Review by shun_sakurai

"Was X5 too easy for you? Then X6 is your perfect match!"

I don't know about you guys, but I think the Megaman X series deteriorated when it crossed over to the PlayStation. After X3 on the SNES, the graphics and presentation were improved but the challenge of the next two games was almost nonexistent. When I bought X6, however, I believe Capcom have finally gotten their act together and delivered a great game for the Megaman purists.

Graphics: 7/10
If you've played X4 or X5, you won't find much difference here. However Capcom have nicely mixed up the old graphics with cool effects (like the slash flashes) and bright sprites. Enemies are less monotonous compared to X4 and X5. Not bad, but Capcom could've improved the graphics some more.

Sound: 7/10
Capcom went for more heavy metal riffs here in X6. Although the soundtrack gets a little boring at times (you feel as if you've heard these melodies in X4 and X5 before), they do the job of fitting the atmosphere well. I would suggest that Capcom use more remixes of their old Megaman themes though. The first three NES games had some of the best music, in my opinion.

Controls: 8/10
For X the controls are okay, considering that the Blade Armor can either release a charged shot or a charged slash using only the Square button. However, special weapons are quite finicky to use the first few times. You'll get the hang of it after a while. His Saber slashes are also quite lame. Jumping twice now activates the air dash for the Falcon Armor and the Mach-Dash for the Blade Armor.

As Zero, the controls are almost excellent. Double-jumping can get tricky at times though. His moves and slashes are refreshingly different, and he is more effective this time around, once you get used to his modified attacks.

Story: 6/10
This is the only weak point to X6. After the questions posed by X4, X5 and Zero's origins, X6 ditches them and offers a distracting side trip. Much of the story revolves around Gate, a Reploid scientist gone mad, and his abuse of Zero's DNA data to create the perfect, most powerful Reploids in order to create his ideal nation. Excuse me, Capcom, but did you not use this as the plot for X1 and X3?

As a stand-alone side story, however, X6 is all right. It retains X5's story stills and adds spoken Japanese dialogue, subtitled in English at the bottom. This makes for very nice presentation. I just can't stand Capcom's numerous translation errors though.

Gameplay: 9/10
The true test of a Megaman game's challenge is if it keeps me from finishing it in 2-3 hours the first time around. I have been playing these games for 9 years now, and I tell you: X6 is quite a gem. It took me the whole of three days and nights just finishing X6 the first time --- that means it was engaging enough to keep my interest throughout the long Christmas nights playing my eyes out.

The levels are long and challenging (even at Normal difficulty), and there are plenty of secrets to watch out for. Rescuing all 128 Reploids to obtain special Parts is a great idea and much better than the higher-level Boss system in X5. Collecting Nightmare Souls to equip more parts is great, too. The Nightmare system --- an idea from X1 taken way further here --- forces you to be careful in choosing your levels to beat, although it makes some stages frustratingly hard. The Boss Mavericks, however, are mostly minor annoyances offset by the tough levels.

Alia's irritating tips in X5 are now replaced by radio broadcasts, which you can either ignore or read by pressing Select when the ! button appears on-screen. This is the best and most noticeable improvement in X6. THANK GOD CAPCOM!

X6 continues the good tradition of X5's multiple armor suits. The Falcon Armor is not invincible in mid-flight anymore, and does not allow flight. It allows weapon charging this time, though. The Blade Armor offers the Mach-Dash (floating in mid-jump and dashing in any of four directions), the mini-plasma shot and the charged saber. The Shadow Armor offers shuriken shots and a super-strong saber slash, and lets you walk on spikes or stick to ceilings. Using all three armors properly is key to finishing the game.

Overall score: 9/10
Megaman X6 pays tribute to the challenge posed by the first 3 X games on the SNES. It may frustrate newcomers to the series, but purists and fans of the franchise will be delighted after X5's disappointing lack of challenge. X6 is almost perfect. That said, Capcom should aim for better with X7.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/28/01, Updated 12/28/01


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