The Mega Man games, whether on NES, Super Nintendo, or modern consoles, will forever go down in history as timeless classics. Part of what makes them so memorable is the staple group of eight distinct boss characters, pitting Mega Man (or Rockman, if that’s your style) versus uniquely themed Robot Masters. The creative designs from Keiji Inafune and co. are legendary, and it’s not likely that we’ll ever forget what Cut Man or Quick Man look like in our lifetimes.
But not every concept is a winner; as with any sequel-laden series, the novel ideas start getting a little zanier with each new entry in the Mega Man legacy. Dr. Wily is undoubtedly a mad scientist, but sometimes, the robots he reprograms to do his evil bidding just seem like poor choices. For every seven menacing, interesting Robot Masters he recruits, there’ll be a robotic black sheep that just doesn’t fit the “level boss” profile we’ve come to expect. These are the Mega Man bosses we were least afraid to face – thanks to their ridiculous designs and goofy powers, we just can’t take them seriously. Let’s take a look at these lovable losers…
7. Dust Man (Mega Man 4)
This poor Robot Master has the worst existence imaginable: a living vacuum cleaner tasked with sucking up trash via his mouth/forehead. He must then guard a junkyard from a fighting robot who is readily equipped to destroy him easily; what hope does a sentient Dyson have against the might of the Blue Bomber?
It seems Wily could’ve even be bothered to give Dust Man the proper programming for logical combat techniques: even though he’s fully outfitted with an arm cannon of his own, Dust Man chooses to do battle against Mega Man using his Dust Crusher, a handheld chunk of scrap metal that he spits from the hole in his head. That’s essentially the equivalent of brandishing a knife during a gunfight – except your knife is literally a piece of garbage, and you actually have a gun handy. Yes, Dust Man sucks like it’s his job – because, well, it is.
6. Strike Man (Mega Man 10)
America’s favorite pastime just got a lot more deadly. Or maybe not – Strike Man isn’t exactly a home run for Dr. Wily, who had to resort to appointing a batting practice ‘bot as one of his eight lieutenants. Programming an oversized mechanical baseball to throw pitches ad nauseam seems like a cruel design – would he not feel pity or remorse watching his cork-core brethren being batted into oblivion all day? Come to think of it, why didn’t Mega Man just one-shot this joker with an aluminum bat instead of wasting precious Triple Blade ammo?
Even stranger, his Rebound Striker attack grants Mega Man the power to hurl bouncing pink orbs instead of pitching lethal fastballs. That said, Strike Man could lay the foundation for a Capcom/EA Sports collaboration. We can see it now: using Tiger Woods Golf Swing to slay Basketball Man, or unleashing the fury of an NHL Slapshot to down Soccer Man. Also, John Madden would be the final boss.
5. Charge Man (Mega Man 5)
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the little engine that couldn’t. Looking like the angst-y offspring of Thomas the Tank Engine and a blood orange, Charge Man has the Inception-esque occupation of a being a train within a train. As a Robot Master, Charge Man isn’t an absolute train wreck – he can run Mega Man clean over with his rushing bulk, and grants the Blue Bomber the same nifty ability upon death. But no matter how you slice it, he can’t help but look absurd when his head and neck have been replaced by what looks like a toy train from the local preschool.
One thing he has going for him is his weakness, Power Stone, which is easily Mega Man 5’s most ineffectual weapon. But that doesn’t count for much given how easily charged Mega Buster shots burst him down. Plus, all game mechanics aside, we really don’t want to know where all of Charge Man’s steam-powering coal goes.
4. Top Man (Mega Man 3)
Top Man just doesn’t make a lot of sense. He’s got one of the iconic spinning toys for a head, and he does whirl around as an attack – but his main method of aggression comes from the three orange tops he launches from his head. Is he throwing his own dome at Mega Man? Where is this trio of gyrating menaces coming from? He also curses Mega Man even after being defeated, burdening him with one of the most useless special attacks in the franchise’s history: the Top Spin, where Mega Man literally twirls around in the air for a pitiful amount of damage.
Also, we hate to break it to Top Man, but tops aren’t known for their resilience to being pushed over. Given that Top Man makes himself dizzy from his main method of attack is probably a sign that his design should’ve been tweaked a bit more in the lab. Or just abandoned altogether.
3. Oil Man (Mega Man: Powered Up)
Hoo boy. We’re guessing that whoever conjured up Oil Man’s appearance didn’t follow the first rule of character design: don’t make your videogame enemy look like a 1920s caricature. Things aren’t helped any further when his in-game quotes include “Didn't your mama teach you nothin'?” and “What's up, man! Ain't you gonna say somethin' about my scarf?!” Yikes.
Maybe this is just one of those “lost in translation” kinds of deals; maybe nobody on the Japanese development team saw anything wrong with Oil Man’s design during his conception. But here in the states, his appearance raised eyebrows; and so, his appearance was altered with great rapidity to replace his pink lips with yellow ones and lighten his skin tone from black to blue. His comic-book appearances skirt the whole debacle altogether by covering up Oil Man’s mouth with his orange scarf. Controversy crisis mostly averted.
2. Spring Man (Mega Man 7)
What is it with Dr. Wily and recruiting oversized children’s toys to do his bidding? All Spring Man amounts to is a slinky with arms and legs – even his character background admits to his ineptitude when it comes to traversing stairs. Sure, Spring Man’s physique might allow him to store mechanical energy – but that’s not going to help when he’s being blasted to death by Mega Man’s Buster cannon (or worse, the one-hit-killing Noise Shot glitch).
His stage is just as inviting as his harmless appearance: instead of a lava-filled dungeon or a grimy sewer, Spring Man resides in the robot version of a bounce house, with cheery music and an interior design fixated on steel coils and bright pink décor. Never mind all the spike pits everywhere – the kid-friendliness of Spring Man’s stage is rivaled only by Mega Man 8’s equally tame Clown Man.
1. Pump Man (Mega Man 10)
Every Mega Man game has a shield character – a Robot Master who summons a rotating barrier of objects to protect themselves with, though they’re often hilariously unintimidating. Wood Man had leaves, Plant Man had flowers, and Jewel Man had diamonds (okay, that last one kind of makes sense) as their only defense mechanism. But Pump Man? That guy uses water droplets to shield himself. Like, the size of raindrops.
With his detachable, Trojan-esque helmet-handle-hybrid, chest-mounted waterspout, and innuendo-encouraging name, no aspect of Pump Man could ever instill fear in the heroic Blue Bomber. He’s so non-threatening, in fact, that we felt bad for killing him. The guy just wants to pump water all day; is that so wrong? Wily clearly put his chips on the wrong bet with this lunkhead – though given his name, Pump Man could always fall back onto a dazzling career in the pornography business.
Those are our picks for the most ridiculous, inadequate Robot Masters that Mega Man’s defeated throughout his storied history. That said, there’s still plenty of potential for further retro Mega Man sequels – and with them, even goofier designs. And we haven’t even started on some of the wacky weirdos in the Mega Man X cast – Mavericks like Wire Sponge, Tornado Tonion, and Optic Sunflower practically beg for a list all their own.
Think we missed your favorite Mega Man fall guy? Let us know who you’d pick, and why they’re just so lame. With one exception: Bubble Man’s stage music alone nullifies the fact that he’s got ludicrous-looking character design.
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