By Video_Game_King 0 Comments
Mega Man X( Put simply, you don't.) Instead, I'll be reviewing an old game that I hadn't scored before, but played before. I know this wasn't recommended in the original thread (and probably never will be in subsequent blogs (something I condone)), but I'd like to point out that I'm not reviewing the SNES original, but the crappy DOS port. The part of that sentence which confuses me is "crappy DOS port." Why? Well, it's a PC port of a 2 year old game. Everything about that should tell me that it should be much, much better than it originally was.
But in the real world, several fuck ups happen along the path to a better game, the first being in the music department. The SNES version had kickass rock guitar renditions of Boomer Kuwanger, Storm Eagle, and Spark Mandrill; the DOS version has those exact same songs, except they sound like somebody threw a Game Boy and Sega Genesis into a washing machine. Why does the music sound so horrible? Hasn't the major advantage of PC gaming always been that technological edge over consoles? That's what I've heard, and just about every PC game I've seen from every year supports this. So why does a 2 year old port of a game originally released when 3D became viable have worse graphics than the original? I know that's a lot to take in, but the gist of it was that the graphics here are somehow inferior. Not much, a few missing colors, but still enough to warrant complaints.
Wait, why am I complaining in the first place? For better or worse, this is the original Mega Man X, and technical issues aside, nothing has changed. You're still in the future, and Sigma is still head Maverick leader guy after having been the best Maverick Hunter. As other best Hunter X, you must now stop Sigma and his evil Maverick buddies from taking over the world. It's good enough, but the a recurring theme I picked up on was "let's rip off Star Wars as much as possible." No matter where you turn, Mega Man X is plagiarizing Star Wars. Look one way, you see Sigma in a cape, wielding a light saber. Turn the other way, you see Dr. Light Kenobi. You look up, and you find out that all the games after the first three pretty much suck. You turn around, and THERE'S VILE! At this point, I wouldn't have been surprised if upon entering Spark Mandrill's chamber, he only communicated in unintelligible, guttural pseudo-words.
Actually, I would have been surprised. One of the amazing things about Mega Man X is that aside from an introduction consisting of an entire book's worth of text, there's not a lot of text or story to this. When you get to a Maverick's room, you don't have to sit through their entire life story on why they have wind powers; they just drop down and start the ridiculously one sided fight. Now that I think about it, the one thing I love about this game is how it handles the Mavericks. For the first time since Mega Man 2, the weaknesses actually seem to make some sort of sense, sometimes, like wind beating fire beating ice beating electricity (hey, I said "sort of"). Also making a return is weapon uses outside battle. Instead of saving all your weapons for the stupidly-easy-because-of-your-weapons bosses, you now have some sort of motivation to use them in the levels, like retrieving an item or creating a platform to reach a hidden portion of the level.
Why the future games chose hidden power-ups over this, I don't know. Personally, I liked the blending of weapons and levels, yet found the Metroidvania-esque item philosophy a bit overboard. You have to collect the dash as an upgrade, and you start with a criminally low amount of health. Most of the bosses can kill you in a few hits at such an early stage, but oddly enough, I considered the overall difficulty to be OK. I've heard people refer to Mega Man X as harder than other Mega Man games, but I didn't find it to be that much harder. In fact, it's a lot closer to some of the original Mega Man games than the Xses to follow. I've already mentioned the weapon uses, but what I haven't mentioned is that instead of that stupid teleportation room in the bad guy's fort, you fight past Mavericks on your way to Sigma. It's original and makes you feel like you're actually fighting these guys again instead of just their twins with access to teleporters.
Again, I fail to see why this didn't carry over, and those f'ing teleportation rooms became incredibly popular. Hmm....I have noticed that the theme of this blog can be summarized in one word: why. Why is the PC port of this game inferior? Why did scattered items become more popular then level changes based on the order you played them in? Why do I have the level exit from the beginning of the game, but sliding is something that must be collected? And again, WHY IS THE PC PORT WORSE!? I give the DOS version of Mega Man X the finger. No award, just the finger.
- The music sounds like an NES being jammed into a Commodore 64, screaming in agony so as to make it stop.
- Don't worry, as the awesome gameplay is intact.
- A lot of really good trends that never made it into the other games.
I know I'll sound like VH1 when I say this, but remember the 90s? You know, that time in history when video games were the same but somehow better, Simpsons/SNL nerds weren't complaining about how the latest episodes aren't as good as they were in the 90s, and cartoons were actually GOOD!? This video is a triple tribute to that last one, as long as you don't look at the last frame in widescreen.
Phalanx( Believe me, this was not my first choice of game.) That honor goes to the PS1 version of Metal Slug. I made to the second level, at which point it was literally impossible for me to progress in any way whatsoever. I then tried the Castlevania in its NES Classic iteration, but it wouldn't even give me the title screen, the finicky bastard. Kid Icarus met the exact same fate, forcing me to dig through my list for an unrated game that had a port to another system. Phalanx met that criteria, even if I already had an opinion of it in mind.
Like the previously-reviewed Mega Man X, the version I played was a port of an SNES game featuring minute changes, the first being the addition of a story. I can't remember what the hell it was, so I'll just assume it was about a lone pilot shooting an entire army of aliens on his way to destroy an evil space empire. That can't be far from the truth, right? That's kind of the base story for every shmup out there, and the only difference I noticed was the occasional FMV. It's not much, given that it's only done a few times over the course of the game and only for a few seconds, but at least it looks good. It's the same kind of thing you saw in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, only less often and essentially the same thing.
But who cares, right? You don't play a shooter for the story; that'd be like watching Family Guy for the funny, self explanatory jokes. What we're really here for is the gameplay. It's standard shooter affair wherein you hold down a button and watch things die, collecting different weapons to vary the manner in which the enemies die. How can you improve upon that? Well, the people at...Kemco thought of several ways and included them all in the game. First, you have a health count, allowing you to endure multiple hits and collect health refills along the way. You can also collect and store up to four weapons you can switch between at any given time. Oh, you just died? Well, don't worry, because you don't lose all your weapons; just the one you were currently using.
All of this may sound really good, but these improvements paradoxically make the game worse in the most predictable way: the game's too damn easy. It's weird, but predictable. Whenever you get a health refill, you get all your bombs back, giving a brief window of opportunity to spam the screen with explosives. What's that? You're in a boss battle, so you can't spam the screen with your explosives? No worries; you can usually just sit in one corner of the screen, holding down the A button until it explodes. There was not one boss immune to this strategy, and even some levels fell victim to this. I'm aware that I often complain about a game being too hard, but when death actually helps you more than it hurts, something has gone horribly awry in your game. And by "your game", I mean Phalanx, the shooter that has given me much of what I wanted, but still managed to fuck things up. I give this game the High Standards Award for not meeting mine.
- Standard shooter fare with several needed improvements.
- Unfortunately, those improvments make the game piss-easy.
- Speaking of piss, the original SNES box art features a guy who probably smells like it.