Review by SirX-Wolf
"A worthy installment of the series. X-cellent. (sorry)"
Capcom's popular Mega Man franchise has been around for years, with tens of games being released on many systems. Mega Man X6, the 6th incarnation of the X series has been released, just in time for the 2001 Holiday Season. The first three were for the SNES. The last X game, X5, wasn't that great in my opinion. How well does it, possibly the last PS One, Mega Man game fare? Let's find out.
(And, in advance, I am sorry for not X-CLUDING all the terrible X-related puns, like that one above. Now, on with the X-CITEMENT! Damn, I did it again! I will steal your DNA!)
The X series, and most other Mega Man games, has always been in two dimensions in terms of visuals and gameplay. This incarnation is not an exception to the rule. As usual, Capcom presents us with very vibrant, detailed backgrounds and sprites to work with. The backgrounds, although a bit generic by today's standards, are very detailed, and filled with subtle touches. All of the backgrounds seem to be a combination of computer rendered and hand-drawn, and look rather nice.
The sprites, hand-drawn, are done well too. Many of them are taken from the previous X games, but with a new game comes some new characters, and a slight redesign of a certain character's sprite (whose name I won't mention, it would spoil the story). The animation is good and the new transperancy effects in X6 are very well done. In fact, this game was made as if Capcom wanted to show off these nice effects - they're present in many facets of the game, from spotlight effects, to talons of light searing through strikes of the Z-Saber.
The game still has no anime scenes (like the awesome ones X4 had), and goes the same way X5 did, with static screens and text, but this time, there is an abundance of voice acting, which I will get to later on. The static screens are very well-drawn, as are the character portraits when engaging in conversation in-between levels. All in all, a very strong category for the game. Having two dimensions isn't all that bad.
This came as a shock to me. I didn't expect this one to have great music and voice acting (in fact, I didn't expect it to even have voice acting), but it did! I will first study the sound effects, which, well, you probably won't notice much with the intense gameplay. All I can say is that it gets the job done for the situation, and not too badly, either. But I'm still waiting for the characters to start shouting bleeped-out swear words when they get hit for one pixel of damage.
Next, the music. The music can be quite excellent at times. It's certainly a department from X5's so-so music (to me, anyway). The music is once again catchy, like the older Mega Man games, and is pretty interesting stuff from Capcom (especially the Weapons Center music, that piece is simply amazing). This is the kind of stuff you might want a soundtrack for - yes, it's that good! The music played in the game always fits with the theme of the stage, from the mellow ice tunes, to the rockin' magma area. Great work, Capcom.
Now, the voice acting. The first thing you'll notice is that the game is voiced entirely and X-CLUSIVELY in Japanese. This may be good or bad, depending on your point of view. I think it's actually good, seeing as how the English voice acting in games is usually garbage. There's voice acting in the story-driven cutscenes, and quite a bit of it. It's all good. It's subtitiled into English text, and, well, the translation can be amusingly bad at times. Did anyone say ''Zero Wing''? Okay, maybe not that bad, but what's badly translated is quite hilarious. The characters have their usual grunts of pain, and many of them have small Japanese voice clips which I'm still trying to translate. Be sure to look out for Ground Scaravich's voice, which is absolutely hysterical.
Oh my. This shocked me too. The story is much better than I would expect from any Mega Man game. It starts off with a mysterious Reploid called Gate, examining the ruins from the space colony crash, Eurasia, which occurred three weeks ago, game time (remember X5's ending?). He finds on his excursion, a fragment of a data chip among the ruins. Apparently, an apparition of Zero knows as the ''Zero's Nightmare'' has appeared also, and is scaring the crap out of machines and humans alike. Cool. And, well, that's all I can say. Anything else would ruin the story, but let me tell you, the story is a twisting trail full of some shocking surprises and new revelations. Actually, the story can take some pretty drastic turns depending on how you play the game (the work of the Nightmare system, which I will get to shortly), so the story isn't linear at all. But what's there isn't your standard throwaway Mega Man fare, and it can even be pretty good at some points. It takes place right after X5, so if you've played X5 (I almost felt sorry for my PlayStation when I played through much of X5, ugh) and have finished it, you'll have a much better understanding of what's going on. Loses a few points for some generic parts and some small, ridiculous parts in the story.
It's a 2D Mega Man game. How bad can it get? You'll know how to play it instantly once you boot it up, and you likely won't look at the controller again unless you want to see which button combinations work well for some of the Z-Saber techniques. The controls and options are highly customizable, so don't hesitate about changing them and deciding that X is not your special friend anymore. If he ever was. Um, what?
The thing that makes a game a game. Classic old-school Mega Man. Much of it is present in X6. First, I'll note that some areas of the levels and the story are randomized through a new concept known as the ''Nightmare'' system. This affects the story more than it does the levels, and basically makes the game non-linear. It makes for some interesting twists, I can tell you.
This time around, you rescue Reploids again (a lá X5), but they actually have a point in this game. They not only restore health, but some of them give you parts (like the Jumper of Speedster) to enhance your character's capabilities. The game keeps a very detailed record of all 128 Reploids to rescue, including their names, Rescue status, the stage and what part they give you (if any). Will you be rewarded for rescuing all? You'll have to find out for yourself by playing the game, HA HA HA (or you can read a walkthrough)!
This being a Mega Man game, the basis is running and shooting/slashing and jumping. And this time is does it well with many new Armors for X, new abilities and other things. You'll gain a certain playable character if you meet certain conditions throughout the game. If you know Capcom and have played X5, you know who this is. And, no, for you guessers out there, it's not Dynamo. And X gets to use Zero's Z-Saber this time, making for some interesting possibilities.
The stages and bosses can be X-TREMELY challenging. If you consider yourself an X-PERT at these games, this game will seriously test your abilities, even at the Normal difficulty level. It may seem frustrating at first, but as you progress, it gets all the more easier.
Alia has returned from X5 with more GREAT GAMEPLAY TIPS and ROCKIN' information but you can choose whether or not you want to see them when the icon for it appears at the lower right-hand corner of the screen (an exclamation point). So if you thought she was just a tad annoying, just don't press the Select button when the ''!'' appears. It's that simple. Thank you for adding this feature, Capcom. Ducking from X5 has returned, too. And let me tell you, if you fill the right conditions, you will feel as if Capcom wanted to replace ever character in the game with a Ninja. Uh, you'll see what I mean if you play. New to the game is the collecting of Soul items (blue in color for regular Soul, Green for Super Soul), which can help increase your Hunter Ranking (judged by damage received, time taken to clear stages etc.). This sucker is also packed with some great level design. High praise indeed.
This game has excellent replay value for fans of the series and old-schoolers alike. You can go through the game several times, twist the story a bit, get new parts, get better rankings, rescue more Reploids, the list goes on. Amazingly high replay value indeed.
Great graphics, music, story, control, gameplay... this game is a quantum leap over the mediocre X5, and a worthy successor to the now-classic, but good, X4. A worthy Mega Man X game. Thanks for not screwing it up, Capcom. I highly recommend it to Mega Man or plain 2D fans. We will forever live and play in two dimensions. You can put away X4 now, and stop vomiting over X5's mediocrity.
Extra Notes from me and Rent/Buy status:
Well, I was very glad when I played this game. After seeing X5 (also leniently reviewed by yours truly), I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought this game would be a disaster. Arigatou, Capcom. Just one thing. What's with the DNA discussion in the story? You'd think that robots didn't have any genetic material. Well, this game proved my thoughts of robots completely wrong. This game is definitely worth buying. For me, anyway. If you're not sure, rent it first, but fun is to be had either way.
PH33R THE ZERO NIGHTMARE!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/18/01, Updated 12/18/01
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