Review by Emptyeye
"Do you CARE that you've played this game before?!"
Mega Man X2 was released in late 1994 by Capcom. It is approximately the 56th sequel to the 1987 game Mega Man. In this game, you play as Mega Man X, a rebuilt Mega Man (We have the technology gentlemen. Bigger. Faster. Stronger.) who is out to destroy a group called the X-Hunters. Seems the X-Hunters are leftover ''Mavericks'' (Robots who went awry somewhere) from the first MMX game. Way to clean up after Sigma, X.
Graphics: 8/10- The graphics basically do their job, with some cool touches here and there. The parallax scrolling in most stages is quite nice, as are some of the little details (In one stage, if you look out the window you can see the city scrolling by). The enemies are also unique, and are animated fluidly, with some nice detail. Mega Man X looks pretty good as well, though his appearance hasn't changed from the first X game. It's also worth noting that in my opinion this game has the best ''Powered-Up'' X of the series.
The bosses also look good, and have their own unique look to them. When you find the correct weapon to use against them, they have their silly ''Shock'' animations which can be humorous to watch.
Sound: 6/10- Probably the weakest area of the game is the sound. The music is pretty good, with a few standout tracks (The first X-Hunter Castle theme, in particular, is one of my favorite tunes from any Mega Man game), but all in all it largely fails to be memorable in any way, despite its simple poppy nature.
The sound effects are pretty much recycled from the first Mega Man X game, though that's forgivable to an extent. X powering up his blaster, taking damage, dashing, it's all the same, and it's all pretty generic, really.
Control: 9/10- Tried and true. Capcom has always been known for games with great control, and this game is no exception. X responds quickly and well to your commands, be they moving, jumping, charging up, or firing your weapons. Capcom also made use of the L and R buttons in this game, allowing you to switch weapons on the fly instead of having to go into the Menu and break the action. Of course, the old menu-switch is also available. You can change the buttons however you please before you blast into the game, which helps even more.
The one problem: You can dash either by tapping the direction you want to go twice, or by pressing A in the default control setup. Sometimes, in the heat of battle, X will misinterpret your presses that say ''Get the heck out of the way'' to mean ''Dash!'' While it doesn't happen often, when it does, it can be rather annoying, and more often than not causes you to dash right into enemies. Ouch.
Gameplay: 9/10- People confuse me. They moan about the death of great 2-D games, and then when a great 2-D game comes along, they promptly proceed to bash it and say that it's like all the other 2-D games out there. Strange. But anyway, I bring this up because it's a principal complaint of the Mega Man series that every game plays like the one before it. And this is true enough, but it's still great play nonetheless.
If you haven't played a Mega Man game before, here's a rundown: After going through an introductory stage whose main purpose seems to be to get you used to controlling X, you'll be taken to a stage selection screen where you can pick one of 8 bosses to destroy. It pays to select the right order, as beating a boss nets you their weapon, which can then be used against other bosses. You guessed it, each boss has a weakness to one particular weapon.
But there's an X-Factor (Har Har). The X-Hunters randomly pop into stages after awhile. If you go through the stage without taking down the X-Hunter that inhabits it, he escapes, not to be seen again until the final stage. So sometimes you can't just blaze through the stages in the ''proper'' order, or you won't have the tools necessary to find and defeat the X-Hunters. It's a nice touch.
The problem is that the play really does start to feel the same here. The newness brought to the series with the first X game--X being able to cling to walls and dash--starts to wear off in this game. But the fact remains that it's a very fun game, and the hunt for the X-Hunters adds to the experience.
Story: 6/10- Hey! It's not ''Save the World From the Evil Meanie(TM)!'' Yes! Anyway, the story is this: It's 6 months after the first Mega Man X, and X and crew are trying to destroy the last of the Mavericks, who were the followers of Sigma (MMX's final boss). X receives a tip about some Mavericks hiding out in a factory, and the game begins. Some knowledge of the first game may help you to figure out what's going on as the story unfolds throughout the game, but it's really not necessary. There's some twists and turns as the game progresses, but nothing truly earth-shattering.
Challenge: 6/10- This is probably the easiest of the X games, and for some reason it feels shorter than the rest as well, though it has the same number of stages as any other game in the series. Action gamers will probably blow through it in a matter of days. Anyone not used to the X-series will probably be challenged a little longer. Your game can also be saved using passwords, which cuts down on the challenge some.
Replay Value: 5/10- Because of the relative lack of challenge here, and because of the password save, the game isn't very deep replay-wise. Most of the replay value will come from your imagination, as you try to figure out interesting ways to beat the game, E.G. not grabbing various power-up items. It can also be interesting to tinker with the passwords you get, one number at a time, just to see what they'll do.
Overall: 9/10- The game doesn't bring many new elements to the X series, or the Mega Man franchise in general. But there's a reason for that--the series really doesn't have anything wrong with it to begin with. Capcom employed the ''If it ain't broke, don't fix it'' philosophy here, and it works to near-perfection. If you're getting tired of the Mega Man gameplay, Mega Man X2 won't do anything to win you back over. If you're new to Mega Man, or love the play that the series provides, then you'll love this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/20/01, Updated 08/20/01
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