|Rockman Complete Works artwork of Skull Man from Mega Man 4|
Made purely for combat by Dr. Cossack by order of Dr. Wily, Skull Man is a brilliant strategist and has balanced strength in both offence and defense. To this extent, he is equipped with a round-shot buster alongside his own special weapon, the Skull Barrier. His weakness in Mega Man 4 is the Dust Crusher. Once defeated by Mega Man in his game of origin, a less durable variant of the barrier is given.
Skull Man has a very distinct skeletal motif in his design with skull-like pauldrons covering his shoulders, as well as torso and mask paint made to resemble a ribcage and nose/upper teeth row. Red lighting accents are found on his own earpieces, the ears of his skull pauldrons, his buster's cannon, and the prominent bulb centered on his chest; similar yellow accents are found around his beltline and the lower leg segment of his boots. To top off the theme, a purple skull has been painted on his forehead, right above the permanently lowered browline cut into the helm. A small bit of light skintone is visible with his green-pupiled eyes.
Skull Man begins the fight standing completely still where he was spawned. As long as the player does not press left, right, or shoot, he will not begin his pattern regardless of any environmental gimmicks moving him; consequently, this means the player is able to climb ladders and slide/dash without provoking Skull Man.
The player determines which step Skull Man begins with: If the player moves left or right without sliding, he will always begin by shooting at the player; If the player shoots, he will always begin by jumping to the player.
His pattern is as follows:
- Jump to the point in front of the player, up to a maximum distance away.
- Deploy the Skull Barrier for a varying amount of time.
- Run to the player's current horizontal position.
- Shoot three consecutive buster shots angled relative to the player's vertical position compared to Skull Man's position.
- Wait for horizontal player input, then repeat the above step (maximum twice in a row) or loop to the jumping step.
Skull Man is one that prefers keeping it close and cornering the player. The closer he can be to the player, the easier it is for him to hit the player with his buster. The basic dodging strategy typically involves the player dodging and hopping over Skull Man's shots. Skull Man will then attempt to jump to the player, which should prompt the player to get out of his way. After that, Skull Man will pull up his Skull Barrier. As soon as he stops using Skull Barrier, the player will need to hop over him, since Skull Man will start running to the player. After that, the player should create as much distance as possible from Skull Man before he starts shooting again. Being as far as possible will give the player room to react and dodge the next wave of projectiles.
The key to successfully dodging Skull Man's buster shots is manipulating his buster aim. His buster shots shoot pretty fast making them difficult to hop over individually. The player also cannot slide under them either, if Skull Man is on the same horizontal plane as the player is. However, the player can jump and position themselves to alter Skull Man's aim for each of the individual three shots. Skull Man will fire two sets of three shots, leaving a bit of a gap after every third shot. When dealing with shots directed at the air to the jumping player, the player should move away from the shot away from Skull Man.
Here are a couple potential buster dodging strategies the player could try to employ consistently:
- From a distance, the player should hop over the first two buster shots towards Skull Man to force Skull Man to aim upwards Then the player can move away from the third shot, that should be directed upward, and create distance from Skull Man in preparation for the second set.
- The player could also hop over the first shot enough to force Skull Man to aim the second shot upward. The player can then stay under the second shot and jump over the third shot, if the third shot is not aimed upward.
This does require quick reflexes as the shots will come pretty fast. Skull Man won't leave a whole lot of opportunity for the player to safely attack either, so the player will have to try to attack whenever they can. The safe bet is to shoot while he has his barrier up, so that player can continuously hit him the moment he pauses from doing action. His body will do more damage than his shots, so the player should learn to at least dodge and jump over him, whenever he hops or runs to the player.
As for attacking, it is best to defeat Skull Man as quickly as possible with his weakness. If Skull Man has no weaknesses, the player should use weapons that will pierce or break through Skull Barrier or attacks that will do more than one damage. Weapons that will naturally pierce/break through Skull Barrier are as follows: Ice Slasher, Hyper Bomb, Oil Slider (sliding), Crash Bomber, Top Spin, Flash Stopper (Buster), Rain Flush, Gravity Hold, Charge Kick, Black Hole Bomb, Tornado Blow, Ballade Cracker, Pile Driver, Scramble Thunder, Shine, Perfect Freeze (in bursts), and Power Adaptor (fully charged).
The player can also stop and/or deflect Skull Man's buster shots with these weapons: Leaf Shield, Skull Barrier, Star Crash, Plant Barrier, Jewel Satellite, Black Hole Bomb, Tornado Blow, Water Shield, and Shine.
Skull Man is easier to dodge underwater, since he moves slower and higher when jumping. Skull Man also can't freely aim above his upward diagonal angle, making him an easy target if the player can attack from above his range. Bass also has an easier time dodging Skull Man, since he has the ability to dash and double jump around him and his projectiles.
Skull Man will always pause if the player stops moving after he is done shooting his set of three buster shots. After using his Skull Barrier, Skull Man will also stop in front of the player, if the player does not move at that time. This can be used as opportunity for the player to take a break, plan out their next move, jump only, slide/dash only, go into the pause menu, or switch weapons. Skull Man will not do anything as long the player does not normally move forward, move backward, or shoot. In fact, depending on where the player is facing, the player can create or close in distance just by sliding/dashing and jumping only.
The player can also potentially fire one free shot at Skull Man without much struggle at that point. Keep in mind, Skull Man will still move after he uses his Skull Barrier, so the player should not be close to Skull Man when they stop moving at that time. A Concrete Shot can be made to stop Skull Man from running. Wind Storm can also be fired before Skull Man stops to damage him in place. Skull Man will be susceptible to land traps when he runs too. Using the weapon, Nothing, will still trigger action by Skull Man.
Without using special weapons or abilities, the player will need to practice and count on patience to efficiently beat Skull Man.
- Skull Man was the first and only boss announced for 1.3.0 before its release.
- Skull Man's stage theme was used in the first half of the release trailer for 1.3.0.
- Prior to version 1.3.3, Skull Man's description was simply "Kills", a reference to the Mega Man fangame Skull Man Kills. It was updated with information about his attack patterns in version 1.3.3 possibly to be more consistent with the rest of the boss descriptions while still keeping in the reference.
|Content from Mega Man 4|
|Ring Man • Skull Man • Toad Man • Pharaoh Man|
|Skeleton Joe • Togehero • Shield Attacker • Super Ball Machine Jr • Skullmet • Taketento • Gachappon • Minoan • Wall Blaster • Totem Polen • Pakatto 24 • Docron • Docron Spawner • Mummira • Garyoby • Whopper • Ladder Press • Battan • Ratton • Ring Ring • Helipon • Sea Mine|
|Ring Boomerang • Dive Missile • Skull Barrier • Flash Stopper • Dust Crusher • Drill Bomb • Rain Flush • Pharaoh Shot|
|Dust Block • Cossack Platform • Ring Platform • Coil Platform • Quicksand|