Robot Masters Rundown - Part 1: The Wily Wars
by FreezingInferno

Mega Man. Does any more need to be said? ..Okay maybe it does because then we wouldn't have an article. Mega Man is arguably Capcom's main source of income. and the series that put it on the map as one of the top gaming companies. It's been a good 23 years since one Keiji Inafune created the concept of a little blue robot running around and blowing up bigger, meaner, scarier robots. The concept worked, and a franchise was born. Then came the spinoffs, and story became a big part of those. The X and Zero series were all dystopian and grim and ruined, but there were still lighthearted storylines in things like the Legends and Battle Network games. But, what of the original Blue Bomber? Things weren't easy for him as time went by. The twilight of the 80's kept him going strong, but then the go-go 90's hit and things started to slip. A definite decline could be seen in the games' quality; sure, they were still good games... but they didn't quite match up to the classics of old. The classic series tried moving forward with 16 and 32-bit entries, but things just weren't the same. The classic series was left untouched, while its offspring ran around like bunnies with yearly installments. Only recently, with downloadable console services, has the classic series seen a revival. 2008 saw Mega Man 9, a "new" 8-bit entry in the series. People loved it. Now Capcom has seen fit to give THAT a sequel, with Mega Man 10 already here and rocking Wii owner's faces. Will it be as good? One can only hope. To commemorate this momentous release, I've decided to give a quick rundown of every Robot Master in every Mega Man game. Personal opinion, silly facts, what have you. Strap yourselves in, and let's fly on through this thing!

MEGA MAN

The original set of six bosses from Mega Man 1 set up quite a few constants that the series would draw back to in later installments; namely the elements of fire, ice, and electricity. It's a perfect starting set for your first game, and there's not much fault to be found with them.


BOMB MAN

Little guy with a mohawk that throws bombs around like a pyromaniac. I always go after Bomb Man first because he's really quite simple. His bombs have a bit of an explosion radius to them, but it's nothing that can be avoided. Bomb Man is probably the "worst" of the original six Robot Masters; it's not so much "bad" as "not as good" though. He has some seriously awesome competition, and falls flat because of it. His weapon, the Hyper Bomb, is just a bomb you throw that explodes a second or two later. Not too complex.



GUTS MAN

For whatever reason, Guts Man has become the iconic classic series Robot Master; his visage is used over and over again. Within the classic series alone, we have lookalikes in the form of Stone Man and Concrete Man, as well as Wily fortress bosses like the Gutsdozer or that crazy hybrid thing he gets turned into in Mega Man 7. Not bad for a boss that essentially just throws rocks at you in a game with energy cannons and flamethrowers. His weapon, the Super Arm, lets you pick up bricks and hurl them at things to kill them. It's most notably used to grab the Magnet Beam, as well as kill Cut Man and that weird bubble boss in Wily Stage 3.



CUT MAN

Cut Man is the last non-elemental boss in the original game, and it's hard not to like him. The guy has a boomerang-like pair of SCISSORS on his head. Cut Man is also somewhat popular, having his own little set of cameos in later Mega Man games. His weapon, the Rolling Cutter, is just a scissor boomerang. Fun fact: Cut Man is weak to Super Arm. Super Arm throws bricks and rock. Rock beats scissors. ;D



ELEC MAN

Elec Man is probably my favorite of the original six Robot Masters, for a few reasons. For one, he looks badass. He is also able to completely kick the player's ass; most bosses in Mega Man can deal a lot of damage, sure, but Elec Man is the only one who can outright kill you in three hits. Luckily, his own weakness will kill him in three hits, so it's somewhat of a race. His weapon, the Thunder Beam, shoots electricity in three directions and is quite possibly the best weapon in the game. Elec Man rocks.



ICE MAN

How can you not like Ice Man? He's a cute little robot in a parka. The odd thing about Ice Man is that he was the first ice-themed boss in Mega Man, yet we saw no ice-themed bosses again until Mega Man 6; they then proceeded to have one in every game afterward, except for 9. What's even odder is that he is weak against thunder, and his weapon is strong against fire. A bizarre reversal. His Ice Slasher is just an ice triangle that can freeze things; helpful for getting past Bigeyes in Wily Stage 1.



FIRE MAN

Much like Elec Man, this guy is pretty cool. He's a good start to the trend of fire-themed Robot Masters, but not quite the best one. His weapon, Fire Storm, shoots out a fire shot and creates a temporary flame shield. It could very well count as the first shield weapon in Mega Man, but it's not quite so. He's weak against ice as well, which is odd to say the least.





**BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!**

The PSP remake of Mega Man 1, Mega Man Powered Up, added two extra bosses to the original six, making an even 8 like the other games have. I have not personally played Powered Up, but nonetheless a quick glance at these two extra bosses is in order.


TIME MAN

I'm not quite sure how to classify Time Man. If one looks at Powered Up as a "retcon" of MM1, then he is chronologically the first Robot Master with a time-based weapon. If not, then he comes after other time-based bosses. Nevertheless, he's not so much of a letdown as another boss with a time-based weapon. Instead of outright freezing things, his Time Slow weapon simply slows down time. Time Man is lucky that I like his look; he gets a pass.





OIL MAN

WHY HELLO THERE RACIAL STEREOTYPE. Seriously, I have no idea how this got by when the game was made. That is a blackface Robot Master. Good god. He also apparently hits on Roll if you're playing as her in Powered Up. This might very well be the most offensive Robot Master ever made. His weapon is Oil Slider, which can actually be ridden. Oil Man, you are an oddball.







MEGA MAN 2

This is the portion of the article where I have to tread carefully, lest I be ripped apart by the Mega Man fanbase. Mega Man 2 is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of a good sequel, and is held as One Of The Greatest Games Ever Made. Let us keep that all in mind as we look at the eight bosses who made this game what it was. Sip your E-Tank and crank up the Okkusenman, here we go.


METAL MAN

Oh holy shit. It's only fair I put this one first, because it's appropriate. Mega Man 2 has to be hardcore because instead of a cute little robot throwing garden shears at you, we have this MONSTROSITY THROWING FUCKING SAWBLADES! Good lord Mega Man 2, you've cranked the badass quotient up to 11. His weapon, Metal Blade, is both an 8-directional sawblade and the most broken overpowered weapon in all of Mega Man; you can just use this as your new Mega Buster for pretty much the rest of the game.



FLASH MAN

Going by game release order, Flash Man is the first "time manipulation" boss in a Mega Man game. Surprisingly, the gimmick has been used far less than you'd think.. but we're getting ahead of ourselves. His weapon, the Flash Stopper, will freeze time outright, but drains energy like a leaking gas tank. Time manipulation is pretty cool, so Flash Man gets a pass.



QUICK MAN

Quick Man is probably the boss that caused the most frustration for new players of Mega Man 2. See, with MM2, every stage began to have little extra themed hazards and obstacles within the stage. Quick Man's stage was filled with insta-kill lasers that require either pixel-perfect footwork to clear without dying, or the usage of the Flash Stopper to stop them outright. Too bad the Flash Stopper is Quick Man's weakness and you might be wanting to save it. HAH! His weapon, Quick Boomerang, is just a bunch of boomerangs that fly really fast. It's more useful than you'd think.



CRASH MAN

Or "Clash Man" if you want to be like THAT. Think Bomb Man, only instead of cartoon bombs he throws little time bombs that stick to a surface before exploding. His weapon, Crash Bombs, are little time bombs that-- Wait I just described that. Well, they can also be used to blow up barriers, and are painfully required for a boss in the Wily fortress. HAVE FUN ENERGY FARMING IF YOU MESS UP.



AIR MAN

Oh boy, our first wind-elemental Robot Master. Air Man is a big thing with a fan for a mouth, and is also the subject of a famous tribute song about how some Japanese guy can't beat him because he's too hard. Considering that Air Man's attack pattern is a bunch of random and hard-to-avoid tornados, Mr. Japanese guy has stiff opposition. His weapon, the Air Shooter, shoots three tornados in an upward arc.




WOOD MAN

Wood Man is kind of an odd design choice. A robot master completely encased in wood armor does not seem like a practical and threatening thing, and sounds like something that should be in a 90's NES Mega Man game. Wood Man's weapon is the Leaf Shield, which creates a shield. Of leaves. This is the first instance of a "shield weapon" in a Mega Man game, and the concept would be rehashed over and over, with only a few of the iterations actually being of any goddamned use.



BUBBLE MAN

Bubble Man gets a bad rap, and is the subject of a lot of mockery. He doesn't deserve THAT much. As the first water-based Robot Master, he's not bad. Merely okay, really. A notable thing is that his boss fight has insta-kill spikes on the ceiling, a gimmick that would be borrowed for two other bosses in the future. His weapon, Bubble Lead (and you can argue all day about if that's pronounced "led" or "leed"), is a heavy bubble that moves along the ground. It's also the only thing that can damage the final boss; like the Crash Bombs, if you run out, you're screwed.



HEAT MAN

So how does Mega Man 2 follow up the previous game's fire-based boss? They make a walking Zippo lighter. GOD. DAMN. Heat Man's stage is a lot like Quick Man's, in that it has a hazard that will take a while to adapt to. The "disappearing blocks" that made a cameo in Mega Man 1 and weren't life threatening at all are now suspended over a river of lava and must be memorized. Have fun with that. Heat Man's weapon, Atomic Fire, is the first weapon in Mega Man that can be charged to a stronger blast by holding the fire button. Fancy.






MEGA MAN 3

If the classic Mega Man series had ended with Mega Man 3, it would be a perfect trilogy. This isn't to suggest that every game onwards was bad; it's just that on their own they make a great set. As for the bosses in this game, they're fairly original.. if not a bit out there. With nary a rehash or repeat in tow, MM3 is somewhat unique. The rogue's gallery for this one:


MAGNET MAN

Magnet Man is rather interesting. You'd think all that magnetic force he's harnessing would short-circuit him, but nope. In 20XX we've apparantly grown past that. His weapon, Magnet Missile, shoots a big magnet that will sort of home in on enemies. 'CAUSE IT'S MAGNETIC, SEE?





HARD MAN

Uuuuuurgh. What the hell are you supposed to be, Hard Man? Your gimmick is that you're made of a... hard metal? Okay? I really don't understand the theme that's supposed to be going on here, but that's Hard Man for you. His weapon is the Hard Knuckle, and it's.. a giant fist. Well, they can't all be winners I guess. Sorry Hard Man.. whatever you are.






TOP MAN

This guy right here. He gets a bad rap because he's the second-easiest Robot Master in the series, and he's a spinning top. My reply? At least you can tell what he's supposed to BE. His weapon, Top Spin, is... oh lord. It just makes Mega Man spin around, and the spin is supposed to damage things. Half the time though, you'll get hurt too as it's a close contact move. Really only useful against two bosses.




SHADOW MAN

But suddenly, a bright light in the spectacle of oddness! A... robot ninja? A ROBOT NINJA. WITH A SHURIKEN ON HIS HEAD. Okay, now that's pretty cool. His weapon, Shadow Blade, is a shuriken you can shoot in 8 directions. What's that? A blade weapon you can shoot in 8 directions? Sounds strangely familiar, but I can't quite place where it-- Oh right a less borked Metal Blade.





SPARK MAN

Surprisingly, Spark Man is the only elemental-based boss in Mega Man 3, going back to electricity. He can electrify you, but has no hands. :( His weapon, Spark Shock, is an electric blast that can actually stun enemies. Handy. This was also the last electric-based boss in Mega Man for a while; there were bosses with electric weapons, but none that were actually electric.





SNAKE MAN

Okay Snake Man is pretty cool too. A robot snake. I will proceed to retype that in all caps to emphasize how cool it is. A ROBOT SNAKE. Snake Man was the first Mega Man boss based on an animal, a gimmick that would be used to hell and back in the Mega Man X games (how the hell can you resort to a SEA SPONGE by the second game?). His weapon, Search Snake, shoots little snakes onto the ground that slither along to hit things.





GEMINI MAN

Gemini Man is weird because he's both cool AND out there. A Mega Man boss based on a constellation, that can make a copy of himself and turn his fight into a 2-on-1.. and he's actually kind of good? Well, I'll be. His weapon, Gemini Laser, is a strong laser that bounces off walls. You can only have one shot on screen at a time though, so don't miss whatever you're trying to hit or else have fun waiting 15 seconds for the laser to bounce around and go away.




NEEDLE MAN

Needle Man is... a big robot that shoots needles. Now whatever is the difference between these needles, and the infamous spikes in Mega Man? Oh right, they're smaller. His weapon, Needle Cannon, lets you shoot needles. Just like a big robot that shoots needles! Hooray!












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