The Wii U eshop has been slow to release titles since it\’s outset. I\’m not exactly sure why Nintendo couldn\’t have released all their first party games at launch, but regardless of how it\’s been doing the eshop stepped it up today due to the re-release of Mega Man X. Hailed as being one of the best Super Nintendo games of all time, does it still hold up in this age of High Definition this and DLC that?
Originally released in the year 21XX – err 1993, it was Capcom\’s way of innovating the series after many sequels on the NES that stayed true to the formula. It succeeded by updating the gameplay, introducing new core concepts and one hell of a soundtrack. Mega Man X is still the same old Mega Man you know and love, but these new enhancements make it a familiar yet fresh experience that still offers a lot of fun and challenge.
Instead of going straight to the “Select a boss” screen, players for the first time have a introduction stage that help introduce them to the new play-style and acts as a memorable tutorial. Mega Man X can still run, shoot, charge his shot and slide, but now can slide along walls and kick off for a wall-jump. Throughout the environments are items to help such as energy tanks that store excess health and can be saved for dire situations. In four of the eight boss stages are hidden armor upgrades that improve stats such as damage or defense, or offer new abilities such as double charge shot, head gear the can break blocks and an upgraded slide technique. The gameplay improvements and abilities really do add the overall experience and feel necessary for the challenges ahead.
This being a 16-bit Capcom game the controls are unsurprisingly tight and responsive. The wide range of movements are all done perfectly and most importantly, easy to execute. The walking speed is spot on for the size of the character relative to the environment, wall-jumps is a lifesaving manoeuvre that will be mastered in no time, and overall, just jumping, shooting and dodging enemies is always a good time. Besides a few cheap areas due to enemy placement or instant-kill spikes, all of the player\’s deaths can only be blamed on them since the controls are so smooth.
Gamers should know by now that Mega Man games tend to have a “choose your path” style by giving you the option to select which boss to fight. Bosses here still work on the “rock, paper, scissors” mechanic, meaning that if you find a certain boss near impossible to beat, it\’s only a matter of finding his weakness from another boss so he can finally be beaten. Mega Man X features some of the best weapons in the series and they all feel valuable in their own right without any throwaway ideas. Whether throwing boomerangs that also grab far away items, electric balls that can knock off armor or a rolling energy shield that can block enemy projectiles, they are all fun to use. The bosses themselves also focus on animal designs such as Chill Penguin, Sting Chameleon or Armored Armadillo. This gives the X series it\’s own identity and honestly a breath of fresh air from defeating “men”.
If it isn\’t clear by now, Mega Man X offers fun gameplay, tight controls and fun weapons. Isn\’t that what the Super Nintendo is all about?
It\’s amazing how a game that\’s 20 freaking years old can still look good. 2D sprites tend to be one of my favorite types of presentation and Mega Man X demonstrates why. Bright, colorful, and full of detail, each stage has it\’s own look and feel and no environment goes overused. Whether sliding in the snow or finding my way around a factory during a blackout, the game never ceases to amaze.
And how about that soundtrack? I said it\’s awesome earlier in the review, but damn are you not listening to this right now? I try to keep professional in all my reviews, but this soundtrack is so good – I\’m talking top ten soundtracks of all time here and I don\’t say that often. The heavy rock vibes go along with the gameplay so perfectly it\’s scary. Running around shooting enemies with this music blaring defines what gaming is all about. If you haven\’t listened to it before, then you need to rectify that right now.
Yeah, it\’s pretty good.
Set in the year 21XX, Earth is now populated with humans and reploids, who are robots capable of feeling emotions and growing alongside humans (sort of like Blade Runner). With free will comes those reploids who turn to criminal lifestyles and as a result, some humans grow fearful of them (again like Blade Runner). One particular reploid, Sigma, wishes to see all of humanity extinct and make a world solely for reploids. These criminal reploids are dubbed Mavericks, and androids such as Mega Man x or his superior Zero, are known as Maverick Hunters. As X, the player is tasked to put an end to Sigma\’s plan by defeating his top 8 Mavericks then attacking his stronghold.
I actually like the setup (big Blade Runner fan here) but 2D action games back in the day rarely focused on story and this game is no exception. Fans looking to get the most of the story read the instruction manual for backstory, and with the exception of a few “cutscenes”, the story takes a back seat. That said, we do get glimpses at what the world is like, and we are actually given characters that develop their own character arcs and deal with some drama. Obviously it\’s not on the same level of something like Majora\’s Mask, but it does enough to make you care, even if it\’s only for a moment before you go back to slaying robots.
What can I possibly say about Mega Man X that hasn’t been said before? What I can say though is what\’s been said time and time again: Mega Man X is one of the best games of all time. Anyone who enjoys 2D sidescrolling action should either replay this gem or give it a go; then play it again because it\’s so damn good. Maybe I\’m over-emphasizing it\’s quality, but Mega Man X still stands up to this day and is one of my favorite games of all time.