(Super Nintendo)

Mega Man X (Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Mega Man X Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Marks the spot

By the time Mega Man X was released for the SNES, gamers and critics were already expressing concern about the classic series feeling stale. Mega Man had become formulaic and predictable, and while the NES games were still a lot of fun, there was no denying that they didn't evolve much from title to title.

Mega Man X felt like a firm and confident rejoinder from Capcom; if you wanted a new spin on classic Mega Man action, this was the game to buy. Of course it wasn't just a reactionary release for the sake of being different. If that were the case we wouldn't still be talking about it now. Mega Man X established itself immediately as a masterpiece of the 16-bit era, and it's every bit as exciting today as it was two decades ago.

The classic series mythology forms the backdrop for Mega Man X, but the plot is new and you won't find much in the way of returning faces. Mega Man is gone, Dr. Wily and Dr. Light have both passed away (though they both make appearances at various points in the X series) and a new hero has arisen to tackle a whole new threat. From the start it's clear that Mega Man X wants to chart new territory, and the more it does so the more rewarding it is.

You begin the game with a very limited arsenal, which should come as no surprise, but the way in which you improve it is a bit different. Special weapons are still obtained by defeating bosses (Mavericks here, as opposed to the classic Robot Masters), but along the way you can also find important pickups like subtanks (which collect any health drops you don't need for a later refill), hearts (which extend your life bar little by little), and upgrade capsules, which contain a pre-recorded message from Dr. Light and will provide you with a new ability.

This encourages exploration like no classic series game before it. While Mega Man 4 had some optional utilities lying around and Mega Man 6 featured branching paths, the item collection aspect of Mega Man X takes the concept much further. You'll often be able to see an item that appears to be unreachable, and a little bit of environmental problem solving is necessary to figure out how to get it. It's not as complicated a concept as it would be in later X games — it became a literal nightmare in Mega Man X6 — but it's a great start and it rewards you for exploring every stage to its fullest.

Speaking of stages, the ones in Mega Man X are all memorable and interesting, with clever nods to the classic series that are sure to please long-time fans. Perhaps the most-referenced title is the original Mega Man, with advanced versions of the miner enemies from Guts Man's stage scattered around the junk processing facility of Flame Mammoth. Boomer Kuwanger also acts like a much improved incarnation of Cut Man, and his vertical stage is a direct nod to Elec Man's. There are a few other classic series echoes to be found here, but we won't spoil them for you!

Other great moments include the frantic, speedy on-rails sections of Armored Armadillo, the sky-high battle with Storm Eagle, and the electric maze of Spark Mandrill. The music is overall much moodier and atmospheric than what you might remember in the classic series, which means it's not as immediately catchy or memorable. With enough time however the soundtrack absolutely grows on you, and it contributes to the overall darker feel of this series as compared to its predecessor.

It's unlikely that fans of the original games will be disappointed. The standard run-and-gun action remains intact, with recognizable physics and attack strategies all carrying over. X can charge his buster, which (pre-upgrade at least) feels a bit more balanced than it did in the classic series, and the slide has been replaced with a dash, which serves a similar function. So far, so similar.

The differences however begin with the addition of a wall jump, which not only has the expected effects on stage exploration but also allows for interesting new room design, as vertical advancement is no longer limited by ladders and platforms. It will also be an important ability to keep in mind during boss fights, if you expect to get out alive.

The only real downside to Mega Man X is that the game is a bit too easy. The crushing difficulty of the classic series is one thing that definitely didn't carry over, and it's missed. Mega Man X is far more forgiving, with enough upgrades, health extensions and subtanks that even the final boss is a pushover. Of course, that's the great thing about these items: they're nearly all optional, so if you do find the game to be a hair too easy, just make a point of not seeking out the extra items. That's when things get really interesting.

Restore points are added to this version of the game, but the stages are short enough and extra lives plentiful enough that they're not as helpful as they might sound. This may be a classic Capcom action title, but judging from its low difficulty you'd never know it.

Anyone who hasn't played Mega Man X owes themselves a purchase. It's a prime example of how to do a spin-off series right, and it's a great way to spend a night in.

Conclusion

Mega Man X is a fantastic game. It retains the charm and pacing of the classic Mega Man series and adds a much appreciated spin of its own. With plenty of hidden items and upgrades — don't forget the super-secret one in Armored Armadillo's stage... — and a host of fun new weapons to use, Mega Man X is one worth playing again and again. Later entries in this sub-series might be a bit of a mixed bag, but there's no denying that this first title is a masterpiece.

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User Comments (58)

Jayvir

#1

Jayvir said:

"The only real downside to Mega Man X is that the game is a bit too easy"

And yet I cannot manage to beat a single one of the Mavericks. I've beaten Megaman 2,9 and 10 and this game still beats me down relentlessly

FOURSIDE_BOY

#2

FOURSIDE_BOY said:

@Jayvir I was ALMOST first but you beat me..... haha, anyhoo, if you think this is tough, play x2 or x3, they are WAYYYYYY tougher, especially x2, just to get the shoryuken.

Shiryu

#3

Shiryu said:

I have the US cart, it has a built in codeprotection that won't let it run on a regular PAL SNES converter (it let's you finish the intro level, than tells you're running it on the wrong SNES region), I had to use Action Replay codes to bypass this security and played the hell out of it to completion (yes,even got the Hadoken!). This is Capcom's 16 bit at its finest.

SpinelessOyster

#5

SpinelessOyster said:

This was the first Mega Man that I played back in the day. A bit tough at times I think, some of the bosses are a bit of a pain, but no where near as difficult as the original Mega Man.

skjia

#6

skjia said:

This game is great. I prefer it over the original Mega Man games. It's definitely easier than the previous (which is part of the reason I like it lol) but I definitely wouldn't say this game is too easy. It's still much more challenging then most current-gen games.

WaveyChristmas

#7

WaveyChristmas said:

Great game! I have some pretty fond & glowing memories playing this along with X2 back during their release. suprisingly, I even gave my rented copy of MM7 the super shaft after discovering the baddonkeyary of X, which i honestly kind of regret. :p I still prefer 2, 9 & 1 over anything in the X series but I'm much more of a classic Mega Man junkie. No Suprise there! Also, X4 desserves recognition as it's probably the best sequal in the entire X series for Sooo many reasons. Plus, It was also the first X game to enter 32-bits. ;)

However, X5 was totaly mediocre...But it's a mega masterpiece in comparison to the all mighty, bland & irritating 'rushed' X6. ;) Also, you guys should really avoid getting the X Armor until you enter Sigma's castle as it makes the main 8 stages + Mavericks reDUCKulously easy to plow through. Avoid like the 'Noid for a greater experience, you've been warned. Zoink!

WaveyChristmas

#8

WaveyChristmas said:

@Jayvir

haha. Yeah, i had some pretty Big Trouble in Little China(Movie reference for the peewee gamers!) with the majority of Mavericks, most notably Sting Chameleon and Launch Octopus. Yet the stages themselves weren't too tough at all...To make up for it, Capcom punished you with the bosses!

Xiao_Pai

#9

Xiao_Pai said:

I could never defeat the final boss for some reason, dunno why....but yeah. As for the first commenter, the bosses are easy if you know what you're doing...to put it simply, defeat them in a certain order depending on the first one you choose. They all have a weakness, the Penguin is considered the easiest out of all of them so go with him first. Then use the Ice shot against the next boss, so on and so forth.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#10

Philip_J_Reed said:

Also, X4 desserves recognition as it's probably the best sequal in the entire X series for Sooo many reasons.

I love X4, and I expected to hate it. It's actually one of my favorite MM games in any series. X5 on the other hand...shudder.

CanisWolfred

#11

CanisWolfred said:

Actually, like Castlevania: SotN, I'd say the "easiness" only exists once you're farther into the game. It then serves a very good purpose: To make you feel stronger. Since growing stronger is one of the central themes to the game, that was a very important thing to establish, and I'd say the game is only better because of it.

Xiao_Pai

#12

Xiao_Pai said:

@Philip_J_Reed : ...That reminds me, where are all of the other Xes at? I know the first 3 are on the SNES. Aren't some of them on PC or something?

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#14

Philip_J_Reed said:

I'd say the "easiness" only exists once you're farther into the game. It then serves a very good purpose: To make you feel stronger.

Agreed, but there are ways to balance challenge with a feeling of empowerment. IMHO this game doesn't succeed there, erring heavily toward the latter instead. It's still great, and the fortress stages are fun, but it's also very easy unless you self-impose a challenge, which itself undermines the sense of empowerment.

That reminds me, where are all of the other Xes at?

X 1-3 were SNES, 4-6 were Playstation, 7 and 8 were PS2. There are also PC ports but I really don't know which games were ported where. There are also some pretty dreadful Gameboy Color games.

nilcam

#15

nilcam said:

I adore Mega Man X. It's my favorite game of all the MM games. It's got great challenge, awesome music and the controls are top-notch. I love the addition of wall climbing. If X2 is released, I'll revisit that one as well.

ouroborous

#19

ouroborous said:

awesome game but X2 was even better since there were refill points in levels and you could tractor beam refills toward yourself.
X3 was even better yet, and the best of the entire X bunch by far, at the very least it was my favourite. there was even a PS1 and Saturn version that included cutscenes of the bosses. also i think that this was the first game where you could play as Zero (i could be wrong about that) and he had an entirely different moveset and powerups from bosses.
X4 was pretty good but after that the X series tanked all the way through to the end unfortunately.
on another note, the PSP maverick hunters version of X1 was really good and after beating it you could play the game as Vile (the purple knight kind-of guy from the beginning of the game) and it was actually very fun.
it's a real shame that there were never any more maverick versions of X games.

Aldebaran

#20

Aldebaran said:

I really wish Capcom releases Mega Man X3 (SNES version) for Wii Virtual console . I consider the X3 version of the SNES to be the best in the series (excellent OST) however Capcom bastardized the music in the PC/PSX version of X3.

CanisWolfred

#23

CanisWolfred said:

@Philip_J_Reed Fair enough, though I really don't agree that it's really that easy. I'm pretty good at Mega Man and still found a lot of rough spots. In my opinion, at least, the challenge is just right - satisfying, but never intimidating. A level of challenge I feel a lot of games never grasp.

miiandmario

#24

miiandmario said:

Might pick it up since I havent played a Megaman game and I heard this is a good one to start with

WindWakerLink

#25

WindWakerLink said:

I original played Mega Man X2 back when I was a kid and that was really hard. Eventually, I beat X2 in two years and loved it! [Haha. Two-for two pun. XD Anyway...] Then, I had no idea there was even a Mega Man X1 until I went to a video game renting store that same year.

Man.... MMX is hard...well...the latter stages mainly... particularly that annoying Spider boss in Sigma Fortress Stage 1 and the final form of Sigma. Other than that, I LOVE MMX! I love the story, the art, the music [Intro stage, Storm Eagle, Armored Armadillo, that Boomerang boss stage & Sigma Fortress Stage 1].

My favorite boss to fight is the Armored Armadillo without using his weakness. Those bouts get really intense!!!! He blocks all my charged shot, absorbs my charged shots and use it back at me as a 'Giga attack.' It's really amazing! XD XD

If you are on the fence about getting this game, GET IT! You'll experience a piece of why the 90s was so GREAT!

ricklongo

#26

ricklongo said:

I was already a HUGE Mega Man fan when this released, and it blew me away. I'd probably give it a 10/10. If you haven't played it, by all means do so.

Tasuki

#27

Tasuki said:

Probably going to pick this one up after I finish Super Metroid.

@Erica_Hartmann: The did release a Mega Man X collection on PS2 and Gamecube which included Mega Man X 1 - 6.

Xiao_Pai

#28

Xiao_Pai said:

Ah well, was hoping to play some of them on PC, dunno where to look. (tried GameStop's app thing and I have Steam)

hydeks

#30

hydeks said:

The games a bit too easy? Wow, I don't think that has been said about a Mega Man game before lol This game is great, right there with Mega Man 2, X2, and X6 as my favourite Mega Man games.

Urbanhispanic

#31

Urbanhispanic said:

I agree with the review....EXCEPT the part about where it says that the game is real easy. The last couple of stages leading up to Sigma were tough....and the battle with Sigma himself WAS ABSOLUTELY brutal. But once you figure out the patterns, you don't take a lot of damage and get the see the awesome extended ending.

Urbanhispanic

#32

Urbanhispanic said:

Also, Mega Man X2 had tougher Mavericks but their stages were much easier to navigate. The only challenge that game really brought was fighting the three extra boss characters who held Zero's spare parts....and to this day, I STILL can't find X's secret upgrade to get the Shoriken. :'(

WindWakerLink

#36

WindWakerLink said:

@Urbanhispanic "Oh dude! It's in the X-Hunter stage 3. During that stage you will notice a ladder that is really hard to reach, so you gotta do something 'special' to get up the ladder...then after that...it gets ridiculously harder from there... But if you can pass through all that 'hardness of precision' after that hard to reach ladder, then you'll get closer to the 'move you so desire.' I suggest you use the helmet to help you find the location...cuz if you miss it, you can't get it again unless you force a game over. Also, you should have at least 1 sub tank full because you need to be at FULL HEALTH so Dr. Light can appear. Even if you are just missing 1 bar of health, Dr. Light will NOT appear! [I'm speaking from my painful childhood past of this situation...so I KNOW!! @_@ ]

{You gotta have collected: ALL 8 hearts, ALL 4 sub tanks to get access to Shoriken. You don't need to have all 3 Zero parts, which is good. But try using the Shoriken during the Zero fight...and...'hahahaha. I'll just leave that for you to see. I think I've spoiled enough already.'} Heh heh. Good luck dude!

JayceJa

#40

JayceJa said:

always been meaning to try out the original and X series, i loved the battle network and to a lesser extent starforce spin offs, but have never played the other megaman series

this review makes it sound like a decent enough place to start, may get this at some point when im done with my current games

belmont

#41

belmont said:

Capcom made a very good PSP remake of this game (maverick hunter X). Too bad they stopped. HD remakes of these games could be great

Otto-Soq

#42

Otto-Soq said:

I had this game back in the days. It was way too hard! Am i really that bad? Easy gameplay, omg........ :(

Bass_X0

#43

Bass_X0 said:

Remember to have dash on R instead of A. That way you can comfortably dash-jump off a wall and shoot simultaneously.

Algus

#44

Algus said:

@Jayvir If all else fails collect as many power ups as you can. They make most of the bosses a lot easier. The special weapons tend to have extra effects on the bosses that are weak to those weapons so once you get one it becomes easier to get the others.

Algus

#45

Algus said:

@belmont Maverick Hunter X is one of my favorite games of all time. I am still mad that X2 and X3 didn't get the same treatment. Talk about an amazing remake. I loved Vile mode.

SparkOfSpirit

#47

SparkOfSpirit said:

This is a pure 10/10 game. No other game in the series comes close.

Also, skip the buster upgrade. The one you get in Sigma Fortress is way better.

BlackSpy

#48

BlackSpy said:

Good thing Nintendo is releasing all the GOOD games on the eshop and no filler games so far.

MeloMan

#50

MeloMan said:

Final boss easy? Are we talking the final form of the boss here? It's the hardest "thing" in the game! :)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#51

Philip_J_Reed said:

Also, skip the buster upgrade. The one you get in Sigma Fortress is way better.

Pretty sure it's identical to the one you get in the capsule. Unless I'm not seeing the difference. By all means let me know!

What makes X5 so awful?

Maybe one day we'll get the chance to review it. ;) As it is, the comments section isn't big enough. hah

Final boss easy? Are we talking the final form of the boss here? It's the hardest "thing" in the game!

I can no-damage the final form of the final boss...it's not easy, I admit, but if you can get the hang of standing on the very edge of his hands it's not so bad. Bospider though? EEK.

MrL1193

#52

MrL1193 said:

The X series will never quite hold the same appeal for me as the Classic series, but X1 is certainly a fun game in its own right. I am rather surprised that you say it's easier than the classic series, though; I had a pretty rough time of it my first time through. I got the feeling that a lot of the difficulty came from the sheer durability of the bosses; each one has a 32 unit health bar (as opposed to the standard 28 of the Classic games), and they don't take much damage from the buster, either. The merit of tougher bosses varies from boss to boss, of course; some of them are interesting enough to actually benefit from it, while others (such as Sigma's first form) will just bore you to tears.

@Philip_J_Reed
I can no-damage the final form of the final boss...it's not easy, I admit, but if you can get the hang of standing on the very edge of his hands it's not so bad.

No-damage difficulty is one thing, but for an average player who just wants to finish the game, a boss who's capable of killing you in just 3 or 4 hits (not counting subtanks) is a pretty significant obstacle if you haven't thoroughly learned its patterns yet. On my first time through the game, I reached Sigma with no subtanks left...A couple hours of failed attempts later, I was forced to resort to energy grinding to refill the subtanks just so I could complete the game. It was a pretty frustrating first experience, to say the least, so I can easily understand why some people have issues with it.

SparkOfSpirit

#53

SparkOfSpirit said:

Oh, there isn't much of a different between the busters, it's just easier to skip the first one and wait for the one in the fortress. It also makes the game a tiny bit more challenging.

The Sigma Fortress is definitely no cakewalk in this game.

WindWakerLink

#55

WindWakerLink said:

@Urbanhispanic "Mmhmm!"

This is a random side note but I notice people on here were taking about the buster upgrade you get in Mega Man X. Of the 3 MMX games for SNES, my favorite one is definitely X2! It was just SO GOOD! I can't STAND the upgraded buster in X1. I purposely avoid getting it, but they FORCE you to get if in Sigma Fortress stage 1. grumble X3's upgraded blaster is alright, but X2 is the BEST! Tell me a buster upgrade where I can hit a boss while their still blinking white? The X2 buster! Haha!

Oh another thing. I'm not sure why some are saying X5 was awful game. Why? X5 was original going to end the series of Mega Man X. The 3 endings were really emotion and those ending credits with that song was just...amazing and touching like a funeral thing with hope of a brighter future kind of thing...and a bittersweet way to end the series. But of course we all know about the X6 thing and the rest is history. XD XD

dwclim

#57

dwclim said:

Absolutely loved this game - picked it up at the bargain price of 25 bucks as well as Super Metroid at a time when games where still going for 80 AUD. This was my first Megaman (I'd only read about the NES games), and it did not disappoint. The gameplay, re-playability to find powerups and the music... just wow. It had some great features like how completing levels would sometimes impact other stages eg. beating Chill penguin would freeze the lava in the Flame mammoth stage; pretty revolutionary stuff at the time.

I don't remember finding it frustratingly difficult - the wall jump made it easy to avoid and observe most bosses, and for the last boss if you charged up the shield weapon it didn't take long to quickly fill up your life to have another go at it.

Aldebaran

#58

Aldebaran said:

@Algus Maverick Hunter X2 (Mega Man X2 remake) was on the works for the PSP about a year after the first Maverick Hunter X was released but since it got poor sales in Japan it was cancelled.

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