Review by discoinferno84

Reviewed: 09/15/06

Wonderboy, won't you take me far away...

Poor X. You’d think that after spearheading a massive conflict, wiping out legions of his fellow robots, and utterly annihilating his arch nemesis Sigma, that things could finally go back to normal. Six months have passed since the events of Mega Man X, but the war between the Maverick Hunters and the evil Mavericks hasn’t slowed at all. The future of mankind is slowly but surely drifting toward demise. In the wake of Sigma’s demise, a new group of super-powered baddies has united to actively stamp out any Maverick Hunters that get in their way. On top of that, they’ve collected the scrapped remains of Zero, X’s former partner in battle. Fueled by the desire to quell the Maverick Rebellion and avenge his murdered friend, X ventures forth onto the battlefield for another chance at saving the world.

After one of the most badass motorcycle action intro sequences ever made, X will find himself blasting through a factory filled with enemy robots. He’s wielding his trusty X-Buster, a mighty energy gun that can be charged up for multiple levels of destruction. He can also glide across the battleground with a quick double-tap of the directional pad. Unfortunately, these are the only skills that our hero has retained since the previous adventure. Like a complete fool, X has shed himself of all his awesome weapons from his previous adventure. No more cloaking devices, homing missile fish, flamethrowers, ice cannons, or any of that other stuff that made Mega Man X a true joy to play through. Instead, our hero will have to blast his way through a handful of levels, rip a few bosses to shreds and steal their weapons for his own arsenal. Eventually you’ll have amassed a grappling hook, a new flamethrower, spinning blades, a rolling saw, exploding shrapnel, and even a badass bubble shooter…thingy. Not only do these attacks devastate your foes, but they can be charged up for even more uses, such as glding in a giant fireball, picking up huge chunks of scrap metal, slowing time down to a crawl, and even send a bunch of knives cascading down on your hapless foes.

However, not even a brand new cache of weapons will be enough to ensure X’s success. The levels of Mega Man X2 are a few steps higher in difficulty when compared with their predecessors. Aside from the hordes of battle-hardened robots, you’ll have to deal with sudden changes in the weather, duck under huge sheets of crystal, wipe out parasite-infested scrap heaps, dodge enemy spotlights, and plenty of other nasty surprises. In X’s current condition, there’s no way in hell that he can survive. Luckily, all the upgradeable parts from the previous game have returned; you’ll be able to store up spare energy in tanks, expand your health and weapon gauges, and obtain an awesome blaster that can dish out double shots. On top of all that, the various armor upgrades will allow X to dash in midair, uncover secret areas, and take more punishment than any normal robot can. He’ll need it, too; given the cheer amount of giant armored mechs, challenging bosses and tricky platforming sections, you won’t get far if you don’t have enough skill. Needless to say, this isn’t the Mega Man X you used to know.

Despite all the changes, however, plenty had remained the same. X may sport some fancy new duds and gilded armor, but his basic movement and attack animations haven’t changed at all. He’ll still glow with a mysterious purple aura when he charges up, scale walls with unprecedented ease, and stare down his foes with his pixilated glare. Whenever you fire off his supercharged blaster, you can see the individual beams intertwining each other as they blow their targets to bits. The enemies come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, be it a bubble-spewing crab, a mace-wielding monkey monster, scorpions with laser claws, a mechanized snail that breaks the laws of physics, and plenty of other cleverly designed behemoths. The levels are just as diverse, forcing X to explore lush jungles, desert ruins, glittery mines, decrepit junkyards and even a volcano gushing with lava. Factor in a slew of catchy background music, tons of sound effects, and even a just a dash of dialogue, and you’ve got a worthy sequel to a classic game.

After the onslaught of Mega Man rehashes on the NES, you’d think Capcom would have been satisfied with just slightly tweaking Mega Man X and trying to pass it off as another game. Thankfully, this is far from the case; Mega Man X2 continues the epic story of the series, provides the hero with tons of new weapons and gadgets to slaughter his enemies, and plenty of new challenges to keep seasoned gamers on their toes. Though this game may be overshadowed by more popular titles in the series, Mega Man X2 is one of the few examples of how to not only build on a growing franchise, but keep both gamers and fans satisfied as well.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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