Mega Man X (SNES) Review
Since I was a kid, I was always a big Mega Man geek. Classic action platforming with thoughtful level design, memorable enemies and music you'll have stuck in your head for years to come. However, before last year, I was never huge on the X series of spinoffs. You could argue the two are similar on paper, but in reality they're quite different. They're both sidescrolling platforming shootets, but the X games are much more action oriented with faster more elaborate movement and tougher enemies that demand more firepower to topple. Once I learned to appreciate the X series on its own and not give it the same expectations I'd give a classic series title, I really began to appreciate it, thanks in part to the stellar first entry into the sub-series, the original Mega Man X.
Super fast and fun. The movement in the game is literally off-the-walls with X's wall jump ability, as well as his dash which gives him a burst of speed. The two can even come together in the form of a wall dash, letting you soar over obstacles or reach power-ups tucked away just out of reach otherwise. The game feeds you upgrade capsules throughout the main stages, where Dr. Light posthumously awards you enhancements to your armor. These come in the form of the aforementioned dash and upgraded charge shots, among other things. My only gripes are in terms of enemy health, as it can take upwards of 16 standard shots to kill some regular enemies, as well as enemy placement, where it almost seems like you have no choice but to take damage at some spots. Overall, this is a game that's hard to put down once you've started.
This one is a bit strange. I love the music for the opening stage, Armored Armadillo's stage and Spark Mandrill's stage, with special mention to Storm Eagle's music, but I can't remember another stage theme from the game. Nothing stood out to me the same as those four did. So this is a strange case; the songs I like I REALLY like, but I can't even remember the rest. Aside from the music, the sound effects are great. Firing a charged blast has a nice punch to it, and every now and again, there will be such a huge explosion that the music will start to cut out. That may sound like a complaint, but trust me, it isn't.
The animations are done well and there's never an issue of visual clarity, but other than X and Zero, I just really don't like the character designs in this game. Maybe it's just the classic series fan in me, but they all seem way overdone. It feels like they all started with a solid overall design, then someone came along and added a million bulbs and other small details and used every color in the crayon box. In the classic series, every character has a color strongly associated with them. Even in this game, X and Zero have similarly strong color associations. It just makes me wonder why the Mavericks each have a million colors. My theory is that it was just to show off how many colors they could use with the new SNES hardware.
The story in this game is much more front-and-center than it is in the classic games. 100 years into the future, Dr. Light is long dead, as are his robots. However, the good doctor had an ace up his sleeve. A new type of robot, capable of independent thought. A robot with free will, named X. However, the world wasn't ready for X, so he was sealed away, only to be discovered in the distant future. X is such a huge breakthrough in robotics that robots based on him, called Reploids, are created and man and machine live peacefully together. However, a handful of Reploids begin to rebel against humanity. X and his ally Zero lead the fight against these Mavericks and their leader, Sigma.
I appreciate the world building here, and that the story is a bit more adult, in that it demands a bit more of the player than the classic series typically did. For games like this, I don't think the story is nearly as important as the gameplay, but I do appreciate the thought that went into it.
This game rules! The Mega Man X series started with a bang to say the least. This game is absolutely mandatory to play if you're a Super Nintendo fan like I am. In the end, while I still prefer the classic series games, especially the latter half of the NES titles and the 7th game on SNES, it's very hard to turn my head away from X. Definitely try it if you haven't! It has a little something for everyone.