Review by neothe0ne

"Disappointing."

When Mega Man X Collection was announced, fans everywhere rejoiced. As Mega Man fans learned more and more information from Mega Man sites, such as how Capcom would be developing the collection, how X1 and X2 would receive remixed music, how bad voice acting would be replaced..., and were asked for suggestions by Capcom, the anticipation and hype for Mega Man X Collection built up to such a level that people were calling it "GOTY2005". Well, Capcom delayed the game two months so then they called it "GOTY2006". And now we get the final product. How is it? It's been stripped naked by Keiji Inafune.

Mega Man X is a port of the SNES original. This game was an evolution on the original Mega Man formula, introducing wall-climbing, dashing, multiple levels of X-Buster charge, and a new era in the Mega Man world. The stage design in this game was amazing compared to previous installments in the original series, and thanks to wall climbing and other new techniques the layout of bases were very well designed. As in past Mega Man games, the objective of the game is to clear out eight stages, each featuring a Maverick boss you get a weapon from, and then go to the final stages to destroy your main enemy, Sigma, and his chronies. Bosses were well designed, and while some have obvious weaknesses to hardcore fans, all put up a good fight. The graphics of Mega Man X were extraordinary for its time on the SNES, and the music was more catchy and had a greater variety than any Mega Man game before. Unfortunately, Capcom didn't do an entirely accurate recording of the originals, which is clearly notable in Chill Penguin and Boomer Kuwanger's stages, where some instruments are too soft and the cymbols are clearly incorrect. One interesting thing of note is that Capcom redid the script for Mega Man X and forgot to pull it out. This script has actually added a "curse" word "Damn". Another thing of note was that several mini-bosses and some weapons no longer perform the same as in the original game, and this carries on through the rest of the games, though in limited situations.

Mega Man X2 is also a port of the SNES original, and here disaster strikes. Like Mega Man X, you also have eight bosses and the final boss stages. Mega Man X2 added on the gameplay mechanics of Mega Man X by introducing the air-dash, a "giga weapon" for X's weapons, and introducing the "roaming boss" system. Roaming bosses will be at a certain area in a stage, and if you go to the stage they are currently at, you can fight them and win an "item part" from them. This concept leads directly into multiple storypaths. The graphics of Mega Man X2 were even more astounding than those of X due to the presence of, for its time, a highly advanced 3D chip in the cartridge, which has been faithfully emulated. However, the music in this game came out the worst, which is a pity since Mega Man X2's original soundtrack was so great.

Mega Man X3, unlike the previous two games, is a port of the PS1 game. This version of the game, along with its Saturn brother, was never released in North America, although a PC version was released in limited qualities. Fans of Mega Man can now see the anime sequences and enjoy the remixed music these three versions offered. However, as is the case in all the other PlayStation ports, the music has obvious compression artifacts and is, in some places, slightly muddled when it definitely wasn't in the original. A reason for this could be that all the music in the game was resampled to 32KHz (which is the SNES playback level), when the PlayStation's sound was 37.8KHz. At other times, the music in the PlayStation games simply sounds like Capcom tried to record it from a different synthesizer than the originals'. The poorly encoded sound effects are more apparent than in any other game on the collection, with a diesel engine going off when X charges his Buster. Since the music plays so softly and the sound effects are so loud, this compounds the problem of audio quality and makes this game almost more of a pain to play through than the original SNES version with its grinding soundtrack. This game went as far as to add a new playable character, Zero (though he's insanely unpractical to use), and added a new ride-armor system. The game expands slightly on the concept of multiple endings. This game is generally considered by many to also be harder than the previous two installments.

Mega Man X4 was the first Mega Man X for PlayStation, and it is mind-blowing. This game features two fully playable characters, X and Zero, which you may choose from at the start. Zero plays slightly different than Mega Man in that his Z-Buster has been done away with and he attacks solely with his saber and the saber techniques he gains from bosses. The game has many anime cutscenes as well as incredible music and graphics. The same cannot be said of the voice acting, which is rather girlish and provides great comic relief or frustration. As in the PlayStation port of X3, this game's music also is not nearly as clear as the original's. The game is also remarkably more simple than the sequels to X, with the removal of multiple charges for the X-Buster, for example. While this game is considered to be one of the easiest out of the X games, the Sigma of this game can cause many problems.

Mega Man X5 expanded on the Mega Man X gameplay formula. In this game, ducking was added, and X-Buster shots were not allowed to travel through walls anymore. Zero also received his Z-Buster back in this game, though it's a single-shot cannon which is slow and weak. X also starts with the complete armor from X4. In this game, you can play as both X and Zero in one story file, though you have to choose either X or Zero at the beginning of the game and this will make the secondary character lose the Buster if it's Zero or lose the X4 armor if it's X. In this game, a time-countdown concept was introduced. The gameplay in this game relies heavily on ducking and the new rope-climbing, but is due mostly to the fact that stage design in this game started to decline. A "stage report" where you receive a grade and stats about your stage clearing is also new to this game. The music in this game was quite varied, and while some songs, notably boss themes, were very catchy and a great listen, other stages' songs lacked greatly.

Mega Man X6 is considered by many as a rush job. The storyline which was growing through the past X games and becoming more confusing was compounded in this game. As in X5, shots do not go through walls and ducking is a major gameplay element. The new feature for X6 was the aggravating "Reploid rescue" gameplay mechanic, where in each stage you have to find reploids and rescue them before certain "Nightmare" enemies reach them and destroy them. Stage design in this game is downright terrible, with bad viewing angles for the random pits found throughout the game. One of Zero's weapon techniques also received questionable control mapping in the original version, as it was the same button combo used to air-dash. When you receive this technique, the text tells you to use down with the attack button instead of up, but when playing the game it's clear you need to use up with the button. Some of the boss design is also questionable. The music is this game focuses much more on heavy metal than in the past. One thing of note is that the Japanese voice acting, present in both the Japanese and American releases of the game, was yanked out. But why couldn't we get the just-done English voice acting in?

Mega Man Battle & Chase was never released in America before. Think of this game as Mario Kart with Mega Man concepts, such as items and parts. Although based on the original Mega Man series and not the X series, it is a fun game to include, though it must be unlocked by completing X1, X2, and X3 (a worthy reward after hearing a diesel engine all the time in X3). The music in this game plays back at a fairly low volume, and the graphics are predictable PS1 3D.

So why does a collection of seven games, most of which are of great quality, deserve such a low score? The answer is Keiji Inafune's arrogance. Capcom ended up doing everything they promised: remixed music, redid voice acting, even coded flawless emulation. But the Mega Man creator we all worshipped decided that he wanted to make more money on the Maverick Hunter X series for the PSP, in which he plans to rewrite the story of Mega Man X. Thus he ordered the development studio to strip X Collection of everything that wasn't in the original games; he ordered them to make the games as close to the originals as possible. Let me repeat, Inafune HIMSELF gave to patient Mega Man fans everywhere a stripped, naked excuse of a collection because he wanted to rewrite history; he wanted to rewrite the stories for Mega Man (in the form of Powered Up) and Mega Man X (in the form of Maverick Hunter X), and thus remixed music and new voice acting (which may not even be usable by the time Inafune pins down a new storyline) had to go. Inafune could not even spare us Japanese-to-English translated voices for Mega Man X6, and Capcom never had a problem recycling music in Street Fighter! Mega Man games are first and foremost about the gameplay and music, but that could not be delivered to us. In the end, the hardcore Mega Man fan has no business owning this game, as there is nothing new and there are numerous glitches and audio problems in the games.

+First six X games on one disc
+Access to never-before-released in America Mega Man Battle & Chase
+Capcom listened to the fans and actually worked hard on this collection...

-..but Keiji Inafune stripped the finished product at the last minute and made Capcom sell it naked
-We waited through several delays, when the REAL X Collection may have been complete two months before its release date
-Nothing new for those who already own all the games
-Bad audio encoding and compression
-Lots of glitches, some going as far as ruining mini-boss battles
-The truth was conceiled from us until after we bought the game


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 01/18/06


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