MEGA MAN PHYSICS
Note: This is part of the The Series subsite. If you are looking for official answers about the Mega Man games, you’re in the wrong place. =)

Numerous people have brought up discussions on why certain things in the Mega Man games (and related cartoons and so forth) happen as they do. For the books I often have to go into more detail than the games offer, so I had to figure out some things on my own. These results were pieced together based on logic and what the games reveal, though my conclusions are not official, they are extrapolations.

But before I start, there’s something you need to keep in mind. Games are not real life, and some things, such as infinite continues, are merely game mechanics and don’t translate. While it can be fun to try to find logical explanations for everything, eventually you have to draw the line, and therefore some elements have been written off as game mechanics and nothing more.

Without further ado...


Where does Mega Man live?

There has been quite a bit of debate over where the Mega Man games take place. Even Capcom can’t seem to make up their minds. I toss all the debate out the window and say that Mega Man lives on an alternate version of our Earth—that is, a planet much like ours that is in an alternate universe. This means that there could be many things that are similar about his Earth, such as the same surrounding planets in the solar system. However, at the same time any number of things could be different, from the names of cities and countries to how they count their years.

What is the name of the city?

The games, cartoons, and such all seem to agree that Dr. Light’s laboratory/home combo is built on the outskirts of some city. What is this city called? I don’t know. The manual of the first game says “Monsteropolis” but I discard this as a silly name they came up with to replace Tokyo. (Although I consider most manuals to be canon, the English manual for Mega Man 1 does not count. It was too horrendously inaccurate in all aspects as to yield to any reliability.) I don’t know what the city is named, but for the reason stated above, it doesn’t really matter.

Is it Earth or MegaLand?

In Captain N, “Videoland” is nothing more than a term for the multiverse. Some people in Videoland have found ways to travel between completely separate universes; they gathered the ones they were aware of (there are still many more out there that they aren’t aware of) and gave each one a name, and called the whole thing “Videoland” (or rather, that’s our English translation of whatever they called it).

The people on Mega Man’s planet call their planet “Earth.” However, each “land” (separate universe or sometimes pocket universe) in Videoland has a special Videoland designation, which is used when people want to talk about a specific universe. Mega Man’s land got the name “Megaland.” The characters in The Series who are in the know tend to use the terms interchangeably.

Where did the name come from?

I always assumed that Mega Man was named after his land, but then I got to thinking. If Megaland was never a part of Videoland until after Mega Man himself became the first member of the newly-formed N-Team, then it’s perfectly possible that the land was named after him, since Lana probably named it, and she had to call it something unique.

Energy

In The Series, there is a force on Mega Man’s planet called simply “energy” which is much like electricity, in fact. It usually emits a white-yellow light, and travels through most substances. It will attempt to equalize itself if possible, but unlike electricity, I don’t believe it could electrocute someone (might burn them though). This energy is used to power robots and many machines, among other things. It is what makes up energy capsules and pellets, and Energy Tanks. Energy can be found in liquid form, which is much more condensed. It cannot be found as a solid, although it can get pretty close, and it is apparently possible to convert energy into literal solid matter, and vice-versa.

Plasma

The Mega Shows aren’t the only place where Mega Man’s arm cannon shots are called “plasma.” So that term is as good as any. I figure what Mega Man fires is super-heated amounts of the energy mentioned above. Although usually yellow or white, this energy will shine blue and sometimes pink if it is hot enough. The longer Mega Man charges, of course, the more energy accumulates in the shot, and the hotter it becomes. Although Mega Man is probably firing using his working energy, apparently firing his Mega Buster creates so little drain on his reserves as to be not even noticeable.

Energy Meters

The energy meters as shown in the games appear to be accurate representations of the ones built into Mega Man and other robots. Mega Man definitely has an energy meter of some sort set into the outside of each arm cannon, and conveniently enough, these meters do look very similar to the ones used in the games: a strip of thin, horizontal bars of yellow light. For Mega Man, his energy meter apparently tracks both the level of his working energy, and an estimate of the damage to his system (that is, his “health”). The energy meter on his arm cannon probably also displays his current weapon’s energy if he is equipped with one, or so I would assume.

In The Series, while Mega Man is not using his cannons, his energy meters are hidden under panels on the inside of each his wrist (he views one by sliding the panel open at will). This indicates that Mega Man rotates his arm while forming an arm cannon, as the meter is on the outside of his arm on the cannon.

How does Mega Man form an arm cannon?

The Mega Shows used the now-popular idea of pulling the hand into the arm, then firing plasma from the space where the wrist had been. It is my opinion (though just opinion so feel free to make your own decision) that Capcom would be shooting themselves in the foot (excuse the pun) to follow the same trend for the simple fact that it contradicts their own games in several key points:

  • Capcom’s official artwork shows that Mega Man’s arm cannon is both longer and wider than his lower arm (in fact, it’s actually a touch longer than the lengths of his lower arm and hand put together). If he merely pulled his hand into his arm, this would not be the case.
  • Capcom’s own art also shows that his hand is too big to even fit into his lower arm; and even if it could, it would never fit through his wrist (even the Mega Shows had to shrink his hand in order for it to fit). Even if he somehow got his hand into his arm, there would be no room left for any firing mechanisms to operate.
  • Mega Man has an energy meter on the side of his arm cannon. There is no meter on the side of his arm.
  • Pulling in the hand would take too long. Mega Man’s arm cannon transformations are instantaneous in the games.
So no matter how you cut it, Mega Man’s arm would have to go through some sort of morphing transformation to turn into a cannon, even if just to make his hand smaller to fit inside and his arm cannon larger than his lower arm. A matter-to-energy conversion (then back to matter) is not really out of the question, since this is apparently what Mega Man uses whenever he teleports or recalls his fighting uniform. This idea says that part or all of his lower arm would be converted into energy, reformed into the desired shape, then converted back into matter (since energy is easier to mold than matter). This would cause his lower arm to glow slightly, rotate into the proper position, then the glow would fade into his cannon—and vice versa to go back into an arm and hand...all within the span of a split second or so. (Interestingly enough, both the Mega Shows and Capcom themselves have used this style of transformation in places—one spot in the Mega Shows that I can think of off the top of my head is “Terror of the Seven Seas” where Proto Man and Mega Man are going to fight without weapons and Proto Man morphs his arm cannon into an arm using this method.)

No one said anyone had to be consistent, but I at least think it’s bad style for a game to be inconsistent with itself.

1-Ups (AKA Energy Shields)

Although “extra lives” are generally a game mechanic (after all, you can fight a Robot Master as many times as you want, whereas once you beat him, he’s not allowed to a rematch), I did borrow the concept in The Series and created “energy shields.” These are little devices that form a skintight, invisible energy barrier around the target(s). When most shots hit the target, the shield takes the damage, not the target underneath. (Incidentally, this is about the only way for a human to survive the type of abuse Mega Man often undergoes.) Energy shields can even protect their wearer from a fatal blow—if the shield sustains too much damage, it will use the last of its energy to teleport the bearer to the closest danger-free area the wearer had passed (the shield can’t teleport somewhere it has never been). The shield then vanishes, destroyed from the damage it has sustained.

Some may ask why this teleportation happens. It is in fact an extra safety feature. Say, for instance, someone wearing a shield falls on something fatal like spikes. The shield cannot survive this type of damage and would be destroyed no matter what. If the teleportation did not occur, the person wearing the shield would die to the spikes as soon as the shield disappeared. By teleporting him away, this death can be averted.

For plot purposes, energy shields are difficult and costly to produce. This is to prevent them from making all of the characters near-immortal.

What is Weapon Copy?

Mega Man can acquire weapons from various things, mostly Robot Masters. These weapons run on their own stock of energy called weapon energy, which is evidently calibrated slightly differently than normal energy and therefore cannot be used as normal energy can. (In the games Mega Man cannot, for example, pick up a weapon energy capsule and use it to refill his health, except by using a special converter item.) The weapon evidently uses this energy to create its effects, which could be anything from forming a blade of near-solid energy to creating a burst of fire or electricity.

But what exactly are these weapons? I think “Weapon Copy” might be a bit of a misnomer, since Mega Man is not exactly copying weapons, but instead he is actually taking the weapon itself. Does this mean the weapon is something physical? Well, on one hand, they must be since they are transferable. They can be given to someone else, and they can be taken away. On the other hand, they disappear after some time for an unknown reason (see below). The weapons probably consist of their stock of energy and some sort of unit or chip which operates them and stores this energy. So in this sense they are physical objects, although certainly they are not anything like how most people would image weapons (guns and such). They are installed in Mega Man (in weapon slots) and most of the time he uses his arm cannon to fire them, although some weapons work differently. When Mega Man takes on a weapon, his body reads the chip and determines on its own what to do with it, so in this way, he is “copying” the weapon. This explains why Mega Man doesn’t always use weapons in the same manner as the original Robot Master. Also, because of this, no robot can use Master Weapons unless he is built specifically to do so (his systems have to know what to do with the chips and the weapon energy). (As for why all Robot Masters aren’t given the ability of Weapon Copy, well, that’ll just remain unexplained.)

Where do Mega Man’s weapons go?

This one is still under debate, as it is never explained in the games. In terms of game mechanics, the answer is obvious. It’s part of the game design. The game creators probably didn’t give second thought to where the previous weapons were. For one, putting all those old weapons into each new game would strain resources. And secondly, the entire idea of having new Robot Masters and new weapons is to give the games some freshness. It’d be dull if you simply received the same weapons over and over. For these reasons, the weapons are just mysteriously gone from game to game.

Most subject matter completely ignores the disappearing weapons. The games don’t touch on it, the Mega Shows follow suit, and even my books don’t usually deal with it. The weapons are simply gone from one installment of each series to the next. So the critical thing to consider is what happens between each installment, that might cause Mega Man to lose his weapons?

My current theory is that the weapons expire after a period of time (as I mentioned above). After all, the only real consistency between installments is that some amount of time passes (although this span could be as little as a week). I have recently considered whether weapons are, in fact, near-solid energy in themselves (as in, the same sort of substance that makes up the Metal Blades and other apparent physical weapons that he fires). This would mean that as soon as this energy (the master energy that made up the weapon, not its stock of weapon energy, which can be recharged) is depleted, the weapon disintegrates.

There are a couple of other possibilities however. Weapons might merely wear out (although again, disappearance seems hinged more on time than how many times Mega Man fires the weapon). Also, Wily could be taking the weapons back, either manually or automatically, with some sort of recall. For instance, he could have a barrier around his fortress; if Mega Man teleports out, the weapons, unable to pass through the barrier, remain behind. This idea might be the reason in some cases, but probably not always, since Dr. Wily’s fortresses are usually in the process of blowing up by the time Mega Man teleports out.

Why does Mega Man change colors when he uses weapons?

In the games, the answer is easy: It’s so the player can tell at any given time what weapon he’s currently using. (I once had someone ask me, “So can that purple guy get through that area better than the blue one?” I didn’t feel like explaining it, so I just said “Yes.”)

As for plot, the closest I can figure is it’s a side effect of the Weapon Copy system that was never fixed, probably because it’s not worth the effort. Besides, it can be useful for dramatic purposes. Otherwise it seems to serve no purpose.

How does Mega Man change colors?

It’s probably merely an optical illusion. Color is, after all, only our eye’s perception based on what bands of light an object reflects. Change the properties of that object, and you could consequently change what ranges of colors it reflects—and therefore what color it appears to be—without really altering the object itself.

Does Mega Man really change colors?

As far as I can tell—yes. For as long as I’ve seen Capcom art, they’ve drawn pictures of Mega Man using various weapons and he’s always different colors. Even Super Adventure included some scenes of Mega Man changing colors on the fly as he switched weapons. Of course you can’t use Super Adventure as a guide, really, but the rest of the evidence supports it in this case.



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Last update: August 27, 2005
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