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An Energy Balancer is an upgrade in the Classic era that allows Weapon Energy collected by Mega Man (or other playable characters) to automatically be added to a weapon with the lowest energy level, without having to switch to it manually. It typically appears as square-shaped machine with a light in the upper-left corner.
The feature was first added in Mega Man IV and has appeared in all the major Classic era platformers since. It is never something that Mega Man starts out with, and must instead be purchased or found as an optional enhancement.
In the Games
Mega Man IV
The Energy Balancer debuts in Mega Man IV on the Game Boy, available for purchase at the shop in Dr. Light's lab. It costs 100 Power Chips to create, making it the most expensive single item that can be bought.
It has the same functionality as it does in later games, acting as a passive, permanent upgrade that automatically fills up the weapon that needs it most if Mega Man collects Weapon Energy and his currently selected weapon uses no energy or is already at maximum capacity. If multiple weapons are tied for the lowest amount of remaining energy, the one that appears first on the weapon select screen will be filled.
Mega Man 6
In Mega Man 6, the Energy Balancer is a hidden upgrade, the existence of which is not indicated in the game, but referred to in the manual as an item that Mr. X stole and hid because he could not use it with his Robot Masters. It is found in the Restricted Area (Tomahawk Man's stage), where Mega Man must take the left path in the section with Tecks near the end and then smash a breakable wall as Power Mega Man.
Rather than simply finding the item, Proto Man will appear and drop it on the floor, then leave without comment. This makes it unclear what the item is or does without referring to the manual, though it henceforth appears in the bottom-centre region of the weapon select screen after collecting it. It works similarly, but prioritises the last weapon and does not trigger while a weapon at full capacity selected, wasting the energy.
Mega Man V
The Balancer goes back to being a shop-only upgrade in Mega Man V, though its cost has been increased from 100 to 140 Power Chips. It continues to be the most expensive item, costing 40 or 20 Power Chips more than the two upgrades for the Mega Arm, respectively.
Mega Man 7
In Mega Man 7, the Energy Balancer can once again be found as a hidden stage item. It is buried underneath a painting of Dr. Wily near the end of the upper route through Shade Man's stage and can be unearthed by using Rush Search at this spot. Alternatively, it can also be bought from Auto for 200 bolts, but only becomes available for purchase after returning the Hyperbolt hidden in Spring Man's stage.
As both of the locations are part of the second batch of Robot Master stages, beating the first four Robot Masters and the Robot Museum intermission stage is a prerequirement to obtaining the enhancement.
Mega Man 8
In Mega Man 8, the Energy Balancer can once more only be bought from the shop, where it is available from the start. It costs 5 bolts to make, though as bolts are limited in this game, opting to get the Energy Balancer will ultimately lock Mega Man out of other purchases.
Mega Man & Bass
Mega Man & Bass again features the Balancer as a shop item, referred to as "E. Balance" for brevity in the English version. It appears on the first row of items, available from the start, and costs 120 bolts.
Both Mega Man and Bass can acquire it, and unlike some other items in the shop, it appears identical for both characters.
Mega Man 9
As in the previous games, the Energy Balancer appears in the shop in Mega Man 9, with a cost of 100 bolts. Only Mega Man can get it, as the shop is not available to Proto Man and he does not have the upgrade built-in.
Mega Man 10
In Mega Man 10, the Energy Balancer appears in the shop for all three playable characters, though at different costs. If playing as Mega Man, it costs 100 bolts to buy from Dr. Light as in the previous game, while Proto Man and Bass (who need to buy it from a disguised Auto or from Reggae, respectively) will need to pay 150 bolts for the same item.
Mega Man 11
The Energy Balancer again returns as a shop item in Mega Man 11 and costs 100 bolts to buy from Dr. Light. After purchasing it, an optional upgrade, the Energy Balancer Neo, becomes available for 250 bolts; rather than filling up just one weapon, this improved version will fill up all of Mega Man's special weapons at once when he collects Weapon Energy, allowing him to get a lot of value from a single pickup if multiple of his weapons need energy.
Though not explicitly referred to as an "Energy Balancer", X and other playable characters in the X era appear to have a similar system built into them from the start, with the same effect as the regular Energy Balancer when used by the original Mega Man. This function is not shown as an item and simply acts as a standard gameplay feature, which cannot be removed.
- Mega Man 6 North American Instruction Booklet, p. 14, "HELPFUL ADVICE FROM DR. LIGHT" - "Mr. X has also stolen an Energy Balancer. Unable to use it with his stolen robots, he has hidden it somewhere in the city."