Is Megaman saving the world from an evil robot army or is he a disruptive terrorist attacking productive robots?
Megaman as Malware | Overthinking It
In actuality, the Megaman games are really about two competing robot designers, Dr. Wily and Dr. Light, and Megaman’s role in sabotaging one on behalf of the other. While Dr. Wily focuses on creating multiple robots for a variety of purposes, Dr. Light has a much more efficient, though underhanded, approach. Dr. Light created a single type of robot who has the ability not only to hunt down and destroy other robots, but also to steal their functions. Is it any wonder that Megaman always allows Dr. Wily to live at the end of each game? This isn’t mercy, Megaman needs Dr. Wily alive to create more things for him to steal later.
The genius of this approach is that in one attack, Megaman not only destroys one of Dr. Wily’s creations, but also modifies himself to be able to take over as that robot’s replacement, thus simultaneously creating and fulfilling a need. In other words, he’s a piece of malware with legs and an arm cannon. Keep in mind that Megaman is not unique – there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Megamans (Megamen?) in Dr. Light’s arsenal, and each one is capable of uploading his stolen designs back to the others. This is evidenced by the fact that when the player dies, Megaman is immediately replaced by an identical unit who already has all of the abilities that had been earned in the game so far.
Dr. Light’s plan is to destroy all of Dr. Wily’s creations and replace them with a fleet of Megamans. The purpose could be financial; in a world seemingly dominated by robotic technology, quite a bit of profit could come from establishing himself as the premier robot maker. But the goal could be even more sinister than that. By inserting robots under his control into so many different parts of the existing society, Dr. Light is covertly taking over. He controls the skies (by replacing Airman), industrial manufacturing (Metalman), and even snakes (Snakeman).
Megaman never questions the contradictions between what we’re told he’s doing and what he’s actually doing, because, as a robot, he doesn’t have free will. He’s been programmed by Dr. Light to seek out Dr. Wily’s robot masters and destroy them, and does so unquestioningly, probably without any kind of real awareness of his actions or their consequences.