Hey gang, back again! Today I’m going to close out my redesigns of the Mega Man 1 Robot Masters with the guy who’s probably most peoples’ favorite – Elec Man!
Look at that guy. He and Fire Man are both legit great designs. I mean, relative to the rest of the Mega Man characters of the time and all. They’re right up there with the blue bomber himself, but with more flair. It’s no wonder Elec Man kept popping up in future games, and was occasionally used as a hero character himself. I definitely wanted to keep that air of coolness in my design, starting with the idea that this guy could have been the hero of the game under different circumstances.
But Elec Man wasn’t as easy as Fire Man for me to get my head around. The biggest factor in my planning at first was to remember that this is the final robot designed by Dr. Light before he would later build Mega Man’s armor to help Rock fight the Robot Masters. Thus, my thinking went, Elec Man should look the most like Mega Man. That coupled with the idea that he could’ve been the main character himself led me to a design I liked, but was less and less happy with the more I thought about it.
There are things I really like here, like his helmet design, the electric prods, the blue domes that would have static globes inside, and I thought I was really clever putting power outlet designs in his shoulders and hips. Elec Man was built as a power generator, and I had this idea that they could literally plug him into the grid. But I kept looking at him over and over, and just wasn’t satisfied.
For one thing, Elec Man is specifically described as the most agile and fast of the Robot Masters. His design is used as a basis for Dr. Wily’s work on Quick Man in Mega Man 2. This doesn’t feel like a fast character – he’s too bulky and thick. He feels like a tough, armored character; heavier and more powerful than Mega Man. That was a big problem for me. The other thing was that he just didn’t feel different enough from Mega Man, and I didn’t want his fight to be a mirror image kind of thing.
So I went back to the drawing board and scrapped nearly everything. This Elec Man is tall and lean, super light and nimble. I had an idea for Quick Man’s eventual design that would use wheels for feet, and so I built a kind of precursor into Elec Man, with flexible shock absorbers (heh, “shock”) so he can be springy on his feet, or tear ahead at a really fast clip – maybe even drive up walls. I kept the power outlet design for the shoulders and knees, but didn’t let them get as bulky as before. I also kept the conducting rods in his back, but now they would move and flex to provide him better balance as he leaps and races all over the place.
For the color scheme, I was working with yet another red/yellow/black robot master (did I mention how limited the palette was in MM1?) and that had to go. But I noticed his colors would frequently skew toward the cooler end of the spectrum – a muted orange and maroon instead of pure yellow and red. I just took that even further and went to purple. I love it because A) purple is an awesome color, and a great compliment to his yellow lightning, and B) it’s often used for both hero and villain color schemes. This would help him walk that line between good guy and bad guy, so even when he loses Dr. Wily’s corrupting code, he’s still a little antagonistic toward Mega Man. In the fun way, though! He’s a playfully antagonistic kind of friend to Rock.
For the Rolling Thunder weapon, all I had to do was swap over Elec Man’s gauntlets. I really liked the conductors I was using, and the static globes created nice contrast. Elec Man’s killer new color scheme looks great on MM, too. Building Elec Man made Mega Man look even cooler, which is the ideal situation when you’re making villain characters. Yes, bad guys should look good – but they should look good in a way that makes the good guy look better!
And that wraps up the bosses of Mega Man 1, and I’m glad they’re going out on a bang. I’d love playing a game starring this Elec Man! He just looks great, to me. I have one more piece of work to share from this redesign project next week, and it’s something huge to wrap it all up with.
See you then!