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"The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true revenge" , posted Mon 22 Feb 10:15post reply

Short version: Electrical Communication from Rockman 8 is the greatest opening song of the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s, and 20XX.

Long version: there's an eerie Rockman-shaped hole that I feel like most of the Cafe senses in one way or another, and I realized today he's actually just an odd legacy character in Smash Brothers as opposed to an active presence.

Nearly every other foundational 8-bit series still flourishes, and even Dracula lives on through the flood of Metroidvanias, and Sonic survived Sega's best attempts to kill him, with fans making Sonic Mania into the third-best game 20 years late. But aside from Gunvolt and Mighty Number 9 (I can't remember which was the good one), that just leaves with glorious music running through our heads, brilliant works of popular culture like Airman Ga Taosenai that are enjoyed by millions more people than have ever seen Airman, and cameo appearances that probably seem to younger generations like all those classic anime characters from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom who "look kind of cool but I don't quite recognize." Why?

The closest I got to Rockman's ghost was when a friend of mine was on community management and translation for Rockman Dash 3 (Legends 3?) before its tragic demise, and while Rockman 9 was fresh as a self-conscious throwback, I guess Rockman 10 went back to the repetition that hurt it in the first place. It's sort of puzzling that the series was so badly constrained by its format (stage select/boss/weapon) compared with every other 8-bit peer that managed to evolve, 3D or otherwise. Maybe what I'm saying is: why is the idea of Rockman: Breath of the Wild so tragically hilarious?

It's all too bad, since I have lots of now-irrelevant Rockman opinions and memories, like what's wrong with Rockman 7 and X3, why Rockman 8 is secretly as good as Rockman 2 based on the opening music alone, or how I did a hadouken in Rockman X before I ever played a Street Fighter!

What do you all make of it?





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"Re(1):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Mon 22 Feb 12:21post reply

quote:
Short version: Electrical Communication from Rockman 8 is the greatest opening song of the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s, and 20XX.

Long version: there's an eerie Rockman-shaped hole that I feel like most of the Cafe senses in one way or another, and I realized today he's actually just an odd legacy character in Smash Brothers as opposed to an active presence.

Nearly every other foundational 8-bit series still flourishes, and even Dracula lives on through the flood of Metroidvanias, and Sonic survived Sega's best attempts to kill him, with fans making Sonic Mania into the third-best game 20 years late. But aside from Gunvolt and Mighty Number 9 (I can't remember which was the good one), that just leaves with glorious music running through our heads, brilliant works of popular culture like Airman Ga Taosenai that are enjoyed by millions more people than have ever seen Airman, and cameo appearances that probably seem to younger generations like all those classic anime characters from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom who "look kind of cool but I don't quite recognize." Why?

The closest I got to Rockman's ghost was when a friend of mine was on community management and translation for Rockman Dash 3 (Legends 3?) before its tragic demise, and while Rockman 9 was fresh as a self-conscious throwback, I guess Rockman 10 went back to the repetition that hurt it in the first place. It

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What I think is particularly interesting is that in the millieu of a hub-world 3D action adventure, having different zones with different bosses where having powers gained from other bosses can give you special advantages or even change the zone itself actually works TOTALLY FINE.

To wit, this is Demons' Souls.

I think there were two significant pieces of it: one is that Castlevania, Sonic, and Mario all evolved into longer, more adventure-format games. The pure-platformer entries of those games became the oddities, while the adventure ones became the norm. In spite of being extremely aesthetically accomplished, Megaman's sprawling adventure outings were just really poorly marketed. In fact, they shouldn't have called it Legends in the first place, because the games are about defining a new generation, not reliving an old one!

Even more interestingly, some of Megaman's spinoffs are incredibly brilliant games. The real-time action deckbuilding RPG of the the Battle Network games is an incredible design coupled with brilliant use of the very strong Megaman art. You had not one but two lovingly animated arcade boss-rush games! Etcetera!

Meanwhile, Ninja Gaiden got a 3D game that aside from being "really hard" in no way resembles how the 2D platformers played, and it is much beloved and gets recurring ports. You'd think that after having had a kart racing game and a soccer game, Megaman fans would be open to some wacky new things, but them and the public were really quite closed-minded towards Megaman Legends.







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"Re(2):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Mon 22 Feb 13:55post reply

I think you’re right! Dash/Legends should have just been Rockman 9, though it was probably going to be criminally underloved in any event, even if less so than the functionally irrelevant main series and X series in the 32-bit era.

I just remembered there was a Rockman 11! But its position as an unimportant curiosity rather than a major blockbuster event like Zelda, Mario, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, or other peers from the early important series sort of proves my point.

Maybe it’s the utter inflexibility of the series’ format that doomed it, but even the never-changing Dragon Quest stayed important in a way Rockman didn’t. Most companies with a major series from the dawn of Japanese video games tried to add more series to their library while updating their original blockbusters, but Capcom just managed to do the first part.

In conclusion: what’s most memorable to you in this present-but-absent series?





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"Re(3):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Mon 22 Feb 22:21post reply

While "Dash" is the obvious answer to your question, the fact is the game didn't sell millions and "Dash, but better" is not a particularly specific descriptor.
The good thing with Rockman is that contrary to Mario, who gets new power ups that change the way he plays while keeping its gameplay core intact, Rockman is allowed to change even its main gameplay proposal. As Spoon was saying, EXE is by far the most remote from the action platformer route, and it's also the most successful I believe? It's like Mario Golf and Paper Mario were main series entries.

Rockman is basically like Jojo: each game is a different beast from the others, and even core characters and rules may or may not return to the new game. The main character may even not be Rockman at all!
So a brand new series that would either be Rockman of the Wild or Rockman Souls would both work pretty well. A design issue would be how classic Rockman gets a big power-up from a boss rather than small power-ups scattered around the world, but you can get around from that at the design stage depending on how you structure the world (open with choke-points, metroidvania with shortcuts...) Rockman has infinite potential for powerups that allow new traversal possibilities and new ways to interact with the environment, but you need an engine to allow such freedom. You could even do a cubic Rockman-Minecraft kind of game, for example.

I think the issue is that Capcom lacks ambition for this series. AAA games cost in the hundreds-of-millions now, and you only invest that kind of money in franchises that have a chance to make that money back: Resident Hazard, Monster Hunter, and... that's basically it. Street Fighter is on the verge of losing its ticket to a new entry, Dead Rising and Lost Planet lost it definitely, DMC earned it again after 15 years but who knows if that will transition into a 6th entry...
On the other hand, they still see Rockman as something for Japanese children with a Corocoro partnership. EXE worked miraculously because the mediamix of the 2000s worked well, but that recipe is out of fashion, and no other series aimed at Japanese children ever replicated that (the last one was that Saint Seiya-esque thing a few years ago, with a game on 3DS...)
I don't think the idea that colorful games are also popular with adults has reached the top of Capcom yet. Or rather, you can make games popular among children even if the game is not specifically aimed at children.

Basically Capcom needs at the same time more ambition for Rockman, but also be less scared to try new and unproved things with the character, two things that are like water and oil.
So instead we get a Rockman gacha, with all the famous waifus of the Rockman franchise (all two of them).





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"Re(4):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Tue 23 Feb 01:10:post reply

quote:
While "Dash" is the obvious answer to your question, the fact is the game didn't sell millions and "Dash, but better" is not a particularly specific descriptor.
The good thing with Rockman is that contrary to Mario, who gets new power ups that change the way he plays while keeping its gameplay core intact, Rockman is allowed to change even its main gameplay proposal. As Spoon was saying, EXE is by far the most remote from the action platformer route, and it's also the most successful I believe? It's like Mario Golf and Paper Mario were main series entries.

Rockman is basically like Jojo: each game is a different beast from the others, and even core characters and rules may or may not return to the new game. The main character may even not be Rockman at all!
So a brand new series that would either be Rockman of the Wild or Rockman Souls would both work pretty well. A design issue would be how classic Rockman gets a big power-up from a boss rather than small power-ups scattered around the world, but you can get around from that at the design stage depending on how you structure the world (open with choke-points, metroidvania with shortcuts...) Rockman has infinite potential for powerups that allow new traversal possibilities and new ways to interact with the environment, but you need an engine to allow such freedom. You could even do a cubic Rockman-Minecraft kind of game, for example.

I think the issue is that Capcom lacks ambition for this series. AAA games cost in the hun

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What killed the name was the overly congested games that flooded at the same time in the 2000s. They released X5 5 years after X4 with the same type of game play. I argued that either it should have been released right after X4 or if it was 5 years later, I expected some Guilty Gear X type of look. So X series fell during that saturated decade when it should have been released before 2000s.

DASH was the evolving game and genre for the series. But was it released to early? Since X and regular series was hot at the time of it's release. As a reason why many didn't buy it.

MegaMan Zero had that engaging story as we all got older that kept us on the screen. But the problem that plagued the game was the same type of rockman gimmick, same evil guy behind the scenes with playing same boss rush at the end and same outcome. That's what killed rockman interest in general. Same outcome.

EXE and the games that ran seem to have gone well. I never got to play it and thought it was dumb but I think many veterans did and never explores and this possibly it couldn't have grown or evolve as much as it could of. And of course, it was in that congested decade.

Rockman ZX could have been that next step to a more bigger adventure but the mechanics literally killed it from being an actual explorer metroidvania type.

Then the return of 9 and 10 as an effort to bring it back to roots. Which was fine but it didn't evolve and bring in that new step for the series.

I haven't played Dash yet and waiting for a clean version to be released but this should have been the next step into rockman growing and evolving for next generations. EXE not sure since I haven't play them yet, maybe then can move it into a tactical RPG? We haven't got a full metroidvania one. Another full 3-D effort would be nice but would it copy Metroid prime?

Who knows. This is my favorite series. I just don't see how it can evolve into something bigger.

I say explore it into other genres and see what happens.

If anything, the X series should have ran up into 2000. Zero from 2000-2004. Dash and EXE 2005-2010.





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"Re(5):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Tue 23 Feb 11:39post reply

quote:
MegaMan Zero had that engaging story as we all got older that kept us on the screen. But the problem that plagued the game was the same type of rockman gimmick, same evil guy behind the scenes with playing same boss rush at the end and same outcome. That's what killed rockman interest in general. Same outcome.

You're reaching here. What did the Zero series in was it was just plain too hard-- to the point where it wasn't actually fun to play unless you were one of the really hardcore players. To wit-- the Cyber Fairies, one of the series big gimmick mainstays, actually penalized you for using them, to the point by the third game where the punishment was dropped entirely JUST so people would actually use them.

But it didn't stop there-- there was also EX skills which 'rewarded' you for doing a really great job at playing the stage (no deaths, not getting hit, speed rushing, etc.) that actually just encouraged players THAT certain way. If you didn't get the EX skill you just got nothing from the boss otherwise. You were just compelled to go after them because of this, and because series tradition dictats that you actually get a skill from said bosses. This in turn was changed by Zero 4 where you can simply claim the EX skill by setting the stage to its 'hard' mode.

Lastly, the Zero series didn't just 'poof and die' like you think, it lead directly into ZX.

Mega Man Zero suffered from the designers forgetting what kind of people actually played their games and listened only to the hardcore crowd.





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"Re(6):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Tue 23 Feb 13:31post reply

quote:
Rockman is allowed to change even its main gameplay proposal.
It's like Mario Golf and Paper Mario were main series entries.

I think Iggy's point here gets out what should have been the solution for Rockman: wildly different game approaches (including the ability to eventually go properly 3D in a mainline entry like all its peers).

But for all the fun side-games, the first thing I think of with Rockman is the exact opposite of this, and more what neoorochiaku mentioned: a glut of functionally identical games for the numbered and X entries. Unlike every other 8-bit peer, people noticed Rockman was getting repetitive and lame by...holy cow, 1991 (!), with Rockman 4. X1 spices it up with new abilities and extremely high-quality music, but then you're back to lower budgets, crappier sound design, and copy-and-paste graphics by X2. By the time they did this facelift again with X4 in 32-bit, 2D platform games weren't exciting to people anymore, yet somehow Rockman Dash wasn't being sold as Rockman 9. Why was only mainline Rockman purposefully not allowed to evolve out of its hub and boss-centered structure, when by 1998 Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, and other foundational series were unrecognizable from a decade before?

Oh well, I really like the idea that everything is Demon's Souls, and Demon's Souls is Rockman, then everything is Rockman. Maybe that's why he feels so nearby and yet so far away...he's been absorbed into the great gaming collective unconscious.





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"Re(6):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Tue 23 Feb 17:46post reply

quote:

Mega Man Zero suffered from the designers forgetting what kind of people actually played their games and listened only to the hardcore crowd.



quote:

Why was only mainline Rockman purposefully not allowed to evolve out of its hub and boss-centered structure, when by 1998 Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, and other foundational series were unrecognizable from a decade before?



I think the response is that Rockman was made by Capcom and Zelda, Mario, FF by Nintendo, Square, etc.
What, if any, franchise has Capcom ever evolved/changed in a significant way?







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"Re(7):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Tue 23 Feb 19:04post reply

In general, Capcom's philosophy seems to be that if you're going to change a game so much in the sequel, you should just make a new game out of it. That's what gave us the flurry of new games in the 90s, when "sequels" were just the refinement of the same idea (Nintendo would never have re-released SF2 5 times in a row). Ultimately, that's also the kind of approach that gave us DMC out of Bio Hazard 3.5's corpse! Rockman was allowed to keep its name through its iterations instead of being entirely replaced by someone else.

But Rockman's main series also suffers from Japan's conservative outlook when you find something that works. They have the same issue as Dragon's Quest and Pokémon: we've found what children liked once, cherish it and do not deviate from the precise formula, because as we all know children hate change.
DQ and Pokémon's core concepts were more unique than Rockman's, and it allowed them to ingrain themselves so much into people's psyche (in Pokémon's case, worldwide) that the repetitiveness became their strength, and they're now a sort of familiar harbor adults go back to when being an adult sucks too much. Their nostalgia never ends and is self-perpetuating (children continuously play the latest DQ/Pokémon for the first time, and then grow up, etc), and unfortunately Rockman never really reached that state.







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"Re(8):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Tue 23 Feb 22:53post reply

quote:
In general, Capcom's philosophy seems to be that if you're going to change a game so much in the sequel, you should just make a new game out of it. That's what gave us the flurry of new games in the 90s, when "sequels" were just the refinement of the same idea (Nintendo would never have re-released SF2 5 times in a row). Ultimately, that's also the kind of approach that gave us DMC out of Bio Hazard 3.5's corpse! Rockman was allowed to keep its name through its iterations instead of being entirely replaced by someone else.



I can't decide if Legends/Dash would have done better or worse if it was a new game entire. It certainly generated interest for being "Rockman in 3D", but it also generated dislike for being such a departure from the classic formula. Fans already annoyed at the departure weren't going to be as forgiving for just how clunky the game itself was.

Which is the elephant in the room... Dash was a very clunky game. That generation was not kind to 2D series transitioning to 3D worlds. It wasn't kind to 3D action in general, particularly platformers and shooters.







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"Re(7):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Tue 23 Feb 23:28post reply

quote:
Why was only mainline Rockman purposefully not allowed to evolve out of its hub and boss-centered structure, when by 1998 Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, and other foundational series were unrecognizable from a decade before?



Mario's status as a mascot character, combined with the Super Mario Bros 2 USA situation, and even the Gameboy series, created the situation where Mario was always being reinvented. I believe that helped greatly in Mario's transition to 3D. By the time of Mario 64, there really wasn't much set in stone for "Mario" other than the basic character designs. That gave Nintendo the freedom to change or do pretty much whatever they wanted.

Zelda was only wildly different from its NES iterations. While Link to the Past evolved from the NES games, LttP also became the new baseline for what Zelda was. Ocarina of Time was a natural (hardware limited) evolution of LttP into 3D, and became the new baseline for 3D Zelda. It wasn't until a few years ago that Nintendo even tried to evoke the feel of the original Zelda 1, with what became Breath of the Wild.

Final Fantasy were still pretty similar until the PS1, where they suddenly gained the ability to start to do what they really wanted to do, which was to make movies. They could get away with because FF was a console RPG series.


But what about other series?

Castlevania tried to transition to 3D on the N64, and failed. It would spend the next 15 years repeatedly failing to successfully reinvent itself for 3D. The series lucked into the SotN formula for 2D games, and would pretty much stick with that formula to sustain itself.

Sonic didn't have the flexability of Mario, and was still tied to the gameplay mechanic of "gotta go fast". Sonic's future would consist of awkward 3D attempts, with a stream of reinventions and gimmicks that only splintered the fan base more and more. Sonic's best received games appeared to be titles that tried to replicate the original Megadrive experiences.

Metroid stuck with pretty much the same formula until the release of the Gamecube. That game involved an entirely different Western studio being brought in to make the game, without Sakamoto being involved. Even then, the first Metroid Prime tried very hard to be "Super Metroid in 3D".

Contra arguably never successfully reinvented itself. Blaster Master floundered in both 2D and its attempted 3D reinvention, ultimately finding popularity again with a nostalgia fueled faithful recreation of the NES game with modern pixel graphics. Nekketsu Kunio was highly experimental in its early days, but faded into obscurity before being revived for its own nostalgia-fueled recreations of its golden age.

So many other series simply vanished with the transition to the 3D era.







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"Re(8):The ghost of Rockman: Dr. Wily's true r" , posted Wed 24 Feb 08:37:post reply

quote:
Why was only mainline Rockman purposefully not allowed to evolve out of its hub and boss-centered structure, when by 1998 Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, and other foundational series were unrecognizable from a decade before?



Yeah, the evolution to 3D was definitely rocky for many series. Just think about how much trouble Street Fighter had with it, and they weren't even trying to totally reinvent the gameplay for 3D, either!

Metal Gear Solid is definitely one of the standouts in making the jump to 3D successfully, and for many fans the series really only begins with the first 3D entry.

I mean, I think about how Assault Suits Valken wasn't able to make that jump, though in their endless ambition they had tried to make their 3D attempt a strategy game. Outside of Japan, the makers of Sensible Soccer had a similar challenge when they tried to go to 3D, and without having strong 3D know-how they struggled to make something that looked good and struggled even harder to make something that felt as good to play as the 2D Sensible Soccer.

The series which managed to evolve to 3D successfully managed to continue on that way for long enough that we've got a strong survivorship bias in how we view them, when so many series were not at all so successful.

quote:
That generation was not kind to 2D series transitioning to 3D worlds. It wasn't kind to 3D action in general, particularly platformers and shooters.


Absolutely, yeah. And some of the studios that did manage to do it surprisingly well like TREASURE would eventually gravitate back towards 2D gameplay.

I'm thinking also about how Golden Axe tried to branch out, and even had a 2008 game that at the time was derided for its difficulty and how you walkways had no "guardrails" so you could fall off and die easily... when some years later, Demons' Souls and then Dark Souls would be lauded for these qualities! To be fair I never played the game myself, so it might've been bad in other horrible ways, but that was the bit that really stuck out to me.





[this message was edited by Spoon on Wed 24 Feb 09:03]