Mega Man X – SNES
Release Date (NA): January 1994
Reviewed by: InfiniteKnife
If the Mega Man series is a precursor to real world events, we should be expecting some awesome robots sometime in 20XX, which could be any time now. (Robots are awesome!) Sadly, most of us likely won’t make it to 21XX, where Mega Man X takes place, but that’s okay because we have a game that shows us what kind of robot fun the human race has to look forward to.
Mega Man X is a bit of a spinoff from the 6 games on the NES that came before it. In this story, Dr. Light creates (Mega Man) X, a super advanced robot with the ability to think, feel, learn, and grow just like a real human. He wants to make sure he got it right, so he locks X into a capsule and sets a 100 year diagnostic to run and only open when X is able to have normal sanity and a reasonable understanding of human emotions. An archeologist named Dr. Cain discovers X in the ruins of Dr. Light’s lab and, after studying him for several months, replicates his technology to create another robot like him. These are called Reploids and, as one would expect when creating androids with free will, some go bad and start causing trouble. These bad guys are called Mavericks and the government (with Cain’s help) creates a group of Maverick Hunters to stop the crime.
Coming as little surprise, the Maverick Hunter leader, Sigma, goes bad and takes most of the other (former) good guys with him, starting a campaign to rid the world of the inferior humans so the Reploids can live in prosperity. After the uprising, there are only 2 Maverick Hunters left, X and Zero. They take off to battle Sigma’s 8 robot masters and………well, Mega Man fans know where we’re going from here.
The gameplay in Mega Man X is similar to the NES titles and is easy to pick up and play. You can run, jump, dash (via upgrade), and shoot. The X buster (default weapon) can be charged like previous games to fire a more powerful blast to deal more damage. As in previous games, each time you defeat a boss, you gain an ability and each weapon gained is super effective against another boss. The game also uses a health restoring system similar to E-Tanks from the previous games but with a bit of a twist. Now, there are 4 Sub Tanks hidden throughout the game that, once found, can be filled up by collecting health while X has full health. You can use the stored energy in the tanks at any time, whether or not they are completely full. Each of the 8 bosses’ stages also has a hidden heart container that increases X’s maximum health.
By this point, Mega Man fans should be familiar with enhancements via Rush powerups, but in Mega Man X, these are introduced in the form of upgrades that add a permanent passive skill, one for each major part of the body. The first is an ability for the legs that allows X to do a quick dash forward, which can help elude enemies and perform a longer jump. This upgrade (all are in the form of capsules that show a hologram of Dr. Light who explains what they do) is laid out for the player so it can’t be missed. It’s good that the designers did this because up to this point, most Mega Man players didn’t have upgrades like this. One problem I do have with it, though, is that it pretty much forced you to start with the Chill Penguin stage because the rest of the game was markedly easier once you got the dash. You also can’t get the other upgrades without it.
Others include a helmet upgrade that allows you to break bricks by hitting them from below (which was largely useless aside from accessing the arm cannon upgrade), the cannon upgrade for charging shots beyond earlier limits (which also allows the charging of all acquired weapons to perform unique special moves), and an armor upgrade for the chest plate that reduces damage taken by 50%. Many fans of the series also know about the secret upgrade available after all others have been collected. In this secret capsule, Dr. Light’s hologram is wearing a gi and gives X the ability to do the “hadouken” from Street Fighter (by pressing down, forward, shoot). This can only be executed when you have full health but it is a 1 hit kill against every enemy (except the final boss form).
The music in Mega Man X is great and brings back memories of playing the first 4 NES titles, where the boss stage themes stay in your head long after you’re done playing. There is also a bit more as far as cinematics go. There are a few cutscenes between some parts of the game that helps you follow the story as the game goes on.
Although it largely follows the same formula as the NES titles, there is enough new about the game to set it apart from other Mega Man titles and make playing it an enjoyable experience. I love going back and playing this one every few months.
Share This Post