I originally had another game slated for the #6 spot, but after a bit of research I decided to shuffle the order a little bit.
Megaman X had some of the best level designs and character designs I’ve seen in an action game. The series may have petered out in later games, but the first three were pure gold. This game is (in most aspects) a rehash of half of the first two Megaman X games.
Why is this bad? A lot of it is due to the Gameboy Color’s limited capabilities. On it’s own, it stands out as a decent game with playable levels and a little bit of control problems, but when taken as a port of SNES games, it becomes a much worse game.
As I said, much of the problems are because of the limited capabilities of the platform this game is on. The limited color palette makes the graphics look dull and uninteresting. Sprites are too small, and it can occasionally be hard to see.
Controls are also a problem. Quite central to the Megaman X games is the ability to dash. This is accomplished by pushing a button on the controller (usually the A or B button on the SNES controller). The GBC just plain doesn’t have enough buttons to support this. There are two options for configuring controls: use the start button to dash, or the start button does nothing. (Dashing can also be done by holding down and pushing jump, or double-tapping forward. These make jump-dashing quite difficult,)
X gets various upgrades through the game. One is a leg enhancement that makes you able to jump further off of walls. Central to the X series is the climbing of walls to get around obstacles. In the original, you could hold the dash button and push jump while on a wall to get a larger jump off of the wall. Unfortunately, in this version of the game the dash jump is always active, making it difficult to fine tune some of the smaller jumps you need to make.
The story also gets in the way. When playing through, you have long, slow, unskippable story sequences that you have to watch over and over. They’re so annoying that I have vivid memories of pushing the “A” button repeatedly and doing something else while waiting for the story to end. Fortunately, there is a “XTREME” difficulty mode that allows you to skip all story, making the game significantly more enjoyable.
Speaking of difficulty modes, there’s three: NORMAL, HARD, and XTREME. There are a total of eight robot masters in the game, four from Megaman X, and four from Megaman X2. Normal has four of the eight bosses, two from each game, and Hard has the rest. This is terribly annoying because it makes it so that you can’t get all the weakness weapons unless you’re playing on XTREME mode.
Overall, this game is a relatively weak presentation of what were originally great games. I’ve definitely seen better.
Bonus! An animated gif of the intro story. The start frame is the all white one with black “widescreen” bars. Enjoy! (Or not. Your choice.)