As seen in: Power Blade (Power Blazer) (NES)
Also in: Power Blade 2/Captain Saver (NES)
Distinguishing feature: Looks curiously gubernatorial.
Strengths: Throws rad boomerangs.
Weaknesses: Anabolic steroid overdoses.


Profile by Jeremy Parish? | January 23, 2011


Nova was a cyborg, a cybernetic organism designed for light combat. Constructed in Japan, his original model was fashioned very much in the spirit of Astro Boy and Mega Man: He resembled a young, dark-haired male with rangy limbs and a certain awkward proportionality, capable of leaping and shooting his way through any sort of military crisis. In bringing the Nova line to America, its manufacturer -- Taito Heavy Industries Incorporated -- did extensive market research to revamp the cyborg's design to appeal more to the western market. The automaton's chassis was made taller and more muscular, its appearance becoming more that of a mature adult, and its power was considerably boosted.

Nova v1.1 was a modest hit in the U.S., even making the cover of the industry-leading weapons enthusiast magazine Nintendo Power on the strength of Nova's ability to convert to a durable armored form whose remote boomerang weapon was replaced by a high-power plasma beam cannon. While the Nova line never became the industry-shaker that Capsule Computing's Mega Man franchise proved to be, its economical design (and Taito Industries' notoriously conservative manufacturing processes) resulted in sufficient success to inspire the company to re-import their revamped model into Japan as an entirely new version, under the name "Captain Saver."

Unfortunately, Nova 2.0 arrived at the end of the age of 8-bit automata, and Taito never saw fit to revamp the line for the more advanced 16-bit era. Mega Man lived on in a spiritual successor called Mega Man X, but Nova faded into obscurity as natural obsolescence took its course. Taito Industries has never spoken to its decision not to continue its popular cyborg line; however, people in the know have suggested that Nova v1.1's uncanny resemblance to Cyberdyne System's T-1000 "Terminator" line is largely to blame. Rather than engage the American technology giant in a protracted look-and-feel lawsuit, Taito simply chose to withdraw from that market sector and focus instead on its efforts to clone dinosaur DNA into combat units capable of battling with self-renewing spheroid technology. Still, the Nova series is fondly remembered by enthusiasts of vintage hardware, and acquiring a Series Two model complete in package is costly enough that only serious collectors generally bother.


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