After a number of delays, and some (okay, quite a bit) of procrastination, the next part of the review finally kicks off. Apologies, guys.
Welcome back the Mega Man X Collection review, with Part 2! In the last issue, we went over some of the greatness of Mega Man X’s SNES days. Those days were numbered, so later came the PSX days. They were awesome, fun and sometimes weird times.
Before we get to that, though, let's have a recap of the last three:
Got it? Good. Now, moving on to the second trilogy!
Mega Man X4
Well, this one was different from the others.
Taking place a few years later, we now get to see a darker side of the Maverick Hunters and Zero. Turns out, there are not just other classes of Hunters, but there is also a Black Ops unit, known simply as the Repliforce. Due to their nature, they were often treated as “on the verge of being maverick” and reckless. This got so bad to the point that they were blamed for the destruction of the Sky Lagoon, and were subsequently dubbed Mavericks.
WHY IS IT SO BIG!!!!
The Sky Lagoon, as it’s called, is the opening stage. In it, one of the Repliforce soldiers there seems to have caused all the havoc, and the flying city’s power core got struck in the process. The entire city crashes down, and X (or Zero, more on that later) fights a mechanical dragon in the city’s wreckage (The dragon, btw, was sent by a Repliforce soldier who wasn’t supposed to be there). From there, the thing explodes, and a Reploid known simply as the Colonel arrives, claiming he’s searching for his sister. X—or Zero, if you pick him—for whatever reason, asks him if his unit was responsible for the attack. Colonel obvious gets pissed.
The interesting thing about this game is the fact that it has two different storylines. The first, X’s follows, well, X. Characters like Double are introduced, and X gets new weapons and armor to toy around with. The second, Zero, is very different. Finally completely playable instead of being optional, Zero’s story diverges into a more immersive plot, showing how Sigma went maverick, and how his girlfriend Iris dies.
The gameplay, while the graphics are different, still feels like Megaman X. The gameplay mechanics add new feature while still keeping the overall feel of the game. One notable change, however, is that Ride Chasers (the hovercycles from X2) are now riden on an ENTIRE STAGE, instead of just one. This level in itself, is one of the most difficult ones for a first timer.
In addition, the Ride Armor ports from the last game has been scrapped. Now, we have just two ride armors, which are pretty cool in themselves, but like before their use is limited.
The first, the Eagle Armor, can fire a sweet cannon, charge the cannon for a triple homing beam, and can fly until it’s damaged. In addition, it also can dash in mid-air.
The second is the Raiden Armor. It can survive in lava, do a double slash combo on land, charge the weapon for a lance dash attack, and dash on the ground. This is the one armor in which you can actually use on a boss battle. Unfortunately, since the boss just happens to be the most difficult, it’s not quite useful, unless you really know what you’re doing.
Besides that and a more immersive plot, things are the same. And that’s not a bad thing. If they made a major change to this series, it would be an injustice.
The graphics never fail to impress me. There are times in which I stop moving altogether just to look at the great scenery. This got me killed in some cases.
Oh, and Zero has the best soundtrack. Again.
The fact that there are two storylines adds to the replayability. X and Zero have entirely different move sets; X is either meant for beginners or the old-school player, and Zero is more advanced, depending on his Z-Saber for close range melee. Boss weaknesses are different depending on the player selected, and there are areas in the game only accessible by one of the characters.
One of the flaws, however, is that X’s voice in the game is awful. Look at this picture:
Does he look like he should sound like this? I didn’t think so.
Anyway, one noteworthy feature is that the enemies in the game aren’t actually evil. The Repliforce are a class of Maverick Hunters, much like X and Zero, and just really, really upset for being blamed for an entire city’s destruction. Even when fighting them, you somewhat feel sympathetic, especially once you find out who was responsible for the crime.
Later, we found out that some worthless punk Sigma was responsible for the crime. He had dispatched a fake Repliforce member as a spy—Magma Dragoon—to destroy the Sky Lagoon, and shape-shifting double agent Double (pretty self-explanatory) to distract X. By making all this conflict happen, Sigma had systematically planned the Earth’s destruction by using the very same last-resort doomsday weapon that the Repliforce created. Of course, his plans were cut short when the Maverick Hunters and Repliforce finally stopped fighting and realized what was going on.
Aside from the voice acting, this is a good game. With more immersive bosses than X3, Hyperactive graphics and a well-executed story, this game is the game I keep coming back to, along with X2.
Mega Man X5
The Reploid Wars have ended. The Maverick Hunters have been busy, working to build a new future. Things were going fine, until “It” was discovered.
“It” is an essence. An evil presence. “It’s” very existence threatens the life of the Reploid kind, and subsequently, the human race. “It” is the Sigma Virus, the very soul of Sigma, capable of turning even lifeless machines maverick.
The Maverick Hunters, with new members, try to find a way of stopping this virus. They look to the new Navigator, former Reploid scientist Alia, for help in this process. Her, as well as the mechanic Douglass, and new commander Signas (who’s replacing the last commander for blaming the Repliforce in the last game) try to form a method of stopping the virus. Unfortunately, before they could do that, the virus spread and infected the space colony Eurasia, sending it on a collision course with Earth.
Now, this plot is much deeper and much more “involved” than the others. For starters, yes, Zero is still playable, but now, both X and Zero are playable anytime in the game (unless something happens to Zero; more on that later). From the start of the game, you still have to choose X or Zero, and what you choose will determine how the game plays. For example, choosing the X file will give X access to the Force Armor (the armor from the last game), but Zero will not be able to use the Z-Buster. If you choose the Zero file, Zero, of course, will have the Z-Buster, and X will be “naked” from the start. However, X can still find armor parts in the game.
Thus comes the physical difference from X4 and below. Now, there is not just one armor, and armor parts cannot simply be used when you equip them. Rather, there are two, and when you find a part, the armor can only be used if you complete the set, and go back to Alia for “processing”, as the Dr. Light hologram states. This makes thing a little more difficult, as some areas (for other armor parts, most likely) are only accessable by an armor, which can be annoying, but kind of fun if you like hunting.
From there, we have two armors, which have vast differences: the Falcon Armor, and the Gaia Armor. The Falcon Armor, as the name states, can fly, shoot talon-like arrows, and use a Giga Attack, a Desperation type weapon that uses more talon-like arrows to destroy all enemies on the screen. The arrow-shot weapon can penetrate any surface, but it can’t charge weapons, which is because of, as Dr. Light states, “mobility issues”. The Gaia Armor, my favorite, is the more powerful one. It can walk on spikes, grip to walls, take less damage, but can’t use weapons other than a Buster or dash in mid-air, and the weapons it uses are short range. The short range Buster can be charged to make the Gaia Shot, a short ranged but highly powerful charge shot that is capable of destroying special platforms. It also deals serious damage to bosses. In addition, it has a Giga attack, a short range fist of energy that resembles Chun-li’s Kikosho from Street Fighter III and VI. Basically, the Falcon Armor is the jet, and the Gaia Armor is the tank.
In addition to that, the chips from X3 are back, only this time, you can hold multiple at once, you don’t find them in capsules, and they aren’t assigned to body parts. They actually do a lot of different things, like the Ultimate Buster chip, which make every shot automatically a charged shot.
There is also a rescue system. In certain levels, there are Reploids with a “Help!” icon over their heads. By rescuing them like the little completionist you are, you can get extra lives and some chips.
Well, sounds fun, right? Right?
Well, here come the cons. Some of the levels here aren’t as cool as in X4, or the other three games for that matter. Heck, some are copy-cats of X4’s great levels, and some of them aren’t even done right!
In addition to that, the bosses don’t have sounds effects. Flamethrower sounds for Mattrex’s fireballs? Nope. Bat screams? Nope. It seems that after X’s voice in X4, the producers thought it would be best not to have voices in this game. This STINKS, especially since X and Zero DO have voices (at least X sounds better now…)! It feels like a strange, silent world when fighting the bosses, having X and Zero yelp when a fireball hits their face, even though the sounds of fire aren’t even there…
The plot of this game, however, is cool. It’s amazing how they characterized Sigma in this game. He literally has one of the best lines in video gaming history. The fact that they made him so dang sick in this game shows just how angry he is for his loss in the last one. He literally tries to manipulate Zero into working for him (which, if you get that plotline, actually works). He’s got fools working for him just to die now, and even has the blueprints to X and Zero’s bodies in his lab (How’d he even get those?)!
Another cool part is that there are many different endings. If Zero ends up going maverick (the plot that I ended up with), you end up fighting him that way, and he has different moves from his normal form, which you fight for disobeying orders (The maverick form, btw, is much more difficult). Alternately, if Zero doesn’t go maverick, thus making him still playable, he will fight X, for pretty much the same reason. In this case, X is trying to take him back to base (again, for disobeying orders), and fights him to bring him back. Sheesh, some people can’t take a hint.
There is even a part when everything gets interrupted because some punk (Dynamo as he calls himself) gets sent by Sigma just to distract you! Then he flees afterward!
Another flaw, however, is that some of the characters in the game don’t exactly help much. Why doesn’t Lifesaver get more notice? His design SCREAMS attention…
And Alia acts as your mother, telling how to get past even the most obvious of obstacles. You can’t skip her dialogue, btw.
Signas? Eh, he’s cool. But Douglas is lame.
Aside from this, simply for the overall narrative, this game is great. I just wish the gameplay was a little better.
Zero still has the best soundtrack. What, did you think I’d forget that?
Mega Man X6
Just three years after the final battle with Sigma, X is called to action again. After Zero died in the fray, X still manages to fight with him by his side, now wielding his saber.
Of course, the battle wasn’t without other casualties. The Eurasia incident, though it didn’t work the way Sigma had hoped, devastated the world and left it as a wasteland. The air was made toxic, and humans and Reploids had to run underground for safety. Only 10% of the world’s population was leftover from the event, so there aren’t that many people left on the planet.
After years of trying to fix the problem, the air was somewhat purified, and Reploids could come to help rebuild the world for humans. Until the Nightmare occurred.
The Nightmare, the essence of what is believed to be the ghost of Zero, has the ability to make Reploids go insane, turning them against their own friends. No longer was it organized crime like normal Mavericks, no, this was pure chaos. X, feeling he must do something, grabs the saber and comes to battle. But of course, there are dark secrets to be found, including something Alia is responsible for…
This game has a bad reputation. Made after Keiji Inafune went to work on another Mega Man series (the Zero series), this game literally wasn’t supposed to happen. However, after the criticism that X5 received, Capcom sought to fix the series reputation with one last game.
It was a pretty solid effort.
The game starts with a scientist near the wreckage of the Final Battle. He finds a piece of machinery—later discovered to be a piece of Zero himself. From there, after a few weeks, it shows him going insane, telling us all that he will make lowlife humans serve him, and that Reploids pay for they’ve done to him.
Well, this guy’s got dreams.
Anywho, from there the actual game starts, in a wrecked city being attacked by the Nightmare Phenomena. After Alia explains that she had to “fix the Falcon armor quickly, so it’s incomplete” (which just seems to be an excuse to make it suck) we start blasting. We also learn how to use the Z-saber as X, and, as it seems, he doesn’t know how to use it. After that, we find two Reploids injured, telling us that a dead Mechaniloid attacked them like it was possessed.
After fighting that (let's not get into how hard that was…) a shadow of Zero finished it off, some punk named High Max came, beat the crap out of X, believed he knew something about the Nightmare, then banished him for not complying. We see this speech given by a mysterious scientist named Isoc, then from there, we find out that there are people “investigating” this event, which are in fact putting people in danger.
This game was definitely an attempt to heal old wounds. Aside from an even deeper plot and better narrative method (you can skip story now!), the gameplay has starkly improved. The rescue system here is much better executed, and there’s a detailed list of missing Reploids that you can view between levels. There’s a completionist in us all, isn’t there?
The chips here are more convenient too. Now, chips are assigned to the characters themselves and not the armor, making things easier. There are now three classes of chips: Normal (which is used for mostly platforming and attack resistance), Weapon (Ultimate buster, rapid fire chip, etc) and Limited (a chip that can only be used once; varies). You can, after ranking up, hold up to five: one Limited, two Normal chips, and two Weapon chips.
Moving on to the gameplay itself, levels are much more varied and much more memorable. The game focus less on background scenery and more on the game, so don’t expect much staring this time around. It will likely get you killed, anyway.
Enemies, called Nightmares, are much worse than last time. In a good way, anyway. They will stop at nothing to make you die, and some (okay, a lot of them) will actually hunt you down.
Bosses in this game are much better. Rather than making them silent like in X5, or making them have redundant voices like in X4, now they’re au naturale. They kept the Japanese voices, which btw sound really cool. The battles themselves are more dynamic, rivaling that of X2, X3, and X4. It actually has some of the most brutal Mega Man battles in history, which bosses you can’t just hit in the face.
Of course, there are new armors too. Now we have the Blade Armor, an Armor meant to enhance the Z-Saber powers by letting you use a charge blade attack, and a giga attack that destroys all enemies in front of you. It also has the Mach Dash, which allows you to suspend yourself in mid-air to aim a dash. We also have the Shadow Armor, which literally makes X a ninja. He can now super-charge the saber, stick to the ceiling and walls, shoot shurikens (throwing stars), and use a crescent-blade giga attack that will destroy anything within arm’s reach.
The designs have certainly improved as well
In addition to that, Alia has been improved as a character and as an assistant. Now, rather than automatically speaking to you for rather redundant things, There is an alert icon that shows up on the bottom of the screen, allowing you to press the Select button (or whatever button your system would use) to speak to her.
Her story is more improved as well. Now, rather than just acting like your mother being an assistant, she actually plays a good role in the game. That scientist form the first scene, Gate, was actually Alia’s colleague from her scientist days. It was discovered that, due to Gate’s intelligence, the other colleagues were jealous, and got his creations killed or imprisoned for dubious or pathetic reasons ( For example, Gate’s creation Commander Yammark had his flight pack sabotaged, causing him to crash and die). They had even convinced Alia to do some of these acts. After Gate was imprisoned, Alia left the lab to “start her life over” and join the maverick hunters. She, apparently, decided to cut here hair short in the process.
So yes, Gate isn’t evil either. He’s just angry for having his reputation and honor destroyed. He decided to take Zero’s DNA, resurect his old creations for revenge, and create the “ghost of Zero” in order to make himself look like a hero.
Because somehow making someone else look bad for the sake of looking good is sooo smart.
Turns out, Zero wasn’t dead! He simply had hid so he could properly heal. He’s now more powerful, and legitimately enraged for being treated like some toy. Now HE has some of the best lines in the game!
This is where Inafune got angry. Aside from the fact that he wanted the series to end at X5, the fact that Zero ended up not being dead caused some inconsistencies in his storyline. Now, technically, he gets resurrected twice, once in X6, and about 2 centuries later in the Zero series. Now, though technically the story got ruined, Inafune managed to fix the problem later, by making a few recons in his later series. Those retcons led to really awesome things. Like, for example, X7 and X8, the plot behind Omega in Zero 3, and few more.
He still apologized, though:
-- "I had honestly planned to for 'X5' to be the last title in the series, but somehow I found myself with 'X6.' I feel like I owe the fans an apology, but I have to admit the series was starting to go in a direction that was out of my control. I plan to reexamine the situation and be more careful with how I handle the Mega Man name from now on."—Keiji Inafune
Really, though, why is this somehow your fault? It was still a good experience aside from the translation errors.
Despite the flaws involved with its own existence, X6 still holds it’s own as a pretty good game. The system behind it is still well executed, and Gate’s character and history makes us sympathize with him even more so than the Repliforce.
Final verdict for X series 1-6: A-.
The series had some ups and downs, but overall, It gave us all some great times. Even with all of the great games that come out today, the X series is something that everyone should check out. And while I know some of you may not agree (Sorry Chris Carter.), I believe that the Mega Man X series is even better than the Classic series in terms of plot and playability. It’s nothing personal, I just feel more at home here.
To be continued with:
Mega Man: Battle and Chase To be continued, good friends! Keep on hunting for mavericks!
DD's Mega Man reviews
X collection Part 1-X Collection Part 2- X Collection Part 3