THE PHYSICS OF MEGA MAN
Hey all! It is I, Erico The Super Bard. For some time now(Since this spring of 2000) I have seen the wonders unfold before me. Mega Man is here at Nintendoland to stay. But it often brings up questions about just what's what, what's right and what is total bull. What am I talking about? The wide, wide world of Mega Man is vast and a bit confoosing to most people, and it has taken me a few years to grasp it all. But what exactly does this gobbledygook mean to the layman(One who isn't fully into it.)
Not much, and thusly people often get things WRONG. Well, I'm here to stop that. In this article, I will explain various points of the Mega Man series that bring up questions of their inner workings. Such as, 'How the heck do energy capsules work?' and 'why the dang does Mega jump extra high in the water?' Well, come with me, sit back and finish scarfing that ice cream cone. Where we're going, it's gonna be a wild ride. So come on then. Buckle up, put on your 3-D glasses, and prepare to experience
THE PHYSICS OF MEGA MAN!!!!
First off, let me say a brief thing. In some cases, there will be discrepancies between the workings of the Mega Man and X series. In those points, I will list them.
Just what exactly are 'Energy Meters?' What do they measure? The number of sneezes to a box of kleenex? The number of synth-toenails you have yet to break? NAH. Energy meters measure(And pay attention, because I use this word pattern a LOT) a robot or reploid's INTERNAL OPERATIONS ENERGY. Huh? What's that you're saying in the back row? Well, if you'd all shaddup you'd know, wouldn't you Mr. loud snack eating man?! Internal operations energy is exactly what it implies; how much energy you have in your internal systems to repair damage or wear. Humans get it easy, we only need rest and food.(Huh? That's easy?) Basically, the more abuse or damage or time without recharging you take, the less will appear on your ENERGY METER. Yeah, that huge bar on the top left of your screen when you play. Oh well. Here comes the first of the discrepancies…
In the original MM series, internal operations energy can be replaced by E-Tanks, S-Tanks or life energy capsules left behind by other destroyed bots, or those just left in the open. What are energy capsules? Unused sustenance energy they had left after you trashed them. The kind you'd find would be STABLE. Obviously, unstable energy would go up in a poof and leave you nothing from it. Bringing up another point, I find it relevant to tell you something. Robots from this series DON'T BLEED. But obviously, they do have some kind of fluid such as hydraulics. (How else would they have enough strength to, for example in MM5, to hold up a huge chunk of ceiling?) But then, how does their internal operations energy get where it needs to? Most likely in this case, I've come to the reasoning that it must be their power generators. For the most part, these power generators(Most likely fusion) operate basic functions, supplying power to necessaries. You know, the mind, the muscle servos, the power circuits; But given enough time with no damage taken(In a condition known as Stasis), the power generator will slowly give energy back in the form of internal operations energy, which would most likely power nanobots to do minor repairs. Major ones, such as armor tears, missing armor or missing limbs would have to be taken care of by a facility such as a hospital. An E-Tank or energy capsules would do the same thing, only much faster!
Now, here's where the X series differs. Reploids DO bleed, because they have bloodstreams. Why do I say, bloodstreams? Well, take a look at the X4 clip when Double's alter ego is trashing those poor defenseless members of the 17th Unit. Whazzat? It ain't Hawaiian Punch, Chilluns. But it makes more sense, in a way. The human body's had somewhere of around(Let me find this here) About 1-2 Million Years to evolve. In that time, one thing that's been one of the most important is the bloodstream. It's a very efficient way of carrying oxygen and nutrients to everywhere in the body before sending it around for another go of it. Very efficient. So it makes sense Light, building the most advanced robot yet(X) would use this design. And in the X series, we see no E-Tanks. Why? Well, maybe they're obsolete anymore. Look at it! The reploid is a highly advanced robot, with thought processes and abilities far greater than a mere robot's. Obviously, the E-Tank's energy resources are too inefficient for the more advanced reploid to handle. It's like sticking a model T engine in a '69 Thunderbird. IT DON'T RUN TOO WELL. But what we do see is SUB-TANKS and Heart Tanks.
Let's get to work here. What is a Heart Tank? A Heart Tank is a device that extends your capacity to hold internal operations energy. Huh? Whuzzat again? Think of it like this. You're swimming underwater, and you're running out of air too quickly. So what to do? How about a bigger oxygen tank? Same principle behind Heart Tanks. The design for the Heart Tank was in Light's notes, and so was the Sub-Tank. Ergo, Cain built them for use in 21XX and we see them.
The Sub-Tank works on the same principle as an E-Tank from the original series does. You have a full Sub-Tank, and there's trouble. What's a hero to do? Well, DRAIN THE TANK. Like the E-Tank, an instant shot of power that makes you all happy and supercharged again. But so far there's been a limit on how many 'Tanks' one can hold inside their systems. Four. Even in X4, when there's only 2 Sub-Tanks, there's also a 4LifeTank and a Weapons Tank. That's FOUR. But you can have 8 Heart Tanks. Maybe because they're smaller. Sub-Tanks DO have one major flaw, however; unlike an E-Tank that instantly has enough juice in it, a Sub-Tank needs to be CHARGED by energy capsules, or a charging station.
This downside is overlooked for its simplicity, however. Look at E-Tanks from the original series. You use 'em, and then you just dump the empty container. A Disposable container. The Sub-Tank however, can be charged, drained and recharged as many times as you like. Consider it; in a future world, waste has to be dealt with efficiently. We must have had to learn that by then. So what's better? What's stronger?
Well, I've made this assumption, and it's a pretty reasonable one. Mega Man just has his 28 units of energy, which becomes a solid line in MM8 and R&F(17 for Game Boy, but I ignore that.) When X was made, Light must have had some smarts and given him the same energy capacity. But I hear you back there, the one jumping up and down saying 'But look how SMALL it is when you start a game!' Well, no duh. THINK. Remember what I said up above? Reploids use MORE energy than a robot. Therefore, X's pansy meter is equal to Mega's. When he gets all his Hearts lined up though, X ends up having an internal operations energy capacity along the lines of TWICE AS STRONG OR MORE than Mega's.
STUFF IN THIS SECTION THAT I AM NOT TOO SURE ABOUT
Hey, there's some stuff in the Mega Man Universe even I don't fully understand! In these cases, I've had to make some assumptions I hope are logical. Overall, it looks pretty good from a Spockish 'Logical' Standpoint. I can make more sense out of the X series, so basically what I'm whimsying about in this part of my article is looking at how Mega Man and his buddies get their repair(Internal Operations) energy transferred everywhere. With the X series, the bloodstream issue takes care of that. But Mega Man's a bit wierder.
Now we get to move on! Yes, that's right. Energy(Albeit a big part of this) was only one section. Next, we get to move on to a fun part. I call this
WHY THEY NEVER HAVE ANYTHING FROM THEIR PAST GAMES!
Really! You think that these boobs would get some smarts for all their adventuring and realize keeping their previous stuff might be a good idea. After all, you never know when Sigma or Wily will be at it again. But hey-maybe it isn't their fault! Maybe there's another reason for it.
With Mega Man, I have a few ideas. Mandi Paugh, the creator of THE MEGA MAN HOMEPAGE(
But this still leaves out the Rush Modifications, the Sub-Tanks, the Heart Tanks, the X enhancements(Am I making my point here?)
Rush Modifications are weird to look at. Maybe Light just keeps coming up with new ones(As exampled in how they work) and the old ones he tosses away. Seeking for perfection is a hard task.
Sub-Tanks and Heart Tanks fit into my explanation about why Sub-Tanks were better than E-Tanks. Remember how I said they had figured out waste disposal? It only makes sense the same technology would be applied in these cases. What am I saying? They BIODEGRADE. You know, get turned into dust and other such particles! Then, you have to get new ones in the games after that.
The X enhancements take a bit of digging into the Japanese Mangas to find the answer for. If you've read the X2 Mangas(Or seen some of their early pages at least) You'll see X remembering how he was so anguished over the fact that there had to be so much suffering. You'll also see him tossing his Helmet away in Disgust, and later not wearing his X1 Enhancements, with a binding ring around his Buster arm. Why?
Remember; X is more along the lines of a pacifist. He hates War, he feels disgust for violence and the like. It makes sense after his friend Zero croaked and everyone else did as well he would feel utterly trashed and would want to separate himself from it. But the sod still keeps up leading the 17th. So the answer here comes down to the simple fact X keeps the outfits until he no longer needs them. Then he stores them away for later(Why would he permanently toss them? They're the only link to his past!) And in some cases, uses them again. Where? Well, read the previews for X5. And for EOAD, DUH.
STUFF HERE I'M NOT TOO SURE ABOUT
Well, like I've said up above, you can theorize to the end of time about why you never have anything from past games in your inventory(And I ignore those who are screaming about THE WILY WARS), and Mandi's theories make good sense. But the one thing I'm sure about is what X does with his enhancements after he's done trashing Sigma. I've seen that in the Mangas and in the X5 Previews. So what does this mean? Think for yourselves. Until Capcom comes out with 'The Big Book of Mega Man' we'll be left guessing. And guess we must.
A LOOK AT THE BUSTERS
Huh? Whuzzat? Busters? Great! I need a new Dust Buster. My Dirt Devil bit the big one a while back, and my cat's shedding like a banshee on Just for Men!
Nah. Kidding with you again
When Mega Man first started gallivanting around in Mega Man 1, he was kind of outgunned. So, Light took an existing design of a plasma torch and modified it so it would shoot plasma. Plasma by the way for those sods who haven't been to Chem or Adv. Biology yet is a superheated, supercharged gas. The fourth state of matter, if you will! Anyhoo, here's how I figure it works. Mega Man forms an arm cannon(Which later in MM4 and up is replaced with the term, 'Mega Buster' and so on, but Arm Cannon still works) which basically pulls his hand back and sends out the nozzle end of his weapon. When Mega pulls the trigger, dust and matter is collected around the end of the Buster port, and then juiced up with some energy from Mega's main reactor. This 'weapon' function is a main system. What this does is heat up the air and matter, and effectively turn it into plasma. Then, it gets fired off at incredible speeds(Not light speed, but faster than sound) and possibly hits something. Note how a seemingly invisible form of matter takes color such as white(Or blue and green later on.) Is this an aftereffect, or possibly even one of the stipulations to the process? Possibly. One thing's for sure. Mega wasn't the only person to get this weapons system, although in the first two games it is very powerful than other people's. Who's the first enemy of Mega's to use a plasma shooting device?(Seriously, you know?) Ha! Gotcha there. It's the venerable old 'Met, or Metool(Multipurpose metal robotic tool, from what I can figure of it.) So venerable is the 'Met we see it even into the X series! But I lose my topic focus.
That entire process takes less time than it does for one of us to blink. And it kinda needs to, at the speeds which Mega's fights usually go. Elec Man does an incredible job of going JUST AS FAST as a plasma bullet. In Mega Man 3, the enemies seem to be a bit stronger against the weapon of choice, and that bothers us.
So, in Mega Man 4, we see the new arm cannon: The Mega Buster!(Mark 2, for those who are listening carefully.) This one charges up to a level three blast, which is thrice as strong as a basic shot, and becomes critical for taking out foes. Downside? In some of the NES games, Mega loses the charge when he's hit.
But how was this managed? Well, Light did some thinking. You see, Mega(and X as well) Can form Busters from either hand. They just favor their left more(Which I like, 'cuz I'm a lefty!) and that's the animation you'll see in the games. The problem with the arm cannons is you can't use both at once, or you'll have an overload, and your arms might blow off!(Ouch.) Anyhoo, once you reach maximum charge, I have two theories on what happens to prevent blowout.
Either the Buster stops taking in and 'plasmizing' matter, choosing to maintain the energy it already has, or
It disperses some charge as more plasma replaces it, possibly by a cooling system(Which would fit Protoman's makeout with those lovely heat grilles on his Buster! But we don't see this on Mega, so perhaps Mega's system does not use this cooling method.)
But X seems to have it lucky later on. Remember how I said that you can't use two at once? Well, a few times in the X series, YOU DO! How does Zero stop Vile from trashing you in X1 at Siggy's fortress? HE OVERLOADS HIS BUSTER. It makes sense along the lines of this article that what Zero might have done was override his safety protocols and formed both arm's Busters, charging them until the blast ripped him-and Vile's mech-apart.
But that's only from X1. Notice in X2 and X3, X's X-buster upgrade allows him to shoot plasma from both hands! How'd they manage this? All of a sudden, my line of reasoning's been destroyed!
Not quite, all. Light's upgrades are a pure marvel, and obviously in the waning days of his life, Light found a way to overcome the daunting problems of Buster overload, working wonders with mother plasma. In X2, X shoots two blasts, and in X3, he can combine them for a whopper blast.
So, any other questions about 'Busters?' I didn't think so.
WHAT'S UNSURE HERE
I came up with this line of thinking very easily, and I have managed to keep it well within the line of reality, so from my standpoint, nothing in this section is out of the loop or just plain weird crazy. Can you trust this? Until Capcom comes out with a nonexistent 'Big Book of Mega Man' at least!
Well, this is getting long, and I think it's time we wrap things up here. So, I'll finish with a few points of interest about
THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MM AND MMX!!
Huh? What relationships? Is Erico smoking some bad drugs? Nah. I'm dead serious! Some people on the net just come up with THE CRAZIEST NUTTIES IDEAS THAT ARE DEAD WRONG!!! It ticks me off, and confuses others. What are relationships? What happens to who, who found who, who made who and the like.
First off, let's look at X's discovery and activation. Ignore everything about how Cain made X. That's NUTS! And how some people could say that, I don't know. But here's how it went;
Doc Light made Mega Man X in the waning days of his life. But the dude was still fearful of what might happen should X go nuts, so he gave X a 30 year test period of self diagnostics. 30 years later, a Paleontologist by the name of Cain(No first name ever given, I believe) dug up X's capsule and Light's lab with it. Where's Mega? Where's Roll? Obviously, not there or some mention would have been made. The place is dead empty, period. Anyhoo, Cain activates X and X stumbles around for a while, inhaling data until finally his sentience kicks into gear and he becomes what he is. Now, X is NOT A REPLOID. He is actually the prototype. Reploids(Or more accurately, Repliroids for Replicate Androids) is the robotic race created after Cain uses X's design to start a worldwide revolution. But there's a lot of changes, and the 30 Year Hibernation period is ignored. So what happens? PROBLEMS.
'Maverick' is the term given to reploids who revolted and decided humans were more of a pain than they were worth dealing with. Which might be true, considering how many BAD HUMANS are out there in the world. But anyhoo, we didn't like this. So, the Maverick Hunters were created!(Huzzah, huzzah.) Now up to this point, mavericks are just a bunch of reploids making a conscious decision on their own part and acting with full control.
But all things change, don't they?
In comes a very popular figurehead in the X series, a Crimson Demon by the name of Zero Omega.(What's up with Omega? Really, you only see 'Zero' for his name, so perhaps the word Omega really doesn't even belong here!) Anyhoo, here's how we meet Zero.
It's the spring after X's discovery, and the Hunters have been keeping the peace with a joyless Sigma(who although manages to smile all the time) at the lead as Commander. Well, off in some desert corner of the world there's trouble. Yup, another maverick attack. So, off goes a Hunter Unit led by Garma.(Garma? Play X4, and you'll hear it in Zero's storyline. It might also be Garner, Garna, or Karma. You decide, but the sound is there.) What happens is unexpected. It seems that Garma's Unit has been totally obliterated by a 'crazy red maverick' that is a big pain.
Well, off goes Sigma to see what's happened. Hunter scout patrols have already been posted at the ready, keeping watch over a section of ruins in the mountainside nearby. The maverick's gone inside of them, it seems. Well, Sigma being the rational Hunter he is volunteers to go in there and play hero.(Funny, this doesn't seem to work!)
Now we are witness to a battle of the Titans, where Sigma battles a maverick virus crazed Zero in a fight of survival. Sigma seems to have the upper hand at first, but Zero is just too demented of a puppy to be put down that easy.(Easy? The guy gets his head slammed into the ceiling, and he pops out of it with a wide grin on his face!) So it continues for a while, until at last Sigma gets to be a little concerned about it. This maverick's stronger than he thought! So, what's a Hunter to do? Easy! Pull out his beam saber and play Zorro.
This doesn't seem to work too well, though. And at long last our tainted savior Zero manages to slug off one of Siggy's arms.(Take it easy, there's no blood, just sparks.) Anyhoo, now Sigma REALLY starts to get the crud beat out of him, to the point where he gets those scar marks across his eyes and a huge tear on his cheek. Just as Sigma's about to go on to greener pastures, Zero's crystal cover over his control chip on his head flashes a blazing 'W'(Is this a tipoff to who made him? WILY WILY WILY WILY WILY!) Oi. This glitch is so painful, Zero can't attack. Sigma takes the opportunity and lays a knockout punch to the maverick Zero, which lands right on his helmet and smashes the crystal covering to the control chip. So what happens here? This is where we must look at future history to unravel events.
In X3 Doppler finds the cause for severe maverick action is the 'Maverick Virus.' Well, DUH. This is the thing that Zero was infected with. When Sigma laid out the knockout punch, the file was transferred to him, leaving Zero clean(For the most part, anyways.) of the virus, but making Sigma go maverick and begin the game series with X1. By some odd reason, Zero is not destroyed, which is usually the fate of any maverick.
No, by the time X1 rolls around, Zero has in fact become the leader of the Hunters in place of Sigma! So what happened here? I believe Sigma simply left the part that Zero was the maverick in that area out of it. Why? Perhaps the virus had already taken hold of him, and muddled his judgement. Or something along those lines.
So, the next point is, 'Wily? I thought he was dead!' Take it easy there, sluggers. He still is. But if the blazing yellow 'W' on Zero's crystal helmet cover wasn't clue enough, here's another. In X2, for a while they thought of having a 'W' at the bottom of Zero's health meter when you battled him. So, Wily created Zero. Big deal, right?
VERY BIG DEAL. Wily built Zero in response to X. How'd he know about X? Well, quite simply, because if you've played MM7, Bass stole a whole bunch of plans and stuff from Light's lab-including the schematics for X.
Well, if you were a crazy world-dominating ruler new Napoleon Zealot, the natural reaction to this discovery would be, 'Damn! I must not let good win!' So, Wily got to work on Zero. This is in the later half of the MM series, you know; THE TIMES YET TO BE. But Zero by himself isn't quite up there, no! Not strong enough. And Wily knows he'll be biting the dust soon enough anyways, so he gives Zero a bit of added programming, the nastiest and most devastating computer code ever typed out to a memory file;
That's right, chilluns: Albert Wily made the Maverick Virus. At the time, it didn't have a name. Wily also bestowed the code with a survival program, so that Zero could have others help him out in his quest to just make a mess of everything.
I believe the Maverick Virus has three functions; DESTROY, INFECT, SURVIVE.(In that order!) Nasty little sucka, isn't it? But because it does not infect computers-but walking robots like Mega or even reploids like Zero-it is far more dangerous than any Melissa Virus.
So, Wily 'lights' the candle. When? Perhaps it had an automatic fuse! Like TO BE SET OFF IN THE YEAR 21XX?!
Or, a far more sinister suggestion; Wily finishes implanting the Virus file into Zero and turns the thing on, with instructions to go get rid of Mega and X, if the future blue bomber exists yet. What happens? The Virus works far too well. Zero attacks Wily, Bass and the others in the fortress and destroys them(Which might explain the vivid dream he has in the opening of X4.) Then he goes off on his original mission, and is met with force.
A force he utterly destroys. Perhaps this is why we do not see any of the Mega Man characters in the X series-they were destroyed by Zero!
In any case, along comes 21XX, and we're off.
Now, there are a few minor incidents I've noted in X1 that are worth mentioning.
Notice Sigma's dog, Velguarder. Doesn't he look like Treble?
And Rt-55J, guarding the armor capsule. Is that Auto?
You make up your own minds. But that's what I've got to say here.
WHAT IS MESSED UP HERE?
Well, the stuff I'm not sure about is pretty limited. But in here, some of these views have been questioned before. The Velguarder and RT-55J incidents being two, and also the final fight of Mega Man and friends with a maverick virus crazed Zero are also under dispute. Let us hope X5 clears this mystery up.
So now I think I've said enough. At eight pages, it's not huge, but it's not small either. Leave now with your thinking caps on, and take a look around you. Thinking leads to greater achievements-
As well as greater answers.
-Erico the Super Bard