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Mega Man Zero (series)

The Mega Man Zero, known as in Japan, series is the third series in the main Mega Man story-line, and the fifth series in Capcom's Mega Man video game franchise, made by Keiji Inafune, and directed by Mega Man Legends series director Yoshinori Kawano. Consisting of four games developed for the Game Boy Advance by Inti Creates, the series began with the release of Mega Man Zero in 2002.

Gameplay

Like the Mega Man X and classic Mega Man series, the Mega Man Zero series is a bidimensional platform game with run and gun elements that places a heavy emphasis on memorizing boss patterns and selecting the correct weapons to use against enemies. Unlike previous series, the stages of Mega Man Zero are connected, with the player being assigned missions. However, Mega Man Zero 2 and later entries returned to the standard format that allowed the player to select a mission from a stage select screen.

One noticeable change from previous Mega Man series is the ability of the main character, Zero, to level up his weapons and gain new skills by defeating enemies, though this was eventually discontinued from Mega Man Zero 3 onwards.

The Zero series also introduced a brand new Cyber Elf System, which allows Zero to equip small helper beings known as "Cyber Elves" to assist him in combat. This system can cause permanent changes such as increasing Zero's life bar or even covering dangerous spikes, or grant temporary enhancements, such as the ability to deflect bullets for a short time. Zero can use three different types of Cyber Elves, but your overall game score will be deducted for every Elf used. Later entries in the Zero series had more lenient prerequisites for the usage and consumption of Cyber Elves.

Another new addition to the franchise is the presence of elemental weapons; in every game except Zero 4, Zero gains three element chips that can be attached to any of his four weapons — the Z-Buster, the Z-Saber, the Attack Rod (which changes appearance and function with each game), and the Shield Boomerang. Doing so adds elemental effects to his attacks and allows him to use them to attack bosses weak points. The elements consist of Fire, Lightning and Ice. Fire beats Ice, Ice beats Lightning and Lightning beats Fire.

Games

Title Release Date Country System
Mega Man Zero 26 April 2002
9 September 2002
Japan
North America, Europe
Game Boy Advance
Mega Man Zero 2 2 April 2003
14 October 2003
31 October 2003
Japan
North America
Europe
Game Boy Advance
Mega Man Zero 3 23 April 2004
5 October 2004
3 September 2004
Japan
North America
Europe
Game Boy Advance
Mega Man Zero 4 21 April 2005
16 September 2005
4 October 2005
Japan
Europe
North America
Game Boy Advance

Plot

Mega Man Zero

Approximately a century after being sealed away (year 22XX), the legendary Maverick Hunter Zero, is awakened to help the Reploids who are being pursued by the government body, called Neo Arcadia. It has been roughly 100 years since the end of the X series, but what events have transpired since then are unclear. Unsure of who he is, Zero helps the band of Reploids, who in turn marvel at his amazing skill. Ciel, a human who lives with the Reploids, explains that Neo Arcadia began destroying all Reploids out of paranoia of them turning Maverick, so they fled the city. X, she claims, leads the government now, and Zero agrees to battle the Neo Arcadian regime, seemingly unaware of his and X's past. Finding that the 'X' he battles is only a mere copy, angers Copy X. Still Zero managed to destroy him, but a huge explosion followed and Zero escaped. He finds himself in a desert as a group of Neo Arcadians surround him, ending the game.

Mega Man Zero 2

Set one year after the events of the first game, Neo Arcadia still actively hunts Zero, and the battle comes to a head out in the desert. Zero survives the assault, but collapses soon afterward, and is rescued by Harpuia. He is brought back to the Resistance Base, where he meets the new leader of the Resistance, Elpizo. Zero assists in various missions against Neo Arcadia, but Elpizo becomes mad with power with the baby elves, copies of the Dark Elf. Elpizo eventually revives the Dark Elf by finding and destroying X's physical body, which acted as a seal. As Elpizo powers up with 2 baby elves and the revived Dark Elf, Zero confronts and defeats him. Elpizo is transformed to a cyber-elf and flies away, while Cyber-elf X appears, explaining the origins of the Dark Elf.

Mega Man Zero 3

Two months have passed since Elpizo turned mad with power and freed the Dark Elf by destroying the body of the original X. Ciel has finally finished her research on a new energy supply, and Zero is leading a group towards Neo Arcadia to make peace at last. However, readings similar to the Dark Elf emanate from a snow field, and they stop to investigate. Inside a gigantic spaceship that fell from orbit, Zero discovers a massive Reploid, Omega, and the enigmatic Dr. Weil, the one X spoke of when talking about the curse of the Dark Elf. It seems Weil isn't alone this time, either - he has rebuilt Copy X, and together, the two of them instate a new regime in Neo Arcadia. Zero eventually destroys Omega. While fighting him, he finds that his body was merely a copy, while Omega had Zero's true form. Weil, trying to tempt him with this fact, didn't turn out successful. Zero killed Omega with the help of the remaining 3 guardians (Harpunia, Leviathan, Fehnir) The Dark Elf also broke free of her curse completely, ending the game.

Mega Man Zero 4

Not long after the defeat of Omega, Weil has obtained his malicious objective and has taken hold of Neo Arcadia as a dictator, replacing the Pantheons with his own personal fleet of "Variants" and unfairly infringing upon citizen's rights, both reploid and human. Tired of the oppression from Neo Arcadia, humans migrate to a location known as Area Zero in hopes of starting a new life. Unfortunately, Weil's operation "Ragnarok" threatens to destroy this peace. The main charcter of the Area, Niege (a reporter) thretens Zero to stay out of Area Zero since 'Heroes like you aren't welcome). At first, the humans who fled to Area Zero didn't trust Zero, but as the game goes on, Zero gained their trust when Area Zero was ambushed by Weil. In the end of the game, Zero finds that Weil is going to use the Ragnarok to destroy Area Zero, but with the help of the Commander (Niege's reploid friend), he ended up missing the target, blowing of Neo Arcadia to ruins instead. Hearing this, Zero confronts Weil and eventually finds himself and Weil on a piece of the Ragnarok falling to Earth for space. Zero decides to destroy Weil instead of transferring back to the Base. After Weil is defeated, unable to escape, Zero also becomes destroyed permanently when the piece of the Ragnarok impacts to Earth. Ciel, watching the pieces fall to earth, thanks Zero for all the help he's provided and promises to create the Earth a better place and peace between Reploids and Humans, ending the series.

Mega Man ZX series

Mega Man ZX, the first game in the Mega Man ZX series, takes place 200 years after the end of Mega Man Zero 4. The sequel, Mega Man ZX Advent, takes place 4 years and 8 months later.

Content editing

In the original Japanese version (Rockman Zero) upon being wounded or cut in half, enemies and NPCs would usually spurt blood. Much of this was removed in the North American and European versions (Mega Man Zero). This is most notable in the opening sequence of Mega Man Zero, although some blood was left in.

Critical response

When the first game in the series came out, reviewers were quick to hail a return to what they considered "the Mega Man roots", however some fans criticized that the lack of knowing which boss the player will face next was a change for the worse, and that it "takes away what made the series unique in the past".

Mega Man Zero games have earned generally positive reviews from most review sources, with metacritic scores averaging in the high 70s to low 80s for most games in the series. Review sources both criticized and praised the high difficulty level of the game, and remarked that they were similar in nature to earlier installments in the Mega Man Series. Positive reviews noted the variety of abilities and customization while negative reviews focused on the series repetitiveness and lack of originality. Review scores were lower for the last two titles in the series, with critics pointing out that the games were just using the same gameplay without introducing anything new.

Manga

A manga series was authored by Hideto Kajima and serialized in CoroCoro Comic in 2003. However, the series diverges greatly from the video-game series in terms of storyline and tone. Whereas the video-games are always dark and serious, the manga is light-hearted and comical. Zero and Ciel in particular experience greatly altered personalities. Ciel is much more dominating and callous than her video-game persona, while Zero now experiences a sort of split-personality disorder: typically, he is weak, frail, and cowardly (indicated by a lack of a helmet), but when danger arises, his helmet appears and he transforms into the powerful "Rockman Zero." This usually occurs in order to protect Lito, a young boy who accompanies Zero throughout the manga. The series has since been released across three tankōbons.

Series allusions

The Mega Man Zero games often alluded to scenarios and names from the Bible, Greek, Roman, Norse, and on the rare occasion Hindu stories. Of the most obvious ones were the cross shape of Neo Arcadia's center building, Yggdrasil, and the final stage of Zero 4, Ragnarök. Among the related names are Fenrir, the ice wolf, Fafnir/Fefnir, the fire element guardian bearing the same name as the great dragon, Harpuia, a reference to the Greek Harpy, and Leviathan, whose name is pulled from the great ocean dwelling beast found in many ancient stories. Also, Omega Zero refers to himself as the Messiah, and Dr. Weil referred to himself as the Devil in their final battles in Mega Man Zero 3 and Mega Man Zero 4, respectively.

External links

References

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