Championship a Monty Python sketch?

    I think Hard Man was in robot porn before Wily recruited him.

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    1. Deary me, I hope not, he weight three tons.

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  6. What's really troubling about Hard Man is it resembles and functions like some sort of pressure pump. With those details and how his stage was the construction motif like Gut Man and Crash Man, even his name makes sense...until you find out his power up is fisting.

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    1. I've honestly always thought Hard Man was supposed to look like a cement mixer, which is kinda troubling in itself because I guess it'd mean the liquid concrete would pour out of that spout between his legs...

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    2. Don't forget the jumping and crushing. Also that spout between his legs is probably the jet propulsion needed to fly up.

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