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[Comments] (5) : I've made no secret of my distate for the ridiculous Robot Masters in Mega Man games. But upon playing Mega Man 9 my wrath abated somewhat. It's an expertly crafted game, except for the damn amorphous blob in Dr. Wily's castle that's impossible to beat. But more than that, the bosses in that game made me appreciate Drs. Light's and Wily's business plan.

It's pretty simple, the same as the car companies. They keep making the same robots over and over again with cosmetic differences, so they can sell you a slightly different model every year. Among their offerings are:

That's 44 of the 70 Robot Masters. The others are mostly terrible one-offs, with a couple products that failed and tried to make a comeback later. Do you really need a specialized robot just to cut things? (Cut Man) No? How about now? (Sword Man) The secret is to ignore all the weird one-offs like Centaur Man and Clown Man and focus on the core business. If you're interested in a more sophisticated analysis the Mega Man Knowledge Base groups the Robot Masters by their weapon types, rock-paper-scissors style, and comes to much the same conclusions.

Not only does Mega Man 9 have great level design, it's got the best boss weapons of the series. Yeah, I said it, better than in Mega Man 2. The Crash Bomb and Quick Boomerang are fun, but the Black Hole Bomb and Concrete Shot are more fun. I, for one, welcome our new Robot Masters.

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Posted by kirkjerk at Tue Oct 14 2008 10:51

I always wanted to make either:
a Smash Bros type game w/ all the bosses as playable characters
a "elecotronic bestiary" with all the robosprites, preferably player-controllable.

The trouble with this is, of course, many of the robot masters and critters are fairly defined in their very limited movement patterns. It's not always clear if this is due to "poor AI" issues or physical constraints (like w/ UFO-ish thingies that insist on traveling in a simplistic sine wave like pattern), but it kind of is central to their makeup.

I thought the later games in the series, including 9, miss what to me was some of the appeal of the robot master design, a certain heavy squatness. "Centaur Man" and "Splash Woman" and some others kind of miss this... but overall I always dig the robocritter googly eyes aesthetic of it all.

Posted by kirkjerk at Tue Oct 14 2008 10:56

Just wanted to add, I think it was "Sniper Joe" who got me thinking in some of these lines... he seemed to be so begging for a backstory...

Posted by Leonard at Tue Oct 14 2008 11:49

I always felt sorry for the Mets. Now that I'm older I envision them as the robot equivalents of those Japanese people with make-work jobs and authority-symbol uniforms.

Posted by Evan at Thu Oct 23 2008 08:59

You can try and belittle MetalMan into a category, but it doesn't change the fact that he has the best weapon in the franchise. I'll take the sawblade shooter any level, any day of the week.

Posted by Leonard at Sat Oct 25 2008 03:57

The weapon so awesome, Metal Man himself falls to a single blade!

PS: I hear he married Mindy.

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