Mega Man X – one of the great gifts of the 16-bit era. I remember my mom bringing this game home for my brother and I – we just tore through the box and played it for weeks! We got so good at it that we regularly unlocked the secret Hadouchen fireball and even defeated Sigma a few times with it! Suffice to say – this is one of my favourite SNES games. When I sat down to capture some video and images, I ended up beating all the bosses without even noticing the time!
This game is special on so many levels – but lets just start with the first one that actually introduces you to the blue bomber! This game is a core action platform game (similar to other classic Mega Man games), but this time around Mega Man has some new mechanics like jumping up walls! The first stage of the game beautifully introduces you to all of these new elements by slowly getting you comfortable with the Megabuster and then throwing you down a pit which you are forced to climb out of. By the end, you get beaten up pretty bad by a powerful boss named Vile and Zero (your new friend) saves you. You learn that you are still not fully powered up yet – which from the gaming perspective is enticing because it likely means I will be able to charge him up throughout the game!
In terms of story, this game takes place around 100 years after the classic NES Mega Man games. Dr. Light’s old laboratory is dug up and Mega Man is found inside! The technology of Mega Man (which gives him free will) is ultimately replicated and new robots named Reploids are created. They don’t follow the rules and think they are better than humans, so they rebel and are lead by Sigma! The Reploids become known as Mavericks – and it is your job as Mega Man to destroy them and save humanity!
Another one of the new concepts introduced in this game is the idea of powering up Mega Man – and not just by taking over the powers of bosses he defeats! You actually get to upgrade Mega Man’s armour, helmet, leg pieces, and Mega Buster! Each upgrade is also represented with new graphics too, and by the end (as seen above) Mega Man looks like a total badass! The leg upgrade in particular really add another layer to this game with the dashing and dash jumping. Mega Man can now make HUGE jumps and really help provide the sense that he really is more powerful compared to when he was just regular old Mega Man. And wait till you get the Megabuster upgrade – each of the 8 weapon you get from defeating the 8 regular bosses are able to be powered up!
And speaking of the 8 regular bosses and their stages – they are also fantastically designed and add new features including heart contained to find (which permanently increase Mega Man’s health) and energy tanks (which are permanent but need to be filled)! What also really struck me about these levels was how vertical many of them where, and how expansive they could be! I was lastly blown away by the effect that defeating certain bosses has on other levels – when I first attempted the chameleon level I couldn’t get to the heart container location because I could not jump as far, but after defeating the water level, the chameleon level filled with water and I was able to make the jump! There are many instances of this as well which makes re-exploring the levels after defeating other levels a must to collect all the items!
The bosses themselves were also designed really well and really felt larger than life compared to past Mega Man bosses. The flame elephant is like 5-6 times the size of Mega Man! They each have weaknesses (like in past Mega Man games) and actually graphically change (as seen above with Armoured Armadillo) which make them a lot of fun to defeat. The bosses aren’t supper challenging but they do put up a fight if you attempt to beat them with straight Megabuster. The last boss – Sigma -is extremely challenging and will push any gamer to the limit, but not frustratingly so!
In terms of controls – the game is super tight and no deaths are cheap! And if you are good enough (get through the game without dying and collecting everything plus a few other tricks) – you too can unlock Ryu’s Hadouchen as the most powerful weapon in the game! The graphics of this game are fantastic and really did a great job bringing Mega Man into the 16-bit era. The sound and music of this game is hands-down the best Mega Man music on SNES (although not quite as good as Mega Man 2 or 3 on the NES). They have a heavy rock feel and really get my pumped to play this game!
Overall, this is one of the best SNES actions platform games on the system and one of my favourite Mega Man games period! I have played this game literally a hundred times growing up and it still holds up well. Both graphics and music are awesome and the difficulty is on-point. Few games get this final score, but I give it a 10/10 because of the historic innovation it brought to the franchise, and how amazingly a game it actually is.
FINAL SCORE: 10/10