Megaman X Retro Review
Megaman X Review, a classic SNES title that everyone should own.
There aren’t a lot of games coming out in the gaming world right now. I’ve found myself playing one of my favorite classic series, the Megaman X series. So I have decided to review every last Megaman X game, starting with the original Megaman X
In the late 80’s and early 90’s the Megaman franchise was getting a little stale. After six stellar games on the NES, fans started getting sick of the repetition, and wanted something new from their favorite blue bomber. Capcom decided that when they would bring Megaman into the 16 bit era, that they would do it in a whole new way.
There are four reasons why the X series is my favorite, gameplay, upgrade capsules, story, and music. Each one of these elements is why the X series became so special to me, and I am going to be talking about them a lot in this ten part series. That’s right, there are eight Megaman X games, with three spin off titles based on the X universe. So let’s take a look at the first title, Megaman X.
Megaman X was released on the SNES in Japan in 1993, and released in America in 1994. Now Megaman X is essentially still a Megaman game. The overall goal is to go from left to right, kill any enemies along the way, and defeat the boss at the end of the level. Repeat this process more times with different terrains, and new bosses. So it begs the question, how is Megaman X different from Megaman?
Megaman X’s Story is Simple, but Still Great.
Megaman X takes place 100 years after the original Megaman. Dr. Cain found the remains of a robotics facility that was created by Dr. Light. In the facility Dr. Cain finds a capsule containing the robot we know as Megaman, but to Dr. Cain he is known as Megaman X. Over the next few months Dr. Cain studies X and is able to clone the technology and create the first ever “Reploid.” A robot that has human emotions and can act the same way as a human. A Reploid can even age the same was as a human does. Within a year Reploids are mass produced and become a part of everyday society. It doesn’t take long before certain Reploids are committing crimes and causing mayhem in the world, and such Reploids are given the name “Mavericks”.
To subdue and stop the Mavericks, the government forms an elite military police force called “Maverick Hunters.” The goal of the Hunters is to capture or destroy all Mavericks that pose a threat to world. Dr.Cain creates Sigma, a highly advanced Reploid that was supposed to be immune to what causes Reploids to become Mavericks, to lead the Hunters in the fight. Not long after Sigma becomes a Maverick and gathers followers to destroy all humans, and Reploids. X teams up with the only remaining ally, a Hunter simply named Zero, to fight against Sigma and all he stands for.
The X series revolves round three main characters, X , Zero, and Sigma. Each has their own unique background, but at the same time are connected in many ways. X was the source material of all Reploids, and Sigma was created to be superior to X. They are forever connected in some odd way, and both have a will that can’t be broken. Zero is a very unique character because of the simple fact that he was created by X’s original nemesis, Dr. Willy. Throughout the series you see the bond between X and Zero becomes stronger, and at times becomes severed due to events. These three are the major reason why the story in the X series is so strong, and the twists the story takes along the way keeps you wondering what is going to happen.
So, enough of the story, let’s get to the gameplay. Right off the bat you are thrown into an intro stage where you learn how to use all of your abilities. Right away you will find things that are familiar and new. You’re equipped with your trusty X-Buster that can charge blats for more power. Jumping and shooting is still a great way to take care of pesky airborne enemies, and for getting yourself out of trouble from enemies that fly towards you. The core elements of Megaman are still here, and they still work amazingly well.
There are two main new features that are added to X’s disposal. Wall climbing can now be performed on any wall making your decent upwards easier, and it adds an element of dodging that is extremely important with bosses later on. Dashing has also been introduced allowing X to move quickly in one direction with the simple tap of a button. If you quickly hit jump while dashing, you can get out of a sticky situation really fast. Again this adds to your ability to dodge and is extremely important when facing enemies and bosses.
After the intro stage you are greeted with the normal Megaman formula. You pick from eight different bosses with their own unique level. You have the usual blizzard, fiery, forest, and underwater levels. The level design in Megaman X is quite amazing. Each level has its own set of challenges you must overcome. Like Chilly Penguin’s stage is the usual blizzard themed stage, but in this level you will have to use the dash ability more than ever to get across holes that lead to your death. In Flaming Mammoths stage you will face a lot of walls that require you to perfect climbing walls, and then jumping off to reach your destination. Every single level has its own unique challenge.
At the end of every stage you must fight the boss, and as always this is the real challenge of Megaman X. Each boss has a pattern that you must learn in order to be victorious. Once you beat a boss you will obtain their ability to use against your enemies. Just like in classic Megaman, certain bosses have a weakness to a certain weapon. This is important because if you are having trouble with a certain boss, you can always try to come back later when you have their weakness. This makes the game less frustrating because you know that at some point you will be able to down a boss with ease.
The Upgrades in Megaman X Are the Reason I Explore Every Level
Now not only can you obtain bosses weapons, you can now find hidden capsules that will make X more powerful than ever. In this title there are four hidden capsules that enhance your body armor, X-Buster, Helmet, and Boots. The game does an amazingly good job of introducing them by forcing you to get one in Chilly Penguins stage. Finding each one of these upgrades makes X more powerful, but more important as a player you feel as if you are becoming strong. Finding capsules in my personal favorite thing to do in every X game. Becoming the ultimate version of X is how I map out how I am going to play each game. You find yourself looking in every nook and cranny of every single level, just hoping to find another piece of armor. Once you find all of the hidden pieces you now have a much different X. He is now so much more powerful then when you started the game, and you can take down enemies much easier. It’s a great sense of accomplishment, and encourages you to keep playing the game to its fullest.
Energy tanks and hearts that extend your life are also scattered throughout the levels. Without the aid of these the game can be very difficult. The best way I can compare it is to hearts and fairies in Zelda. It would be extremely hard to beat the game with only stock health and nothing to refill your life meter. Once again by hiding items that help you become stronger encourages you to explore every level to its fullest. As a bonus Capcom took capsules one step further by adding a super secret capsule. By obtaining every upgrade in the you can find a hidden capsule that will give you the Hadouken from the Street Fighter series. It was just another awesome thing that Capcom did to make this title even more awesome.
Now one last element of the game that makes is such a treat to play. The music in X1 is downright amazing. If you haven’t listened to this soundtrack you are missing out on 16 bit awesomeness. Every single level has its own unique theme that will get stuck in your head, just like the Mario theme song. I to this day play the soundtrack as I am working or just in the background while I am playing other games. The music is so upbeat and fast, which matches the pace of Megaman X perfectly. Even during the credits the music takes a sense of dread, and it crazy how well 16 bit music can make you feel how X feels at the end of the game. There are not many soundtracks that can stand up to this masterpiece.
So after you find all your upgrades and items to help you along the way, it is time to make your final push towards Sigma. This is where Megaman X becomes a much deeper story, and hooks you into the characters. In the Intro stage you are intruded to a Maverick named Vile. This Maverick wants nothing more to kill you, and at your first encounter you couldn’t even do damage. With the aid of Zero you are able to do damage, but Vile makes his escape. Now during the final levels you come face to face with Vile once again, but this time Zero has been beaten by Vile and is captured. Your fight with Vile is not an easy one, but now that you are fully powered up you stand a chance. Sadly once again you are beaten by Vile, and all hope seems lost. Then in a brave act of heroism, Zero makes the ultimate sacrifice to destroy Vile. Sadly his efforts don’t completely destroy him, and only his mobile armor is destroyed. Finally you can take on Vile one on one, with everything on the line.
Ok so the way I described it above might seem a little too deep for a SNES game, but when I was 8 years old that’s how I felt. After seeing Zero sacrifice himself I wanted nothing more than to destroy Vile, and destroy him for good. When you finally take him down you feel accomplished, but sadness at the same time because you see Zero die. It’s crazy to get that amount of emotion from a game that’s about robots killing other robots.
Even after the epic duel with Vile, there is still so much to do. You then have to make your way through every single boss you already fought, as well as new ones you haven’t seen. Then when you finally make your way to Sigma you realize that the whole game was simply training you for one of the hardest battles ever. Fighting Sigma is still to this day a hard battle, and even if you have all of the upgrades, it is still a challenge. You will use all of your abilities like dashing, and wall climbing to defeat Sigma, but one wrong move and the favor can swing into Sigma’s favor extremely quick.
When you finally defeat Sigma, you know the battle is over. As the credits roll, you see that the story has just begun. Capcom did a great job in teasing you in the credits that the story is going to be much deeper in the future. It’s a great way to finish an epic game.
So after all that my guess would be that you can tell I love Megaman X. I wish every single entry was as good as this original, but over time the quality does fade in and out, but that is a story for the future. Megaman X is masterpiece of gaming. It has an amazing story, tight controls, and astounding music. This is how you take a franchise that was already amazing, and make even better.
Bookmark us so you can read my reviews on the rest of the X franchise coming soon!