Continuity? What’s that?
March 16, 2006
Maverick Hunter X and Mega Man: Powered Up are remakes of the original Mega Man X1 and Mega Man 1 games respectively. Being as such, I suppose we can expect some amount of “retconning” to happen. But I can’t help but comment on it. After all, within ten minutes of turning on Powered Up (which acronyms out to “MMPU”...a rather tragic sequence of letters, but perhaps it turned out to be eerily appropriate), I found at least three continuity errors and one plot hole. And that was just the beginning!
Mind you, I’m not talking about minor things such as altering lines of dialogue. I really don’t mind if they modernize and flesh out the dialogue (although in the case of Powered Up, they instead dumbed-down the dialogue and made it sound deliberately corny). I’m speaking of far more serious inconsistencies and flat-out plot holes.
But since Maverick Hunter X came out first, let’s start with it.
Maverick Hunter X
The first one everyone mentions is the end of the “Day of Sigma” animation, which heavily implies Dr. Cain dies during an attack on the city. Given that Dr. Cain shows up in later games (not to mention he needs to be around to write that journal entry about Sigma going Maverick in Mega Man X1), this is a rather gaping continuity error. Not only that, but the Maverick Hunter base was also assumably destroyed in the same attack, so just where did Zero take X to be repaired, after Sigma nearly destroyed him? (Then again, given that in Mega Man X6 Zero somehow managed to completely rebuild himself when all he had was a head, chest, and part of an arm, I suppose he could have fixed X himself.)
But earlier than that is Dr. Light’s message on X’s capsule, which not only has completely changed in content, but also is suddenly a video transmission instead of plain text. Which, I will grant, makes more sense. Given the technology of the day, a plain text warning never made sense anyway.
There are other minor points, most of them in the various animated scenes rather than the game itself. For example, Sigma is suddenly obsessed with X because he...thinks X’s ability to worry sets him apart from other Reploids. There is no mention or indication of Zero’s virus; instead, Sigma simply decides to go Maverick of his own free will. Yes, just like Lumine in Mega Man X8, Sigma makes a conscious decision to go Maverick. There’s little indication in the story as to why the Mavericks (who were all once Hunters, according to the plot) decided to follow Sigma. But then, the original game never specified that either (aside from simply saying they all went Maverick).
And, one of the more humorous points is the fact that Vile’s Ride Armor (in X Mode) is no longer invulnerable to X’s attacks. This means that in the remake he is actually quite easy to defeat while in his Ride Armor. Which, of course, makes Zero’s sacrifice to blow up the armor entirely pointless. Brilliant.
Mega Man: Powered Up
I haven’t yet had time to work my way entirely through this game as of this writing, so I may well be missing points which come later on that I haven’t seen yet. Still, you only have to turn on the game to realize Capcom has decided to toss continuity out the window.
Right off the top, Rock is now called “Mega” (ick) and he suddenly has brown hair and green eyes. The green eyes is the thing that I can’t get over. Even the production art for this game gives him blue eyes, but on his sprite, they’re green. Taking the cake, Mega Man: Powered Up can’t even stay consistent within itself. For a blatantly obvious example of this, just watch the opening sequence: they overlay one of the pieces of production art on top of a zoomed-in demo of Mega Man fighting through a stage, and you can clearly see that the production art Mega Man has blue eyes, and the game Mega Man has green eyes. How is it that nobody at Capcom noticed?
Furthermore, in the original game Dr. Wily wasn’t able to steal Rock along with the rest of the robots because he was unable to successfully reprogram him (Rock “resisted”). In the remake, Dr. Wily passes over Mega because...he thinks he’s useless. Heck, even after Mega gets transformed into Mega Man and chases after the evil scientist, Dr. Wily still says that he’s not worth stealing. (Boy, was he ever wrong.)
Amusingly, if you play the game as one of the Robot Masters (which I don’t count as a continuity error; it’s more like a “what if” scenario, just like alternate endings), Mega Man does in fact get taken by Dr. Wily—or I suppose it could be a clone—although he wasn’t actually Mega Man yet, which is another minor plot hole (because all of the Robot Masters recognize him and know to call him “Mega Man” even though they shouldn’t). Worse, when you fight him, he not only has his slide from Mega Man 3, but he also has his Mega Buster from Mega Man 4. Uh. Did I just jump forward in time, or what?
Speaking of which, Mega Man’s arm cannon is called the “Mega Buster” throughout this game even though it was never technically given that name until Mega Man 4. Also, Mega Man has the Energy Balancer in this game, which he doesn’t obtain until Mega Man 6. (And, if I want to get really picky, he also has the Exit unit which he doesn’t get until Mega Man 7 and the Spare Charger that he doesn’t get until Mega Man 8, but now I’m splitting hairs.)
And, speaking of the Robot Masters, I find it odd that after you free one of them, if you do a character change into that Robot Master, the game starts over, plot and all, with Wily announcing his intention to take over the world and such. I guess the idea is that you are rewriting the story so that Wily stole Mega Man instead and left behind whatever Robot Master that you’re using...but in practice it just seems like the sequence goes like this: Wily announces he’s going to take over the world, and steals Dr. Light’s robots. Mega Man fights one of the Robot Masters and takes him back to the lab. Dr. Light repairs the Robot Master. Wily announces he’s going to take over the world, and steals Dr. Light’s robots. (...?) It’s very strange.
Finally, perhaps most blatantly—even more so than the green eyes thing—is the fact that there are now an additional two Robot Masters, totally new ones to boot. I can’t really blame Capcom for this though; it does add a bit more extra freshness to the game so that it’s not just a straight remake. But, it is still a continuity issue, so I’ll go ahead and mention it.
I may write more as I get farther into the game, depending on what else crops up...
- The MegaMaster