cyclonus_the_warrior's Mega Man X (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) review

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A gem from back then that still holds up.

Mankind coexist with robots called Reploids who are programmed to serve them. Unfortunately, some of them have the tendency to go rogue and begin killing humans. This leads to them being labeled as Mavericks. To stop them, the Maverick Hunters group was created with their leader being a powerful robot named Sigma. Eventually he too goes rogue taking several Hunters with him and becomes leader of the Mavericks. Mega Man X along with his best friend Zero must join together to stop their former Maverick Hunter comrades. -summary

Long before Street Fighter II came into the picture Capcom was already running popular franchises into the ground. They saw that their Mega Man series was a huge hit, so they began putting out sequels quite possibly every year since the first Mega Man had dropped in 1987. After the third game they just felt like cheap clones with poorly named villains; the sixth game showed up but by this time Mega Man wasn't doing as well anymore. When Nintendo launched their Super Nintendo, Capcom decided it was time to revamp the Blue Bomber, and they did it with the side series Mega Man X which was released in 1993. This game was set many years after the last one.

Mega Man X was darker and more story driven than its predecessors, which is part of the reason the series saw a new lease on life. The "X" series eventually went on to enjoy a decent run but hit many pot holes along the way. Many people hail this first game as the best in the series; I kind of think that's because it's among the least challenging when compared to everything after the second game. Personally Mega Man X4 is my favorite of the series due to its high challenge which reminded me of the original games.

Game Play:

Mega Man X is a 2D platformer shooter that follows X across 8 stages as he battles the former Maverick Hunters. After they're defeated X storms Sigma's base through additional stages to take him on. There is quite a bit of similarity between this and the earlier games. Mega Man begins the game in an introductory stage armed only with his hand cannon called the X-Buster, which can be charged up for powerful single shots along with its ordinary method of firing. The story begins here when he's saved by Zero after being easily defeated by a Maverick named Vile. One thing the player is going to notice quickly is how weak X is, along with poor jumping despite having a wall slide and climb move. These things will soon change.

In some of the stages, X will find pieces of armor for his body, arms, legs, and head that was made for him by his original creator Dr. Light. These pieces will increase his durability, speed, allow his head to break through blocks, and greatly increase the power of his X-Buster. However, these must be searched for, in addition to energy tanks that increase the length of his health bar, and different tanks that refill his life bar. X will soon become a weapon of destruction and some of the most powerful Mavericks will easily fall to him. The stages can be revisited to find these items which works towards the game's exploration element.

The coolest thing first introduced in Mega Man was his ability to steal the weapons from the defeated robot masters. This is still a part of the game, but the X-Buster upgrade will increase the power of these also, by turning slow homing missiles into faster multiple homing missiles, flamethrowers into streams of fire, rolling bombs into force fields, and many other things. The stages are fairly well designed and they come with a twist. Completing certain stages will have an effect on other stages, for example, completing the ice stage will freeze the fire stage extinguishing the lava floors creating a path to extra items. This is a cool feature, but honestly this game is easy enough without things like this to help you. I've heard many people claim this game is as tough as the first three games in the original series. There's no way I can believe that. The stages here can't begin to compare with those disappearing blocks found in Mega Man when going after Ice Man, or the rapid laser barriers when going after Quick Man in Mega Man 2. The plat forming elements and traps here are insultingly easy and I always felt that way about this game.

The bosses have neat designs and I like the direction Capcom went making them more animal and robot themed, with names like Storm Eagle and Boomer Kuwanger; these sound much better than the superhero/supervillain names such as Flash Man or Crash Man. The bosses can be tough without the weapon they're vulnerable to, but most of them can also be beaten with the regular X-Buster. This is another area of the game that is easy as well; go play Mega Man 3 and try to defeat Gemini Man or Snake Man with the regular weapon and see what happens. Fortunately, the final battle with Sigma is a very good fight, and he can kill you quickly.

Mega Man X is fine in its game play for sure, and I guess it is a good thing that it's not very difficult because the story can be enjoyed by everyone. There's a good bit of replay value, and I do play this game once in awhile. It's among my most played SNES games along with Super Metroid and A Link to the Past.

Controls:

This area is pretty much flawless with everything being completely responsive. It's a breeze to change weapons and activate the speed dash along with wall climb and slide. There's nothing to really do into detail about here.

Graphics/Music/sound:

The visuals were obviously a step up with more crisp and better detailed backgrounds, the water theme world looks the best here with some water weeds and sea urchins. The character designs are pretty creative; Storm Eagle looks really good, Boomer Kuwanger resembles a futuristic ninja, but Mega Man X got a nice upgrade with more of an angry, serious tone in his facial features plus his armor looks pretty shiny and ready for war. Some of the enemy designs are well thought out, with robots disguised as bushes and boulders in the jungle world, and sea horses for the water world. The memorable soundtrack fits just fine, and the menacing boss theme intro was quite the surprise back then. There were some good touches to the sound effects; the wind cannon sounds like a ferocious out of controlled wind, and the force field has a weird energy like sound to it. Capcom came through with the production values.

Final Thoughts:

Mega Man X remains among the best games the SNES had to offer, and it would more than likely make my list of top 100 games. The tight game play mechanics through the weapon upgrades still manages to hold up. This is something I can always come back to. To those unfamiliar with the Mega Man series, the X franchise is a very good place to start. The level of difficulty isn't a result of poor programming, and that's one of the reasons it's so fun. I highly recommend trying this series out at some point.

Rating: 8/10

Pros: Tight and improved game play, nice visuals, great for everyone

Cons: Has moments of being too easy

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