Hey hey, everybody! Back again with more Mega Man redesigns, and now we’re half-way through the Evil Robot Masters of MM1, featuring what was honestly the hardest design for me to crack: Ice Man.
Ice Man is a goofy little guy. He’s small, wears a parka, and shoots blades of ice out of his mouth, all of which is just… it’s silly. For this project, I was trying to balance two things with the design aesthetic – making the characters more “realistic” or, at least, more detailed and advanced than their old sprites, and to do so without losing the fun at the heart of the Mega Man experience. So how could I update Ice Man to be less silly but still feel like himself?
I started with the parka. A robot built for arctic research and exploration wouldn’t need to wear a coat with a fluffy hood, but that was absolutely his defining attribute. I built a helmet that came in tight on the face and included a band of white that would simulate the old hood without the fluff, and at the last minute decided to add a visor. Old-time arctic explorers would wear goggles that had that narrow Cyclops-strip across them to block the extreme glare from the sun on the snow, and this could be a retractable element that recalled that classic look and could give the slight air of menace the Evil Robot Masters needed. Underneath, though, he’d still have the large, child-like eyes Ice Man is known for.
For his chassis, I decided to use Mega Man as a base. Ice Man would be the first of the Robot Masters to use this frame; an early version of the armor Dr. Light would build for Rock when he has to go out and stop their carnage later. I downgraded it, making it look clunkier and more robotic, adding oversized gauntlets and boots to suggest child-like proportions that would reinforce his innocence when the evil Dr. Wily code is removed. Ice Man’s just a sweet kid, after all! His boots also are meant to recall those old, huge snow-shoes people used to wear, and to give him better traction on the ice that would cover his whole stage.
Finally, I added the vents to his chest. I thought that his weapon would be a way to vent the frost in his system, which would effectively shoot condensed blasts of ice particles and frozen air like a cannon. This way it still has a similar effect to the original, without the silliness of blowing icicles out of his mouth.
For the Ice Slasher weapon, I kept it simple. In fact, I decided to re-use one of the discarded mega buster designs for the Mega Man armor and adjusted it slightly so it had the same exhaust-vent appearance as Ice Man’s chest. Down the barrel, you’d see the vents which open or close to allow the weapon to fire icicle shards. I changed the colors to better match Ice Man’s palette (which I really like) and so that I could save the blue & white for later, as I suspect I’ll be needing those colors more for a later boss.
So there it is – Ice Man down and only three Evil Robot Masters left to go. I was happy with how he turned out, considering how little I had to work with. But even still, I was much more excited to work on him than what came next. Thursday I’ll share my least favorite of the MM1 bosses, and one of my most favorite redesigns of the whole project: Bomb Man!