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Cook/Atomic Chicken

Large, mechanical chickens--built by the mad genius, Dr. Wily--that serve as a last line of defense outside Wood Man's forest lair. They first appeared in the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video game Mega Man 2.


1. I recall that a certain video game publication labeled these robots 'Atomic Chickens' in their pages many years ago. However, the later Game Boy release of Mega Man 2 shows pictures of most of the enemies, and their names, when you beat the game--the 'official' title given during the credits for these metallic birds is 'Cook'. I think the Atomic Chicken moniker has more pizzazz though . . .

Also, I've read a number of FAQs online where the authors have decided that these robots are ostriches, not chickens--while everyone is entitled to their opinion, I think it's pretty obvious from the anatomy of their heads what they're supposed to be (ostriches don't have combs on their noggins).

2. It takes five shots from Mega Man's arm cannon, on the 'Normal' difficulty setting, to destroy a Cook in the NES version of Mega Man 2, and ten shots of the 'Difficult' setting. Landing those five or ten shots before a Cook nails you is no easy task; it is a far better strategy to time your movements so that they jump over Mega Man's head as they rush towards you.

3. Like most of Mega Man's enemies, a Cook will sometimes leave energy or ammunition behind after you destroy it, and maybe even a 1-UP if you're very lucky.

Cooks are man-made machines, as such, they serve no natural purpose in relation to the life processes of living organisms.

Cooks have a top running speed of 35 mph. They can leap as far as 18 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically with a running start. Their relatively light weight, and the spring shock absorbers built into their legs, significantly reduce the structural strain that continuous jumping subjects their bodies to. While their spindly appearance suggests fragility, Cooks are actually very solid constructs and well-armored; they're so tough that the weapons Air Shooter (Air Man), Metal Blade (Metal Man), and Bubble Lead (Bubble Man) bounce harmlessly off their metallic hides. A Cook's beak and talons are sharp enough to cut steel and they use them to slash their targets into ribbons. These machines are programmed to only destroy other robots, namely Mega Man, but a single kick would easily disembowel a human. Under normal operating conditions, its internal nuclear cell will power a Cook for about one year before it needs to be replaced. Because they were designed to operate outdoors, in a woodland environment where it often rains, the exterior of a Cook's body has a special coating that prevents rust and corrosion.

Cooks may be fast, but their speed comes at the expense of control; these robots are comparable to a fast car with horrible handling. If they miss their target during the initial assault, (which they often do, as the artificial intelligence Dr. Wily programmed them with is rudimentary at best), the time it takes them to decelerate, turn around, and line themselves up to make another pass can cost them the battle. These mechanical poultry can only do damage at close range, this places them at a disadvantage against enemies with firearms that can strike at them from a distance. While their bodies were designed to absorb the shocks that come from constant jumping, there is a limit to how much stress their frames can take; over time, repeated, minor shocks can have a cumulative effect on a Cook's internal systems and cause the robot to malfunction. While their armor is tough, it can't withstand the sheer power of a hit from the Crash Bomber (Crash Man) or fully-charged Atomic Fire (Heat Man).

Cardboard from a cereal box, tissue paper, newsprint, white glue, hot glue, wire twist ties, paper clips, screws, permanent marker, and acrylic paint.

(Please note that, due to the range of motion made possible by the various joints, the dimensions of this figure will change depending on how it's positioned. The measurements given here are for the pose seen in the rotating animation at the top of the page.)

11.6 cm/4.6 in. x 8.7 cm/3.4 in. (highest point x widest point)

Eight points. Hips, knees, ankles, lower neck (at body), and upper neck (at head).

Three days. Construction took place on November 28, 29, and December 1, 2006.

[Note: Mega Man figure pictured above is an actual toy made by Jazwares, Inc. in 2004; I didn't make it.]

[Mid-construction animation]
This animation was created at the end of the first day of construction. The head, neck, and body are very near completion and the three components have been connected to one another via wire joints. This GIF file demonstrates some of the range of motion.

Below is an image of a Cook from the 'Mega Man 2' Nintendo Entertainment System video game.

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