Are you ready for more Mega Man? Tough! Here it comes! Today, I’m going to talk about my least-favorite MM1 boss: Bomb Man. Why is he my least favorite? Two reasons. Reason one, just look at him:
He’s so dumpy! Sorry, Bomb Man fans, I just could never. Since I was a kid, I’d look at him and scratch my head. The weird Mohawk, the moobs, the old-timey bowling-ball-with-a-wick bombs he’d toss around, the beak-mouth… this guy was never cool. The second reason was really the killer, though – the weapon he gave you sucked. With the Hyper-Bomb weapon, you’d throw out a bomb and it would just sit there for a second before blowing up, providing ample time for whatever you were targeting to just mosey on past to safety. No thanks, hard pass. Gimme the Thunder Beam any day.
But when it came time to redesign his look, I wound up quickly running into something I really liked. It started from thinking about practicality; Bomb Man was built for demolitions and explosive diffusion. He sets bombs, detects and disarms them, preventing humans from having to do that extremely dangerous job. So I used actual bomb disposal suits as a base, and they worked perfectly! Bomb Man is supposed to be a bigger, tougher robot, but not as humongous as Guts Man. These suits gave me a direction I really liked.
I also decided as I was working on him that this would be the origin of the Mega Man armor. Previous bots had pieces of the design influence in there, but Bomb Man needed super-tough armor for his job. This design uses big, bulky forms, but if you look under the padding you’ll notice it’s actually pretty sleek compared with the previous three Robot Masters. With iteration, Dr. Light would figure out how to reduce the size of this armored shell, making it increasingly lightweight and efficient before building Mega Man’s combat suit.
So Bomb Man is the first time you can easily see a direct line from his design to Mega Man’s, but the bulk allowed me to have some fun, adding tool boxes, rocket thruster boots, and little grenades and micro-bombs all over the place. I redesigned his big bowling ball bombs to have a slightly more sci-fi appearance – they look a little like basketballs from this view, but those grooves corkscrew around the surface and add some spin for when they’re fired out of his huge arm-cannon. Finally, I had to decide on a color palette. Aside from Ice Man, every MM1 boss is red, yellow, and black. I let Guts Man keep the red and yellow and shifted Bomb Man into orange and black, with green running lights for trim. I thought it both gave a nice, striking look while also reminding me of hazard/safety equipment. I liked the idea that, if you saw Bomb Man coming, you’d know to keep a safe distance.
Looking at the Hyper Bomb weapon, I immediately discarded the color (because why the hell did he turn green and white for Bomb Man’s weapon?) and designed a buster cannon that looked like a smaller, more advanced version of Bomb Man’s huge arm launcher. It also has a handle to brace the weapon with, as I liked the idea of it having a lot of kick, and still includes a few micro-bombs Mega Man can use as a secondary attack. This design gave me the idea that all Mega Man’s (and the Boss’s) weapons would have secondary-fire modes. They would either be supped-up charge attacks, or some kind of crowd control utility. Micro-bombs would be good for getting swarms of small enemies off you, and the big bombs would be great for taking down huge enemies.
This is how I took my least-favorite MM1 design and wound up with one of my most satisfying new looks. I love how this Bomb Man turned out, and he really marks a turning point in the direction of the Robot Masters. You’ll see how Dr. Light continued evolving and advancing his robotic techniques next Tuesday when I bring out the next boss: Fire Man!
See you then-