It’s time for something new that’s about something old: a retro game review! I know many gamers find themselves bored with their newfangled consoles, and I know the games for them can get quite expensive.
Luckily, there are plenty of games that can be found by looking through the web or visiting a video game shop. One gem I happened to find at a local game shop in my hometown was Megaman X for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
I remembered I had this game as a child and I accidentally spilled Kool-Aid into my Megaman X cartridge. I could never get the darn thing to work again to actually beat it, but I always told myself I would come back to it one day. So finding this game at the store for under $10 dollars made it so worth digging through my closet to find my old SNES.
When I popped the cartridge into the system, nostalgia rushed in my ears in the form of 16-bit beats. I remembered the start screen from my childhood and prepared to start this battle I was forced to put down years ago.
The game’s intro cinematic tells the story of a robot named X through a message that was found in the capsule where he was stored. He is the greatest creation of the late Dr. Light. He was rare when he was found because he was part of experiments to give robot’s human emotions.
The events of the game started when a famous archeologist, Dr. Cain, found X. Society as a whole thought that the world could use more robots like X.
Over time other robots that were similar to him were produced and they were called Reploids because they all had emotions like X. However, unlike X the Reploids malfunctioned, attacked citizens, and were labeled Mavericks. These Mavericks did the worst thing a robot could ever do. The late Dr. Light put it this way, “The first rule of robotics, a robot must never harm a human being.”
X was part of a Reploid crew that was assembled to destroy these Mavericks. They were formed by the police under the simple moniker, The Maverick Hunters. They were led by the best Maverick Hunter named Sigma. However Sigma went rogue like the other mavericks and claimed he was going to enslave mankind. X was forced to fight against his pacifist will and take on the Mavericks only with the help of the new leader, Zero.
The player controls X and leads him through the start of the Maverick War. From the start of the game one thing is extremely obvious. There is no tutorial of any kind. The player is forced to discover the controls of the game.
Nowadays, a game explains all the controls, but in Megaman X the gamer is forced to fend off enemy robots in this 12-bit masterpiece. Honestly to me this makes the game better since it forces the player to learn it early because if they do not, the game’s difficulty will beat them into submission.
However, this side scrolling shoot em’ up is not that hard to deal with after the player gets down the controls. The fun part is that X uses a power blaster called the Arm Cannon that shoots projectiles at the enemy, but t can be charged to perform strong blasts. It is upgraded over the course of the game and plays a crucial role game play wise since it is X’s only weapon.
X gains the ability to essentially shoot, ice, fire, wind, and more from his arm cannon. He can also charge these power ups to insane levels to do the most ridiculous attacks. My favorite is the lightning, when it is charged up it makes a shock wave that fills the entire screen and destroys almost everything in sight.
Unlike other robots in the game, X was made to continue evolving throughout his lifespan. The game keeps up the character’s lore well by including this feature of acquiring power ups throughout the game.
Gamers are given eight individual stages with extremely unique bosses as well as a stage that leads to the final boss, Sigma. The eight bosses are the more intelligent and powerful Mavericks that attacked humans. Sadly most of them were once Mavericks, but now they are all working for the big bad Sigma.
Each stage has its own distinct look, music, and enemy robots that go along with the boss. For example there is a chameleon maverick and his entire level is a forest. It is filled to the brim with robot woodpeckers that sling worms at you, robot lumberjacks chopping metal trees, giant mechas that try to smash X and rock monsters that just make getting through the cave in the level hard.
Stages can also be altered in look depending on the order the player defeats the bosses. The best example to be is once the ice stage is beaten, all the lava in the fire level is frozen. This makes some of the levels easier and encourages players to beat the levels in a certain order.
To be able to complete the game, the player must be able to use all of the power ups efficiently. For example, in the game the lightning power up gained from defeated the maverick boss in the power plant aids in destroying a maverick boss that based on an opposite element.
Also there are health tanks, hearts that increase his health and bonuses to X that such as extra armor that make the game easier. However, getting most of these take several attempts and without these the bosses are way more difficult. Taking on the bosses without all of the health tanks is hard, but finding all of the them can be prove to be more of a challenge.
The whole game is a major learning experience and makes gamer look differently at video games. A video game does not need flashy graphics or voiced dialogue to be great. When it all boils down to it, Megaman X was way ahead of its time when it comes to player experience.
I enjoyed Megaman X more than most games I played because the level of difficulty. It took time to figure out how to beat some bosses that seemed like they were unbeatable. It had me so involved that when I finally beat it, I felt sad it was over. I’d definitely give Megaman X a 5/5, mainly because of its great story, unforgettable boss fights, original soundtrack, high range of difference in enemies, and level design. Any gamer should find a way to play this game.