Mega Man X Collection(2006). A showcase collection to gather the first six Mega Man X games all on one disc, as well as the unreleased-in-America Mega Man Battle & Chase.
The reason for my review title stems from a grudge I had a long time ago. Most gamers from the 90s should remember a popular used game-selling company known as FuncoLand (now they are Gamestop). Well back in March of 1997, I saw listed in FuncoLand's catalog the fully priced MM:B&C. I was a very impatient kid back then who needed to have everything Mega Man, and so I quickly reserved a copy of the game before it was set to be released. I was really excited because it looked like it was going to be a pretty neat game, combining the classic Mega Man formula with racing. Unfortunately as it turned out, in a last minute action caused by Sony, Capcom was unable to release the game here in the US. So disappointed, then I demanded that FuncoLand return my money. They never did. I learned a hard lesson that day. And now, they finally decided to put the game on this Mega Man X collection, and having waited such a long time, I did not hesitate to unlock it. Unfortunately, I was majorly let down by what turned out to be a third-rate Mario Cart/Crash Team Racing clone that sucked for the most part. I can excuse the archaic graphics since I grew up with a PS1, but the game itself just seemed kinda... dull.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, onto the REAL reason to own this collection: the Mega Man X games! Yes, here Capcom decided to throw their first spin-off series to one of their top franchises, taking the first three games that originated on the SNES, and the second three that resided on the PS1, and left off X7 and X8 (due to the fact that those two games are widely available on the PS2, and so it would be pointless to include them).
Now let's look at each X game!
-Mega Man X
INFO: Here's where the series starts off, introducing players to the story of the reploids, Zero, Sigma, the new anime-influenced look, a rocking soundtrack, robot-ride vehicles, heart-tanks, and the armor collecting feature that lets X do things like dash, head butt, and supercharge special weapons.
MY THOUGHTS: Of all the X games, I find that this one and X4 have the most attention to detail in the little things. I'm talking about the features such as animations and things like taking out Chill Penguin's stage and causing another stage to freeze over. Very cool. It's an excellent place to start for beginners since the difficulty is not too terribly high. The levels are a bit sparse compared to the others (though not nearly as bad as in X4) but there are still plenty of secrets to collect, and being the first game, I can't fault it. The boss fights are fairly simple, but challenging enough for those who haven't played an X game before.
-Mega Man X2
INFO: The sequel brings forth a few new surprises such as the air dash, speeder vehicle, double charge shot, giga attack, and the ability to alter the ending based on defeating certain bosses throughout the game. It also featured a new graphics chip that enabled some interesting 3D wire frame effects to occur at various points.
MY THOUGHTS: While the first X game was great, here is where the series really started to shine, IMO. There was a lot more that you could do; the levels were just large enough to really house some secrets, and just small enough to provide plenty of nonstop action. It's considered a favorite for many fans. Plus, of the classic X games, this one just has a great feel to it. My only gripe with the original SNES game comes from the IMMENSE SLOWDOWN, which was thankfully fixed in this collection. Bonus points go to that.
-Mega Man X3
INFO: The next entry featured the ability to call in for Zero's help and play as him briefly, a more complex super armor-collecting system, and the ability to call on special robot-ride armor vehicles at certain points of the stage.
MY THOUGHTS: This one has always been my favorite, and to me was the series's definite high point. It's also the only game that I didn't have, considering how rare and expensive it was. As for the game, the difficulty is very high at this point and they give us a lot more stuff to do, such as find hidden stages and super armor pieces. No gripes here, other than the fact that they could have done more with the ability to play as Zero. But Capcom gave us a huge surprise here! They decided to take a game that was already great to begin with, and give the fans the previously "import-only" improved PS1/Saturn version that contains improved music, sound effects, and added anime cutscenes! How cool is that? If you buy this collection for JUST ONE REASON at all, get it for this nice bonus.
-Mega Man X4
INFO: The SNES was done, and Capcom decided to give the series a major cosmetic overhaul for the 32-bit generation, showing off with animation on par with the Street Fighter games. In addition, Zero could now be played completely for the first time, offering fans an alternate style of play to X's. Anime cutscenes run abundant here as well (though voice acted poorly).
MY THOUGHTS: X4 quickly became a fan-favorite due to the anime cutscenes and excellent blend of action. This new look inspired the creators to pay attention to the cool little animation details once again, and give the game a nicely polished feel. In terms of this, the game succeeds beautifully. Plus, the soundtrack is probably the best a Mega Man game's music has ever been. However, I'll be the first here to point the game's vital fault that everyone always seems to overlook: the stage layouts are a huge letdown from X3's, putting us back to X1's simplistic approach. Keeping the action tight is good, but not at the expense of completely linear and short stages. Not only that, but there aren't nearly as many secrets to find this time around. Zero's quest is fun, though nothing is really different except for the story and the melee-oriented play style. The good thing though is that being on a Gamecube disc now, the loading times are NONEXISTENT! (this is true of both X5 and X6 also). I might sound a bit picky, but X4 really is a fun game that serves as another great place to start, though it's also the quickest of the six games to be done with. In its favor, I'd say that this one, along with X2, has perhaps the best feel and atmosphere to it, which sadly did not carry on to the next two games.
-Mega Man X5
INFO: introducing a new countdown timer that alters the game's ending, multiple armor sets to collect, and the ability to upgrade different aspects of the player's abilities. X and Zero can both now be switched back and forth at any time.
MY THOUGHTS: It's typical of everyone to say that this is where the series started to go downhill and in many ways they are correct. However, X5 isn't as horrible of a game as people will get you to believe. For one, the stage layouts have improved immensely from the last game, and there are more secrets to collect once again like the 2 different armor suits. That's not to say that X5 doesn't have its faults. Quite the contrary: CAPCOM SHOULD HAVE RID OF THE MANDATORY INTERRUPTIONS THAT ALIA GIVES!! They had a chance to take off this major hindrance here and they blew it. If you're playing the games in order, this becomes especially annoying since all it does is provide "vital" hints such as "Don't run into spikes!" which do nothing but insult the player's intelligence after getting through X1-4. Also, X5 has ridiculously easy bosses, eliminating the need to "find the right weapon" when they can all be slaughtered rather easily by Zero's blade and the X-buster. And while the stages themselves are expansive enough, the designs seem a bit derived from X4's stages. These drawbacks make X5 my least favorite of the first six X games, but it's still a very worthwhile play if you can get past them.
-Mega Man X6
INFO: features a new "nightmare" system, a reploid-finding feature, the ability to wield Zero's saber with X, and a new control scheme for Zero.
MY THOUGHTS: Wow. I must be the only fan that doesn't hate this game with a passion. While I agree that it's FAR from a classic compared to the others, it does have its moments of brilliance. I'd say the perfect description for X6 would be "rough around the edges". It has some ideas that are perfectly executed, and others that fail miserably. For instance, I love the reploid finding feature as it adds more depth to the stages, and the alternate exits are a nice touch. On the other hand, the nightmare system was a horrible attempt to bring back X1's stage altering elements, which could've worked with some more time and effort, but it falls completely flat and should've been left out. Also, forget the story, as after X5 it becomes just throwaway garbage. However, I'm REALLY GLAD they got rid of X5's terrible drawback here. It's a very difficult game that should probably be played last, since the nightmare elements add so much harm to the stages that it's nearly impossible to go unscathed. However, if you can last through the randomness of the nightmare system long enough, you'll be treated to two of the best armor suits in all of the X games. How much you will like this game depends primarily on how patient of a gamer you are.
I was a bit worried at first about playing the games with the Gamecube's oddly distorted controller setup, but I quickly adjusted with no problems. Plus, you can switch the controls at anytime too, which is nice. There are some bonuses like early artwork for characters, secrets for each of the X games, and some of X3's remixed music. That's it though, so if you were expecting a cartoon like in the previous Mega Man collection, you'll be disappointed. I would've liked to seen some of the rejected ideas for bosses, that would be interesting for fans.
Overall, this collection is for all the fans that grew up on these games, and also for those who started more recently and want to get acquainted with the series' roots. If you don't like Mega Man games, then this isn't going to change your mind. So just get equipped with Bubble Lead and check it out. For $30 this is a definite steal, especially considering how rare some of these games are to find...