Franchise / Mega Man

Mega Man 1's ending.

If you were looking for the first game, the one that launched this franchise, see Mega Man 1. For the original series, nicknamed the "classic" series, see Mega Man (Classic).

An insanely popular and long-running video game franchise created by Capcom in the 1980s. Known as "Rockman" in Japan.

There are actually a bunch of different series that share the name (in chronological order):

  • The Mega Man series (sometimes called "Original" or "Classic"), which started the franchise, starring Rock, the creation of Dr. Light, fighting against the forces of Dr. Wily in the year 200X — 20XX from the third installment on. (1987);
  • Mega Man X, set 100 years after the original seriesnote , and starring X, the last creation of Dr. Light fighting Sigma and the Mavericks (1993);
  • Mega Man Legends (Rockman DASH in Japan), set at least 4,400 years after the ZX series with a new, seemingly-human Mega Man, bearing the name "Mega Man Volnutt." (1998)
  • Mega Man Battle Network (aka Rockman.EXE) series, which occupies an Alternate Continuity of 200X where Dr. Light (here known as Dr. Hikari, Japanese for "light")'s network research won out over Dr. Wily's robot research; (2001)
  • Mega Man Zero, set 100 years after the "Elf Wars" which appears to be 100 years after the end of the X series. This stars the Ensemble Darkhorse Zero, now a freedom fighter trying to free the last remaining Reploids against a tyrannic government; (2002)
  • Mega Man ZX, set 200 years after the Zero series, where mankind has been fully merged with Reploids. The problem of Mavericks is still a threat, although the cause for the outbreaks is entirely different. Otherwise normal Humanoids use Biometals to take the form and powers of heroes of old; (2006)
  • Mega Man Star Force (in Japanese, Ryuusei no Rockman or Shooting Star Rockman), a series that takes place 200 years after the Battle Network games, where Cyberspace and the human world are even more intertwined via Wi-Fi radio; (2007)
  • Rockman Xover (pronounced "Crossover"), a Crisis Crossover RPG game for mobile devices, designed to celebrate Mega Man's 25th anniversary; (2012)
  • Rockman Online (Korea only when it was online), set at an unspecified point in the future. After an era of peace, enemy robots based on Classic series Robot Masters and X series Mavericks suddenly attack. The government of this time period, the United Continent Association, responds by reproducing the heroes of these series (X, Zero, and Duo for starters) to combat the threat, which originated from a separatist organization called the Ultimate Reploid Association. The team behind it disbanded, and it was confirmed to be cancelled.

All of these series have the same basic style of gameplay (Mega Man moves through a level, defeating a boss at the end and gaining a new weapon), but the first three series are more Platformers, Legends is a cross between a Third-Person Shooter and an Adventure Game, Battle Network and Star Force are RPGs with a very unique combat system, and Online is a 2˝D side-scrolling action RPG. Each game has its own unique merits and flaws. Additionally, Mega Man characters have a tendency to show up in the Capcom vs. Whatever titles which tend to be fighting games with some rare exceptions.

There are also a number of mobile device spinoffs, varying in complexity and quality. None of them have been released outside of Japan and South Korea, not counting the ports of main series games. Many are puzzle games, but the most recently release, Rockman GO GO!, is an Endless Running Game featuring the cast of Powered Up.

There have been several TV shows based on the games — a cartoon based on the originals, a 2017 cartoon produced by Man of Action Studios, an anime based on Battle Network and dubbed as Mega Man NT Warrior, and a limited-release OAV from the early 90s, also based on the original series. There was also another anime based on Star Force which has a dubbed version as well.

Mega Man was also featured as part of the heroic ensemble in Captain N: The Game Master, although he was presented as having a Verbal Tic, saying random words with the prefix "mega-".

The Mega Man Megamix manga, also based on the original series, is finally available in the US. There's no news on whether or not the new material for the ninth and tenth games will be translated, though.

It should be noted that the various series could be Alternate Universes of one another. While there are still numerous hints that they are connected (except for Battle Network, which is definitely an Alternate Universe), there are also discrepancies.

A live-action, no-budget, full-length fan movie has been released. Reactions to the trailer have been promising.

A comic book series by Archie Comics was released in spring 2011, which eventually lead to a crossover with the Sonic the Hedgehog comics in Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide.

On December 17, 2012, Capcom released Street Fighter X Mega Man as a Freeware game. Get it here!

On September 2, 2015, The Tracking Board announced that 20th Century Fox had secured the rights to do a Mega Man feature film. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman of Catfish are in talks to write and direct this one.

Given that the series is among the most popular of Capcom's stable, several Mega Man characters have crossed over with other Capcom properties.

    Crossover Games Include: 

This franchise provides examples of:

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The Krion Conquest for the NES, made by Vic Tokai, goes so far in copying Mega Man as to use the same run cycle, similar power meter and highly similar death animation for heroine Francesca; copy several of the enemy and level appearances; and give her equivalent powers such as a Charged Attack and a Rush/Item-2 replacement in her broomstick. However, unlike Mega Man, she can duck and fire upwards. Still, it flirted dangerously close with Plagiarism.
    • Capcom DID use the "Alert" sequence from that game during later Mega Man games when you are entering a boss battle (see Krion Conquest's trope page). You know that "Warning" sequence that takes place that started with Mega Man X4 on (and even appeared in Mega Man Powered Up, the first time it appeared in a "classic" Mega Man game)? Krion Conquest actually did that first.
    • RosenkreuzStilette is basically a Mega Man homage with magic instead of robots (for the most part).
    • Also counts as a Spiritual Successor, Mighty No. 9.
    • Edmund McMillen's upcoming sequel to Time Fcuk is very blatantly one of these, as Edmund always wanted to make a Mega Man game.
  • Apathetic Citizens: In games where humans actually appear, expect them to either believe the Big Bad or not do much to help.
  • Arc Number: Almost all of the main series games have eight main bosses, sometimes supplemented by something in a group of four.note 
  • Arm Cannon: Maybe its most famous users.
  • Artifact Mook: The infamous Metools. In the original Mega Man game the little hard hat guys appeared only on Guts Man's stage, which had the look of a quarry/construction site (Guts Man himself appears to wear a hard hat). However, they have since appeared in every Mega Man game on multiple levels and in massive numbers to the point that Metool variants are the most common enemy encountered.
  • Asskicking Pose: Can't have a Boss Battle without one.
  • Astral Finale: Most of the Game Boy series have their final levels take place in space (the fifth game does not count due to half the boss roster residing in space levels, and the only game to completely avert the space setting is the third one). As for the main games, Mega Man 10 saves its very last stage for this trope, right after the usual four stages of a traditional endgame castle. Mega Man X8 uses this for a fight on the moon, Mega Man Zero4's final level is on a space station, and Mega Man Star Force uses this in its first and third games.
  • Awesome McCoolname: They are everywhere.
  • Boss Rush: A franchise staple and tradition. With the exception of the Legends series, possibly XOver, and a few spin-offs, every Mega Man has to face down all of the already conquered bosses during the finale. In the Robot timeline, they even go so far as to collect the bosses into single rooms all at once for you to clear.
  • Bottomless Pits: A staple of the platformers, even Mega Man Network Transmission.
  • Dancing Mook Credits: The franchise generally had the bosses of the game come on screen, do a pose, and disappear, as part of the credits sequence.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Downplayed. No matter what the outlook at the end of an individual series or game is, almost every series in the robotics timeline is Darker and Edgier than the last. The classic series takes place in a generally peaceful time interrupted by Wily's periodic attacks, but the X series is constantly on the brink of warfare against either willing or Brainwashed terrorists, and the Zero series takes place during a Dystopian age. ZX shows some more hope than these last two, but Legends takes place After the End — way, way After the End.
    • Averted with both Battle Network and Star Force, which both end on peaceful notes with more than a little technological optimism.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Generally, the bosses are harder than the stages. Sometimes they're about the same difficulty as the stages themselves, though.
  • Exactly Exty Years Ago: The games really seem to like the one-century timespan. Classic and Battle Network both take place in 20XX, X in 21XX, and Zero and Star Force in 22XX, and refer to one another in single century units.
  • Expy: How many Mega Men and Rolls do we need?! (There are technically three Mega Man-Roll pairs, in the Classic series, the Battle Network series, and Legends series; past that, however, there's a number of blondes running around in red or pink outfits, like Alia and Harp Note).
    • One of the submitted designs for Aile from the developmental stages of Mega Man Legends 3 (by Keiji Inafune himself, no less) was of yet another Roll Expy, though admittedly one far more masculine than any other version.
  • Famous Last Words: Now has its own page.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies tend to do that when damaged.
  • Ledge Bats
  • Left Hanging: Only 3 series have ever been given a proper conclusionnote  (with the third only because of bad reception). The rest? Not counting the Gaiden Games, twonote  currently have very blatant Sequel Hooks that have yet to be followed up, while the thirdnote  sits on a depressing Cliffhanger, and it's already been a long-Orphaned Series! With the subsequent releases of the most recent Classic games, fans are hoping that it won't be long 'til Capcom remembers the rest of the series mythology.
    • The Dreamwave comic set the stage for a Mega Man/Mega Man X crossover story, but Dreamwave shut down.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Most sequels within any given series, especially platforming sequels, rely on the same basic engine with only variations in available weapons and stages, so this is closely related to its Capcom Sequel Stagnation.. Downplayed with Battle Network, which experimented pretty liberally with its combat mechanics between installments.
  • The Movie: 20th Century Fox had secured the rights to do a Mega Man feature film, though time will tell if they actually do.
  • Nintendo Hard: The whole franchise has a reputation for putting out very difficult games. The classic and Zero series especially stand out.
  • Not Me This Time: Meta-example. After Mega Man Universe and Legends 3 were cancelled, the iOS port of Mega Man X, and Rockman XOver, when Rockman Online was cancelled, fans jumped to the conclusion that Capcom was continuing their anti-Blue Bomber antics. It turns out that the troubles likely were on the part of NeoWiz, behind Rockman Online. (The game had been in Development Hell really since it was announced).
  • No Ontological Inertia: Generally speaking, if you fire a Robot Master's/Maverick's special weapon and then quickly attempt to switch to a different weapon by entering the in-game menu, the projectile/beam you previously fired off will have disappeared when you return.
  • One Bullet at a Time: The side-scrolling games typically limit you to three uncharged bullets onscreen at a time. Later games sometimes include ways around this, and extra characters typically have different limits.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Considering the main character is very blue, this is pretty much a given. More obvious in the series' artwork than the games themselves.
  • Out of Focus: With Keiji Inafune having left Capcom, the entire Mega Man franchise has become borderline non-existent. Street Fighter and Resident Evil have been pushed as the new "crown jewels" of the company, with Ryu supplanting Mega Man as the new Capcom Mascot.
  • Power Crystal: On several robots and later Reploids, got especially common after X.
  • Power Copying: Mega Man has the ability to copy a major enemy's power, usually when it gets destroyed.
  • Precursors: Usually of the Abusive sort. Amusingly, the fact that the series' timeline branches split only a few decades before 200X means that both the Robots timeline and the Network timeline should have all the same Precursors.
    • The ancient alien super computer Ra Moon from Super Adventure Rockman , which crashed to Earth 20,000 years before the events of the game.
    • The Stardroids from the Mega Man Game Boy series were found in some ancient ruins, though they're technically aliens.
    • In Archie's Mega Man comic, Duo is part of a group called the Star Marshals who battled Ra Moon and the Star Droids 20,000 years ago.
    • The Atlampean Civilization (which is only 3000 years old, by comparison) of Mega Man Battle Network's Legend of Network title and the more well-known Murian civilization from Mega Man Star Force 2.
    • In the Mega Man NT Warrior manga, a specific corner of the Undernet actually houses the ruins of an ancient civilization watched over by PharaohMan, who claims it's been 20,537 years since he's had company. (In this telling, the Undernet is implied to be Another Dimension, rather than part of the Internet proper).
  • Random Power Ranking: In several of the games.
    • In the Mega Man X series, X is a B-class hunter, while Zero is S (or Special A). Over the course of the series, X, who is just as powerful as Zero, loses his hesitation and gains the willpower necessary to match the latter's rank.
    • Mega Man Legends uses these for Digger licenses (higher license means you can access better dungeons). The S-Class license doesn't actually give you any special access, which is good, since the test to get it is a pain in the butt.
    • Mega Man Battle Network 2 also has City Netbattler licenses that authorize civilians to access restricted parts of the web. Lan is technically capable of achieving Rank SSS, even though the plot doesn't care after he reaches Rank A.
  • Recurring Element: Quite a few; see the trope page for details.
  • Robot Hair: Most humanoid robots from the series (although Mega Man and X hide their under their helmets most of the time). Mega Man ZX justifies the trope by explicitly saying it was an attempt to "making humans and reploids closer to each other to make better peace":
    • Classic Mega has some standard black hat hair, but Roll sports golden locks neatly tied up with a ribbon, whereas Plum (from Rockman Battle & Chase) has pink hair. Blues has a positively theatric pompadour-thing.
    • Most famously, Zero's long blonde ponytail from Mega Man X. X and even Vile have hair in manga adaptations, but haven't been depicted without them in the games.
    • Mega Man Zero with its perfectly humanoid Reploids has not only robot hair but robot mustaches and beards. Notable examples include Elpizo (blond), Omega (a pinkish/fuchsia ponytail sprouting out from the top of his helmet), and Kraft (dark spiky hair which appears to also form Go Nagai Sideburns), among others. Seeing as Omega's body is a shell/Power Limiter for Zero's original body, this means that Omega also shares Zero's infamous Rapunzel Hair.
    • Mega Man ZX: Promotheus and Pandora, the former of whom actually utilizes it in battle. This is more easily noticeable when the player sees a glimpse of the siblings in the past (as detailed by Master Albert's Cipher report) until they were permanently fused to a piece Model W and stuck in their Megamerged states. Reploids Girouette, Prairie (heavily implied to be Alouette from Mega Man Zero), Serpent, Grey, Thetis, and Siarnaq also sport human-like hair.
    • Splash Woman (from Mega Man 9) and Fairy Leviathan fall into the "Mechanical Facsimile" category: their helmets frame their faces in a manner that resembles hair (specifically, a Sci-Fi Bob Haircut, with a few extra bangs in front in Leviathan's case).
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Several, but a common one is to beat all the bosses (Including in the final levels) using only the Mega Buster. Or without taking any damage. This becomes the basis for several in-game acheivements in 9 and 10.
  • Series Fauxnale:
    • Classic was supposed to end with 6, hence the ending having Mega Man arresting Wily, but 7 was released anyway and opened with Wily breaking out of prison. After that 8 was the last mainstream Classic game released for years until 9 and 10 appears to serve as the current finale to Classic.
    • Inafune intended for X to end with X5, but after he left the series got three more games and a Gaiden Game, the former taking Sigma's Joker Immunity to ridiculous lengths.
    • Battle Network was intended to end with 3, and the game certainly has all the marks of a finale, but Capcom insisted on continuing to ride the series' popularity, resulting in Battle Network 4 (generally considered to be the worst of the series); after the series officially ended with Battle Network 6, Capcom decided to spawn the Sequel Series Star Force.
  • Shout-Out: There have tended to be a few to Humongous Mecha series, especially where Classic Mega Man is concerned. In Marvel vs. Capcom, a Limit Break Mega Man can use is to transform into Hyper Mega Man, a direct shout out to Mazinger Z. Proto Man has a special move called Big Bang Blast, which is a direct shout out to Getter Robo.
  • Single-Use Shield: the Spike-Barrier/Shock-Step/whatever-it's-called, which protects you once from the instant-death spikes. But you have to jump to safety before the Mercy Invincibility wears off, or....
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: The pecking order from top to bottom goes thusly:
    1. Reploid: Identical to humans in ability to make decisions.
    2. SoloNetNavi: Able to make their own decisions much like Reploids, but are confined to the Cyber World and thus reliant on machines to effect the Real World.
    3. Robot Master: Mostly able to make their own decisions, but are bound by Asmiov's Three Laws of Robotics and thus need a human supervisor.
    4. NetNavi: Reploid-level intelligence, but partnered with specific humans in their role as servants along with the same limitations as their Solo counterparts.
    5. Mechaniloid: Always takes orders from a more intelligent unit or human.
  • Sound of No Damage: If an attack can't hurt an enemy, you hear a metallic "ping", and in most cases the projectile ricochets off.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": "Mega Man" vs. "MegaMan" vs. "Megaman" (and much the same applies for the original "Rock Man").
    • The yellow-helmeted Waddling Head robots had their names translated various ways throughout the series: simply "Met" in the first Mega Man manual, "Metall" in the Game Boy games, "Mettool" in the first Mega Man X and Mega Man Battle Network, and then standardized as "Mettaur" from 2002 to 2014. What is it supposed to be? Turns out "Metall" is the intended translation, as it comes from the phrase "all (hel)met", and was reinstated in the series as of Mega Man Legacy Collection.
  • Spikes of Doom: A staple of the series; in some levels, they carpet the ceiling and floor. Some bosses may even try throwing you against them as well.
  • Temporary Platform: The platforming games have quite a lot of them. The Classic series' disappearing blocks are renowned.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The classic series uses [Motif]-Man for the name of most of its robots, with very few exceptions. The Battle Network series inherits this.
    • Starting with Mega Man X, the bosses usually involve some combination of theme and animal names; its successor series, Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX exagerrate this by creating portmanteaus of mythological and technological names.
    • In Zero, almost every heroic ally carries a French name. ZX inherits this.
    • Mega Man Star Force employs a scheme similar to the X series, placing the character's source name before its motif (i.e. Taurus Fire).
    • The classic series used a musical theme in naming the protagonist robots: Rock and Roll, Blues (Rock's predecessor), and Bass and Treble (Forte and Gospel in Japan). A few of these names were inherited by successor series.
  • Transhuman: Most obvious in the robotics timeline, where the method of resolving centuries of war was to reduce the difference between human and robot. Downplayed in the network timeline, though the premise of The Movie from Mega Man NT Warrior is a result of Tadashi Hikari's noodling around with the concept.
  • Underwear of Power: Of the "underwear on the outside" variety. Averted with the streamlined bodysuits of MegaMan.EXE and Mega Man Geo-Omega.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: In Classic and X series, defeating one Robot Master can make the rest of the game substantially easier if you know the weaknesses of the other Robot Masters.
    • Dying during a boss fight can lead to this if you were fighting it with its weakness. Since dying does not refill your Weapon Energy, you have less ammunition for the boss' weakness on the second attempt.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: For the most part, classic Mega Man gameplay involves obtaining a boss' Signature Move after defeating him in battle. In Mega Man Battle Network (and Star Force by extension), the Battle Chip and Card mechanics allow Mega Man (or his allies) to use a copy of almost any enemy's attack or technique, not just the bosses. In Mega Man Zero, the EX skills mechanic allows the Zero to use the techniques of the bosses if he defeats them with enough style; Zero 4 took the concept to its logical conclusion by introducing the Z-Knuckle weapon, which allowed Zero to use an enemy's weapon by simply ripping it out while the Mook is still standing there.
  • Video Game Lives: In every series platformer, including the Mega Man Battle Network Gaiden Games, which ignore the main games' rule that MegaMan.EXE can't die, ever.
  • Video Game Long-Runners: As of 2009, the series ran for over 22 years, and there are 7 series, each of which have numerous installments on their own. The description section at the top of the page tells it all.
    • It actually holds a world record for this.
  • Villainous Legacy: This comes up a lot, as Dr. Wily rivals the Trope Namer as a master of Hijacked by Ganon.
    • In the X series, it is discovered that The Virus that turns Reploids into Mavericks originated from Zero, and both were Wily's final creations before he died long before the X series. The Big Bad of the X series, Sigma, merges with the Maverick Virus and transforms it into the Sigma Virus.
    • In the Zero series that comes after the X series, Dr. Weil (no connection to Dr. Wily) creates Omega as a Dark Messiah to exterminate all Reploids. Omega's consciousness inhabits Zero's original body since Zero's mind was extracted after the X series. The Mother Elf, who becomes the Dark Elf, another major antagonist, was created by Ciel's ancestor by studying the Maverick Virus and trying to create an antibody.
    • In the ZX series, all the Biometals with the exception of Model O are created from studying the original Biometal Model W, created from the ruins of the Ragnarok satellite that Weil fused with at the end of Zero 4. Said Biometals also all contain the souls of past characters from the X and Zero series with the exception of Model A.
    • Averted in Battle Network; though he has quite a lot to do in in the franchise itself, Wily has no influence on the Star Force sequel series.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A recurring theme of the entire franchise.