Zero (ゼロ, Zero?) is a main character from the Mega Man franchise. He is one of the three protagonists, alongside X and Axl, in the Mega Man X series and the main protagonist of the Mega Man Zero games. In the former series, he is one of the highest ranking "Maverick Hunters" who is fighting to stop Sigma's forces of infected Reploids, known as Mavericks, from exterminating humanity.
Incidentally, Keiji Inafune, one of Mega Man's co-creator and former senior corporate officer at Capcom, had admitted to creating Zero to be X himself, the character who would replace the original Mega Man as the hero. However, due to concerns that players would find it hard to relate Zero with the original Mega Man due to the large visual differences between the two characters, he was made X's partner, and the X widely known today was designed for this purpose instead. Nine years later, Zero did eventually get his own starring role, in the Mega Man Zero series.
According to Inafune, Zero (and Sigma) represent the idea that nothing is absolute.
Mega Man X Era
In Zero's debut appearance in the first Mega Man X game, he was a gameplay extension of the main character, X. He had a more powerful form of X's X-Buster weapon, called the Z-Buster, and a contrasting red color scheme to X's blue. Until the release of Mega Man X3, Zero was an unplayable character to the player, only assisting at discriminate intervals. When he became available, steps were taken to give Zero a varied playing experience from X. While X used long-range shots/projectiles to dispatch enemies, Zero gained a very powerful saber called the Z-Saber to attack enemies at close range. In Mega Man X4, his first playable appearance in a game, Zero experiences a terrible tragedy. He is forced to fight the formerly peaceful Iris, who was enraged that Zero killed her brother, Colonel. Iris, in an effort to avenge her brother, sacrificed her own life. Before she died, she admitted to having feelings for Zero. This is one of the few times players got to see Zero show some emotion other than anger or coldness.
Mega Man Zero Era
At the beginning of Mega Man Zero, Zero was discovered in suspended animation by a human scientist named Ciel, who leads a band of Reploid freedom fighters. Ciel used the Cyber-elf Passy to revive Zero, who in turn saved Ciel from the forces of Neo Arcadia. Zero, however, was suffering memory loss due to "hibernation sickness." As it turned out, Neo Arcadia was the government of the world at this time period. Reploids were discriminated against and often deemed Maverick and terminated without justifiable cause. Copy X, a ruthless, conceited weaker clone of the real X, was in charge of this policy. Zero agreed to join Ciel's team in fighting this oppression of Reploids. Zero would then go on to defeat Copy X's Four Guardians as well as destroying Copy X himself.
Later on in Mega Man Zero 2, Zero learned of what had happened before his sealing; Sigma and his Mavericks were defeated, but some time after the Elf Wars broke out, Zero himself helped X to end them by defeating and banishing Omega, the most terrifying Reploid of the time. Several decades after Zero was sealed, X sacrificed his body to stop the worst Cyber Elf of all, the Dark Elf, leaving him in a more ethereal form. X's body was destroyed and the Dark Elf released by a rogue Resistance commander, Elpizo. Zero defeats Elpizo, but the Dark Elf escapes. She and Zero appear to know each other, and X informs Zero that the Dark Elf was not always known by her current name. Her powers became a threat due to a curse by Dr. Weil, the man who started the Elf Wars, at which point people began calling her the Dark Elf.
In Mega Man Zero 3, Dr. Weil and Omega reappear and seize control of Neo Arcadia, and the Dark Elf. Weil reveals (and X confirms) that the body Zero currently inhabits is a copy, even though he still has his real soul. This led to a final battle between him and Omega, who is revealed to contain the "Original" Zero. With the help of X, the Guardians and even the Dark Elf who breaks free of her curse, Zero manages to destroy Omega once and for all, but Weil escapes. The Dark Elf, now called Mother Elf, roams free. However, X now cannot roam in the real world any longer. Before X goes away, he tells an unconscious Zero to always protect the peace between Reploids and humans.
Eight months after the destruction of Omega, Neo Arcadia remained under Weil's control. After Weil began to terminate humans who opposed him, several groups of humans escaped the city that used to be their utopia. When the Resistance received knowledge of this, they immediately dispatched a team to assist and protect the refugees. Zero, along with Ciel and a few other Resistance members, intercepted an assault team of Weil's Variant drones, remodelled Mechaniloid soldiers which had replaced the Pantheons, that attacked a refugee truck caravan. After countering the attack, Zero and Ciel met Neige, a human journalist who tried everything possible to both bring all people safely to their new refuge, Area Zero,(the site where Eurasia's wreckage landed in Megaman X5) and to find out the whole truth about Weil.
Mega Man Zero 4 is the hunter's final battle. After repelling an attack on Area Zero by the Einherjar eight warriors, Zero heads for the space station "Ragnarok," created by Dr. Weil, and fights him in two battles. After the first battle, the space station is damaged and begins to fall to Earth. Ciel tells Zero that he can either return to Earth at that moment, or become stranded on the station due to increasing transporter interference. Zero passes on the offer to come back and proceeds to finish Weil off in their second battle, ultimately sacrificing himself as the death of Weil's last form causes the station to explode. Zero's final act opens the eyes of many, and brings peace between the Reploids and humans left on Earth.
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- Black Zero - Throughout the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series, Zero sometimes has an alternate black armor which usually carries increased attack abilities. This was first seen in Mega Man X2. If the player (as X) collects all three of Zero's parts, Black Zero appears in the last level. In Mega Man X4, X5, X6, and X8, the player could unlock a powered-up black version of Zero's armor which usually has an increase in attack and defense.
- Absolute Zero - Mega Man X: Command Mission also featured a hidden armor upgrade called Absolute Zero, which was reminiscent of Bass' Treble Boost in the classic Mega Man series. Absolute Zero uses no weapons, relying instead on his claws and feet in battle, which are devastating by themselves. Zero's attacks while in this form are ice/water based, presumably making reference to the fact that absolute zero is the lowest possible temperature.
- Proto and Galacta/Junk - In Mega Man Zero 2 – Mega Man Zero 4, Zero has the Proto form and the Galacta/Junk armor chip set. Both of them bear a dark gray appearance and the effect of double damage dealt and received.
- Z-Buster - Like X's X-Buster, the Z-Buster is a chargeable cannon embedded in Zero's arm(s). It can fire regular shots as well as Charge attacks.
- Z-Saber - Zero's weapon of choice and the one he is most skilled with, the Z-Saber is a lightsaber-like beam weapon which he first acquired in Mega Man X2 after being repaired by Dr. Cain. It allows Zero to execute powerful close-range attacks. Zero uses his Learning System to learn new attack techniques for his Saber; this Learning System works in a similar fashion to X's Variable Weapons System. Up until Zero's death at the end of Mega Man X5, the Z-Saber had a rather fluid-formed blade, less like a saber in the actual sense. After his resurrection in Mega Man X6, it had a more solid blade. The Z-Saber can be used on the ground and in mid-air and can perform combo attacks; however, the normal slashes (and the combos) force Zero to stand still. (This is changed in the Mega Man Zero games.) The techniques obtained from defeated bosses usually are assigned to different elements, such as fire, ice, and lightning, and those attacks are executed by fulfilling certain button combinations while in a certain situation (for example, while Zero's in mid-air). When not used, Zero stores the deactivated Z-Saber hilt in a special sheath-like element located on his back, although in Mega Man X7 and X8, he keeps it out and activated as long as it is equipped because of the possible utilization of other combat weapons in addition to the standard Z-Saber in the two games. In Mega Man X: Command Mission, Zero can equip several different kinds of Z-Sabers. In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, Zero uses the fluid saber from X3 to X5, despite having moves from X6 and onward. This also applies to Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- D Glaive - This is a lance that allows for long-range attacks. It appears in both Mega Man X7 and Mega Man X8. The method to obtain this weapon is different between the two games. The X7 version of this weapon is obtained from Splash Warfly after his defeat. The X8 version of this weapon is available as a Rare Metal that Zero can redeem in the R&D Shop.
- V Hanger - The V-Hanger is obtained from Wind Crowrang in X7 after he is defeated. It is a set of two purple-bladed daggers. Besides allowing him to create beam boomerangs, the V-Hanger also allows him to do up to a 5-slash combo. The attack reach of the daggers are half as long as the regular Z-Saber.
- Σ Blade - The Σ Blade is the weapon Sigma uses in Mega Man X8, and it can be obtained by completing the game and then buying it in the R&D Shop. It is a giant sword with legendary attack power, and it can easily break enemies' barriers. In addition, equipping this weapon will reduce special weapon energy usage by half automatically. The reach of this weapon is two times that of the Z-Saber, and is effective on any enemy or boss.
- B Fan - This is a pair of fans offering high attack and defense capabilities. Zero can stand still with this weapon, creating an energy shield that can deflect low-damage projectile shots. It appears in Mega Man X8. Learning the Rekkyodan technique will power-up the fans, allowing them to reflect shots back at the enemies by hitting them with the weapon.
- T Breaker - This is a super-powerful hammer that can break through enemies' barriers. It appears in Mega Man X8. However, it is much slower moving than other weapons available. The reach of this weapon is the same as the Z-Saber.
- K Knuckle - This is a pair of brass knuckles that appear in Mega Man X8. Equipping them grants Zero access to the special techniques used by Ryu and Ken from the Street Fighter series. Zero must come up close to attack enemies making it easier to get hit, however the attack power is the same as T Breaker. The main flaw of the K Knuckle is that it cannot break through enemy barriers, due to it lacking the three hit combo ability for Zero to break through enemy barriers.
- Buster Shot - Debuting in Mega Man Zero, this is Zero's long-range weapon; alongside the Z-Saber, it appears in all Mega Man Zero games. Like the Zero series version of the Z-Saber, the Buster Shot can be equipped with element chips, and it had to be upgraded in the first two games of the series.
- Shield Boomerang - A weapon used by Zero in the first three Zero games. It is an energy shield created by spinning the Z-Saber around like the blade of a chainsaw. It can reflect most enemy shot attacks. However, it provides no protection from melee attacks, nor is it capable of deflecting exceptionally powerful moves. Like most weapons of the Zero games, the Shield Boomerang can be charged and equipped with element chips. When charged, the shield can be thrown like a razor blade, flying in an ellipse-like path and cutting through several enemies before returning to Zero.
- Triple Rod - A lance-like weapon that only appears in the first Mega Man Zero game. It is a modified Z-Saber hilt which can be extended multiple times for additional range and has a spear-like energy tip at the top; however, the extension can only be executed if standing still on the ground. As the name indicates, the Triple Rod can be extended three times and can also be used to attack in eight directions. It can be charged and equipped with element chips. When fully charged, Zero will swing the rod around himself like a battle staff, with an energy tip on both ends; when in mid-air, Zero spins the Triple Rod in front of him.
- Chain Rod - A weapon manufactured from the remains of the Triple Rod in Mega Man Zero 2. It is a Z-Saber variation with a "loose", extendable Z-Saber tip which is held together by several energy chain links. It can be used to hook onto various enemies, holding them in place by stunning them, pull them closer to Zero for further attacks with the Z-Saber or the Buster Shot, or to simply impale them from mid-distance if already weakened. It can also be used to grab distant energy capsules or to hook Zero to a ceiling, swinging on it, similar to a grappling hook.
- Recoil Rod - Introduced in Zero 3, the Recoil Rod consists of a pair of energy tonfas used for rapid attacks (which can only be used when on the ground). Similar to the Triple Rod, this weapon can be used to attack in eight directions. Unlike all previous rod weapons, the Recoil Rod has to be used to solve several in-game puzzles. By charging the rod, it can be used to push away enemies or moving blocks. Furthermore, when charged and released while holding down, the Recoil Rod allows Zero to make a mighty jump and access hard to reach areas.
- Zero Knuckle - The Knuckle consists of a Z-shaped chip implanted into Zero's palms in Mega Man Zero 4. It allows him to steal certain types of weapons (such as blasters, rocket launchers or axes) from enemy Mechaniloids or weak Reploids and use them as his own.
Zero's latest chronological appearance within the Mega Man series was in Mega Man ZX, where he appears in a flashback as well as in the form of Bio Metal Z.
Zero has also appeared outside of the Mega Man series in four games; Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars and Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds in his X series appearance, and SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos and Onimusha Blade Warriors in his Zero series appearance.
In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Zero's ending has him hitching a ride with the Silver Surfer back to his own world. Silver Surfer, instead, accidentally takes Zero to Neo Arcadia, the setting of the Mega Man Zero series, due to him not being able to tell the two apart (as they are essentially the same world in a different time). They soon travel to a different world in order to take Zero back to his homeworld. In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Silver Surfer mentioning his Zero series counterpart raises up some questions in the X series Zero's head, making him wonder if there really is a Mega Man Zero. Zero also appears in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.
- Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters is known by fans as being the game that introduces Zero, although this game was not released until three years after Mega Man X. He was to be the successor of Bass.
- In Rockman Online, the Zero Reploid that is featured is just one of many copies engineered by the government to combat a future Maverick threat. This is not the Zero featured in the X series or the Zero series, although each copy has been programmed to believe they are the actual one.
- "Some people think he might have been inspired by Sagat from Street Fighter because of his look, but that's not actually the case. Sigma and Zero basically represent the idea that nothing is absolute. Sigma was a powerful leader of the Maverick Hunters but after Zero passed the virus to him, his allegiance changed. Circumstances can change anything, and nothing is absolute." --Keiji Inafune, 2008. Capcom-unity - Inafune-san Answers Your Questions!
For more images of this character, see their Gallery.