Review by Pinlander

"More of the same, but still good"

Mega Man X was an extremely good game, it had fast-paced action, varied and dynamic stage design, detailed graphics, epic musical score and lots of upgrades that brought feeling of progress to it. So I expected X2 to be an excellent game.

And, it is an excellent game, but I still feel it isn't everything it was made up to be. Most of the new aspects are quite marginal, and the game does not feel quite like the first.

OVERVIEW:

Mega Man X2 is an amalgamation of shoot'em up and platformer. Player controls the eponymous Mega Man X, who must overcome obstacles and foes with his extraordinary agility and plasma cannon, known as X-Buster. Following the tradition of Mega Man, player must defeat 8 bosses, known as Mavericks, to be able to access the final levels. They can be beaten in any order, and defeating a maverick allows X to copy his weapon with his VWS (Variable Weapon System), which is strong against an another maverick.

THE CATCH:

Mega Man X2 presents the X-Hunters. X-Hunters are strong mavericks who challenge X to a battle. Despite calling themselves X-hunters, X must find them himself. X-Hunters appear in random levels, and when X enters a level, where an X-hunter is, X can either search for the (usually hidden) lair where an hunter abides and defeat him, or just ignore him.

This system has an flaw, however. Hunting X-hunters down is troublesome, as their lairs might be hidden, in a difficult place or might require specific upgrade or weapon to access. Also, X-hunters are relatively tough (Violen is very unpredictable, Serges has an force field, and Agile is extremely fast). While this is all good, the result of defeating X-hunters is largely insignificant: You are spared from an rather easy fight.

GRAPHICS:

Visually Mega Man X2 is similar to the first, which is OK. The graphics are detailed and rich, though X is too colourful when completedly upgraded and equipped with a maverick weapon. The game also features three-dimensional wireframes.

SOUND EFFECTS AND MUSIC:

The sound effects are mostly ripped directly from the first, except Mavericks blowing up. The music is usually catchy, often even excellent (Intro Stage, Computer Central, X-hunter Base 3), but there are some weak tracks, too ( Dr. Light's theme, Desert Base, Maverick Battle theme, Victory fanfare).

GAMEPLAY:

Far the strongest aspect in X2. The levels are mostly varied and fun, especially the Central Computer stage, which is a lengthy level with searchlights, moving boxes and 2 mini-bosses. Weak stages, like X-hunter Base 2 (short and uneventful) are few. The mavericks are great fun, too, except Bubble Crab (who was also in my opinion the stupidest looking and least intimidating maverick in the series, until I saw Split Mushroom). As a kind of a marginal addition, the mavericks might use new attacks when they become weaker.

The maverick weapons aim for increased mobility this time, the arsenal offers grappling hooks, flaming air dashes, increased jump height in water and so on. However, they lack in power and range, and most of the time you will find yourself using the normal X-buster. X also can get a new armour upgrades. This time, the arm upgrade allows X to stock charge another shot for later use. This has its uses, but getting used to it takes time. The leg upgrade allows X to air dash, which is kind of useful, but the head upgrade is completely useless, and the body upgrade is more cool than useful. Like with the first game, there is a secret upgrade too...

CHALLENGE:

If player just ignores the X-hunters, X2 is probably the easiest game of the series. Most mavericks are not so tough, and most levels are kind of easy. The final boss of the game is especially easy. As X has lots of weapons, which increase mobility, Capcom decided to make players to need them, as most of the upgrades and other goods are in tough places.

THE STORY AND NARRATIVE ELEMENTS:

X2 begins 6 months after Sigma's death, and maverick movement is almost wiped out. However, 3 mavericks Agile, Serges and Violen takes Sigma's place, wow to destroy X, and begin to call themselves X-hunters.

The premise of the story is good enough, and the game advances the story with well-written dialogue and with some cutscenes.

LONGEVITY:

X2 is fairly short, but thanks to X-hunters, it should be played through at least twice. Like most Mega Man games, X2 has lots of lasting appeal.

SUMMA SUMMARUM:

X2 is more of the same, meaning it is an excellent game, but nothing earthshaking.

8/10






Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/12/06


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