Review by Aya Blue
"It has flaws, but it's still a great game in the series!"
Just yesterday, I purchased Mega Man X6 from the local Wal-Mart, as a little Christmas gift for myself; I'm quite a huge Mega Man fan after all. And after playing the game, I must say that I'm thoroughly surprised with what Capcom did (and didn't) do with the 6th episode of the X series.
The graphics actually seem a bit different than how they were in X5; the animation seems to run a bit more smoother, and X looks more like he does in X4. Still, he's as fluid as he's ever been, and the slow-downs in animation are few and far in between.
Also, the backgrounds for each level are quite detailed and unique to the specific boss. Quite colorful, as in the past X games, so there's no major surprise there.
The music in this game is great! There are quite a few standout tunes, such as the battle theme against High Max (who looks like a black version of King from Rockman & Forte, btw), the Gate levels, and the level songs for Shield Sheldon, Ground Scaravich and Blizzard Wolfang. They even brought back a couple of great tunes from X5 (Dynamo's Theme, and the battle versus Nightmare Zero). Only a few, though, aren't as good; Rainy Turtloid's level song sounds quite generic, and the Maverick Battle (boss battle) theme, while nice and cool, gets quite repetitive like the X3 and X4 Maverick Battle themes.
The sound FX in the game are pretty much what you expect them to be, although they have made a few changes since X4 and X5. For one thing, voice acting's back, but not quite as you'd expect it to be; it's in Japanese. Even in the North American version. I don't find this a major problem, as the voices are quite good (and there are subtitles as well), but it just goes to show how lazy Capcom was in the production of the game; I find it hard to believe that they didn't have the time or the resources to translate the voices into English when they had the subtitles right there, sheesh. Also, there are many minor differences from X5 as well; the ones most notable to me right now are the ''Ready'' voice when you enter a stage (it sounds a little more garbled), and the ''Warning'' signal when you're ready to fight a major enemy (the animation and the siren are both noticeably different...to me, anyways).
The story seems like a bizarre mix of the past X storylines; a self-proclaimed mad scientist (Gate), after surveying the damage caused by the battle between Sigma and X/Zero in X5, dreams of establishing a paradise for Reploids and Mavericks, not unlike Dr. Doppler. However, one thing stands in his way; a strange vision of a certain recently-deceased Maverick Hunter (Zero) whom Gate believes is the one thing that has the capability of stopping his dream. He and his subordinate, Isoc, speak out against Zero, claiming he the one responsible for the pollution and damage caused to Earth following the events in X5. X, meanwhile, has a joint mission of leading a recovery operation to salvage the planet and to find out where Zero has gone to. But after hearing the rants of Gate and Isoc, he (and the rest of the Reploid Hunter unit) sets out to find whether Zero has really survived...and to rescue a few damaged Reploids as well.
The story isn't too bad, but it really doesn't seem to follow what was established in X5. After many speculations of Wily finally appearing full-scale in a Mega Man X game, this failed to deliver. But the plot, nonetheless, is still quite interesting.
The gameplay is fantastic as you can expect from a Mega Man game. As usual, it's a 2D side-scrolling platform game, where you visit various stages and gain the boss's powers after defeating him/her at the end of the stage. Since X4, you were also given the option of beginning the game with Zero instead of X; obviously, that's no longer the case. Instead, X, as a sort of ''compensation'' for not being able to start off with Zero, is given the Zero's old Beam Sabre as an extra non-dispensable weapon. It's a great addition that follows a particular ending in X5, and helps to establish X and the game more.
Basically, other than that, the only other noticeable differences are the inclusion of the Nightmare System and the different ways Capcom has chosen to modify the Parts and Rankings system established in X5.
The Nightmare System is a system based on the original Mega Man X's ability to alter a specific stage by beating another certain stage before it. For example, if you manage to achieve a few certain objectives in Blaze Heatnix's level (not to mention defeating the boss and the level), and then proceed to Blizzard Wolfang's level, there will be a few minor but important changes in Blizzard Wolfang's level due to what you did in Blaze Heatnix's level that I'll leave up to you to find out.
The way they've altered the parts and rankings system are quite noticeable as well; they go hand-in-hand. The more Nightmare Souls you collect after defeating those annoying Nightmare enemies in each level, the higher your Ranking increases. And the higher your Ranking is, the more parts you can equip. The way you get the parts is different as well; every once in a while, a damaged Reploid whom you save will sometimes give you a part that you can immediately equip. So that's why it's obviously encouraged to rescue as many of those damaged Reploids as possible, if you want to build up X!
I don't care what anyone else says, but this is quite possibly the hardest X game in the entire series! Granted, X4 may have had the hardest last boss, but overall, X6 shatters the relative easiness of X5 with a vengeance.
For one thing, the Heart Tanks and Sub-Tanks are now placed in more less-accessible places than in any previous X game. This is especially true in my case, as it wasn't until after I've beated Commander Yanmark and Rainy Turtloid that I've found my first Heart Tank; if I've had it earlier, it would've seriously helped in the previous two levels.
Also, the levels themselves are quite trying; the Nightmares swarm around you and you have to use some precise strategy in many areas! This is especially true in Commander Yanmark's stage, probably the first boss you're require to beat due to his lack of difficulty; it's a serious wake-up call for those who are used to the previous X games, as I had many troubles when I played his stage the first time through.
And then there's High Max...oh man. Trust me, if difficulty's what you look for in a platform game, X6 might just suit your needs in that department. The learning curve's quite easy to catch on; but once you're used to the game and the controls, you still need quite a bit of strategy if you want to survive.
Here's my major gripe with the game. It's quite clear from the get-go that Capcom didn't want to spend a little more time suiting the game to North American audiences, probably opting instead to release the game before Christmas or before the Playstation stops producing new games. The Japanese voice acting, the atrocious translation (or, in some cases, lack thereof), the strange, unfulfilling subplot concerning Zero...it's certainly much less than what Capcom is capable of.
Translation stands out the most, though. A lot of the things Alia says don't make quite a lot of sense (especially after you defeat a Maverick), and a few of the things that the Mavericks themselves say are quite generic, and in some places, seem ridiculous (check out Blaze Heatnix's and Blizzard Wolfang's pre-battle speeches to see what I mean). C'mon Capcom, you better not do this with X7 or any other Mega Man game.
REPLAY VALUE: 8/10
If the flaws with presentation don't get you too bummed out, you'll find that this is a game that has tons of things to discover, minor or large, thanks to the Nightmare System. Personally, I'm already beginning two new files. :)
Mega Man X6 is a game with tons to offer, and it should be quite fulfilling to those familiar to the Mega Man genre...even with it's flaws. I really liked this game, and although it didn't turn out to have the plot we were probably all waiting for, I'm quite pleased with what Capcom decided to do with the game. I can't wait to buy X7 (which I'm sure I'll be able to, given that I have a PS2 and a Gamecube!). ^_^
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/14/01, Updated 12/14/01
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