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Artwork from Mega Man X.
|Name(s):||Zero, Megaman Zero|
|Related Numbers:||Serial Number: DWN-∞|
Zero (more rarely called Megaman Zero in some English-language instruction manuals) is a main, often playable character of the X era and later protagonist of the Zero era, who has been referenced in almost all other eras. He is a highly advanced robot (or reploid) initially created by Dr. Wily during the Classic era and is one of the main actors in several major events across the Mega Man franchise, being the initial carrier of the Maverick Virus and later an important ally to X and humanity.
Zero is distinguished by his red-and-white (sometimes red-and-purple) armour, long blond hair and use of the Z Saber, a beam sword that is usually green and in form of a triangle.
In the Games
In the Classic era, Zero does not usually appear as a finished robot, though there are occasional hints that Dr. Wily is planning or working on his construction, inspired by his experience creating Bass.
Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters
According to Bass's ending in Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, Wily has made plans for Zero as his ultimate creation, using an energy source more powerful than Bassnium and intended to replace Bass in the future. Bass however ridicules the idea upon seeing Zero's plans, which show his silhouette, referring to him as a "girlie-looking" robot. Dr. Wily insists however that Zero is "not just a robot" and will help him achieve world domination, along with another "project" of his, likely referring to the Maverick Virus.
Some time after the Classic era, Zero is sealed inside a capsule much like X, incubating the Maverick Virus inside him, by Dr. Wily's design. He appears in the X era story before the start of the first game, as told through flashbacks later in the series, when he escapes said capsule and is spotted by Garma's unit of Maverick Hunters.
Having destroyed the unit effortlessly, Zero attracts the attention of Sigma, leader of the Maverick Hunters, who takes him on in close combat. Zero badly damages and overpowers Sigma, but before he can pull off his head, a "W" symbol flash on Zero's helmet gem, seemingly causing him great pain. Sigma seizes the opportunity to shatter the gem and defeat Zero, but becomes infected with the Maverick Virus in the process, setting off the events of the X games. Zero, conversely, is unexpectedly turned from evil to good by the virus, and joins the Maverick Hunters.
Mega Man X
Out-of-universe, Zero debuts in the original Mega Man X, as a supporting character and ally of X within the Maverick Hunters. He is first seen in-game in the Highway Stage, rushing in to help X when he is captured by Vile by blasting an arm off Vile's Ride Armor and forcing him to retreat. Zero tells X that he should not expect to beat Vile yet, as Vile is designed to be a "war machine", but also tells him that he can become stronger if he keeps honing the abilities he was built with. He then departs to scout ahead for information on Sigma's fortress, giving X encouragement and intending to meet up with him later.
Zero makes good on this as soon as the main eight Maverick bosses have been defeated, informing X of the fortress's coordinates and allowing both of them to teleport there. Rather than staying with X, Zero decides to split up, distracting the "main defense force" so that X can slip in more easily. X and Zero meet up again later on in Sigma Stage 1, but their meeting is interrupted by Vile. Zero intends to take him on by himself, heading into the next room and telling X to stay back. However, when he does not return, X goes after him to find that he has been imprisoned in an electric cage by Vile.
When X attempts and fails to destroy Vile's new Ride Armor, Zero frees himself from the cage and latches on to Vile, launching a powerful attack that destroys the Ride Armor but badly damages Zero. When X finds him after the battle, he is "dying", using his last words either to acknowledge X's great power if he has already acquired the First Armor Buster Parts, or to warn him that Sigma is more than he appears and give him his own arm cannon (an identical upgrade to the Buster Parts) if he has not.
Some time at the end of the X era story, Zero seals himself away. He is awakened 100 years later in the Zero era, having lost most of his memories, where he must deal with new threats and relearn about his past role in the Elf Wars, a major conflict involving Cyber-elves near the end of the X era.
Cast as the main protagonist and sole playable character for the first time, this Zero, sometimes known as Zero (Z), bears a drastically different design, replacing his red-and-white armour with a less robotic-seeming red-and-purple outfit that emphasises his faster and more agile playstyle in the games. No in-universe reason is given for this change, however.
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