So I came to the conclusion yesterday that I really enjoy drawing the Robot Masters. They all have such a huge range of facial expressions, and they have such wacky design elements, like Bright Man's bulb, or Blizzard Man's skis.
But what is it about these characters that makes them so unique, you ask? Well more than simply that Inafune touch, I think we can chalk it up to that good old NES charm!
Back in the 8 bit era, game artists needed to create compelling characters that could be recognizable as teeny weeny sprites. The designs needed to be simple yet dynamic. Capcom pulled this off beautifully with the Robot Masters, giving us character designs that, even after 10 games, remain unique and iconic.
Future games in the series (7, 8, and the X series) had more pixels and colors to work with, which lead to more complicated Robot Masters. Sure, they look cool, but they lost a lot of their charm. I think this is, in part, why Mega Man 9 and 10 were given the classic treatment; to bring it back to its roots.
Capcom is so good at creating character designs like this. They sparked our imaginations then, and they still do it today!