Welcome to Mega Myths, the new series that examines the role of mythology in the creation of Mega Man games. Mega Man is rich in cultural history, but much of that richness can be overlooked when we’re dash-jumping over spikes-o-death and focusing on delivering that fatal charged shot.
We’ll be starting our quest for everlasting peace in the Mega Man Zero series, where mythical symbolism runs rampant. By the time we’re finished, we’ll know what we’re fighting for.
In the Mega Man Zero series, Golems are mass-produced, “peace-keeping” giant Mechaniloids. These robots have no sentience and do nothing more than what they are programmed to do. We know that they played a significant role in the Maverick Wars centuries ago, as seen in flashbacks, yet they are still one of Neo Arcadia’s favorite murder machines.
In the real world, golems are some of the more famous mythical beings, originating in Jewish folklore. According to tradition, a holy man attempted to create life, just as God created life. While the man was able to build a new man from clay, the golem had no soul and could not speak. The golem was able to follow orders but lacked critical thinking and judgment skills. Despite the efforts of the holy man to be a godlike creator, he could never be perfect.
The fallacy of self-proclaimed holiness is a central theme to the Mega Man Zero series. Neo Arcadia is represented in the games as a civilization striving to appear perfect, no matter the cost.
That “holy” perfection is symbolized all throughout the series, from the deity-based Mutos Reploids to the perfect white robes of the Eight Gentle Judges. Even in the opening sequence of the first game, we witness the truth of Neo Arcadia by watching Golems activate and hunt down both innocent Reploids and the human who would protect them. Although the Neo Arcadians strive to create perfection, their holiness falls short— just as it did for the holy man who created the first golem.
Aztec Falcon serves as both warden and executioner to those labeled Mavericks under Copy X’s reign. He is a particularly violent and ruthless Reploid who very much enjoys his job killing innocents at a garbage disposal.
Falcons don’t really play a role in Aztec mythology, so the decision to choose a falcon as the Aztec representative is a little odd. Even so, Aztec Falcon is very likely based on one of their principal deities, Huitzilopochtli: The god of the sun and war. He is typically represented as either a hummingbird or a warrior adorned in hummingbird armor. His animal disguise is that of an eagle.
From a purely speculative standpoint, it stands to reason that Inti Creates opted not to use an eagle because they didn’t want to steal any of Storm Eagle’s thunder (get it?). And hummingbirds just aren’t that intimidating, so they went with the next best thing: a falcon.
Choice of fowl aside, the Aztecs believed that Huitzilopochtli needed nourishment from human sacrifices. In most sacrifices, the chosen humans were taken to the top of the temple to be killed, the majority having their hearts carved from their bodies. Sometimes the Aztecs took a different approach to the killings, such as shooting the victim with arrows. And once the deed was done, the body wasn’t buried— it was disposed of in more grisly methods.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence, then, that you must climb piles of rubble to reach Aztec Falcon, as if you are scaling a temple. When you battle him, he will invariably try to shoot you with arrows. The villain’s place of operation itself is a disposal center, where his victims lie crushed in heaps of scrap. It is also worth noting that, like the imprisoned members of the Resistance, the sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli were often captured during warfare.
After defeating Aztec Falcon, Zero gains the Lightning Chip. Interestingly, Huitzilopochtli had nothing to do with lightning, leaving that role to the lesser deities Xolotl and Tlaloc, the latter of whom could unleash floods and lightning. While it may be a coincidence, Falcon’s level does host Contrainers, weather-changing control units. There is a chance that Aztec Falcon was meant to be a combination between both Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc.
This elephant-type Mutos Reploid was intended to be used essentially as a digital warehouse. His body contains massive servers designed for both the storing and distribution of information; therefore he was given a body sturdy enough to protect that data, and defenses powerful enough to protect himself if necessary.
Maha Ganeshariff is clearly based on Ganesha of Hinduism. Among other roles, elephant-headed Ganesha is considered the god of education and knowledge, as well as the lord of obstacles.
With Maha’s principal purpose as a data server, he is essentially a giant storehouse of knowledge. This lines up perfectly with the source. And while Ganesha’s role as the lord of obstacles typically involved him removing obstacles from one’s path, from time to time he also places them in the way. In the case of Maha, he does have a tendency to drop bombs all over the place. And as one of the largest bosses you’re required to fight without a wall to jump on, he himself is quite an obstacle.
The name “Maha” means “powerful” or “mighty” in Hindi. Sometimes it is translated as “great.” All of these definitions easily apply to this great big, mighty powerful elephant Reploid.
Incidentally, the Cyber-Elf received upon his defeat is Itecle, an elf who causes defeated enemies to drop items. This is possibly related to the concept that Ganeshariff is a digital storehouse.
This is a heavily armed underground mining Mechaniloid designed for the sole purpose of wiping out the Resistance Base. Additional Mechaniloids can ride inside it, including Glare Eyes and Pantheon Hunters. This beast of a machine was intended to detonate its bomb and destroy the Resistance.
Hittite Hottaid’s name seems baffling at first. The Hittites were a group of actual, real people who lived in Asia Minor and Upper Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC. The word Hottaid, on the other hand, seems to be something someone made up. It’s also been translated as Hottide— which again doesn’t seem to be related to a real word. If anyone knows what it means or what it’s based on, feel free to leave a comment below.
Little is known of Hittite mythology when compared to other ancient religions, and it’s unclear how to relate this drilling tank-bomb to any of their gods—but it is quite easy to relate it to a chariot. The Hittites were famous for their skill in constructing chariots. They are even recorded as providing chariots to the Hebrews in the Bible’s Book of Kings. Hittite chariots were, at the time, superior to even Egypt’s chariots, as their design allowed for three warriors to ride at once.
Three warriors at once? Interesting. Hittite Hottaid deploys three glare eyes at once. It also drops mines three at a time, and it even fires up sets of three parachute-bombs all at once.
Furthermore, the Hittites were some of the most advanced blacksmiths of their day, forging iron artifacts even in the Bronze Age. Hittite Hottad was certainly named for those who were skilled in constructing both ancient vehicles and iron, a metal that revolutionized the world.
After all, nobody would’ve gotten around to inventing robots without it.
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