Mega Man Bosses: Behind the Metal

Mega Man bosses across the ages. Image courtesy of J.J. McCullough

Mega Man Bosses: Behind the Metal – Where Are They Now?

Mega Man bosses never really die, they just lie around for a while until Dr. Wily fixes them back up again. While he has made plenty of mechanical menaces, his early creations still hold the heaviest spot in his heart – for it was they who truly inspired his years and years of demented tinkering.  But whatever happened to these bosses?  What happened to them once Dr. Wily moved on, found new bosses and new mega men to battle?  Where in their 8-bit world were they going to find solace?  Certainly not from that asshole dog, Rush, from Mega Man 3.  Let’s find out!

Frosted Donut Man?

METAL MAN (Mega Man 2): We’ll start with the boss you likely started with – the redundant Metal Man. I mean, this guy had to be an early Wily prototype if the best the doc could do was give him the moniker “metal.” Shelley didn’t call the Frankenstein Monster “Skin Man” for good reason.  How about “Starsiege Tribes Man”?

It is true that Metal Man fell on hard times. In shooting a steady stream of over-sized gears at Mega Man, he inevitably began to take from his personal store – aka. the ones holding him together.  Addictions are hard to kick, and Metal Man fared no differently than a chain smoker, masochistically yanking out the gears from his internal machinery until he could barely function and sat around spewing grease everywhere.  His friends tried to help – Needle Man, Top Man – but he would have none of it, shouting, “If gears are so important to you, why didn’t you take some?” before opening fire randomly.

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Eventually things got so bad that Wily had to kick Metal Man out of his Fortress. Other bosses had started to complain about his bad attitude and anger management issues. Low on gears and low on hope, Metal Man stumbled around Flash Man’s domain for a few years before he fell in Bubble Man’s level and rusted to death.

His name is, ironically, "Jake."

SNAKE MAN (Mega Man 3): One of the early “hybrid” bosses (wherein Wily used animal DNA and robotics to attempt to design his own pet equivalent to that asshole dog, Rush), Snake Man was part robot, part snake.  A quiet, solitary fellow, the other bosses never really got to know him too well.  He liked to read and often kept to himself.  He knew that the others were not always fans of his “offbeat” political ideas and outspoken communist leanings.  That being said, he was a helpful boss around the Fortress, and messier bosses, such as Heat Man, appreciated his tidiness.

His fall came when he distributed communist propaganda to a nearby village.  Zealots who disagreed with his beliefs rallied the townsfolk to hunt him down and stab him to death (it being common knowledge by now, thanks to Mega Man, that needles were Snake Man’s weakness.)  Persecuted for his views, and abandoned by his boss brethren who never really understood him, Snake Man died in an alley outside the Wily Estate.  In time the others came to mourn his passing, but in the heat of the moment they strung his sad corpse up on the gate of the Fortress in order to ward off intruders. It was a few years before someone pointed out that broadcasting the fact that the bosses had stabbed one of their own to death was likely not the best way to inspire fear in the doctor’s enemies.  They replaced Snake Man’s body with sign making a pun about Spark Man and high voltage.

Short end of the stick.

WOOD MAN (Mega Man 2): If Metal Man was an early boss prototype, Wood Man was an experiment gone terribly wrong.  In addition to the fact that it is pretty obvious what his weakness is (Heat and Spark Man used to light him on fire for kicks), this is obviously working backwards on the part of Dr. Wily.  The utter failure of Wood Man to do any damage at all to Mega Man prompted the doctor to push aside his planned line of old-fashioned “retro” robots, including:  Silk Man, Paper Man and Gramophone Man.

Being mocked publicly amongst his boss brethren, along with termites showing up in Wily’s increasingly-poor living quarters, Wood Man was forced to venture out on his own to make it in the real world.  What he found there shocked him.  Humans didn’t all have guns for arms or power-boots.  Many of them were actually pretty friendly. One even gave him a job as a mascot for a basketball team, The Davistown Woodpeckers. Pretty soon, Wood Man came to realize that most everything Dr. Wily had told him about men, mega men, and life outside the walls of his Fortress had been a lie. He decided that his revenge would be to live well and hope the others could see they didn’t need Wily to obtain happiness.

Wood Man lived a stellar life for almost 15 years until he got caught up in environmentalism and was accidentally churned into 1500 pamphlets on how to save the forest. By this point, he was barely even considered a Mega Man boss. The others hadn’t heard from him in ages, and time had forgotten his stellar, uh, wood abilities in defense of his creator. Gemini Man could not help but admit his feelings: “Honestly, I hated Wood Man more than that asshole dog, Rush.”

Powerful attraction, polarized soul.

MAGNET MAN (Mega Man 3): Magnet Man seemed to have it all.  Friends, money, power over magnets and magnetism. Truly, he was the envy of bosses throughout the Fortress. But like so many who are pushed to the forefront, behind his charming demeanor and flashy style was a tormented soul. You see, even Dr. Wily could not fathom how the opposite polarities of Magnet Man’s ends tore him apart internally. Oh, his body remained strong and together, but his mind faced constant stresses, always pulling against itself. No one knew that behind all the martinis and swimsuit models was a boss barely keeping himself together.

The problem came from Dr. Wily’s insistence that Magnet Man needed a magnet on his head lest Mega Man not know exactly who he was.  Magnet Man complained that the fact he used a magnet in battle was enough, but Wily would have none of it. A magnet at such close proximity to his central logic processor proved deadly in the long run, causing Magnet Man to grow split personalities, both in constant disagreement. Shadow Man was the first to notice Magnet Man’s social withdrawal, but in typical Shadow Man fashion, he kept his mouth shut and faded away. One morning the bosses woke up to find Magnet Man splayed out on the kitchen table surrounded by flatware and with a butcher’s cleaver in his head.  Unable to keep the pain within him anymore, he had taken his own life by opening the cutlery drawer.

Magnet Man’s death was particularly hard on Hard Man. “I was his best friend,” he recounted.  “His best friend and I didn’t know anything. I was so busy getting drunk and throwing stuff at Wood Man… I could have saved him.”  Hard Man’s grief was felt by all. Even Dr. Wily said a few words at the funeral, noting Magnet Man for his ability to follow his programming and fire magnets at Mega Man. Complying with his final wish, Magnet Man was pulled apart by a pair of large electromagnets, splitting himself conclusively in half.

Sponsored by Nike.

QUICK MAN (Mega Man 2): Even bosses feel the ravages of age, and Quick Man lived the longest of his Mega Man 2 brethren. Lightning fast, he kept himself in good shape through most of his middle years and exercised regularly – always knowing that one day Mega Man might return. He would have to be ready, while his cohorts drank themselves into oblivion (a sullen Crash Man) or couldn’t even beat that asshole dog, Rush, in a fight (Air Man). Quick Man spearheaded initiatives to improve in ways beyond just being quick.  He started taking jujitsu and working with lightning attacks. He developed skills at creating force fields. His mastery of other realms of attack easily made him Dr. Wily’s best hidden weapon. Content that his training was complete, Quick Man waited.

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And waited and waited. In time the other bosses wilted away and left Quick Man alone. Even Dr. Wily succumbed to tetanus, of all things. Still Quick Man waited, determined to finish the work of the doctor and his army of metal freaks. Winters came and went, stiffening his joints. Summers peeled the veneer off Quick Man’s impressive armor. Years passed under an uncaring sun and Quick Man just waited, praying for Mega Man’s arrival – until one day he saw a bluebird. Thinking it was Mega Man, Quick Man struck out with his lightning attack – only to find that he barely knew how to use it anymore.  He had forgotten all that he had learned.

Before Quick Man died, standing solemnly at the gate of Dr. Wily’s Fortress (now being used to produce spacecraft for Starfox), he had an epiphany. He realized Mega Man would not be returning. All his training, his quickness, his fitness, and his constant worry over his own personal prowess had left Quick Man alone and dying without friends.  Before he slowed down for good, Quick Man shed a single tear – impossible for robots to do at the time – and removed his headgear. Dropping his boomerang in the snow, he was Quick Man no longer.

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