[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mmz_series_5075.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Promotional art for ''Mega Man Zero 3''.\\
[-Background, clockwise from the top: [[BigBad Weil]], [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Weil's Numbers]] (eight), and [[DragonInChief Omega]].\\
Foreground, left to right: [[AntiHero Zero]] and [[RebelLeader Ciel]].-] ]]
Another entry into Capcom's popular flagship series ''Franchise/MegaMan'', although it is a more direct sequel to ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' and is even {{Darker and Edgier}} than the latter series. The first game was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2002 and continues the story of Zero, the partner and best friend of the latter series' protagonist.

A century after the [[WorldSundering Elf Wars]], themselves an unknown number of years after the X series, Zero awakens to find the world is still not at peace and Reploids are being hunted by Neo Arcadia, a utopia for humans and Reploids GoneHorriblyWrong. Ciel, a human scientist who leads the Reploid resistance, revives Zero and asks for his help in stopping Neo Arcadia and to bring peace between humans and Reploids.

The series lasted for four games and spawned a sequel series, ''VideoGame/MegaManZX'', which currently stands at two installments. A CompilationRerelease of the entire saga has also been released for the NintendoDS.

Keep in mind that many of the following tropes contain '''spoilers'''. You've been warned.

See the series's [[Characters/MegaManZero character page]] for more info.

Vote on the best game in the series [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/BestEpisode/MegaManZero?open=all#kzgo7mov here]].
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!!Tropes present in the Mega Man Zero series:
* AfterTheEnd: This series is set after ''two'' apocalyptic events, the [[ColonyDrop Eurasia Crisis]] of ''X5'' and the [[WorldSundering Elf Wars]].
* AllDesertsHaveCacti: In ''Zero 2'' intro stage, you'll find robotic cacti that can shoot thorns. Averted in Z1 and Z3, though.
* AllThereInTheManual: Much of the backstory and plot details are given in drama tracks, but not in the games themselves.
** Also the [[ConceptArtGallery Official Complete Works]].
* AllYourPowersCombined: The "mimic elf" in the fourth game; it has 21 abilities that were adapted from cyber-elves from the previous games. And, in Ultimate Mode, nearly all these abilities can be used without ''a single penalty'', and, true to the trope, ''[[GameBreaker all at the same time]]''.
** Sometimes the Ultimate Mode can [[AwesomeButImpractical backfire]], since the constant stream of elemental shots can obscure your view, and can trigger an enemy's invincibility frames just before you unleash a much more effective strike. And because of how the abilities stack, having all three elemental shots active is the only way to use the increased defense. However, the health boosts do NOT stack (although you DO get the random health pickup drops). It isn't much of a penalty, since the highest health power up is the equivalent of the max health bar from previous games.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: In ''Zero 4'', [[spoiler:Craft fired the Kill Sat Ragnarok at Neo Arcadia, trying to kill the Dr. Weil. The attack, according to the manual, claimed 20,000,000 deaths of innocents. Yet the intended target ironically survives]].
** Earlier, in the third game, [[spoiler:the missile containing Omega successfully hit a whole city block, claiming thousands of lives]].
* AndroidsArePeopleToo: Played with. The reploids in Neo Arcadia are treated as second class citizens, except for the higher-ups in its governing body as well as the reploid army. However it's implied that they were treated the same as humans when X was still the ruler, seeing as it's his dream.
* AntlionMonster: The [[http://megaman.wikia.com/wiki/Sand_Jaws Sand Jaws]] enemies lie in a middle of a quicksand pit, waiting for the player; they'll then bite the player for slow but continuous pain.
* ArcWelding: Unlike the [[VideoGame/MegaMan two]] [[VideoGame/MegaManX series]] that preceded it, every ''Zero'' game has a different BigBad. This is shot down by ''Zero 3'' and ''Zero 4'', wherein the BigBad those two games have in common, Dr. Weil, can be easily marked responsible for the events of the previous two, making him the BigBad for the entire ''Zero'' series.
* ArtEvolution[=/=][[ArtShift Shift]]: In part because the new character designer for the series, Toru Nakayama.
** Also, much of the concept art and character mugshots in Z1 are incredibly sketchy compared to the cleaned up style of all the subsequent games. Zero also looks gradually more masculine as the series goes on.
* AscendedFridgeHorror: Worked into a PostScriptSeason. ''Zero 3'' was the original GrandFinale, but Weil is left alive and essentially with sole rulership over Neo Arcadia, which kicks off the plot of ''Zero 4''.
* AstralFinale: The fourth game ends up with Zero breaking in to the KillSat Ragnarok and trying to destroy it from within.
* AudioAdaptation: The drama tracks in ''Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero'' (the first, ''Telos'', and ''Physis''). ''Telos''[='s=] tracks act as [[AllThereInTheManual supplements to the main story]], while the tracks on the first album and ''Physis'' are simply voiced versions of scenes from their respective games with a bit of AdaptationExpansion.
* AutobotsRockOut: The final boss theme from ''Zero 4'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p9hQokrhuc Falling Down]].
* AwardBaitSong: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WctXJTxuHj4 Freesia]] from the ''Remastered Tracks Physis'' album, which seems to be about Ciel's love for Zero.
* BackgroundBoss: The Carnage Force 0 (the second stage boss), Hell The Giant (the boss encountered in Neige's prison), and Randam Bandam (after beating Craft the second time) in ''Zero 4''.
* BattleTops: The Top Gabyoall, which is the series' version of TheSpiny found in the classic series.
* BerserkButton: Although he's aware that he's not the X that everyone loves, Copy X will still be angry when one mentions that X will be always better than him. Fortunately, that one guy is Zero.
--> '''Zero''': He was not as naive as you are. That's what made him a hero.
* BittersweetEnding: The end of ''Zero 4''. Sure, the bad guy is killed and the world is saved and peace is restored but...[[spoiler:the ending cutscene starts off with Zero's survival in deep doubt. Ciel runs off to a hill to cry her heart out in peace. She then regains her composure and looks hopefully to the sky, telling Zero to come back soon...[[TearJerker cue a shot of his broken helmet and strewn mechanical parts in a crater somewhere]]]].
* BlindIdiotTranslation: All the games have this to some extent, especially the first.
** In ''Zero 1'':
--->'''Ciel:''' "It was I who [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment recreated the duplication]] of X..."
** Also in ''Zero 1'', when you approach Ciel to save or start a mission:
--->'''Ciel:''' "What's now?"
** In ''Zero 2'', Ciel's computer asks: "[[YouDoNotWantToKnow Do you want to know?]]" Ciel also constantly uses the word "subsequent" in reference to her new form of energy, when the obvious intended meaning is "substitute."
** Some of the boss names suffered, especially Tretista Kelverian. As he's a Cerberus-themed character, his name is clearly supposed to be Tritesta[[note]]Latin for "three heads"[[/note]]Cerberian. Indeed, the names are mangled to the point where they sound like they should make sense, you just can't point out how, exactly.
** The ''Zero 3'' database listed [[HeroAntagonist Phantom]] as the "Evil Dark Lord". It should have been "Shadow General". The other Guardians also get odd-sounding prefixes, but at least those fit their characteristics.
* BlobMonster: The Rainbow Devil in ''Zero 1'' and ''2''.
* BloodierAndGorier: The original Japanese games are ''FAR'' more graphic than classic ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' and even ''VideoGame/MegaManX'': The first game opened with each RedShirtArmy Reploid who got killed die with [[SymbolicBlood a large splash of red mech fluid- A.K.A. Reploid blood]]. The same fluid splashed out of bosses that you bisected with the Z-Saber. However, in the American export, where game ratings are considerably less flexible, the game was changed into BloodlessCarnage to market it to the younger kids without parental objections. Unless you have a sick kick for slashing up robots, it really doesn't ruin the gameplay- but it puts into perspective that this is a CrapsackWorld and AnyoneCanDie- '''painfully.'''
* BolivianArmyEnding
** Literally in ''Zero 1'', where Zero faces down an enormous army of Pantheons after defeating Copy-X. However, ''Zero 2'' opens with Zero still cutting his way through the army. [[{{Badass}} It's been a year since the end of the previous game]].
** [[spoiler:In ''Zero 4'', Zero's fate after re-entry is left "unknown"]].
* BossRush: It's a series tradition.
** In ''Zero 2'', one of the Boss fights is a DualBoss: a Boss from the previous game, joining his "brother" from this game to fight Zero together.
** ''Zero 3'' and ''4'' {{handwaved}} this trope, since the main field of research of the BigBad before his StartOfDarkness is "Reploid [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots DNA]] revival".
* BossWarningSiren: A '''WARNING''' sign flashes on the screen just like in the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series, only this time it appears ''after'' the boss' monologue, if any.
* BottomlessPitRescueService: In ''3'' with the Cyber Elves, but only once per Elf...unless when you upgrade them into Satellite-Elves, which makes them last forever and thus, you ''[[GameBreaker could not die from pits]]''. Also in ''4'', where the nature of the special elf also gives the same result as above.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: A very mild version. In order to keep an E rating, the blood sprays were edited out of the American release. Arguably for the better, since even the robots bled in the original. Presumable it's supposed to be some kind of oil.
** And then for ''Zero Collection'' for the DS, they're inexplicably [[SubvertedTrope left in]].
*** but in return some of the revised translated script kept the words ''death'', ''die'' and ''kill'' from [[NeverSayDie being used too often]].
* BraggingRightsReward: Getting S ranks. A rank is sufficient to get any of the unlockable content, and S rank is damn hard to achieve in some levels, especially if you're playing on Hard Mode.
** Subverted in ''2'' and ''3'', where you got a new technique (see PowerCopying) that made the game easier if you ranked A or higher. Played straight in ''4'' where getting the power had nothing to do with rank.
** Not to mention the mini games from ''Zero 3'', including the ones you got by getting 100 points on each level, aka finishing quickly, not being hit more than once per level, destroy as many mooks as you see, not using any Cyber Elves, not falling to bottomless pits/spikes of doom, and not failing the mission by going to Cyberspace. Simple, right?
* BrokenAesop: Kinda. The Neo Arcadians hold the HumansAreSpecial idea to the extremes, yet in this game, [[HumansAreBastards Humans Are (Mostly) Bastards]]. But in Zero 4, humans finally learn to put their differences aside and try to bring and maintain peace.
** Also, Zero believes that there's still good humans to bring peace.
* BroughtToYouByTheLetterS: All bosses for the first three games have the Greek letter Omega as their symbol (due to it being the symbol of Neo Arcadia); the fourth game replaces this with W/V. Zero's own signature Z is gone, [[ArtShift for obvious reasons]], but concept art for the Z-Knuckle shows that the chips representing the weapon retains the iconic symbol.
** The 4 Guardians have an X on their chest, as well as on their back.
* BusFullOfInnocents: Area Z-3079, a ''whole city block'', the target of a missile by Dr. Weil [[spoiler:with Omega inside, who was sent to capture the Dark Elf spotted inside the area]]. Needless to say, [[spoiler:Zero fails the mission, with hundreds of innocents killed]].
** There's also one in the final game, which is [[spoiler:all of Neo Arcadia itself!]] Not part of the BigBad's plans; in fact, the target of the attack was Dr. Weil himself, by his BastardUnderstudy.
* ButThouMust: In ''Zero 2'', refusing to help Elpizo with Operation Righteous Strike near the beginning of the game simply ends the conversation. However, there is literally nothing else to do other than roll around the base, which Elpizo snarkily lampshades if you initially refuse. Later on, once the operation commences, the two navigators will take turns begging you to follow Elpizo until you accept.
* ChangelingFantasy: Elpizo acts like this mentality [[TomeOfEldritchLore after reading about Project Elpis in an abandoned library supercomputer]], confusing himself [[{{Muggle}} (a representative Reploid with a serial number, TK-31)]] with [[TheAntichrist Omega]]. However, he does not fully embrace it until losing Operation Righteous Strike, where he thought it was the only way to be [[TragicDream redeemed as a hero]] after [[IDidWhatIHadToDo all the atrocities he committed]].
* ColorCodedElements: Fire is associated with Red, Water/Ice is associated with Blue, Electric/Wind is associated with both Green and Yellow, and Non-elemental is associated with Purple. This is later brought out into the ''ZX'' series.
* ContinuingIsPainful: In ''Zero 2'', dying knocks three points off of your mission score. This is perfectly fair. However, dying also removes any points you'd accumulated from destroying enemies. God forbid you try to perfect-run the final stage.
* ContinuityNod: In ''Zero 1'', Copy X's arsenal is chock full of these. [[spoiler: He has an offensive Slide Attack similar to the Charge Kick from Mega Man 5, and his elemental attacks are basically the Shotgun Ice, Fire Wave and Electric Spark weapons from the original ''VideoGame/MegaManX1'' game]].
** Phoenix Magnion in ''Zero 2'', being an illusion specialist, is able to draw from Zero's memories images of his old foes from the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series to torment him. Vile, Agile, Bit and Colonel pop up for some tag team fun.
** In ''Zero 4'', Dr. Weil summons the bosses from ''3'' to assault the hero.
*** Again in ''4'', the setting is the ColonyDrop from ''VideoGame/MegaManX 5'', ironically the target of the game's own ColonyDrop.
** The final mission in the first game takes place in an orbital elevator, like the [[MacGuffin Jacob]] from ''VideoGame/MegaManX8''. While ''X8'' came out ''after Z1'', this arguably brings the post-''X5'' series out of CanonDisContinuity.
** In the first game, you encounter Repliforce (from ''VideoGame/MegaManX4'') submarines.
** Ceratanium, a [[{{Unobtainium}} special alloy]] that was last mentioned in the [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic classic series]], returns in ''Zero 4''.
** In the Hibernation Chamber level of ''Zero 4'' there are various iron pipes that Zero can use with the Z-knuckle. Zero used an iron pipe against Sigma back when he first awoke from hibernation in ''VideoGame/MegaManX''.
** A [[LowerDeckEpisode Lower Deck Drama Track]] features Alouette wandering the Resistance base in search of a name for the Baby Elves. Zero refuses to even attempt naming them, which ticks Alouette off. In ''Zero 4'', if you refuse to use Alouette's name for your new elf, you are not allowed to [[HelloInsertNameHere name it yourself]] and Zero has to wander the trailer looking for names.
** One of Andrew's {{Rambling Old Man Monologue}}s is about the time one of his students gave him a three-leaf clover after failing to find a four-leaf clover. Later on, Brise states that clovers used to remind her grandmother of her teacher.
** Similarly, in ''Zero 3'' (again), between the first boss set (four of Eight Gentle Judges) and the third set (other four judges), the second set (3 bosses) and the one after the Judges are remakes of four bosses from Zero 1: Blizzack Stagroff R, Hanumachine R, Anubistep Necromanses V (the Zero 1 version was Anubistep Necromanses the Third), and Copy X Mk. 2.
* CharacterTitle
** SpotlightStealingTitle
** ArtifactTitle: There's no mention of "Mega Man" in the series. The "Mega Man" part of the title is just to assure players that this game is a part of the franchise.
* ChromaticArrangement: The remaining three of the Four Guardians in ''Zero 2'': Harpuia is green, Fefnir is red and Leviathan is blue.
* CombatAndSupport: Zero and Ciel respectively.
* CrapsackWorld: Supposedly set up by the ColonyDrop in the [[VideoGame/MegaManX previous series]]. Ironically, the "cure" to this dying condition is in the ruins of the aforementioned ColonyDrop itself.
** GaiasLament: The entire world was laid to ruin as a result of the Elf Wars before the start of the series, [[spoiler:with 60% of all humans and 90% reploids being wiped out]].
** However, with tons of hard work and sacrifices, it slowly becomes AWorldHalfFull.
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas: Neo Arcadia.
* CustomUniform: The only ones in LaResistance who don't wear the green uniform are Ciel, Alouette, Zero and Elpizo.
%%* CutsceneIncompetence
* CyberCyclops: Pantheons are eerie, one-eyed mockeries of X's design.
* {{Cyberspace}}: Part of the gameplay in ''Zero 3'', supposedly caused by [[spoiler:the arrival of Omega]]. In ''Zero 4'', the storyline requires Zero to enter one.
* DarkerAndEdgier: And [[BloodierAndGorier bloodier]], if you're playing a Japanese copy. This is the darkest saga in the series, hands down.
* DiagonalCut[=/=]HalfTheManHeUsedToBe: Pretty much ''any'' enemy killed by the Z-Saber or any bladed weapon. [[IncrediblyLamePun Division by Zero]], if you will.
** HitStop: Happens to the bosses if you do the above to them.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: All of the Guardians but Phantom remark that Zero makes them feel "so alive" when battling him. Several times after a battle you'll hear them panting it.
* DownerBeginning: The first game: It starts with LaResistance being oppressed by the Neo Arcadian forces as they run away in a DramaticChaseOpening. Several of the {{Red Shirt}}s get [[BodyHorror cut in half]] by the [[GiantMook Golems]]. As Zero is [[SealedBadassInACan unsealed]], only Ciel was alive.
* DrillTank: One of the bosses in ''Zero 1''.
* DynamicDifficulty: If you have A or S rank when you're fighting bosses, they'll have a special move. The Guardians will have a DesperationAttack that makes them invincible during execution. In ''Zero 4'', if the stage's weather is compatible with the boss (indicated with highlighted lines near the stage icon), the boss and the stage will be harder.
* EarnYourFun: The "Ultimate Mode". To elaborate, you'll start the game with all of the Cyber-elves abilities activated without any penalty. It also has good stats, and you can do instant charged attacks using button commands. In ''Zero 3'', some of the upgrade chips are also available from the start, including the [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Boots]]. That's worth all the effort of GottaCatchThemAll (specifically, the Cyber-Elves).
** The ''Mega Man Zero Collection'' subverts this with Easy Scenario, which automaticly starts the games in their "Ultimate Modes", but they have to be played in sequental order.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: The peaceful era after hundreds of years of war has finally come, and the enmity is finally dissolved between humans and [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots Reploids]] by the two sides working together. However, it's subverted in that, those who really fought hard for such peace, [[spoiler:X and Zero]], sadly never had the chance to see it (at least, not on the earthly plane).
* EmergencyEnergyTank: Some Cyber-elves can function as this; some heal directly, some give extra lives, some become Sub-Tanks, etc.
* EmpireWithADarkSecret: Unknown to the human residents of Neo Arcadia, their utopia comes at a price: the [[DeadlyEuphemism retirement]] of their fellow (innocent) Reploid citizens. [[HumansAreBastards Then again, maybe they just don't care]].
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: DoubleSubversion in ''Zero 4'': the ColonyDrop really isn't going to bring out the aforementioned effect; however, seeing as the target of the drop is a NewEden area in a CrapsackWorld, it arguably comes close.
* EnergyBeing: The Cyber Elves.
* EscortMission: Two in the first game: in the intro stage (where you escort Ciel) and in Anubis Necromancess III's stage (where you escort one of the RedShirts).
* EvilOverlooker: See page image.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Copy-X's stage in the third game, which extends all the way into outer space.
* FantasticRacism: As a result of the discrimination, most mass produced reploids have NoNameGiven, being simply called by their designated serial numbers, like TK-31 or HE-22. It was Ciel who named most of the Resistance members, and she seems to [[ThemeNaming love birds]].
* FinishingMove: Subverted with the EX Skills of most [[BossBattle Boss]] enemies (even including those that can't be, [[PowerCopying obtained]]).
* FireIceLightning: Literally, as the simplified version of the ElementalRockPaperScissors compared to its predecessors, where, on the second game onwards, Bosses are always grouped in fours (one for each element and the fourth for a non-elemental). Three of the four Guardians, Fefnir, Leviathan and Harpuia, respectively, even embody these elements. ''VideoGame/MegaManZX'' would also follow this trend.
* FiveBadBand:
** Copy X and the Four Guardians (although the latter [[AntiVillain aren't exactly "villains"]]).
*** BigBad: Copy X
*** TheDragon: Harpuia (the [[NobleTopEnforcer morally-better]] [[DragonAscendant spiritual successor]])
*** EvilGenius: Phantom [[note]]the only one of the five to try both a sneak attack and a boss fight before his stage even begins. His division in the Neo Arcadian army is also stated as the Intelligence Unit. He could also be considered the second Dragon as well, considering he's the most [[UndyingLoyalty loyal]] to Copy X, to the point of trying to [[TakingYouWithMe take Zero with him]].[[/note]]
*** TheBrute: Fefnir. He's powerful [[HotBlooded and impulsive]].
*** DarkChick: Leviathan.
** In ''Zero 3'':
*** BigBad and EvilGenius: Dr. Weil
*** TheDragon: [[RoboticPsychopath Omega]]. ''Very'' AxCrazy, yet loyal to Weil.
*** TheBrute: [[DiscOneFinalBoss Copy X Mk-II]] (a ruthless KnightTemplar who is easily manipulated by Weil and is very aggresive in battle.)
*** {{The Dark Chick}}s and {{Sixth Ranger}}s: Baby Elves (they're considered "[[EnergyBeing distant]]" enough from the other members and only recruited 1/3 into the story.)
*** {{Sixth Ranger Traitor}}s: Harpuia, Fefnir and Leviathan (they're stripped of their positions and later aid Zero in his battle against Omega.) The same is also true of [[spoiler:Phantom]] by his verbal support, but he is stuck in [[spoiler:Cyberspace]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Each game has at least one example before an important {{reveal}}, in the form of character's dialogues. In order:
** Before the gauntlet that are the final levels:
-->'''Unknown Elf ([[spoiler:the real X]]):''' "Go. Terminate that copy of me. Terminate with extreme prejudice..."
** After one of the first missions:
--> '''X''': "The Baby Elves will do anything to reunite with their mother. Stir the humans' minds and bring chaos...It's all to meet their mother, the Dark Elf...The Dark Elf that I sealed..."
** Upon defeating Omega in the first encounter, Copy X and Dr. Weil issue a challenge to LaResistance to find out who can capture the Dark Elf first. Before leaving, Weil gives the following cryptic remark:
-->"Let's see how far you get with that body!"
** Before being sent off to the Ragnarok core to stop the ColonyDrop:
--->'''Ciel''': "With [[spoiler:both Weil and]] Craft gone, who could still be running Ragnarok? Zero, [[StarWars I have a bad feeling about this]]. Just be careful, okay?"
*** Also, in the ''Rockman Zero 4'' commercial, [[MyLifeFlashedBeforeMyEyes Zero disappears into light]]. Subtle.
* FourIsDeath: Aside from the Four Guardians, there's the Elf Wars, that lasted for only four years, yet brought so much damage to the world. Partial subversion: The only reason the war ended on its fourth year [[spoiler:was because of Zero only reappearing at that time]]. Also, there are four games in the series.
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble -- the five major bosses in the first game: Copy-X (the Cynic), Phantom (the Apathetic and pragmatist), Harpuia (the Conflicted), Fefnir (the Optimist), and Leviathan (the Realist).
* FourStarBadass: The 4 Guardians technically qualify, as they're generals of their respective armies.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble:
** Among the Four Guardians: The loyalist, rule-keeping Phantom (choleric/melancholic), the reliable and civil Harpuia (phlegmatic/melancholic), the encouraging but TriggerHappy Fefnir (sanguine/choleric), and the self-centered but playful Leviathan (leukine/phlegmatic).
%%* FromBadToWorse
* FunWithAcronyms: The '''C'''onvergent '''I'''gnition by '''E'''nergen '''L'''inkage System.
* TheGoodTheBadAndTheEvil: Zero and LaResistance are the '''good'''; Copy X, the 4 Guardians and Neo Arcadia in general are the "bad" (at least at first); Dr. Weil and Omega are '''very evil'''.
** The time comes when Neo Arcadia and the 4 Guardians join with the '''good'''; Copy-X progressively worsens until in Zero 3 he's become just as '''evil''' as Weil and Omega!
* TheGovernment: Neo Arcadia, which started out as a peaceful city-state where humans and robots lived in peace until it became fascist and genocidal after the disappearance of its original leader.
* GrandFinale: The first in the series to have one (followed only a few months later by ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork''). [[spoiler:The fascist government that the heroes are fighting against is finally gone, and the BigBad, desperate, is getting ready to destroy the last hope of healing a [[CrapsackWorld dying Earth]] with a ColonyDrop. The hero confronts the BigBad, [[HeroicSacrifice passing up the chance to escape to safety]] so he can stop the ColonyDrop and the BigBad once and for all. Add the fact that [[SugarWiki/CrowningMomentOfAwesome the hero finally finds his purpose in fighting the war]], a [[HeroicBSOD problem that has plagued him]] since the ''[[VideoGame/MegaManX previous series]]'', and that peace is ''finally'' restored after a very, '''''very''''' long time]].
** The last bit is a clincher, since [[spoiler:Zero, who was created by the same [[BigBad Dr. Wily]] who started the entire RobotWar in the first place, is the one who finally ended it. Of course he also [[DoomMagnet stopped it by]] dying]].
* GreatOffscreenWar: The Elf Wars.
* GreenAesop: Plot of the final game: Protecting the last trace of nature from a villain bent on making sure that his [[TheEmpire empire]] is the only habitable place left on Earth.
* GuideDangIt: You can't [[GottaCatchThemAll find all the Cyber-elves]] without one.
** ''Zero 2'' only slightly hints at the [[PaletteSwap Forms system]]; after that, the players will have to rely on luck unlocking each of them unless they consult a guide. A player can possibly even go through the whole game without unlocking a single one (until completion, of course, [[spoiler:where the BraggingRightsReward for beating the game is the Proto Form]].
** In ''Zero 3'', players tend to ignore entering {{Cyberspace}} so as not to lower their rank. However, entering the Cyberspace in a specific stage is key to obtaining the [[InfinityPlusOneSword best foot chip]] in the game.
** You have to guess most of the recipes in the ItemCrafting feature in ''Zero 4'', unless, [[CaptainObvious of course...]].
* GuiltBasedGaming: In this series, Zero can find powerups to upgrade his abilities and activate some temporary cheats. The problem about it is that the powerups are ''[[RidiculouslyCuteCritter Ridiculously Cute Critters]]'' that you raise and "eat". The third game softens this by allowing you to equip some Cyber Elves without sacrificing them while the fourth has just one elf that mimics the abilities of the others.
** Lampshaded in the first game:
--> '''Ciel''': Have you ever heard of a thing called Cyber-elf? A Cyber-elf is an electronic entity that gives some kind of a power. But once they use their powers, they die...I feel sorry for them...
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: Happens in ''Zero 2''. The first half of the game has Zero taking care of missions for LaResistance, or, more specifically, for its new commander Elpizo, in preparation for his Operation Righeteous Strike. When the Operation turns out to be a disaster, Elpizo becomes the designated BigBad of the game, and the second half is spent trying to find him, and stop him from his plans.
* HandshakeRefusal: Elpizo introduces himself to Zero as the new commander of the resistance and offers his hand after announcing his plans to destroy Neo Arcadia. Zero refuses both the plans and the handshake.
* {{Hellevator}}: The Giant Elevator in ''Zero 3''. You take a massive elevator deep into the earth to fight a boss who's based off [[HellHound Cerberus]].
* HitboxDissonance: A couple times, noticeably in the first level of Zero 2.
* HonorBeforeReason: The Guardians and the Neo Arcadian army are all heroic guys, but they are bound to obey the will of Neo Arcadia, even if that "will" is obviously either A. That of a fascist tyrant who goes against everything the city once stood for, or B. A human government who is greedy and uncaring.
* HopelessBossFight: Subverted in ''Zero 1''[='s=] first boss. Your only weapon is the buster, which at this point can only do one point of damage at a time, and the boss's MercyInvincibility makes it practically an exercise in futility. However, midway into the fight, [[spoiler:X as]] a Cyber-elf will appear and [[SecondHourSuperpower grant Zero his Z-Saber]], which will OneHitKill the boss.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Revealed in one dialogue during ''Zero 3'', stating that humans of the dystopian Neo Arcadia only indulge themselves in food and comfort, letting the authorities do the thinking for them while regarding the conflicts Zero and Ciel have been fighting as mere daily news on the televisions. The whole GovernmentConspiracy and PropagandaMachine aimed at the Resistance don't help. In ''Z4'', Zero also further condemns humans fleeing from Weil's iron fist as cowardly beings who would do nothing about their refugee leader getting kidnapped just to avoid another war. It is not until Craft blows up the city that the humans finally wake up with terrible pain in their minds.
** Dr. Weil also implies in the third game that Humans innately feel that ruling all the eye can see and making others work for them is the ultimate joy for them, and believes that no Reploid could ever understand this joy, although Zero [[ShutUpHannibal counters this]] by stating that he doubts any decent human would understand Weil's viewpoint, either.
* HumansAreSpecial: The villains all hold this view, to the extreme. But played straight in ''Zero 4'', where Zero has a short line about how humans are the ones who can change the world [[spoiler:and tells Craft the reason he failed is because he was a reploid built for war, while Zero was fighting for Ciel (a human)]].
* HumongousMecha: There is a Boss in the first game that qualifies, "Hittide Hottide". Needless to say that the ''entire mission'' is spent trying to destroy this monster. Also a borderline example of BattleshipRaid.
** Also, the Golems.
** Hell the Giant and Carnage Force 0 from ''Zero 4'', who are [[{{Expy}} expies]] to the intro bosses from ''X2'' and ''X3''.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: Although it is only one uniquely-named mode, the ''[[EasierThanEasy Ultimate Mode]]'' present in all four games. It's almost always the hardest mode to unlock (all games present a GottaCatchThemAll requisite), with good reason: it's the best mode of play in the series. Simply put, it's a middle point for hardcore players who resent [[note]]The DS rerelease adds "Easy Scenario", which gives you all permanent cyber elf effects and the Ultimate Form where applicable[[/note]] ''NORMAL'' Mode, and casual ones and/or "newcomers" who resent Hard Mode, arguably enjoyable for both tiers.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: With the exception of the first album, the ''Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero'' soundtracks are all given Greek philosophical subtitles: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idea Idea]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telos_(philosophy) Telos]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physis Physis]], and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythology Mythos]].
* InexplicableTreasureChests: The boxes containing Cyber Elves (1 and 2) and Secret Disks (3).
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The Ultimate Mode (Form in ''2''). Handed to you at the start of them on Easy Scenario mode in the DS rerelease.
** The secret Cyber Elf Jackson in ''1''. Which is also handed to you at the start of the game on Easy Scenario Mode in the DS rerelease.
** Ultima Foot Parts in ''3''. ALSO handed to you on Easy Scenario Mode in the DS rerelease.
* InvisibleToNormals: Cyber-elves can usually only be seen by reploids. Ciel is an exception to this, thanks to an innate ability to interact with them.
* ItemCrafting: In ''4'', Zero makes customization chips out of "recipes" of enemy parts.
* KillSat: The true means of Operation Ragnarok.
* JapaneseBeetleBrothers: The subbosses Herculious Anchortus and Kuwagust Anchus in the first two games, respectively.
* LampshadeHanging: Occasionally. An NPC in ''Zero 2'' remarks on [[FridgeLogic the difficulty of getting pictures of bosses for the stage select]], and a mod card NPC in ''Zero 3'' will note Zero's CelibateHero tendencies if you refuse her advances. Another mod card NPC speculates about why the [[BridgeBunnies operators]] have NoNameGiven ([[DefiedTrope after he tells you their names]]).
* LandSeaSky: Fighting Fefnir, Fairy Leviathan, and Sage Harpuia respectively.
* LastNoteNightmare: The [[http://youtu.be/ypQSD9adrnE Mythos]]-version of ''1''s ''[[http://youtu.be/rRRhSqZjE9Q Resistance]]''-theme ends off on one of these, for some reason.
* LegacyBossBattle: in 3, taking a secret detour in the second fortress stage will take you to a teleporter. Go inside, and you'll meet [[spoiler:Phantom from the first game, or rather his "ghost" since he self-sacrificed]]. Defeat him and you'll get the [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Foot Chip]].
* LethalJokeItem: Ever make "Junk" out of ItemCrafting in ''Z4''? They're actually ingredients for the Junk Armor, a set of armor that makes him even more of a GlassCannon and doubles all damage he deals and receives. There are also S-crystals, which are never used as Custom Chips either, but make two of them and bring them to your friend Hirondelle for two free Sub-tanks.
* LethalLavaLand: Phoenix Magnion and Fefnir's stage in ''Zero 2''; Blazin' Flizard's stage in ''3''.
* LevelsTakeFlight: At one of the turning points of ''Zero 2'' (right after the failed attack on Neo Arcadia and during Elpizo's subsequent FaceHeelTurn), Zero has to cross an entire air fleet of Neo Arcadian vessels in order to hijack and stop a missile that Neo Arcadia launched at the Resistance Base.
* LivingBattery: Cyber-elves, and in particular, the Nurse types, function this way.
* LockedOutOfTheFight: In the third game, the 4 Guardians only show up to aid Zero after he defeats all three of the FinalBoss' forms.
* LostForever: ''Zero 1'' is bad about this with the Cyber Elves. In each stage, at least half of the enemy types in that stage must be killed roughly five times to produce a Cyber Elf. Failing to do so during the stage means you can't get that Elf later. What's worse is that the game will, about half the time, not even provide you with a sufficient amount on a straight run, meaning you have to run back and forth over the same area to trigger respawns of the enemy type. There's also the Underground Lab area, which has two Cyber Elves hidden in out-of-the-way places. If you beat the Data Recovery stage (where Maha Ganeshariff is the boss) without collecting the two elves, those two will be permanently sealed off. Finally, in the desert level, there is a Cyber Elf at the top of some collapsible platforms. The platforms not only collapse ridiculously fast, requiring precision timing to get across, but they ''never regenerate'' (as in, once collapsed, they never come back for ''the entire game''), so you have to get it right the first time, restart your save to try again, or [[NewGamePlus beat the game, reach those areas again, and give it another shot]].
** ''Zero 3'' has a cross-platform example with the ''Battle Network'' chip Z-Saver [sic] in Ciel's computer. This is a once-only chance. Not once-per-game, mind you, once ''per cartridge''. If it gets traded off, anyone else who gets their hands on the cart is stuck with whatever you traded the Saber for (which is sadly, most of the time, a Guard chip). There's always a GameShark to fix that problem, though.
* {{Metroidvania}}: The hub of the first game.
* MonstrosityEqualsWeakness
* MultipleLifeBars: Bosses in these games have layered life bars. Zero can get them too, with a special Cyber-Elf.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: Neo Arcadia, after an energy crisis, had started persecuting Reploids as being Maverick for no real reason, resulting in a mass amount of retirement (IE, execution) of said Reploids, allowing for anti-Reploid policies that are heavily implied to include genocide, and the person who directly created these policies is himself a Reploid (and by that, it means an actual Reploid, as in not even something of X or Zero's caliber). It's kind of hard not to see the parallels between this and the creation of NaziGermany, and more importantly the rise of AdolfHitler.
** Though to be fair, he does all that supposedly for humanity's betterment. [[VillainWithGoodPublicity The human population does see him as a hero]].
* NewEden[=/=]LastFertileRegion: Area Zero.
* NewGamePlus: Although what you carry on to the next playthrough is dependent on the game.
* NewNeoCity + {{Arcadia}} = [[TheEmpire Neo Arcadia]].
* NintendoHard: ''Especially'' the first two games. The critics even say that "it's not cheap to use cyber-elves to make the game(s) easier."
** Specifically, in the first game, the bosses were very hard (to the point of putting in a skip system), you couldn't backtrack if you did use said skip system, you had to grind with your weapons to level them up, the cyber elves were very unforgiving in mistakes and gave huge penalties, took an absurd amount of energy crystals to fully level up, and weren't nearly as useful as the later ones. In Z2, the elves are more useful, didn't need so many crystals, there were two free e-tanks, you could get permanent power ups, and you could even learn special attacks from bosses; however, you still had to level up your weapons, and said special attacks were only available for A or S rankings. In Z3, you no longer had to level up weapons, it was easier to get upgrades, there were more opportunities to use elves, and there were useful armor chips. And Z4 was just so easy compared to the rest, it would take all day to compare it to the others.
** Which is probably why the CompilationRerelease for the NintendoDS comes with an "Easy Scenario", an option to play through all four games in one go with all the weapons, items, and cyber-elves collected and maxxed out.
* NoCutsceneInventoryInertia: In the second games and beyond, Zero can acquire equipments that [[PaletteSwap change his color]]. However, in cutscenes, he's always the default red.
* NoFairCheating: You lose score points if you use cyber elves.
* NoOSHACompliance: In ''Z1'', you have to restore power to your base so that the {{Red Shirt}}s can take the elevator to the shuttle bay so they can evacuate the base. Because, apparently, there are no stairs, ramps, or ladders.
* NorseMythology: A recurring motif, but it's the strongest in ''Zero 4''.
* OmniscientDatabase: As said by [[spoiler:the ghost]] Phantom, the Cyberspace holds all the data of the past. How this comes to be is never so much explained, though.
* OneWheeledWonder: Kerberos
* OneWingedAngel: Pretty much every single final boss, three out of the four members of the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Guardians]] (Phantom has one in concept art, but is dead by the time the others use theirs in-story), ''all'' of the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Eight Gentle Judges]] (though some of their transformations are only slightly bigger than their human forms), and, finally, a [[{{Mook}} Pantheon]]. Boy, did Capcom go overboard with this one. The Guardians' transformations are referred to as [[AllThereInTheManual Armed Phenomena]]; {{fanon}} has come up with similar terms for the other transformations.
* OpenEndedBossBattle: if the player loses a life out on a mission, they may be given the option to "give up", where the mission is a failure but the story continues without the mission's rewards.
* OpeningScroll: Every game except the first [[ShoutOut a'la]] ''Franchise/StarWars'', yet again.
* OperationBlank: In ''Zero 2'', there's Elpizo's "Operation Righteous Strike", which is essentially an invasion of Neo Arcadia. [[spoiler:It fails horribly, with many {{Red Shirt}}s dead, and Zero having to rescue Elpizo before he's killed by [[HeroAntagonist the Guardians]]]].
** In the [[AllThereInTheManual drama tracks]]. there's "Project Elpizo", an operation to create Omega, a Reploid that's a perfect ruler using the Mother Elf's program rewriting ability. TK-31 (Elpizo's former codename) accidentally found the data about this project, and because it's supposed to be a secret for Neo Arcadia, he's declared as Maverick by Harpuia. Eventually, he managed to run away from the country and changed his name into...[[CaptainObvious you know...]]as well as starting his quest for power by stealing the Baby Elves.
** There's also Operation Ragnarok in ''Zero 4'', which aims for the destruction of [[LastFertileRegion Area Zero]] using [[KillSat Ragnarok]].
* PanUpToTheSkyEnding: Zero 4's ending and credits roll involves a nightsky with a swarm of pieces of [[ColonyDrop Ragnarok]].
* PerspectiveFlip: Simply put, the roles of hero and villain is flipped between the "Mavericks" (LaResistance) and the "Hunters" (Neo Arcadia), a complete reversal of the [[VideoGame/MegaManX previous series]].
* ThePhoenix: Phoenix Magnion from ''Zero 2''.
* PlatformingPocketPal[=/=]LiveItem[=/=]EquippableAlly: Cyber-elves that Zero use.
* PowerTrio: Ciel (Superego), Zero (Ego), and Elpizo (Id) in ''Z2''.
* PreExplosionGlow: All of the animal bosses glows before exploding after you defeat them. The humanoid bosses usually don't do that (except [[spoiler:Phantom, Copy X (in the third game), Omega and Weil]]).
* PreviouslyOn: Each game after ''Z2'' features a prologue of sorts that narrates what happened in previous games (see OpeningScroll). The narrator in ''Z4'' is actually a character introduced later in the same game: Neige.
* PufferFish: One Mechaniloid in the fourth game is modeled after this. They exploded into spikes if left long enough.
* PyrrhicVictory: It's easy to say that ''all'' installments (even the ''GrandFinale'') leave some sort of crushing blow to the heroes.
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: The Four Guardians, minus the "quirky" part.
** Fefnir and Leviathan are [[BloodKnight kinda]] [[InLoveWithYourCarnage quirky...]].
** Weil's Numbers, the main bosses of ''Zero 3'', could probably count as well.
* RankInflation: You can get up to an S grade on each level. [[NintendoHard In theory, anyways]]. And don't forget that achieving a perfect ''S100'' in levels is necessary for some unlockables.
* RecurringBoss: The Four Guardians.
* RedShirt: Subverted; after the fiasco that was Operation Righteous Strike, Zero makes a vow that no more of his teammates will ever be killed senselessly while he's around.
* RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear: If a conversation doesn't feature this it is safe enough to assume that Zero does not speak.
* LaResistance
* RewritingReality: [[AllThereInTheManual The Remastered Tracks]] says [[EnergyBeing Cyber Elf's]] powers work like this, by rewriting the ''programming code'' of reality via {{Cyberspace}}. Too bad they [[HeroicSacrifice die]] after that...new models and really powerful ones such as X and the Mother Elf are exempt from this, though.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: All Reploids. Up to the fact that Reploids are now capable of aging and even falling in love, with ''humans''. [[{{Squick}} Best not]] [[RuleThirtyFour to think]] [[BrainBleach about it]] [[PowerPerversionPotential too much]]. Here's a notable exchange:
-->'''Neige:''' I was amazed at how Craft fought to protect the humans. Hehe, it's kinda strange, a human falling for a Reploid.
-->'''Craft:''' Then I fell in love too.
** Same goes for one Reploid, Andrew who actually married a human. He even went so far as to modify his age-appearance to match hers and stayed that way even after she died as a way to remember her.
* RidingTheBomb: The latter half of a mission, including the level's BossBattle, in ''Zero 3'' takes place ''inside a missile'' as it was launched towards an unsuspecting target.
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeVilified: Zero is found by the Resistance to Neo Arcadia, an empire that Zero's friend X (hero of the previous series) created with the best of intentions, only for it to go bad after he left. The Resistance is full of spunky, heroic types with French names, and they're always in the right with one major subversion. Elpizo, the leader in ''Zero 2'', is zealous and aggressive; when his new methods fail, he goes nuts and becomes the game's BigBad.
* RoboFamily: While the four never say it outright, some of the fandom call the Four Guardians "siblings", due to their similar origins and purpose. X can also be considered their "father" (and, by extension, Copy-X is their "stepfather". The four are loyal to both.)
* SceneryPorn: Area Zero in ''Zero 4''.
* ScoreScreen: Used after you finish the missions.
* SegmentedSerpent: A variant in the second game: Hyleg Ourobockle's boss room has this as the battlefield itself, with BottomlessPits below it. Said serpent can detach and its segments can form various shapes.
* SequenceBreaking: In ''Zero 1'', Leviathan will talk about your fights with Harpuia and Fefnir, whether or not you've even met them.
* SeriesFauxnale / TrilogyCreep: ''Zero 3'' was meant to be the final game.
* SharedLifeMeter: The DualBoss fights with Kuwagust and Herculious in 2 and Crea and Prea in 3 utilize this, with the former performing one final suicide attack [[KaizoTrap once the life meter is emptied]].
* ShiftingSandLand: The desert level in the first game and the second game.
* ShoutOut
** The reploid known as Andrew had his age-appearance altered to match a human he married just to be with her, apparently borrowed from "Andrew Martin" in the movie ''Film/BicentennialMan''.
** Ciel's line after the first Boss battle in the first game:
-->"[[Film/ReturnOfTheJedi Just relax for a moment. You have hibernation sickness]]."
** Makes for nice BookEnds with her line before the last level in the last game:
--> With both Weil and Craft gone, who could still be running [[KillSat Ragnarok]]? Zero, [[Franchise/StarWars I have a bad feeling about this]].
** In the second game, when Phoenix Magnion pulls from Zero's memory four [[ContinuityNod past enemies]] from the [[VideoGame/MegaManX X series]] and holographs them, one of them is Vile, an {{expy}} of [[Franchise/StarWars Boba Fett]]!
** And another ''Franchise/StarWars'' reference: Elpizo's Model Number is TK-31.
** The Guardians' OneWingedAngel forms are called Armed Phenomena, a term lifted from ''Manga/{{Baoh}}''.
** Omega [[spoiler:Zero's]] finisher is a seven hit combo that he initiates by dashing low to the ground at Zero, ressembling Akuma's [[Franchise/StreetFighter Shungokusatsu]]. it is actually called ''Rambu'', though, meaning berserk dance.
** One of the CD dramas is titled "Record1_[[Literature/AClockworkOrange Clockwork Apple]]".
** Elpizo's line when he [[spoiler:succesfully infiltrates [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon Yggdrasil]], where [[SealedEvilInACan the Dark Elf is sealed within X's body]]]]:
-->"Hee hee hee...I'm going...I'm going to gain the [[Franchise/StarWars ULTIMATE POWER!]]"
** The Z-Saber igniting in the drama tracks makes the exact same sound as [[Franchise/StarWars another]] LaserBlade. It makes the same sound in ''VideoGame/MegaManX'', at least in Japan.
** Omega's second form has different-coloured arms and white middle body. You know, there's [[Anime/DigimonAdventure some other guy named Omega]] who has the same appearance...[[note]][[DontExplainTheJoke I mean, Omegamon]]. You probably won't get the catch easily, because Omegamon's name overseas is Omnimon.[[/note]]
** Heat Genblem, a turtle-based Reploid from ''Zero 4'', uses a spinning attack that resembles Franchise/{{Gamera}}'s method of flight.
** When Zero finally reaches the Ragnarok Core, Dr. Weil says "[[Film/{{Armageddon}} Welcome to your front row seat to the end of the world]]."
** Dr. Weil's trying to crash Ragnarok into Area Zero heavily resembles ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2's'' last story where the Space Colony Ark, after being given the seven chaos emeralds, ends up falling towards Earth's atmosphere due to a program that Gerald Robotnik made during his grief-enduced insanity and prior to his execution. Furthermore, one of the heroes ends up sacrificing himself in an attempt to stop the colony from falling into the Earth, complete with defeating the enemy fused to the falling colony. Coincidentally, both instigators of the event (directly or indirectly) [[Creator/ChikaoOhtsuka share the same voice actor in Japan]].
** Another Franchise/StreetFighter reference: the boss Maha Ganeshariff, who has what's obviously the Hundred Hand Slap of E. Honda.
* SlippySlideyIceWorld: Expect a stage with an ice boss to be a variant of this.
* SlowDoors: In the first game, one mission requires you to sneak into a factory. If you're detected, the Slow Door starts closing. If you're not through it before it closes, Game Over.
* SolemnEndingTheme: ''Zero 4'''s Freesia.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS
** A carry-over from the ''X'' series: the Japanese term is Repliroid; the English term is Reploid.
** ''Zero 3'' reveals that the animal-like Reploid bosses are known as Mythos Reploids, referring to the fact that they're all based on various mythological figures. The English translation slipped up and translated it "Mutos" (the katakana is ''myutosu'', for those curious. Japanese transliteration of Greek can be sort of weird).
* StealthPun: When you defeat an enemy with a bladed weapon, they split in half before exploding. In other words, they got [[spoiler:Divided By Zero! Wakka wakka!]]
** Also, the Ragnarok's core is named after Laevatein, a legendary sword ([[AllThereInTheManual in the manual, anyway]]). Said core is sword-shaped.
* TheStinger: At the end of ''Zero 2'', [[spoiler:Dr. Weil commands his creation Omega to act]].
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: Most bosses always take the opportunity to chat up the hero just before exploding. Even if they've just been visibly bisected down the middle.
* TechnicolorDeath: Defeated bosses are usually [[DeadlyFireworksDisplay engulfed in a spherical blast that emits beams of light after being defeated]]. The explosion may be {{justified|Trope}} due to them being robots; since Zero's trademark weapon is a sword, it may have compromised their power systems. The radiating beams of light part? Not so much. Also, the attack that depletes their health meter causes much more damage than any other attack (blowing a chunk out of them if it's a charged beam shot, DiagonalCut if it's with the sword), but that's [[CriticalExistenceFailure another trope]].
* ThemeNaming: Bosses are named after various mythological creatures; Resistance members are named mostly after French names of birds. In the latter's case, the handle of the one who named them is French for "sky".
* TimedMission: Some missions have a time limit. The most notable one is [[spoiler:the ''Final'' FinalBoss of the series, which gives the player only 2 minutes to finish him off or it will definitely be TheEndOFTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, ''again''...]].
** TimeLimitBoss: The very first Mutos Reploid that you fought in the first game, Aztec Falcon, had a time limit, specifically on the platform that will crush the hostages below. Another instance include [[spoiler:the ''Final'' FinalBoss, above]].
* TitleScream: In the first game.
* TraintopBattle: Panter Flauclaws' stage.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: If you're going for A or S rank, then expect to reload from your save file over and over while you memorize the layout of each level and the attack patterns of the boss therein. And god help you if the level doesn't end at the boss.
* TronLines: Some stages have these in the background.
* TurnsRed: The enemies' attack patterns are modified once they're down to 1/2 or 1/4th of their hitpoints. Special mention goes to the guardians, who not only change patterns, but gain an attack that makes them invincible until they complete it. Moreover, they are covered in aura which makes it impossible to jump them without climbing a wall, which none of their areas have.
* TwoPartTrilogy: At least before ''[[PostScriptSeason Zero 4]]'' showed up. ''2'' and ''3'' are more directly linked, both dealing with the Dark Elf and the Elf Wars it played a part in.
* UnderwaterBossBattle: [[OncePerEpisode Once an installment]]. ''Zero 3'' has a subversion in [[KillerRabbit Childre Inarabbita]]'s level, where fulfilling the mission's objectives will decrease the BossRoom's water volume to knee-high depths. Played straight when you fight him again during the BossRush though, since there ''are'' no switches to lower the water.
* UntrustingCommunity: The citizens of Area Zero in ''4'' don't think very highly of Zero and the Resistence at first.
** {{Ungrateful Bastard}}s: During the Battle for Area Zero, most of them didn't take too kindly to being rescued by Zero...
* UnusualEars: All of the Reploids in ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'' & cyborgs in ''MegaManZX'' seem to have these strange white headphone-like things instead of human ears, which is strange, considering that the first ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' had proper ears, despite being much less advanced.
** The above is very much the norm in this continuity - even for the humans. The only characters in the entire ''Zero'' series who are shown to have normal, human ears are Neige (a human) and Dr. Weil ([[spoiler: ''formerly'' human]]), [[InvertedTrope making ''them'' the unusual ones]].
* UpdatedRerelease: The ''Mega Man Zero Collection'' for the NintendoDS.
* TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon: The final location in each game has some sort of climactic impact to the storyline. In order: Area X, the BigBad's headquarters and palace of sorts; Yggdrasil, a tower where the Dark Elf is sealed; Dr. Weil's secret laboratory, which, coincidentally, was near where Zero was sealed at the [[WhereItAllBegan beginning of the series]]; and finally, the KillSat-turned-ColonyDrop Ragnarok.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: The use of Cyber Elves. However...
** VideoGameCrueltyPunishment: Using them also decreases Zero's game ranking.
*** ''Zero 3'' actually distinguishes with certain fusion elves. Sub-tank elves? Won't hurt your rank if used outside of a mission. Life extension? Same. Double life? Same. Instant A-rank for one mission? You just lose one point, meaning you can still get from a B-average to an A-rank in the same mission you use it. It also offers the use of Satellite Elves, which don't die when used.
** There's a bizarre variation in the second game: The Crystal Cave area is full of turquoise Red Shirt Reploid allies under enemy control; you're supposed to spare them before saving them, but if you kill them instead, you get a 1-up! However, killing them will reduce your mission points (which is important to your rank), and they won't become helpful [=NPCs=] at the Resistance Base like other Reploids you've saved.
* ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption: Unfortunately for the series' resident ActualPacifist, this happens in ''Z3''.
* VisibleSilence: Abused throughout the first game, with ellipses that span multiple dialogue boxes. Later games dial this back to the regular three dots.
* VoiceGrunting: The whole series. One of the drama tracks from the ''Zero 4'' soundtrack even uses voice grunts taken from the game to depict a battle.
** Note that they only used Japanese actors, [[CutAndPasteTranslation even in the NTSC version]]...[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Epcar even though Richard Epcar is uncredited for MMZ4 as Heat Genblem]].
* WakeUpCallBoss: Aztec Falcon, the first real boss in the first game, is known for [[IncrediblyLamePun shocking]] the players who have been used to the previous Mega Man games.
* WeaponizedOffspring: In ''4'', Popla Cocapetri (a chicken) can lay an egg with 2 legs that will run about, harrassing you. The egg is hard to kill, too.
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: Zero stops short of killing the Guardians when you first fight them, with no explanation offered. Granted, you find out later that they're {{Hero Antagonist}}s, but their subordinates, who are similarly just doing their job, are all fair game for bisection.
** The Guardians also apply this as What Measure is a RedShirt. In the second game, Harpuia chooses to spare Zero when Zero is at his mercy, even though he spent the previous game [[DeadlyEuphemism retiring]] Resistance soldiers left and right. Later on, they also let Zero leave with Elpizo after slaughtering his entire army.
* WhatMeasureIsANonhuman: The main conflict in the series involves the dwindling rights of the [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots Reploids]], relentlessly persecuted for trivial reasons. [[spoiler:Later, the humans receive this treatment as well, ironically from the most ''inhuman'' of them all]].
* WhiteAndGreyMorality: Deconstructed in the first two games. Barring the psychopaths (the bosses from ''Zero 3''-''4'', Copy X, [[spoiler:Elpizo]], Omega, and Weil), no one in the war was truly a villain in the proper sense. This point is what makes the Guardians (especially encourager Fefnir and civil Harpuia) the most sympathetic antagonists in the franchise.
** Even the never-matured Copy X and Maverick-intentioned [[spoiler:Elpizo]] had their AlasPoorVillain moments, and they both ultimately only wanted what was best for the people they were fighting for -- just never learned what true sacrifice and heroism meant. Arguably, the only ''real'' villain in these games was Weil, who was behind the horrible events of the games' backstory, plus being involved in some way in the plot of the first two games which was before he was even introduced.
*** Surprisingly, '''Weil himself''' too. [[AllThereInTheManual The Official Complete Works]] revealed that he started the whole Elf Wars because he thinks that Reploids, [[JustAMachine being just machines]], were getting off too easy for the massive destruction caused in the Maverick Wars, especially once the plan to solve the Maverick problem was to basically install anti-virus software (the Cyber-Elves) and call things even. So he was more of a WellIntentionedExtremist from the start; but, driven secretly to avenge '''''only himself''''', he went through the MoralEventHorizon by creating the Elf Wars in the first place (and he went nuts even more during his exile). This shows how much this trope is deconstructed in this series.
* WorldSundering: The aforementioned Elf Wars, the closest thing to TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt that the series ever approached. Nearly happened again (in a different way) at the end of Zero 4.
* WorldTree: Yggdrassil, [[spoiler:the prison of the Dark Elf]].
* YouCantThwartStageOne: Many instances:
** Halfway through ''Zero 2'', your missions are all the same: you who were helpful to Commander Elpizo must now intercept the runaway [[BigBad Elpizo]]. [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Guess what happens every time]]. Zero also failed to [[spoiler:save X's body in time, as Elpizo destroys it, releasing the tightly-shackled [[SealedEvilInACan Dark Elf]] in the process]].
** In ''Zero 3'', you have to stop a missile from harming a residential area. When you arrive, the missile is launched, and then [[RidingTheBomb you ride onto it]], trying to destroy the inactive Omega inside. Unfortunately, the Baby Elves hold you in the middle, long enough for the missile to reach its destination and claim thousands of lives. Ergo, Zero is prevented from saving any innocent lives [[spoiler:other than Sage Harpuia]].
*** Later, Zero tries to stop Copy X Mk. II, and then it's revealed that [[spoiler:Weil is just using them as his {{Unwitting Pawn}}s to become the ruler of Neo Arcadia]].
** In ''Zero 4'', it's said that the Einherjar Eight Warriors are just distractions for the Operation Ragnarok.
*** Later, [[spoiler:Craft pulls out a HeelFaceTurn (sort of) and tries to destroy Neo Arcadia and Weil using [[KillSat Ragnarok]]]]. You are sent to stop him, [[spoiler:but right before the final boss door, the Ragnarok is successfully fired, claiming millions of lives. And then you fight him]].
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: In ''Zero 4'', let's see: [[TheDragon Craft]] has just [[spoiler:destroyed Neo Arcadia, the symbol of Reploid oppression in the series, with [[KillSat Ragnarok]], taking [[BigBad Dr. Weil]] with it]]. Before Craft could fire for a second time, Zero puts a stop to him. It's over, right? Nope, since [[spoiler:Dr. Weil ''survives'', and cues the ColonyDrop]].
* ZerothLawRebellion: Played with copious amounts of irony via Zero's final decision in dealing with Weil. The irony here is two fold: while Zero was not designed to be ThreeLawsCompliant yet he chooses to obey them of his free will, and in how Zero's actions are in perfect compliance with [[MeaningfulName Law Zero]]. [[note]]The spirit of Law Zero is a threshold law with a very specific trigger (such as a mass murderer) for it to be appropriate.[[/note]]
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