Like most of you out there I also enjoy a good New Game+ option. In fact, I've been making the most of the option in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. I've been through the main game about four times now and have leveled heroine Shanoa up into a Level 72 killing machine armed with the best weapon glyphs, top line armor, and special bonus power rings. Her life meter extends beyond 1,200 HP at this point. She can destroy Dracula and his 9,999 HP with only five hits, all of which are inflicted on the dark lord before he can unleash his first attack. She's unstoppable now. I suppose that means it's time to turn towards the game's Hard Mode for a proper humbling, but for now I just like being near-invincible.
Moving on, my grandfather and I were talking about James Bond over the weekend. I saw the new Quantum of Solace on Friday and that led to the two of us talking about the other films in the 007 series. The timeless question came up: who is the de facto James Bond? My grandfather sees Sean Connery when he thinks of the character. I, on the other hand, think of Pierce Brosnan. One of my co-workers sees Roger Moore. Basically, it seems that whichever actor we saw as Bond first becomes the default image of the character for us. I started thinking about this sort of thing and how it applies in the world of video gaming. While plenty of characters have been around long enough to span a generation, most of them haven't changed as drastically as James Bond does when a new actor steps into the role. Mario has evolved since 1981, but he's still basically Mario. There are several variations of Link from The Legend of Zelda, but they all end up sort of being the same guy. There may or may not be more than one Donkey Kong depending on which game storylines you consider. The Belmonts of Castlevania are all individual separate people.
The only long-running series I could think of that fits the Bond-type mold for many incarnations is Mega Man. Here's a franchise that has seven different takes on the basic Mega Man formula that are all distinctly different, yet a part of the same family. This long-winded rambling leads up to this week's poll question: when you think of "Mega Man", which incarnation of the character first comes to mind? Is it the original blue bomber? The angsty X? The hero of Mega Man Legends? What about the PET character, MegaMan.exe? X's pretentious buddy and successor, Zero? Then there's the handful of heroes from the Mega Man ZX line. Oh, and Star Force. So which is it? In your mind's eye, who is Mega Man?