Review by UltimaZER0
"Capcom's proud blue hero... milked and packaged into a pile of garbage."
Capcom has gone far with the Megaman series, and all five games in their X lineup before X6 had been a pleasure to play. It had a good background story, the gameplay was fun to play, and the ending to X5 was a sad but memorable one, one that would pave the way for the upcoming Megaman Zero on the Game Boy Advance. So in the grand scheme of things, if you avidly followed the story from X1 through X5, it seems odd to see a sixth installment when the story had finally reached its conclusive ending in the fifth game. At first, this sounded like an awesome idea, but once you jump into the game, you will have realized that X6 is a cash cow that was butchered into grilled steaks.
The biggest problem with Megaman X6 is how incredibly unbalanced the difficulty is. I know that Megaman games are known to be challenging, but X6 is hard for all the wrong reasons. Let's take one of the new features as an example: the innocent reploids. Throughout each stage are several reploids that can be rescued, which rewards you with power-ups. The challenge here is that nearly every one of them is located within inches of a squid-like thing called a Nightmare. When a Nightmare attaches itself to a reploid, it becomes hostile towards you. Once that happens, it's a goner for good.
This wouldn't be a big deal if a select few weren't carrying bonus armor parts on them. Once those suckers latch on, you have no other choice but to kill yourself in order to reload your Save file and do the level over. This wouldn't be such a problem if these reploids weren't placed in such asinine locations. While some are simply hidden within secret rooms and whatnot, some are just floating in mid-air, just inches away from a Nightmare. To add insult to injury, the Nightmares can even move through walls, which is ludicrous because your shots can't pierce through solid walls.
Another contributing factor to this abomination is the atrocious level design. Each level is a baffling barrage of obstacles that are just downright frustrating. Infinity Mijinion's stage is a prime example of how awful the design is: as you run through the course, a giant robot in the background is firing large blasts at you. Meanwhile, you have to dodge these jet-fighter-like bots that repeatedly come at you five at a time. Once you're past the first phase, the second phase features three floating objects that fire lasers at you every five seconds or so, but once in a while, there is a delay, which throws off your timing. As you carefully time yourself for each laser blast, you must fight through a horde of Nightmares waiting to take jabs at your health.
Even with the prized Ultimate Armor, it's easy to get wrecked by a stage with so many things being thrown at you all at once. What's even worse is that a stage may occasionally be affected by the Nightmare, in which case, that respective boss's portrait will be shaded red on the Stage Select screen. This makes the stage even harder by throwing even more obstacles at you. For example, when Commander Yanmark's stage is affected, parts of that stage are darkened and lit only by a few moving spotlights. This makes spotting death pits and other hazard very hard to spot. Rather than making it a fun challenge, it just makes the game that much more frustrating.
The storyline and dialog are also very sloppy. Much of the dialog follows the Japanese dubbing throughout the game, but the English text has such poor grammar and sentence structure that you have to wonder if Capcom really cared about this game. That and the plot defies logic. If you've played through Megaman X5, then you know who is missing at the start of X6, but the instructional manual does very little to hide the fact that Zero is playable. In fact, his picture is located everywhere on the packaging and in the manual. Bringing him back is a nice touch, but the game does a poor explanation of how he returns in such good shape just three weeks after his incident.
There are also some very unwelcome changes in his character. While the Z-Saber that X is holding looks the same as it has for the last two games, Zero's was given a completely different Saber and a new attack animation. What was the point in doing this? It didn't add to the gameplay in any way. If anything, it gave him an easy exploit that allows players to chain together a rapid barrage of attacks.
Many of X's special weapon attacks are alright but most of the time, your X-Buster gets the job done without having to blow any weapon energy. Zero's are just downright awful. In fact, they're almost game-breaking. For example, beating Ground Scaravich grants you a drop-down slash attack that you can perform by pressing Up and Square. In levels where you have to hold Up to grip onto rails, I found myself accidentally using this attack while trying to attack an enemy while in midair. This almost always resulted in instant death because once you execute the attack, you dive straight down into the pit below you. Zero's standing spin attack is also incredibly useless. While it allows you to attack enemies that may be below you, I never found a situation where I actually had to do that.
Bosses are also either far too easy or far too hard. For example, Commander Yanmark has an attack pattern that's laughable. There are non-boss enemies that have attacks that are harder to avoid than his. Contrast that with Infinity Mijinion, who just relentlessly spawns clones of himself and hides behind harmful globules that cover three-quarters of the screen.
This game is atrocious. If Capcom's goal was to milk the Megaman X franchise for all it was worth, then they got the job done with this abomination. The game tries to be a fun challenge but it just comes off as a sloppy pile of frustration, and rather than ending it with X5, X6 paved the way for more mediocre games in the series to come.
Difficulty: Very Hard
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 12/19/01, Updated 08/25/08
Game Release: Mega Man X6 (US, 12/04/01)
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