Review by neothe0ne

"X just moved, and he took Zero with him!"

Pros:
Zero is a fully-playable character now!
Exceptionally good soundtrack
Like the original SNES titles

Cons:
At most 3 files per memory card
As usual, sub tank levels and life numbers can't be saved
You choose one character for the whole game and can't switch characters mid-game
Charging the X-buster during dialogue can be tricky
Bad girl! No more voice acting for you!
A LOT less upgrades/findables than in MMX3

Mega Man X is probably the ultimate platform game of all time. Most of the Mega Man X games feature great music, good gameplay, and are just simply fun to play. Now, Mega Man X has moved to PlayStation, and his first impressions are pretty good.

Probably the best feature in Mega Man X4 is its music. Capcom has always had exceptional music in its MMX games, and in X1 and X2 it was exceptionally good.. but X3 had exceptionally BAD music. The music in X3 for the SNES sounded like a broken electric guitar grating at my ears most of the time. (There IS a PlayStation version of X3, but it's only in Japan and I haven't played it. However, I've heard that the PlayStation music is re-arranged and remixed, with mixed comments.) X4's soundtrack was already exceptionally good, but the improvement over X3 makes it even more amazing. Excluding the last bits of music in the game, such as Sigma's themes, there isn't a single song that I don't like. Most of the music is bright, but the heavier ones are good too, even if they're not my favorites. Unlike in X3, the music has variety. Web Spider's stage theme is suitable for the jungle, and Jet Stingway's theme always keeps the challenging bike ride at top speed (yes, that spelling "error" was on purpose.) Magma Dragoon's stage theme almost makes you feel the lava around you, and Storm Owl's stage theme is a great rocker. Iris's theme is well for a battle between friends. Music is something that adds replay value in any Mega Man game, and the ratings of the games often reflect how good the music is. You won't get tired of this game because of music, that's for sure. It's also worth notice that this game is the only Mega Man X to date that has music that comes to a complete stop, then repeats (instead of looping forever with no real end). Now, the sound effects are a different story. Zero's voice acting is okay, and his saber swipes make him say a funny phrase. The sounds like the saber, shots, and explosions are decent enough. But X... Did X get a sex change that I didn't hear about? Who does her (wait, I mean his.. right?) voice acting anyways?

The graphics in this game are pretty good. Mega Man X4 is a 2D platform game, but the graphics are vastly improved from the SNES. The game is very colorful and bright, but not overly so like in Mega Man 8. The sprites are all very well done and have a 3d feel to them now, and messing with MMX sprites in paint is something everyone loves ;)

The gameplay is mostly the same old, but the same good old: for X, you've got jump, dash, air dash, charged shots, and a new Hover Boot feature. There are two X-buster enhancements, the plasma shot and the multiple shot, but you have to choose one or the other. X only has two levels of charges not counting his un-charged shot, no matter what arm enhancement you have, unlike the 4 charge levels in X3. The other issue with the charged shots is that if you are charging and you release when you get hit, the shot dissapears, and it never fires. Same with the problem with charging during dialogue. If you get the Ultimate Armor, you also have a new cheap move called Nova Strike. This is like a jump then air dash except it does lots of damage and you are invincible while in the air. This move has no energy requirements and can be used over and over for a quick boss clear.

Of course, the big feature of the game is the fact that Zero is now as fully playable as X. Zero has his close-range saber, and has the famous "hoo ha hua!" three-strike. The first strike goes in front, the second behind, and the third has increased range and goes in front. The biggest issue with Zero, however, is that he does NOT gain boss's weapons the way X does. Zero gains a few attacks that require energy, but he mostly acquires skills from bosses, such as the double jump, air dash, and some saber moves. The cointrols are what you'd expect for both characters. (Hey, the PS1 controller is more or less a duplicate of a SNES controller anyway.) Generally speaking, X has an easier time with the bosses and Zero has an easier time clearing out the stages. Playing as Zero also ups the challenge a lot, especially if you played as X with the Nova. You still have heart tanks and sub tanks, and a weapon tank. Dr. Light still has capsules, but ONLY FOR X, and there are only four. Riding armors are lying around a few select stages, and they can be destroyed and do different things. There are no Ride Armor platforms like in X3. Spikes are still a 1-hit KO. There's a forced boss fight after you beat 4 stages. And of course Sigma is still the final boss, with many mini-final bosses scattered throughout the final stages... Overall, the game isn't very challenging until the final Sigma battle.

But most of all, Mega Man X4 is just fun. Replaying stages and re-fighting bosses is fun. There are a few entertaining movies put in important plot-changing moments. If you're new to the Mega Man X series, you need to start right away. If you're wondering how the move from SNES to PS went, wonder no more. If you own a PS, there's no reason to skip this game.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/03/05, Updated 01/07/05


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