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MEGAMAN'S ROBOT MASTERS:
PART 1

As many of you know (and many more probably don't know) the MegaMan series of games is one of my all-time favorite series. I remember one summer when our parents were babysitting a couple of our friends for like the whole summer, and practically every day they would say, "Hey, Chris, beat MegaMan for us!" And so I would play through the whole game in one sitting practically every day for an entire summer.

And you know what? I never really got tired of it. So I've decided to pay tribute to the original six games for the 8-bit NES, but more specifically the "Robot Masters" that were the focus of each games. In this first installment (of six) I'm going to be taking a look at the Robot Masters from the original MegaMan.

MegaMan One's Robot Masters were unique because they weren't invented just to kill MegaMan. Dr. Wily and Dr. Light built them together for actual good purposes! Only later would Dr. Wily steal them and reprogram them to run riot over the city.

So let's begin. Click on the Robot Master below that you would like to learn about!



Cutman

Cutman was originally invented by Wily and Light to be a replacement for Lumberjacks. His mighty scissor blade was to fell trees by the thousands! Little did anyone know that Cutman's Rolling Cutter would be used against MegaMan!

Here's your first meeting with the maniacal lumberjack-replacement. He's probably the easiest boss to beat with just your regular gun in MegaMan One, so he's usually the first one to go. His attack consists of throwing his Rolling Cutter at you, like this:

Basiacally all you have to do is jump over it when it comes at you, and maybe when it comes back. Or you can just back yourself up against the right wall and jump as the Cutter bounces off the wall beneath you.

If you have the Super Arm from Gutsman, just pick up the two big blocks on the left side of Cutman's room and bash in his skull with them. He goes down real quick.

And here is our dear Cutman just a split second before his demise:

And like all villains in MegaMan One, you have to actually go over and collect his remains in order to get his weapon. Capcom figured that people were lazy, so in the following games you don't have to actually walk over to it; you get it automatically.

And there you have it. Overall, the Cutman fight is actually one of the better boss fights, especially if you fight him first. It actually takes some timing to avoid his Cutter, and it feels more like you're actually fighting him as opposed to the slaughter that you preside over on all the other bosses.

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Gutsman

Besides from having the most unwieldy name, Gustman is the biggest Robot Master in MegaMan, and therefore the most bad-ass. He was designed to be the construction robot, friend to miners and construction workers. Well, all right, replacement of miners and construction workers. His level is, logically, some sort of a mine/construction site. It is notable for having the first-ever appearance of those lovable hard hats:

Itís also notable for being the most damned difficult level in the game, due to the fact that it has platforms in it that like to drop out from under you. This isnít so bad if you have the timing down, but hoo-boy, it can take several lives to get it. If you have the Magnet Beam from Elecmanís level, then itís not so bad, because you can just walk right past it all. Of course, you canít really get the Magnet Beam until you beat Gutsman, so whatcha gonna do, brutha?

Gutsmanís level also has some comic relief disgruntled miner robots. Angry that Gutsman was supposed to be replacing them, they take out their frustrations by chucking rock picks at our hero:

Anyway. Once you finally get to Gutsman, youíll find heís hard as nails. Not as hard perhaps as the unfortunately-named Hard Man from MegaMan III. Maybe I should have said tough as nails. Yeah, thatís better. Gutsman jumps on the floor and causes earthquakes that make you go all shaky:

Then he throws rocks at you. Big rocks that split into smaller rocks when they hit something (like you). It is actually possible to beat Gutsman with your regular gun, assuming he stays in place. Just let the earthquake hit you, and as soon as you stop juking and jiving jump straight up to avoid the big rock. When you land, start blasting away until the next big quake. If ever Gutsman jumps towards you, youíre pretty much screwed.

Gutsman is ďweakĒ against the Hyper Bombs, but itís really actually pretty hard to hit him with them, because they he has to get hit by the actual explosion, not just by the bomb. So heís a toughie either way. Although if youíve already beaten him, you can grab those rocks on the left side of the screen and bash him over the head with them. That works pretty well, also.

Overall, Gutsman is pretty hard, even if you have the weapon heís weak against. Once you do manage to beat him, you get the Super Arm, which lets you also pick up the big rocks which are scattered about several levels. This also lets you get the Magnet Beam in Elecmanís level.

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Elecman

Elecman was designed by the doctors to be some sort of electrical thing, work at dangerous power plants and the like. So it makes sense that his level seems to be some sort of a dangerous power plant or something. There's a whole lot of electricity everywhere. Elecman's level is even more vertically-oriented than Cutman's.

After you fight through googly-eyed floating pods and the first-even occurance of the disappearing/reappearing blocks, and a whole bunch o' electricity, you make it to Elecman's lair. The space in between the outer door and inner door of Elecman's lair is unique in that it is the only one of any MegaMan game where you have to climb up into the Robot Master's room.

As soon as you get there, Elecman tries the ol' "What's that over there--made you look" gag.

His Thunder Beam does a bitchload of damage to you and is basically unavoidable, so if you go in with low life, expect to explode. But as long as you have the Rolling Cutter from Cutman, this battle takes really only a couple of seconds. Just hit him three times and he goes all blowed up on you. And since Rolling Cutter is a boomerang weapon, you can actually hit Elecman twice with one shot!

Then you get the best weapon in this game (arguably even better than Metal Blade in MM2), the Thunder Beam. If you don't have the Rolling Cutter when you get to Elecman, you're a big freakin' moron. Good luck, dumbass!

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Iceman

You know, I'm not exactly sure what Iceman was originally created for, other than as the opposite of Fireman. Maybe for working in Arctic (or Antarctic!) conditions. At any rate, he's frozen his whole level, and judging from the palm trees in the background, it used to be a tropical paradise!

Iceman's level is very difficult, due to icy surfaces, underwater conditions, a plethora of those vanishing/reappearing blocks, and the entire ending section in which you have to jump from moving platform to moving platform while the platforms shoot at you and kamikaze flying penguin robots try to knock you off.

Take my word for it: That's not a situation you ever want to be in in real life, let alone a video game.

Eventually you get to the man himself. His attack basically consists of shooting out Ice Slasher blasts at three different levels. They travel pretty slowly, and you only have to jump the bottom two.

If you have good timing, Iceman is actually very beatable with your regular gun. If you have Thunder Beam, you can kick his ass before he can even get two full volleys of Ice Slasher out.

Iceman gets you the Ice Slasher, which is one of the more poorly thought-out weapons. It freezes enemies, but you can't do anything with them once they're frozen. In fact, they still hurt you if you bump into them! All you can do is freeze the flame geysers in Fireman's level.

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Fireman

Fireman is another one of those robots that kind of mistifies me as to his original purpose. I guess it's really imporant in the year 20XX to have robots that can throw fire. It helps the economy.

Fireman's level is one of the tougher ones if you don't have the Ice Slasher. It's pretty tough anyway. But with the Ice Slasher you can freeze those flame geysers and actually jump on them to get to places you couldn't otherwise.

There's also this part where these fire blasts are traveling down a track at several times the speed of sound, and you're expected to dodge them. I seem to remember actually being able to do this back in that summer when I beat this game every day. But now in my old age I might as well walk across the freeway as get through this unscathed:

Evenutally, after a lot of lava and general hotness, you get to the big hot daddy himself:

I highly recommend you get Ice Slasher before you come to this room. I also seem to remember being able to beat Fireman with my regular gun, but I'm an old man compared to 12 years ago or however long it was when I was a true MegaMan Master. When I got these screen shots he whipped my ass in about five seconds. He basically shoots those fire blasts (identical to the ones I couldn't dodge earlier in the level, and which I aslo cannot dodge from him) straight ahead. A lot of them, very, very quickly.

It is actually possible to jump over them, but they have a side effect. A big ball of fire appears underneath you whenever you jump, so you can't just jump straight up and down. You have to move laterally in the air, come down in between fire blasts, shoot, and then be up in the air in the .00067 seconds between fire blasts.

If you have Ice Slasher, just hold your ground and take your lumps while you pound the bastard back. If you have a good amount in your life bar, you'll easily beat him before he beats you.

Fireman gives you the Fire Storm weapon, which is actually like two weapons in one. It shoots a smaller version of Fireman's big blasts, but it also creates another ball of flame that quickly circles around the Blue Bomber's body, acting like a force field against enemies for a second or so. It's pretty powerful, and shoots straighter than Thunder Beam does, so it's one of the most practical weapons in the game.

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Bombman

Dr. Light and Wily made Bombman to be a demolition man, much like Sly Stallone in the movie of the same name. Okay, nothing like that. But he does lob around big cartoony, turn-of-the-century fuse bombs, like something Snidely Whiplash would threaten Nell with. So that's pretty cool.

Bombman now hangs out in a really cool section of the city, with big metal globes up on poles. His level is pretty fun, although like Cutman's it's kinda generic (how do you theme around bombs?). There is a cool part where these exploding things jump out of holes and throw shrapnel at you and as long as you keep moving you don't get hit.

Bombman's level is also notable for the appearance of Sniper Joe. Sniper Joe, in some form or another, will come back to haunt every single MegaMan game for the NES. This is actually one of his toughest incarnations, because he's almost completely random about when he jumps and shoots (the only times you can hit him).

Anyway. The entrance to Bombman's level is vertical, but you drop down into it instead of climbing up like into Elecman's room.

Bombman is probably the easiest boss to beat, maybe even more so than Cutman. The main theme with beating him is Charge! You wouldn't think it would be smart to run headlong into a robot that is loaded with explosives, but it works.

Bombman aims for where you are at the moment he throws, so if you keep moving he just lobs the bombs over your head. Just shoot the bejesus out of him as you charge, and when you get too close he'll panic and jump over you to the other side of his room. Just turn around and keep pressing and he'll go down really quickly.

If you have the Fire Storn from Fireman the strategy is just the same. The only difference is Bombman ends up a heap of broken circuitry a lot faster.

When you beat him, you get his bombs. They're called Hyper Bombs for some reason. It's a nice weapon becuase it actually conforms to the terrain and bounces around. It has a big blast radius and does heavy damage.

Overall, Bombman's fight is pretty fun, becasue even if you have Fire Storm it takes six hits or so to beat him, not two or three like usual, so you actually get to experience some of the fight. This battle has always been one of my favorit MegaMan boss fights of any of the games. He's also a good one to fight first because you can easily beat him without any special weapons.

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And there you have it. This is a really good set of Robot Masters, not just becasue they're the first and therefore are classic. They also fit really well together, and the weapons you get from them are all different and complementary. In fact, all the weapons are very practical for use in everyday level beating. I often just switch to Fire Storm or Thunder Beam and play through a level without hardly ever using my regular gun. Cutman and bombman are good for getting things slightly higher and lower than you. Stuff like that, that was pretty much lost in later MegaMan games, where most of the weapons you get are only good for killing off the Robot Master that is weak against it.

Coming soon: MegaMan's Robot Masters: Part 2!

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