The Let's Play Archive

Mega Man Zero 1

by Simply Simon

Part 12: All coming back to me now

Now that we've successfully defended the Resistance Base from a retarded attack and their own stupidity, a few things have opened up. First, though, we're going for something that we could have done a while ago, but not at the time of the first visit to the Resistance Base – a little talk with old Andrew.

: as to become like the other Reploids?

He is pretty fixated on kicking butt, can't fault him really – it's what Zero does best, after all. One could also say that it's Zero's only method to solving problems. It was X's to, but Zero has eponymous problems with it.

: Are you interested in

Talk all you can't be as bad as the one guy in the retirement home I worked in for a while who always told me about being in the war, wounded and cold, "but it were crazy times"...
...he told the same story each day. I liked listening to him regardless. After all, we're all thankful for attention once in a while, no ?

: I may not look it, but I used to be a handsome Reploid. I was very popular with the ladies. It was the night of the full moon when it happened...I was carrying containers in a warehouse at the harbor, when I heard a song drifting over the night air. I looked up to find a beautiful lady with long hair singing in front of the crowd that had gathered at the harbor.

: After spending time together and talking, we fell in love, and eventually started living together...
Umm? Are you tired of

Most definitely not, Andrew! However, if you were to not pay attention here and pick the wrong answer (default cursor position is 'Yes'), Andrew would have an interesting line:

: How unfortunate. If you were a Reploid, you could spare some time, I guess... Oh, well.

More on that later. This is kind of a dick move, though, as you'll never get him to open up again, and miss out on your reward for listening. Also, you feel like a butt that needs kicking. Like I do now for interrupting, sorry, please carry on!

: Oh, you want to listen! I told you up to the time we began to live together, didn't I? I'll continue... As time went by, she grew older and older,while I remained the same. She came to resent how she looked, and began avoiding me. So, I asked Ciel to modify me to be what I am now...

: will never be erased from my memory chip...Thank you for indulging me with your company and listening to my story. Keep this as a token of my gratitude.

I think that's a pretty touching tale, maybe because I also found Bicentennial Man pretty touching. I was little and expected cool sci-fi action or something . The plot might sound pretty would the main character's name. I think it's a very fitting reference considering the questions the Zero games' world raises, anyway.

I'll allow myself a little detour here. Narrated for your listening pleasure, or you can read it, or just skip it.

We're still playing a Mega Man game here, so the questions raised are never really
answered, but I think it's better that way, as the presentation could never carry a deeply philosophical discussion such as that to a satisfying conclusion. That more than sci-fi racism is going on behind the scenes and off the screen is just hinted at here and in other little moments that are easy to miss; what we're told is that Neo Arcadia is a utopia for humans and they're labelling Reploids as "Maverick", which gives them an easy justification for basically commiting genocide. That's the entire setup for the game – further ground in with the Disposal Center mission right at the start – and you might think that Ciel is pretty much the only human to care at all.
It's more complicated than that, as Andrew just demonstrated. Because the line is starting to blur. He doesn't even offhandedly mention that his love for a human was any kind of problem – maybe because the game doesn't really want to introduce even more drama. Or because it really isn't that big of a deal.

Less nerdy readers might right now raise the question of what exactly a "Reploid" is then, just a robot? Well, more than that, as we've learned. In fact, Andrew's insistence that Zero should strive to become a Reploid himself makes it abundantly clear that they take great pride in being what they are...basically indistinguishable from humans. Being a Reploid is A Good Thing for them. So wait, isn't Zero a humanoid robot himself?
Well, we need to go back even farther for this and look at the origin of the term. The X games started with the blue robot whom they were named after being excavated by a scientist called Dr. Cain. X's design was incredibly advanced even after he had slept in his capsule for 30 years, so much so that Cain studied him, took his blueprints and built an insane amount of robots meant to usher in a new age...replicas of the original X design by Dr. Light. The Reploids. Things then went to hell with those for reasons I won't go into, mostly because it was retconned about ten times. And we don't care for this game. However, one other thing from that dark time when Mega Man games tried to have a story far bigger than Capcom's writers could ever try and achieve is important to mention: Zero was also originally found in some random cave where he was mercilessly killing Reploids sent in to see what was going on. It is very strongly implied that he was built by Dr. Wily. So we can assume that Zero is the single sentient robot still working in the entire world that was not based on X's design...and he is indeed not a Reploid, never was.
I don't know if Andrew immediately sees that or if that's just some kind of senility talking, but I'm willing to give the game credit for calling out that little detail. Also because Andrew is awesome. And Zero has had problems with his heritage for basically his entire life, so it makes a lot of sense to explain his motivations which otherwise aren't given as he thankfully is silent most of the time: He
does want to become a Reploid like the others.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, non-sentient robots are of course also around, like most of the stage enemies; they're the Mechaniloids like the giant one from last update.

So, to sum this all up, in the world of the Zero games, Reploids and humans can fall in love, live their life together unchallenged, and apart from not aging, the machine people are basically undistinguishable from organic ones. One would assume their skin feels warm and they emulate breathing. AI was always very highly evolved, and now it's gone so far that they're putting a fully functioning sentient being into their disposable canisters of health, bullets and more, which is rightfully questioned. Where is it headed?

We know! In the ZX games, which are set even further in the future, there is no distinction between humans and Reploids anymore. Any discrimination still present in this game is completely unheard of. The games never explore how this big sociological change came slowly into being, or mention problems in the past; it's, like in the game we're playing, only ever hinted at. And I'm absolutely fine with that. NPCs like Andrew with his little story do a great lot for world-building and spark our own interpretations and thoughts, without being intrusive or spelling everything out for us. I love it when games do that, and think it's really surprising how subtly and skillfully this action platformer where you shoot the evil robots manages that.

tl;dr: "What does it mean to be human?", but you don't get beaten over the head with it.

Let's get this back on track, shall we?

The game doesn't tell you, and as such I think quite a few players missed it, but our main man Cerveau has something for us!

: haven't named it yet...Say, I'll call it Shield Boomerang!


What a long word, eh? So, the final weapon of the game, that's it for them! It becomes available right after you defended the base against Hittide Hottide, for some reason. They really could have made Ciel drop a line, I mean, she loves doing that, after all...

I don't think even among players who got the Boomerang, those two stars were filled out often. Before I knock it, let's take a look, though.

When holding down the respective button, a protective shield forms. It will reflect bullets fired at Zero. Which sounds really nice. However, it's true for only one specific type of bullet, the yellow pellets which the basic Pantheon enemies shoot. So...that is a rather niche use. Not pictured: Your inability to dash while holding it. That really fucking hurts its versatility...

During your holding it up, it'll charge up, and a fully charged Shield Boomerang can be deployed to fit the second part of its name. It flies in an upwards arc back to Zero, and leveling it up will increase just the range. If you jump, the arc will be downwards instead. Deals decent damage, but is really clunky to use.
There is one very, very nice aspect to this, though. Because the charge is available from the first weapon level, as it has to be usable as a boomerang from the get-go, you can charge it in Hard Mode. That means this is the only way to get elemental damage in Hard Mode. A godsend if you're aiming for easy boss kills there. Frankly, I have far more fun dashing circles around them, and using the Boomerang will get you hit more often than not. It's surely not impossible to pull off, but I haven't really tried yet, so I won't use it for that purpose. My Hard Mode videos are meant to show off the boss moves in greater detail anyway.

Speaking of video...a little demonstration of what the Boomerang does, and I promise to try and use it in missions, too.

We ended here inside the orange building which Hittide Hottide (can't stop typing it) so nicely chewed up for us. Now that the mission is done, the shaft is open again... down we go.

Our reward (also a 16-pack of Energy Crstalys I stepped on).

This is an Elf that gives us a Sub Tank when used (yup, not even those can be found somewhere), so it's pretty useful. She still has to be fed, though...which bring me to my next agenda. Beating the factory boss Guard Orotic Orochi-Arm Metalcore unlocked the entire factory area. Pictures from the trip...

We end up here after falling down the shaft the Giant Mechaniloid Hittide Hottide opened. As you can see, it's too high to jump up, though you might manage some crazy Triple Rod pogo shenanigans. Never tried, though.

Up a far too long segment dashing back and forth...the overworld is far too big for how empty and basically useless it is. Think No More Heroes, if you've played that but not Zero 1.

The Trans Server behind this door is actually very welcome for that very reason, though. We might want to be back. It's also a good idea to go back to Ciel now and save. You'll see why in a second. I also took the time to upload some Elfs:

After all, it wouldn't be much of an informative LP if I didn't at least show some of them in action? I never used one-shot Elfs before and it's been a long time since I needed permanent ones, so it'll be a learning experience for all of us. That's for later videos though, so back to what we came here for.

Any second now...

: no shortage of energy. Thank you, Zero.

Did I hear the magic word?

: you'll be sorry!!

Why do you have a head wound? Nah, he's just wearing the cap weirdly. However, as especially the far less censored original Japanese version shows, Reploids do have blood-red liquid flowing through them. Whatever. Energy Crystals!

Indeed, the entire factory is now filled with the elusive Elf-feed! But before we splurge, one more thing...

You did watch the Hard Mode video showing off the shortcut, no? We should now have everything hidden in the overworld that is unlocked so far, and if I'm not mistaken, any future Elves can be gotten during the upcoming missions, so this should conclude any exploration necessary. Though we still want to get those Energy Crystals right now!

After the elevator ride...

: don't have enough courage to go...

I actually don't blame him, because what follows is the ass part with the log carriers.

The screen is still to small, but at least the sparks are turned off now.

Doing this is worth it, though...

...very much so if you get to the end.

This is what I call a "Factory Run". It's hands down the best way to get Energy Crystals. Haven't counted the exact number yet, but it's a treasure trove worth at least half an hour of farming the blasted things. I don't know exactly if they respawn more than once; I do know they do after the next time we have a mission here. It's not that hard to do, you can skip the more dangerous ones, and it gives you quite a head start if you want to get some Elfs ready to go. For your viewing pleasure, a video of the process:

So, we started with about 400 Crystals...we should have decent swag now to seriously raise some Elfs, right?


You gotta be fucking kidding me. And Winkie here has a second level, so good luck finding another 150 Crystals and then another 2000.

Factory Runs help a little, but the Elf system is still garbage.

Thanks for your attention, see you next mission!


Shield Boomerang as main weapon