Mega Man X Roundup
by El Pato


Mega Man X

     When the Super Nintendo came out, our curiosity got the best of us. After Super Mario World and Castlevania IV, we wanted to see what other great NES games were going to look like on this new grey bad-ass.

     One of those was obviously Megaman. If you don't know who this guy is, I have no clue why you are reading this site, let alone celebrating SNES week. In the midst of the SNES updates, Capcom decided to be stubborn. Much like the old fart who can't get rid of his VCR in favor of DVD, even though he fucking knows DVD is wayyyyyy better, Capcom said "Screw Logic" and released Megaman 4 for the NES.

      That left fans pissed. Everyone wanted a SNES Megaman game. 4 basically was Capcom answering those fans...by saying "Well fuck you guys!"

      Rather than bring true Megaman stuff to the SNES, Capcom decided to go with a spin-off. Megaman X. Except no one really knew it was a spin-off.

      I only saw previews in Nintendo Power. These had screenshots of something resembling Megaman blowing shit up. It looked pretty authentic, but there was one problem.

      The blue bomber was...uh...white.

      The update looked cool, but I wanted to know why Megaman had some white Saiyan armor on. In a few months, I'd figure out why.

     All I had to go on at the time was that Megaman X is set years after Megaman, with a new robot called X.


STORY:

     Being 10, I couldn't really differentiate with how different in detail X was compared to Megaman. In the opening, all I had to go on was how Dr. Light talks about how great his creation X is. X can think...and stuff.

      I thought Megaman could do that, but I guess not.

      X is a true AI, one to think and make his own decisions. Since this could be bad if the wrong person pissed him off, Light sealed him off in a tube to test his internal systems until the right time. Then an Archeologist named Dr. Cain (who has absolutely no business with robots) digs him up.

      Ignoring the potential and consequences X has, Cain creates more robots with X's specifications (for a PhD, this guy isn't too bright). Why X could be better than whatever was out at this point, I have no idea. You would think in the 50 plus years that Light died and X came out, robots would have no need for the ability to make their own decisions let alone would humans want their slaves thinking of anything besides work. Apparently the American Civil War was long but forgotten.

      Cain told me to go fuck myself and made them anyways. And this is where the trouble starts. Since they are based on X's design (and decision making process) they start going nuts one after another and tearing some random freeways to shreds until people make MORE of these Cain-robots to take out the rogue Cain robots (called Mavericks).

      I take back what I said about Dr. Cain. The world is clearly operated by an AI based off George W. Bush.

      So the NEW Cain Robots are made to take out the old shitty Cain Robots...then those go bad. Somewhere in the midst of this, Cain robots are referred to as "reploids"

      So Cain has one super robot Maverick Hunter left named Sigma-

      -And you guessed it, he goes Maverick too. He takes what's left and decides to eradicate humans and make a world for robots and, well you already know this plot device.

      So all the bad robots say humans suck, Robots should rule the world.

      Wanna know the details? Go watch The Matrix or Terminator 2!

      Back to X, since it's clear there was one MAJOR marketing oversight in this whole thing, some robot bad-ass later to be known as Zero comes in to take over the last of the hunters. X, feeling responsible decides it's time to go kick some ass, and it's off to a random free way.

     Then X kills Sigma and Zero dies. The End.


Characters:

X



Megaman X is the new bad-ass in town. He carries the same arm shot his predecessor had, but it's way more powerful. As in, it will demolish Top Man in one shot. Besides weaponry, X can cling to walls for a brief second, sli....errr "dash" and basically shows what happens when good old Megaman is injected with steroids.


Zero:



In pre-production, Zero's design was originally going to be X. But Capcom was stupid and said no one would like a red guy with blonde hair, a cape, a bad-ass charge shot, and a million other goodies that makes him fucking awesome. I hate you Capcom.


Vile:



The-Evil-Robot-That-Taunts-X-To-Become-A-Badass. Vile has a lot more character than everything else, and I'm not sure why. I'm pretty sure the developers didn't know either, because they used that to retcon/fuck up whatever was cool about this guy and make him have some backstory in the remakes. Vile basically hates X with a passion. Yep, he hates X, the guy who made him exist.

What a guy.


Sigma:



Sigma is one of those "So great but he's not on your side" sorta enemies. He's basically the best design and the most powerful reploid ever made, well that is till X decides to show him what he's capable of. Sigma has two boss fights you know are coming. A fight with his devil dog and then a fight with him and his light saber. After that difficult fight, you fight him once more in this huge tank.

The phrase "Pulling a Sigma" came from this. When you fight the last boss, kill it, and out of nowhere gotta fight another boss, that boss pulled a Sigma.


BOSSES:

The SNES X games actually had some cool bosses. Unlike Megaman where everything was an adjective/noun followed by a "man" suffix, this had an adjective followed by an animal. At first they had plenty of zoo friends to work with. Towards X3 though you could tell they were running out of critters, but we'll get to that in a bit.

Boomer Kuwanger:



Runs the cliched "tower" stage. One of those stages where you climb 50 or so stories to the top and kill him. I'm really not too sure on what to use on this guy, Torpedoes work best. What's a Kuwanger you ask? Look it up, I had to.


Storm Eagle:



This guy was pretty awesome to fight with. You blow up his airship and then fight him on a huge platform that takes up two and a half screens. Oh, and even though it's so large, you can still fall off and die-that's good level design right there. Eagle just flies around ramming you, shooting a storm blast that throws you to your death, and makes little "Storm Eagles" to kill you, how cute.


Chill Penguin:



Probably the first boss you'll take on. Chilly runs the artic north. He begins by sliding around and firing ice blocks at you. When that doesn't work, he makes frozen penguins that then slide on the ice to take you out. Oh, and he waddles around.


Spark Mandrill:



Because if they named him "Spark Baboon" you would just laugh. I am going to try not to make any jokes about monkeys here. Not one. He swings-errr drops down to the stage and starts frying your ass. When he breaks free of you freezing him with the ice shotgun he lifts his hands up like he's king ko-errr doing shoulder presses and...I'm not saying anything else.


Launch Octopus:



Cool level, lame boss. Octy just floats up and down shooting torpedoes at you. That's really all she wrote.


Flame Mammoth:



Ok, this guy was cool. First of all, he has this screech he makes when you show up, then you can cut off his trunk. I'm not kidding, using Boomer Kuwanger's boomerangs you can slice that damn trunk off. What does it do? Well it eliminates a lame attack that you could get out of anyways...but it's still fricking awesome.


Sting Chameleon:



The exact opposite of Octopus: Lame level, cool boss fight. Cammy swings around with his tongue throwing darts at you and dropping spikes on X. I think this is one of those fights you gotta experience yourself.


Armored Armadillo:



You go through a tunnel blowing everything to pieces to fight this thing. It's one of those fights that are super fast. He rolls around the place bashing everything and you gotta get him when he's open. Use your sparks you got from Spark Mandrill, it will make his armor fall off and thus the battle a helluva lot easier.


Gameplay:

     Play Megaman? Well you know jack shit here. While X follows the basic gameplay of the "Choose Your Boss" classics. The developers went to the trouble of having adventure elements thrown in.

      No, not RPG elements, Adventure elements. Once X's energy bar is replaced with numbers we'll call that RPG elements.

      The stages, unlike Megaman, aren't made to be merely completed, but explored. In every stage there is one heart tank that permanently increases the capacity of X's energy bar. Also there are four sub-tanks scattered in select stages. The sub tanks are like those energy capsules in the original Megaman, except these are re-usable, provided that you keep stocking up on energy and refilling them when you've used them.

      Finally are weapon capsules. X starts out looking blue just like his predecessor. Collect all these and you can make him white like the box art. Most of the upgrades are useless, but they do allow a dash, and a bad-ass charged shot. Towards the end, you really feel like a walking bad-ass. Finding all the extra goodies was awesome.

      Oh and there was one last secret capsule that contained the Hadoken from street fighter. Use that fireball on anything and it blows up-even bosses. Now THAT's useful.


      X was a great game, and it brought new life to the series. Like some people who preferred the spin-off of Cheers, Frasier, a lot of gamers liked the spin off of Megaman to the original, this writer included. Capcom had a new franchise on their hands.

      Keep your stinking Megman NES owners, we got X.


     Yeah, I don't think it should be so shocking Capcom made a sequel. By now, none of us were surprised to see a second X.

      In true Capcom fashion, they made a sequel with a little bit of a graphical upgrade, but the same sprites for X and co.

      The cool thing here is that the storyline was actually getting some work done with it. While it's cliched, it at least had a few surprises for it besides the "Bad-guy is back, go kill his evil robots" thing everything else had.

      This time, a group of hunters called the "X-hunters" (X-hunter, Maverick Hunter, get it?) show up to dance around with X, who has become the new leader of the Maverick Hunters.

      Aside from all the gameplay quirks we loved in the original, Capcom also threw in the X-Hunters as optional bosses holding Zero's parts. That's pretty much one of the only two innovations here...really.



Mega Man X2

STORY

     X heads to an abandoned factory producing mavericks and puts an end to the whole shindig. In the process, the X-Hunters show up saying they have Zero's parts (or stole them, or whatever). As you go through the stages, there are alternative paths leading to X-Hunters so you can take them down.

     Regardless if you get the parts or not, you take down the hunters in their base and find that Sigma has been behind the whole ordeal all along (come on, it's Capcom, is it that shocking?).

     If you get Zero's parts, you kick ass, and he'll come save you in the final stage. Failure to do your duty however, and you get to waste 3 sub-tanks that could be used for the final boss fight against this beast. Remember how frigging powerful Zero was? Well multiply that by 10 here and you got a super tough boss fight against your previous partner.

      After you take care of Zero, he opens a door for you to fight...you guessed it, Sigma.

      Sigma is surprisingly wussy here. My guess was the developers wanted Siggy to be easy incase you took that ass-whoopin from Zero.

      So now Zero's alive and everyone's dead. Here comes X3!

      It's funny how everyone talks about how great the storyline is. It isn't terrible, but it's downright lame and easily predictable. Oh well, it beats anything else out that's not by Square in this period I suppose, It does something many games will continue to do-

      Big Secret to keep the "Awesome" Story going for the sequel: Zero was created by Dr. Wiley and is destined to turn Maverick. They never mention "Wiley" in the game, but it's pretty fucking obvious.


Characters:

Crystal Snail:



Yeah, a snail. Throw some magnets his way and get that stupid shell of him. This boss is easy after that.


Magna Centipede:



A voodoo centipede that stings you. Throw dust on him to get rid of that stinger. Why? Because the coders were huffing gas with this guy.


Morph Moth:



Say that three times fast. You have basically two boss fights here. One with him as a larva, and another with him as a Moth. It's pretty bad-ass actually, when you fry the larva the shell gets discarded and the stage expands so you can take on Moth in the air.


Overdrive Ostrich:



What was one of the worst stage songs ever leads to one of the coolest boss fights in Megaman history. Ostrich runs in the background showing only a black silhouette coming at you, when he nears the center of the screen, he jumps right into the forground where X is standing. His "lair" is just an endless amount of level. If you run to far to where he's offscreen he'll be running in the background again to catch up with you. This is the only X game where I can remember an endless boss level.


Flame Stag



Stag? Couldn't they call it Deer or something? Who the fuck puts a stag in a video game? The only reason I know what a fucking stag is is because I'm from Idaho. We also have the Stag Drive Through..or did. Man those were good burgers.


Wheel Gator:



A guy that takes the fight into a swamp. Gator actually had a cool level as your fighting on a tank that's running a muck through the city. When you fight Gator he swims around in his swamp taking bites of X whenever he feels like it.


Wire Sponge:



You would think Capcom wouldn't run out of animals by the second installment, but when they have characters like a fucking sponge instead of a stingray or something (wait till a later sequel) you gotta wonder. Sponge just sits around firing lighting bolts at you. That's it. Oh and he starts the X series tradition of "Absolute worthless weapon of the game."


Bubble Crab:



Bitch they call me Gangsta Crizzab and me and the greyside gang are gonna fuck you all in the ass with a bean pass. You all know what the fuck it all is. You ready for some crab dick? It's long John Silver time and all I gotta say is chaaaaaarrrrgeee.

Bitch just come on into Joes Crab Shack you toss em we lock you know how it is. DIIIIIEEEE FROM THE CRABBB. Now I gotta find out which one of yas is gonna toss my salad!!!

(editors note: We found that the quotes from "Power Rangers Vs Gangsta Crizzab" by Myway entertainment seemed funnier than anything El Pato could possibly write. Therefore it is by mutual agreement that Bubble Crab has that bio).


The X Hunters

Dr. Wiley Serges:



A robot that looks like an old fart. For the longest time people suggested that this is the evil Dr. Wiley from Megaman. I just think he's a prick. Both boss fights are insanely tough, and I want to know how I beat them so easily as a kid when I was breaking a controller in half today fighting him.


Violen:



No that is not a typo. That is how Megaman X2 spelled his name. I think they were going for an instrument. Violen creates blocks and then makes a huge ball and chain poop out of his back. He then sits there constipated while the chain and ball smash everything in site.

Yeah, he's not too hard when you think about it. It's mostly luck and being in a place where the blocks aren't getting in the way.


Agile:



Runs around with a sword chopping you and teleporting. Next!


Gameplay:

      Not too surprisingly, Capcom didn't change much in this installment. You're X...again, collecting sub-tanks and heart tanks...again. You've got capsules to turn yourself white...again.

      X has his dash immediately (it was received with the leg part in the last game), and his upgrades allow him to find power-ups in walls, dash in the air, fire TWO charge blasts, and do a giga attack. The capsules actually were a helluva lot more useful this time around.

      Overall though, X2's presentation was top notch. I rented this game and actually kept it for almost a month (racking up huge late fees) because it was so much fun to play through again and again. The level design was amazing, the bosses were cool (even if one was named after a sponge) and everything was kept fresh. Like the first, the object was to explore the levels, but they made sure this time that nothing got old.

      Probably not in my top 10, but X2 makes it to my top 20 SNES games. Give it a shot.



Mega Man X3

     For some reason, I like to think that the X series started to get stale at a much more rapid pace than the original Megaman, well at least during the SNES days. After X2 it was pretty much good, bad, good good, bad, bad. Just hit or miss for lack of a better word.

      X3 was sort of in between. The only one to do it too, for one thing, it came out with BAD timing. The PSX was already out, gamers had started to abandon their SNES (except for yours truly), and Megaman 7 came out just two months earlier. The fact this hit in January (the worst time to release a game) didn't help much either. So it goes to show, it didn't sell very well.

      X3 is the Megaman 4 of the series, good game, same game, little improvements.

      In Japan, the game had a better run, mostly because this was simultaneously released with a PSX version which had anime cut-scenes and some better music. There was a PC version released as well which was like the PSX version. The PC version did make it to the states...three years later.

      So with all that said, MMX3 was just hoo-hum, it had bad timing, nothing innovative for the casual gamer, and you could tell they were running out of animals by the third game simply because Capcom Creative couldn't crack open a Encyclopedia Bri-fucking-tanica.


Story:

     Well X is back again, now sharing the responsibilities as head of the Maverick Hunters with the super-bad-ass-mega-powerful-we-get-to-play-as-him...BADASS Zero.

     Dr. Doppler runs Doppler town and creates a vaccine that supposedly cures the Maverick Virus. Alright, lets wrap our heads around this for a second, Robots taking shots? Yeah...ok.

     Anyways, reploids take the vaccine and (wait for it...)start going ape shit. It's our heroes to save the day. Then Dopler shows up to take control of some of the most fearsome Mavericks ever seen. You know the rest: Sigma comes back, X kills all the Mavericks, Zero finishes some odd job.

     Oh yeah, Vile is somewhere in this whole convoluted mess, but the developers didn't seem to care about him even being there, so neither do I.

     Big Secret to keep the "Awesome" Story going for the sequel: Sigma is a Virus, not a robot.


Characters:

Since gamers liked story, Capcom added more dumb story to which we called, "Awesome." Actually, all they did was copy and paste the storyline to Megaman 4 and put it here. They changed a few names, added a few new sentences and voila! Megaman X3.

VILE:



Yep, Vile's back. Literally shoved in here at the last second for absolutely no reason. Actually, I forgot Vile was actually in this game until I played it for a bit for this article.

Here he is, there he goes.


Dr. Doppler



A reploid scientist who runs "Dopplertown". He reveals he has the vaccine that can cure the Maverick problem... but we wouldn't have a game if it actually did. So it ends up causing more mavericks and him taking control of the whole thing making a "Doppler Army". How utterly "Doppler evil." Actually, he's not too bad of a chap, he just got forced into doing Sigma's dirty work. I just want to remind everyone Sigma's back because the game somehow makes it as important as the second coming of Christ. Unfortunately, if Christ were Sigma, we'd be crucifying his ass every week because he'd keep coming back.

Later on, Doppler somehow makes a vaccine that actually works and depending on your decisions either A: hands it to Zero to finish Sigma off until the next game or B: does it himself. Either way it's assumed he dies in his lab in the end.


BOSSES:

Toxic Seahorse:



Wouldn't Toxic Jellyfish work? Or Toxic Seasnake? Really, Seahorse? Come on Capcom. Toxy just stands there shooting blobs out and occasionally melting into the floor to reappear elsewhere. Need more? Call Captain Planet to finish the job!


Blast Hornet:



I would love to know what they were huffing when they did this guy. Blast Hornet flies around shooting little hornets at you and attacking you with his "stinger" the weird thing is, the way he lifts it up and reveals it-I can't help but think that's some metal protruding penis weapon or something.

No, it can't be a metal cock, that's a stinger.


Blizzard Buffalo:



Blizzy just charges at you throwing ice stuff. You got a huge level to avoid him so he isn't so bad. What I can't help noticing is how he looks like a drugged out Tauren from World of Warcraft.


Crush Crawfish:



I can't help but think of this guy and X2's Bubble Crab. It seems like their attacks and patters should have been swaped. Hell, Crab and Crawfish should just switch names, it makes more friggen sense!


Gravity Beetle:



Remember Boomer Kuwanger? Well this is apparently his "brother." How Reploids can reproduce, one could guess, cuz this whole family thing gets even more fucked up in X4.

Beetle literally hops around throwing these annoying gravity globes at you that severly screw up your timing. After he's done with that, he try's to spork your ass with his nose or horns or whatever those blade things are called.


Neon Tiger:



With Slash Man from MM7 and this guy, one has to wonder how obsessed with Wolverine Capcom is. Anyways, back to Tiger. He hops around with his claws trying to slice your ass. More often than not, he succeeds. Now that I think about it, this is the first boss in X3 that actually makes coherent fucking sense!

Tiger also can shoot stuff from his tail-which is probably the opening everyone takes advantage of when they are doing those "no powerup" walkthroughs.


Tunnel Rhino



Remember what I said about Blizzard Buffalo? Well that's the same thing with this guy, except you don't have a wide open level to avoid him in. At least his name makes sense, and at least...well I think Capcom was getting lazy at this point.


Volt Catfish:



Ok, seriously, how many water enemies need to be in one game? Catfish tries to shock you. There, enough already. Three enemies actually have decent names. Catfish NARROWLY squeezes by as decent. Congrats Catfish!

This boss bio is dedicated to our brother the mighty Catfish. Let him show us the way.


Gameplay:

      I think you know what's coming. X3 is just like the other two, but Capcom added one new feature: You can play as Zero.

      Too bad to play as him came with such restrictions.

      For one thing, Zero can only be used once per stage. You just find him on the status screen and give him a call. Afterwards you can call X back or he switches out at intervals.

      Those intervals are before mid-boss fights, before boss fights, and any other place Capcom decided to throw a gate at so you have to switch back to X. So basically, all Zero can do is plow one area for all of three minutes until you get somewhere when the game forces X back on.

      Oh and he only has one life. Not one life and unlimited continues, not one life and a password, one...fucking...life.

      When he dies, he's gone. He won't come back. You're stuck with X. Zero has to regret that he has only one life to give to his country.

      Other than that, if you do a few certain things, you CAN get his sword for X. It's kind of an afterthought, and while I had it, I never really used it anyways since it takes so long to charge up the attack to use it...but you can get it.

      Other than the Zero innovation, the game also added more armor capsules in the form of enhancement chips. Things that can give you an edge in battle. You have to choose between certain chips and the like, or just not get any of them and go after the "one chip to rule them all" that gives you every friggen enhancement in the game.

      Either way, you again can become a bad ass.

      X3 was more of the same. It sounds redundant, and lets be honest-it is. But stacked against the other games, it actually could be more fun than the first two. The problem is that-two others came out before it. There was little done to raise the bar and little more to keep you entertained.

      The only thing you are going to hate more than the redundancy is the difficulty. By that I mean the last boss. I, to this day have only beat him once. I probably could do it again, but I don't have five hours to waste on a Sunday like I did when I was 12. This game is hard.

      Have fun kids!






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