Friday, May 27, 2011

Retro-Review Friday: Mega Man X

Today I'm going to kick off a new weekly series: Retro-Review Friday. In this series I will discuss an older game (probably from SNES era backwards, but not specifically limited to that). Sometimes I'll discuss a popular game, sometimes one that I (but not necessarily you) remember fondly, sometimes I might just pick a random one and go with it. I might give a star rating, I might just give a general feeling, and I might just tell you how many gummy bears I ate while playing the game. No one knows until it's all said and done.Mega Man X (U) (V1.1)_00000
Today's game is Mega Man X. Read on past the break for the whole rundown.
What the heck *is* a rundown?

This game kicks off the popular X series of Mega Man games, and it is one of the best. My general feeling is that the Mega Man X series was incredible on the SNES, and after hitting the Playstation the quality of the games began to drop drastically.

This game really tries its hardest to impress you. From the very X vs. GIANT BEE HELICOPTERbeginning you're greeted with crisp, delicious graphics, smooth animations, a charge shot that feels powerful, and controls that are as tight as any you'll find. Enemies are mostly modeled after animals, and their large sizes and screen filling attacks will amaze like nobody's business.

Once you clear the intro stage you'll be set right down into a standard Mega Man style “Choose Your Own Adventure” boss select screen. One minor niggle here. While you are technically able to choose any boss right off the bat, you'll really want to choose Chill Penguin first. This has nothing to do with the “rock-paper-scissors” boss weakness path, or whether Chill Penguin is the easiest to kill first (hint: he is). The reason is that the dash upgrade is contained in this stage, and without it you likely will have a hard time with other stages and bosses.

Once you've got the dash upgrade, its basically just a matter of going through the bosses and figuring out their weaknesses or brute-forcing your way through with the X-Buster. The bosses are hard, but if you've got a reasonable level of skill you can beat most of them with just your buster. I like how the difficulty is just about right for the majority of the game.

Mega Man X (U) (V1.1)_00008The game culminates with a Dr. Wily's castle style fortress that you must fight your way through. You'll fight all the bosses again, but fortunately this time you'll be more prepared and have their weaknesses so it should be easier than the first time around. The final boss is pretty tough, and you'll likely spend a lot of tries trying to beat him unless you are really good.

The game is full of secret upgrades for you to collect, and it presents a steady challenge up until the very end where it ramps up the difficulty a little too much. I finished the game in about two hours, trading off with a friend after each level, but for a first time through you will likely spend five or six hours, assuming you don't get stuck on anything. It's really a great game, and a wonderful start to a series with almost 10 sequels, and even more indirect sequels.


  • Great controls (everything feels just right)
  • Good feel to weapons
  • Wonderful bosses and enemies (though you will be left wondering what a kuwanger is)
  • Graphics have this great “premium” look to them

Do not want

  • Difficulty ramps up to “intense” right at the end
  • Occasional slowdown when there's a lot going on

Overall rating:

8/8 Robot Masters. This game is great.

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