Review by DS_Strider

"A Classic Game Butchered by Laziness..."

Everyone who owned a Super Nintendo at least heard of Mega Man X. It was the newest series at the time by the creator, Keiji Inafune. All in all, it's a prime example of an awesome action platformer. Eye popping graphics, catchy tunes, and great gameplay all in one neat little package.

Fast forward 20 years and you get Capcom's release of the iPhone version. And boy, what a disappointment this was. When the announcement was made that the game was to be ported to iDevices with high-resolution, retina display graphics, many of us wet ourselves.

And then the game came out.

Graphics:

Probably the most obvious of changes. All of the game sprites have been enlarged and redrawn to fit the larger resolution of the iPhone/iPod screen. The downside? Over half of the animation frames are missing. X suffers from this the most, as he's the one on screen 100% of the time. That smooth running animation from the SNES game? Gone. Many of the in game sprites had this treatment, much to my bewilderment. Here we have a system that can display stunning 3 dimensional graphics in real time (See Infinity Blade) and Capcom can't add all of the frames of animation to the characters and stages within this title? Aside from the loss of animations, the parallax scrolling from all of the stages are now static backdrops. Mode 7 effects (Such as the miniboss in Spark Mandrill's stage) are gone. Hell, even Sting Chameleon's cloaking technique looks horrible. Was it really that difficult to make these effects? Don't get me wrong, the sprites do look great. But, damn. Put forth some effort!

Also, a minor issue, mostly for consistency. The artwork for the game is from Maverick Hunter X, a PlayStation Portable remake of the same game. However, the sprites are from the original SNES title, making things look a bit odd.

Gameplay:

Oh my God is this broken.. What makes this difficult is that bad gameplay is rather hard to explain unless you're actually playing the game for yourself, but here goes. X plays SIMILAR to his SNES/PSP counter part. I say similar, because not even this port was successful in making him move correctly. Wall jumping for example. Whenever you cling to a wall, X REMAINS clung despite you letting go of the D-Pad. Only by jumping does he finally release(Or if you get hit, which is inevitable given how hard it is to maneuver). However, he doesn't jump AWAY from the wall like in the other games, instead he jumps STRAIGHT UP, as if he were standing on the floor.

Dashing is another problem, as the game maps the dash button to DOWN on the D-Pad. I've killed myself countless times trying to climb down a ladder only to dash into a pit to my untimely demise. Sure, there's a setting to automatically cling to ladders you come cross, but we'll cover these at a later time.

Remember how expansive the stages were? Now each segment of a stage is separated by a cut to black. This prevents you from returning to a previous part of a stage, like if you miss an upgrade, forcing you to replay it to collect said item. Oh! But if you did that, you'll find, much to your dismay, that there's no option to escape a stage you've already cleared! Yup, after collecting your upgrade, you have to go all the way to the end and kill the Maverick once more before you're kicked back to the stage select screen.

Now, getting back to the settings. These are an okay touch. However, there's not one configuration that you can take from the beginning of the game, to the very end. Throughout the course of the game, I swapped through 4 different setting configurations in order to make controlling the game easier. First option is Auto-Fire. While this works whenever you're using the X-Buster, this option becomes obsolete once you acquire the arm upgrade, and are forced to turn it off to charge up your Master weapons. "But you have an auto-charge feature!" Yes. I know. This is also only useful for the X-BUSTER ONLY. Auto-Charge can waste your weapon energy in a hurry if you're not careful. Thankfully, they were smart enough to put an X-Buster only option. And last but not least, is the Ladder Auto-Latch option. When toggled, X grabs onto any ladder that his sprite is physically covering. Remember the complaint from before about dashing to your death? Still happens. A lot.

Here's a configuration that would be most beneficial to a player:

Auto-Fire: OFF!!
Auto-Charge: X-Buster ONLY
Auto-Latch: OFF!!

Just be warned, however. Auto-Fire being off doesn't make the game any easier. Why. The buttons. The D-Pad is WAY too sensitive, and the action buttons aren't sensitive enough. Don't believe me? Try firing a shot when you're low on health and trying frantically to get out of the way of a projectile or enemy. Hope you have insurance.

Yes, the game has dumbed down the difficulty a bit. Even on Normal, then enemies fall fairly quickly to your X-Buster alone. I guess they knew that the controls were god awful. But honestly? Why not fix what's broken instead of making our time through Hell a bit less infuriating? Why not port the SNES game's code to the game itself so you have solid gameplay that's stood the test of time for 20 years?

AND WHERE THE HELL ARE THE ENVIRONMENT CHANGES?!

Seriously. Not one of the changes to the stages are here. Chill Penguin's defeat would freeze over Flame Mammoth's stage in the original AND remake. But does NOTHING here. Storm Eagle's aircraft never crash lands in Spark Mandrill's stage. And nor does Sting Chameleon's stage flood EXCEPT for the area where water is required to get a Heart tank! These kinds of easter eggs were part of what made Mega Man X so damned great! There were everlasting consequences for YOUR actions. YOU caused the aircraft to crash into the power plant. YOU froze over the recycling center. YOU flooded the forest. (You ass). None of these events occur now. Again. Laziness.

Oh, before I forget, there are in app purchases you can make in order to unlock armor, heart tanks, subtanks, or the arranged OST from Maverick Hunter X. These are KINDA helpful, if you're willing to shell out the extra cash for them. Honestly, it's easier and cheaper to find the upgrades yourself. The arranged soundtrack? Ehhhh... That depends if you want to pay an additional $2.99 to unlock it from a $4.99 game (Which is clearly not worth the money thus far..)

Finally, the little issues. The game connects to both FaceBook and Twitter. The downside? Neither work.. I'm serious. No achievement postings. No rankings in Score Attack or Time Attack. Nothing. Is. Posted. Why is it here? GameCenter Works. Why not these?

Music and Sound:

Really, there's nothing that needs to be said here. Everything sounds like it does in the SNES original with ONE exception. Killing a boss. When they explode, you don't get to hear that triumphant BOOM of every single explosion. Instead, it's now a crackling sound as the game tries to play all of those individual sounds at once. *Sighs* -.-;

Overall:

If you're a hardcore Mega Man fan, like I am, I would avoid this game like the plague. Despite it being developed in house at Capcom and having X's mug slapped on it, it's clearly unfinished and unpolished. The frustration in trying to play the game alone isn't worth the $5 price tag slapped onto it. But you know what really chaps my rear? The fact that this game, despite the glaring flaws, is getting nearly a 5 star rating by the idiots in the App Store. One of which said, and I quote:

"Cool! good game!"

No, sir. You are mistaken. Go to a used game shop. Purchase an SNES and a copy of Mega Man X. Take it home. And enjoy it the way it was MEANT to be enjoyed. as for this game? I've deleted it. And there it will stay. In iTunes limbo for all eternity.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 02/29/12

Game Release: Mega Man X (US, 12/21/11)


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