Review by neothe0ne

"Zero is now here, and so are many other things, but most of them are bad..."

Zero is fully playable now
Zero can swing his Saber while moving (he doesn't stop anymore)
You can build Parts and equip them
Auto charge and rapid fire are still here
Sound test is still here, and the music's better quality than in Xtreme 1
Story is more detailed and interactions occur more than in any other X game

Zero doesn't get boss weapons all the time, but skills, as usual
Zero's Saber range looks a lot less than it is
Screen scrolling isn't as optimal as can be, and gives you less vision than in SNES
Lame story about how Reploids and Mavericks have DNA
Music isn't as great as the originals, but it's closer now
Graphics are still pretty bad, and sometimes worse than Xtreme 1
Enemy death parts flying look like enemy projectiles fired at you
Health/energy capsules look like Soul capsules
You lose your X-buster charge for no reason a lot
Too many inconsistencies that damage gameplay

Mega Man Xtreme 2, like Xtreme 1, takes a little of everything and mixes it together. This time, it's based on X2, adds some of X1 and X3, adds Zero, and mixes in a new story.

Once again, Xtreme 2 features the theme of the past coming back, with X and Zero claiming that they had destroyed these Mavericks long ago. Iris from X4 (with the Repliforce logo on her profile) takes the place of Alia in the newer Mega Man X games, so she briefs you and gives you some tips. You meet Gareth, who claims to be a Soul Eraser, erasing evil Mavericks. You fight four bosses, depending on who you chose, and then go to the final stages, like in Xtreme 1. Also like Xtreme 1, the harder modes have 8 stages, like the original SNES titles. Unlike in Xtreme 1, the game features a shop where you can build Parts from DNA Souls, like the bolts in the original Mega Man series. You can also switch between X and Zero after clearing four stages, which is featured in X5 and X6. An interesting thing to note is that in the teleport part of the final stages, you can fight both Xtreme 2 AND Xtreme 1 bosses!

The graphics of Xtreme 2 are very, very similar to Xtreme 1. So similar, in fact, that it makes you wonder if they changed anything at all. But they did.. Zero uses his lean-back stance instead of the stand-straight one found in the first Xtreme if you are playing as him. If you're playing as X, Zero uses his stand-straight stance when you see him in game, and if you play as Zero, X looks like a hood because he's "standing straight" but his shoulders slop down. The cutscenes are more colorful than before, but mostly feature just one character's chest-up profile now, instead of two characters shaking hands or whatever. The in-game graphics are still pretty bad, though. Once again, most sprites seem to only use two colors, but the background details are a little better than in Xtreme 1. I've noticed at least 4 colors are used in the backgrounds now, maybe as many as 7. Energy capsules also look different than in Xtreme 1, where they looked like they did in the SNES originals. In Xtreme 2, they all look like small capsules, some stuck together in groups of two, three, and four, and these health and energy capsules look exactly the same as DNA Souls, which come in yellow and blue, too. In some cases, they do the effects of both. Some animations are also poorly done, and transition poorly, such as those claw-arm things in the opening stage and Zero's saber animation for using it while he's moving. When you kill most enemies, they throw parts all over, and these parts look the same as the projectiles they fire at you, so you tend to be dodging a lot of harmless stuff and getting hit by what looks like harmless stuff. Overall though, the game looks visually the same as Xtreme 1, sometimes even worse than Xtreme 1, which is not a good thing.

The music of Xtreme 2, while still not as good as the originals in most cases, is a major improvement over Xtreme 1. The game is based on the music of X2, with the opening stage, stage select, boss intro, boss music, and credits themes all from X2. The most notable feature of the music is that the songs from X3 don't have that terrible grinding broken guitar noise! This makes the Game Boy versions of the X3 themes almost better than the SNES originals. (I've noticed over the course of time that, after acquiring the PlayStation version of Rock Man X3, the music in Xtreme 2 from Mega Man X3 is based off the PlayStation re-arranged pieces. This explains why the melody is slightly different in Blast Hornet's Stage, where it matches the PlayStation and/or Saturn version.) However, in the process of losing many important layers of the SNES music, Launch Octopus's music is missing the drum beats and pauses that made it so catchy. Neon Tiger's theme is a lot faster than before, and an octave or two higher, and sounds less dull. Of course, being on the Game Boy, you have to expect there to be fewer layers of sound in the music, and lower-quality than SNES music. The sound effects are the same as in Xtreme 1, with the same annoying charge noise and same strange death noise. The only noticeably new sound effect is Zero's saber, but it sounds pretty dull, and he doesn't say entertaining things like in X4 and higher. The sound effect for taking damage and getting health tanks seem to be missing, too.

The controls of Mega Man Xtreme 2 are a vast improvement over 1. Jump and shoot/slash are the same, and dash is still tap the D-pad twice, or hold down and jump. Now, the pause menu is on Start, and Select is either change weapon or switch characters. However good the improved controls are, they don't compensate for the bugged-up gameplay. If you charge X's buster and then pause, when you un-pause X will have no charge. You also lose your charge when you pass through checkpoints. Also, Zero has an air dash from the start of the game, but to use it, you have to jump, then press the jump button again. You can't tap the D-pad twice.

The gameplay of Mega Man Xtreme 2 could be a lot better. The difficulty of the game isn't so bad anymore, because X and Zero take a reasonable amount of damage now compared to Xtreme 1, but the game is almost too easy. After you get the ability to switch between characters, even though the other character has no special weapons, the game just becomes easier still. Part of the problem is that most of the bosses repeat the same moves and animations over and over, unlike the original SNES games. The other problem with gameplay is that enemies transition and animate poorly and their projectiles look the same as the robot parts flying after dying. Another thing of notice is that the lava in the Volcano of Flame Stag's stage doesn't instantly kill you, but some fireballs in his stage do. Some water in the game instantly kills you, and this water doesn't always flash yellow with electricity. There are too many inconsistencies in Mega Man Xtreme 2 to list them all, and all of them harm gameplay and enjoyability too much.

Mega Man Xtreme 2 features a lot more than the first Xtreme did, but it also introduces a lot of new bugs. Even though it's got more replay value than Xtreme 1 and has more features, it still leaves a lot to be desired, and leaves a sour taste. If and when Xtreme 3 gets developed, it'd be nice to see more colorful graphics, better animations, more consistent gameplay, a better challenge, but most of all, a tested and true game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/07/05, Updated 02/04/05

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