The series' popularity has resulted in its appearance and reference in numerous facets of popular culture like anime, TV series, and webcomics. Music from the series has permeated into different areas of culture. Final Fantasy IV's "Theme of Love" was integrated into the curriculum of Japanese school children and has been performed live by orchestras and metal bands. In 2003, Uematsu co-founded The Black Mages, a instrumental rock group independent of Square that has released albums of arranged Final Fantasy tunes. Bronze medalists Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova performed their synchronized swimming routine at the 2004 Summer Olympics to music from Final Fantasy VIII. Many of the soundtracks have also been released for sale. Numerous companion books, which normally provide in-depth game information, have been published. In Japan, they are published by Square and are called Ultimania books.
Link rescues Zelda and takes her into the Sanctuary, where she remains under the protection of the Loyal Sage for part of the game. After Link retrieves the Master Sword from the Lost Woods, Zelda is kidnapped by Agahnim's henchmen and sent to the Dark World in his final ritual, breaking the seal. She is not seen again until she is rescued by Link from Turtle Rock. Saving her and the other six maidens opens the entrance to Ganon's Tower, the final dungeon of the game. Zelda is last seen together with her revived father in the end credits sequence. It is hinted in the Oracle games and A Link Between Worlds that this Zelda became intimate with Link later on.
Several spin-off series have emerged over the past few years, each one continuing the Mega Man mythos in some unique way, including but not limited to Mega Man X, Mega Man Legends, and Mega Man Battle Network. A resulting animated series was also produced originally in the United States as well as a number of toys, comics, and collectibles available both in and outside of Japan.
Another common theme is rebellion. The protagonists are often forced to fight a higher power either on a quest for revenge, for freedom or another motivation. The higher power can range from an empire, such as the Gestahlian Empire from Final Fantasy VI, a religion, such as Yevon from Final Fantasy X, or a deity, such as the fal'Cie from Final Fantasy XIII. During the journey to vanquish these powers their threat escalates, until the protagonists free the world of the oppressor(s).
Legacy Collection 1 and 2 also offer up timed Challenges, which are remixed Mega Man levels that provide a more substantial challenge. Players traverse through various parts of different levels, all while trying to beat a predetermined score. Mega Man levels are difficult, often rewarding a slow, methodical pace, but the Challenges are the complete opposite. Believe me, you’ll need all of your skills to complete them.
Nintendo GameCube Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube, introduced a number of new gameplay features. The most prominent feature is co-op gameplay with two riders per kart, where one player drives and the other uses items. This is also the first game to allow everyone to move on regardless of which position they earned after each race. In addition to 9 of the 10 characters who return from previous installments (excluding Donkey Kong Jr.), 11 new playable characters are added: Diddy Kong, Bowser Jr., Birdo, Princess Daisy, Waluigi, Koopa Paratroopa, babies Mario and Luigi, Petey Piranha, King Boo, and the newly-created Toadette. Each pair of drivers is assigned their own unique special item (e.g. fireballs for Mario and Luigi, or giant bananas for Donkey and Diddy Kong). Individual characters also gain their own unique custom-designed karts. Another new addition is the "All-Cup Tour," which has the player race in every track at the same time; once this is cleared on the highest difficulty setting, the player can unlock a "Parade Kart," which can be used by any character of any weight.
There’s a cleverness and care that seems infused throughout Mega Man 11, and numerous creative touches surprised me as I played. Bounce Man’s rubbery body is flecked with bits of metallic confetti, like a bouncy ball from a toy vending machine. Block Man’s level is inspired by Mayan art and architecture, supporting the robot’s backstory in which he fantasizes about building his own temple. Each of the game’s new Robot Masters is given dozens of catchphrases and punny quips. “Prepare to diode!” Fuse Man will say, appealing to my inner dad joke enthusiast.