For those of us who were born early enough, there's an almost universal acknowledgement that the 16-bit era of gaming was a special one. So much so that any generation of video game fans born after is probably sick to death of hearing about it. Why is that? Why is this particular section in the history of console gaming still looked on so favorably even today? Nostalgia certainly plays a part, we can't ignore that. Anything that brought us joy in our youth will inevitably bring back warm memories, regardless of how poorly it may have aged. But in this case, I believe it's also a combination of so much more than that. Part of it has to do with the timing of what life just happened to be like in the early to mid 90's. This was the heyday of the video store, and renting video games regularly was almost as blissful as coming to own them. Video game magazines were in full swing, and were collected and traded among friends. This was also the era of arcades. Lines formed in front machines like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat, racing games could be sat in or ridden on, light guns were fired at flashing screens, beat-em-ups like X-Men gobbled up our quarters, and we all waited anxiously to see if our favorites would be ported to our console at home. Yes, there were certainly those things. But in the end, I think what ultimately makes that generation so memorable were the games themselves. We can all thank the Nintendo Entertainment System for bringing an end to the video game crash and single-handedly saving console gaming, but it was on the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis that legends were truly born. To this very day, the Super NES is still considered to have one the best overall game libraries of all time. Franchises birthed on the NES became what we know them as today on the Super NES. And for those of us who had made the transition for NES to Super NES, nothing was more exciting than seeing series that we loved take on new life in glorious 16-bit. I remember my best friend in high school telling me how he rented Contra 3 shortly after getting his SNES, and how he was completely blown away by it. When I got mine one blessed Christmas morn, I had done some ooh-ing and ah-ing at Mario World and the graphical upgrades to the games in Mario All-Stars, but it wasn't...mind blowing. Looking back, I think the first game that truly wowed me, the first game that really made me feel like the future had indeed come, was Mega Man X.

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I was first introduced to the Blue Bomber years before when a friend of our family had brought a rented copy of Mega Man 2 over to our house one evening. It looked cool, but the guy who had brought it over wouldn't let me play it. I'm not sure what the deal was. Not too long before that, he brought over a rented copy of Castlevania and he had no qualms about me playing that at all. I never got past the second level. (Stupid Medusa heads!) So there I sat watching him and my dad take turns playing Mega Man, inwardly stewing over the injustice of it all. I was only around five years old at the time and I remember asking what the word "mega" meant, and then wondering why he was called Mega Man when he was so small. Questions aside, I was immediately taken in by the graphics and how colorful and cartoon-ish everything looked. I tell you, early Capcom really knew how to make a game pop visually, especially with their Disney titles. I still really wanted to play it myself, but I was also having a lot of fun just looking at it.

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It's almost amazing that the same company who brought us such character and charm during the 8 and 16-bit years would go on to make games like Resident Evil and Devil May Cry. But that's another topic entirely. Anyway, I would finally get the chance to play Mega Man for myself once I started hanging out with cousin Brent regularly. And play Mega Man I did. A lot. I mentioned in a previous article that he had an old Vans shoe box that would end up being filled with some of the best games released for the NES. These included Mega Man 1 - 4, and I think it's a safe guess to say I played those games more than any other he had. (Although Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania 3 come in a very close second.) I really just took to it. I recall a friend of mine from church discussing what weapon Shadow Man would give you after beat him after we had heard about the then up and coming Mega Man 3. We also gave another kid a hard time because he pronounced series villain Dr. Wily as Dr. Willy. I would try to come up with and draw (poorly) my own ideas for bosses, coming up with such gems as Sports Man; a character with a basketball hoop over his head and a baseball glove for a hand who fired exploding footballs at you. My point? I loved Mega Man. (And still do!) It was probably my favorite overall series on the original Nintendo. When I got my Super Nintendo though, it hadn't really occurred to me expect Mega Man to follow me into the next generation of gaming. It wasn't that I didn't want it to, I just never thought about it. In fact, it was my complete and utter ignorance of any knowledge whatsoever of Mega Man X that makes the story I'm about tell so interesting. In case there's any youngsters reading this, I need to explain that there was a time when buying a new video game didn't just give you a shiny new cartridge, but also a small bit of paperwork. Allow me to show you an example...

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First there was the instruction booklet. That may not sound like much, but trust me, I could write an entire article on how great these used to be. They included the games story, cool artwork, occasional enemy and boss listings, level and stage summaries, and even place in the back for passwords. (No fancy hard drives for us, kids. ;) I'm sure those of you who grew up in the same time frame will agree with me that a good instruction booklet was sometimes the only thing that made the car ride back to your house after buying a new game bearable, all while stoking the fires of your excitement for it even more. Along with this fine piece of literature, there may also have been included a map or two. This mostly happened with RPG's. On occasion, a poster was included as well. There was also some type of mail-in registration card for the game, and a subscription offer for a gaming magazine. In my case, this was always Nintendo Power. And then finally, there was a little insert with a headline that read something like "If you like this game, try these!" or "Look for for these upcoming game paks!" It was on one of these inserts that I was first made aware of Mega Man X. It was a tiny thumbnail screenshot, too small for me to make out any details. I also wasn't sure if the X in the title was the letter or the Roman numeral. I knew there more than games than the four I had played, so I began to wander if there were a handful of Mega Man games I had never heard about it. If it was the letter X, then I wasn't sure what that meant at all. But still. Mega Man on the Super Nintendo. It intrigued me. So much so that I...forgot all about it. Seriously folks, up until I played it for myself that was the only info on this game I ever had; a really small screenshot and a title. With nothing more than that to go on, it's no wonder it eventually slipped my mind. But then one day...

It started out like a typical Friday evening. My family went out to eat and then went to Blockbuster Video. My folks and sister went to find some movies to watch and I veered my usual right to the video games section. I browsed around for a couple minutes when there, on one of the middle lower shelves, I saw it.

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I can't prove it, but I'm fairly certain I saw heavenly light shining upon it and that I could hear an angelic choir singing above me. I literally did a double take. I approached the game slowly, making sure there was a Blockbuster case behind the box, signaling the game was available to rent. There was. I then looked around to see if anybody else had spotted the game, ready to make a mad one-and-a-half foot dash to claim my prize should any other child desire it. No one else was in my aisle, but I kept a good watch on the kid lurking about in the Genesis section. (The 16-bit console wars was a time of great prejudice, and we Nintendo players instinctively knew that Sega folks were not to be trusted;) With the coast clear, there was no need to look at any other games. I didn't even look at the back of the box, I just snatched up the case and ran off to show my parents what I had found. I have no doubt we rented some movies that night, but I don't remember what they were. I had one thing on my mind, and that was X. Questions filled my mind. Would Proto Man be in it? What type of abilities would Rush have? Would I be able to get to Dr. Wily? The game came with the instruction booklet, which I began to skim through on the car ride home. It turned out all of my questions were wrong. This was a new beast entirely, taking place several years after the original series. The villain this time around was a rogue robot named Sigma, and all of the bosses were modeled after animals, rather than the various "men" found in the NES games.

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It looked and sounded awesome, and I couldn't wait to throw this cartridge into my SNES and experience the robotic wonders that surely awaited me. When we arrived back at the house, I was not disappointed. Mega Man X wasted no time proving it was not your father's Mega Man. (Or rather, your NES's Mega Man to put it more aptly.) The game starts off on a highway and the action begins the moment you start walking towards the right side of the screen. Traffic drives by you. (Which I tried to shoot.) Flying enemies are punching holes in the road with spikes. A giant bee-shaped helicopter drops down and brings the highway crashing down with it when it's defeated before landing in a crumpled heap. And I'd only been playing for about a minute!

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In addition to all that, I could now charge my fancy new x-buster up to two different levels and I also had the ability to climb up walls. My 10/11 year old mind had been sufficiently blown. As amazing as all this was, that highway stage also left me concerned. I had read something in the instruction booklet about X teleporting into the city when the game was started, but I figured that would be some sort of cut-scene. With the game starting right off the bat like this, I had a sudden fear that you wouldn't be able to pick your stage order like the games before it. I realize how ridiculous that sounds in retrospect, but at the time I was genuinely afraid that's what was going to happen. I think I may have even reset the game to see if I may have quickly hit a button and selected a stage without meaning to. After confirming that the game did indeed begin on that highway level, I began to think about how I would explain all this to my cousin. "Hey Brent, have you played Mega Man X? It's awesome. You can't pick your stages, which stinks a little, but it's still cool!" I hadn't even finished the first level yet and there I was, trying to justify the entire game. Well, as we all know, my fears were for naught. Reaching the end of the level, you are confronted not by one of the eight new robot masters, but by a purple fellow named Vile. After kicking your butt and mocking you about it, you get saved by one of the coolest characters in all of gaming; Zero.

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The first iteration of Zero didn't have his now trademark Z-Saber, but he still makes quite the first impression when he blows off the arm of Vile's armor with his charged shot. After some dialogue, we finally see the stage select screen, confirming that this does in fact play like the old games. I won't lie folks, I breathed a small sigh of relief.

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I had decided on the car ride home that I would attempt Sting Chameleon's stage first, based on no other criteria than the fact I thought chameleons were pretty cool in real life. This ended up working out immensely on my behalf. Just like I did on the highway, I took in the sights of the level, enjoying the woods and new enemies. The details really stood out to me, such as the leaves on the Met's helmets and the robot woodpeckers pulling robot caterpillars out of trees. The look of Mega Man X is a good balance, capturing the feel of the 90's while maintaining the charm of it's predecessors. (Edge, but with a touch of whimsy!) Graphics aside, the reason this stage was a good first pick sat waiting for me near the level's end. After going through a cave and climbing a hill, I found a little surprise waiting for me near the edge of a swamp...

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Holy Fricken Crap, I'm in a mech suit! (Or Ride Armor, if you wanna be technical.) That pretty much settled it, I had little doubt at that point that I was playing the greatest video game ever created and summoned my father to come behold my glory as I punched and bashed my way through any enemy that was foolish enough to stand between me and the boss door. I also recalled that kid in the Genesis section at Blockbuster earlier and thought rather smugly to myself that whatever he ended up renting couldn't possibly be as good as what I was currently experiencing. For a moment, it felt great to be me. That feeling was intensified when I reached the boss door. As much as I loved playing Mega Man games on the NES, I was never very good at them. Seldom was it when I was able to reach one of the bosses, and rarer still when I managed to actually defeat one. Yet here I was, at the boss on my first attempt. Still feeling the high from the Ride Armor, I had no doubts that this overgrown lizard would soon become scrap metal. My vanity wouldn't last long.

Sting Chameleon laid complete siege to me and it wasn't long before all my lives were lost and I found myself back at the stage select screen. And from that point on, I don't remember what order I went in, only that I just simply experienced the game. The first boss I was able to beat was Flame Mammoth, followed by Chill Penguin. But along with beating stages, I also began discovering the new features of X, the new additions to the classic MM formula that make this series what it is. Specifically, I'm talking about the heart tanks, energy tanks, and armor capsules that are hidden throughout the stages. I'll start with the heart tanks.

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One of the first things I noticed when the game started was how small my life meter was. As I've said before, I knew nothing about Mega Man X before I played it. I was accustomed to doing some tricky platforming in order to obtain an extra life or an E-tank, but I never thought to actually search out secrets. When I found the first heart tank in Flame Mammoth's level, I didn't even know what it did after I collected it. It wasn't until I had found a few more that I realized my life meter was increasing. Once I learned that, I was very pleased and wondered how many there were to find. I found some of them during that rental, but not all. The energy tanks in X took me a lot longer to warm up to. Unlike the original series, the energy tanks in this game have to be filled up by collecting energy capsules when your life meter is full. I found this out the hard way when I tried to use in empty one during a time of need to no avail. Once I figured out I had to manually fill them with energy before being used, I couldn't understand why Capcom had designed them that way. After that weekend, I told my cousin all about the game and he agreed with the me that it was a really stupid idea. It wasn't until I went back and played the original games that I appreciated how nice it was to have four energy tanks constantly at your disposal. For as much as I lamented it at the time, I prefer the refillable tanks now hands down.

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And now we come to the armor capsules. For those of you who have never played a Mega Man X game, there are four armor capsules hidden that upgrade different parts of your body; legs, arms, helmet, and body armor. Not knowing anything about X, I didn't think to look for any. In fact, such was my ignorance that I remember looking at the cartridge picture which shows a fully armored X and commenting to my sister that I didn't understand why he was drawn that way when he was blue in-game. And how I initially found out about the capsules is kind of funny. In the first X game, the leg capsule which gives you the dash boots is right out in the open in Chill Penguin's stage. Now folks, I don't know what happened but the first time I played that level, the capsule was not there. I don't know if the game glitched or what, but it wasn't there at all. So you can imagine my surprise when I came back to the stage later and there this giant blue capsule sat at the top of cliff about halfway through the stage.

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As I stepped into it, my mind raced, wondering what I had done to make this thing appear. Had I got here within a certain time limit, had I defeated a certain amount of enemies, was it something to do with the damage I had or had not taken...I didn't know. But stepping into it, I was thrilled to see Dr. Light again, and the dash boots were extremely helpful. And at the time, I thought that was the only capsule in the game. How wrong I was. But that's how my first rental story ends. I played the game throughout the weekend, beat another one or two bosses, and then returned it. I told my friends at school about it, as well as Brent. I met a kid in Sunday School who had played it and we spent the morning talking about it, much to the dismay our teacher. Another thing worth mentioning is that the game's music left a big impression of me. I would even go so far as to say that the original Mega Man X has one of the best soundtracks on the SNES. Sure, Final Fantasy and other RPG's have sweeping, emotional scores, and that's fine and good. X, on the other hand, plain and simply rocks. Mega Man games are partly known for the quality of their soundtracks, but Capcom really outdid themselves here. The first time I played Storm Eagle's stage, I stood still for a moment just to listen. The music sounds even better when it's covered well. Listen for yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APNQghAQlzM



After a few months, I did something uncharacteristic for myself; I rented the game again. Two major things happened during this second rental, and the first was at Waldenbooks. Playing a good video game remains one of my favorite hobbies, but I have also always loved to read. The Waldenbooks in our local mall was a mandatory stop for me right along with Kay-Bee toys and Software Etc. Being little, I was always escorted by my parents to the back of the store to look at the children's books. During this particular visit, I was able to peruse the shelves by myself so I decided to really explore the store for the first time. In doing so, I found a section labeled "Games." I was certainly curious, but also smart enough to know it probably contained things like word search and crossword puzzle collections. It did, but on the very bottom shelf I also found some video game books. I was amazed. I loved video games and I knew other people did too, but in my home town of Hesperia CA, I still felt alone in my enjoyment. Video game publications were the types of things other kids had, and I was never sure where they got them. The very first issue of Nintendo Power my parents ever bought in store was from K-Mart, and it was outdated. My mom complained to the guy in the electronics department and he felt bad and gave me the display issue free of charge. (Which was also outdated.) My point in telling you this is that seeing game magazines in a store was a very rare thing for me. With that in mind, you can guess my shock when I found this little gem among the books on that bottom shelf...

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Video game magazines were rare enough, but a players guide? It was the equivalent of buried treasure. The first one I ever saw was the Nintendo Power's Super Mario Bros 3 Strategy Guide. Brent had told me he and his brother had it and wanted to show it to me. I had no clue what a Strategy Guide was back then, but it sounded wonderful. And indeed it was. A whole book dedicated to showing every secret the game held, and some really cool artwork too. Ever since that time, I'd always thought strategy guides and the like were very special things, especially since I almost never saw them anywhere. So to find a guide for the rented game currently housed in my Super Nintendo was to me a miraculous thing. I picked it up and began to look through it. I had mostly figured out each boss weakness, so I quickly thumbed to the boss sections to just to verify that I was right and feeling very proud of myself that I was. Then I got to Sting Chameleon's section and saw something I didn't recognize.

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What the heck was this thing? I'd never encountered it before and instantly began reading to find out just where it was. It was near the beginning, only you had to climb the outside of the wall of a cave instead of going inside it. I had never thought to do that which was why I had never fought this thing before. Once he was beaten, another armor capsule would appear, granting you body armor that halved the damage you took. Well, I couldn't wait to get home after reading that and wasted no time trying it out when we did. It took a couple tries, but I did win in the end and claimed my prize. I thought I had found all the armor capsules at last. I was wrong, but X does look pretty cool with just the boots and body armor. With my new armor, I was able to defeat all the bosses and at last made it to Sigma's fortress. The first stage would be as far as I would get. First you must face Vile again, whom I was barely able to defeat. When this happens, Zero gets destroyed trying to save you and gives you his Z-Buster. I was hoping that it would charge up from the outside of the barrel like it does when he saves you in the intro stage. Instead what we get is the ability to charge your X-Buster up to a third level, unleashing a large wave of pink destruction.

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I had thought the level would end after that, but not quite yet. After the Zero passes, the level continues and soon afterwards I had to battle Boomer Kuwanger again. This is one of the things I like about Mega Man X. Every game in in the core Mega Man Series, and every X game after the first one, has a part near the end of the game with a room full of teleporters that you enter to fight all the bosses over again. The first Mega Man X is the only game to not have that. Rather, you fight them throughout Sigma's fortress. They are a part of the levels, not making up an entire level by itself. I prefer this, and I wish more Mega Man games would have adopted that idea. So I defeated Boomer once more, thinking that I could now move on to the second fortress stage. Nope. The level continued for a little more and then I reached the actual stage boss. This is a giant robot spider, and it's my least favorite boss in this game. Vile and Boomer had drained what little energy I had in my tanks so I stood no chance against the spider. I tried several more times after getting my game over. but I still hadn't found a good way to build up energy tanks and my skills and life meter could not take the strain of the three bosses back to back like that. So I once again returned the game to Blockbuster Video.

I wouldn't play Mega Man X for a long time after that, but when I would it would be my own copy. I don't know if it was that year or the one after, but I had asked for it as a Christmas gift and I received it. I worked my way back to the spider time and time again, but I was never able to beat it. It got to a point where after defeating the initial eight robot masters, I would just start the game over and do it again. This got boring after a while and I left the game alone. I don't remember exactly how, but at some point my other cousin Alan came into the mix and he showed me where to get the helmet and X-buster armor capsules. Finally, I had obtained X's full armor! Another breakthrough came one evening with Brent. I was staying at his house for the night, and he told me that you could get the ability to do Ryu's Haduken from Street Fighter. When I asked how, I was immediately skeptical. He said you had to go to Armored Armadillo's stage and get to the end with a full energy bar, full energy tanks, full weapon ammo, and then die. After doing this four or five times, an armor capsule would appear on the cliff above the boss door. That didn't sound plausible to me, but when Brent said that Dr. Light would appear in the capsule wearing a Ryu suit, I was completely convinced that he was full of crap. Then we started to play the game and he really wanted me to try it so he could see it for himself. I very reluctantly agreed and every time I got to the end of the stage and died, I kept looking at Brent, waiting for for him to burst out laughing and say "I was kidding, I can't believe I got you do that!" But he never did. And then, lo and behold...

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I'll be darned, he was telling the truth. I certainly was not expecting that. It didn't do much good at first. Back then I wasn't good at doing the button input to do the haduken, and you can only use it when your life meter is full. When it does work, it destroys bosses with one hit. But even though I almost never got it to work, Brent and I defeated the spider that night. Turns out it was weak against Shotgun Ice, Chill Penguin's weapon. I was overjoyed and honestly thought the two of us would complete the game. We only got as far as the next stage boss, which was a giant face looking thing.

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We didn't beat it, and the password we wrote down still started us at the first fortress stage. But that night gave me confidence to think that I was capable of beating this game and I made it my mission to do so. First, I I found the perfect spot to fill my E-tanks. At the beginning of Armored Armadillo's level, there is a low ceiling lined with bats. By charging up Armadillo's rolling shield, you get a shield around you. I would do that and then go back and forth, running and jumping into bats until my tanks were full. Now that I knew how to fill my tanks, I went through each stage again to make sure I had found every heart tank. It seemed like I had. I then obtained the password I would use in all my attempts to beat the game after that. I put it in so much that I still have it memorized to this day.

6 1 4 1
2 1 7 6
6 4 2 1

This gives you all armor, every E-tank, and all heart tanks except for the one in Chill Penguin's level. (I wouldn't figure that out until much later.) Now that I was fully prepared, the time had come to finally finish Mega Man X. And when I did, I couldn't have asked for a better stage.

When I was growing up, my grandparents had large party every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The entire extended family from my dad's side was there, along with a few from my mom's. There was never any fighting, and the only raised voices came from parents to try and tame a few of us kids who had become unruly. These gatherings are some of my most precious childhood memories. As the years went on, my grandparents den became a video game room for those of us who enjoyed the hobby. I had brought my Super Nintendo with me for one of these gatherings and decided to play some Mega Man X. At first it was business as usual, but when I reached that giant face again I managed to destroy it. I wasn't expecting to do this but I wasn't going to stop the roll I was apparently on. The next level had me battling the remaining robot masters and then the stage boss, which is this skull hovercraft thing that looks a little out of place in a Mega Man game. I beat that too and began the final stage. I couldn't believe how well I was doing. By that time I had also developed quite an audience. My dad was watching, along with all my various uncles and cousins. The final level began and with an equal mixture of excitement and tension, I began my ascent up the shaft to face Sigma. The endgame consists of three back-to-back boss fights. The first is with Sigma's guard dog. It took a couple of my energy tanks, but I won. Now it was me versus the big boss himself.

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At first this fight seemed impossible. Sigma moves very quickly and can block your shots with his sword. He slaughtered me the first time, and during my second go-round I just tried to dodge him and figure out a weakness. And once I figured it out, Sigma became very easy. All you have to do is climb up the left wall and Sigma will zig-zag jump his way up to you. Once he is high enough, just drop down and shoot him as you fall with the Spark Shot and repeat the process until he's dead. Once he's defeated, his head rises to the top of the screen and becomes part of this wolf-like monstrosity.

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This was it folks. I had reached the final battle of Mega Man X. I was sweating buckets, I was so tense, but I was determined to finish this thing off. The weak spot is Sigma's head at the top and I immediately tried all my weapons to see what his weakness was. He has one, but I must have missed with it because everything just bounced off him. I then tried fully charging my X-Buster. This damaged him, but only one tiny notch per shot. "This is gonna take forever!" I thought to myself, and from the looks of some of my relatives, I wasn't the only person who thought that. I tried and failed and then had to start at the bottom of the shaft and fight all the bosses over again. Thankfully there are little caterpillars that come out the walls that you can destroy to refill your energy tanks. This takes a long time to do and some of the people watching were now leaving the room, but I didn't care. I had come this far, I wasn't stopping until I beat the game or got a game over. I reached the final boss a second time and slowly whittled down his life meter notch, by notch, notch. The tension only kept thickening for me. All my energy tanks were slowly depleted, but I was also slow draining his life bar. When he finally got down to his last notch, I was only one or two hits away from death myself. I hopped onto his hand and fired my shot. It missed and deflected and then he hit me with one of his lightening shots from his hands. This was it, both us now had only hit to go. I dodged a few more of his attacks and his hand lowered one more time. This was it. My shot was charged and I jumped from his hand one last time and held my breath and fired.

Th giant wolf's head fell to the ground and everything started exploding. I had done it, I had beaten Mega Man X! And in front of an audience! I threw my hands in the air, grinning from ear to ear. I watched as Sigma expressed his disbelief at his defeat and then X teleported to a cliff side to watch Sigmas's fortress destruct. After the ensuing explosion, X begins to get introspective and the games ending expresses his concern over how long he must fight before he can live at peace.

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Brent found that last line to be more funny than anything but I didn't care. I had done it. I had earned this ending and if X wanted to get all philosophical, that was fine with me.. We watched the credits roll and I turned off my system to go get something to eat. I felt on top of the world.

That was that. But even with thrill of conquering the game for the first time now over, X found a couple more ways to give to me. The first was that I found out that the password I was using was still missing a heart tank and discovering where it was. The second thing was finding the final boss's weakness. I beat the game a few more times after that gathering and each time I couldn't get over how long it took to defeat the boss. I decided to try all the weapons again and found out he was weak to the Rolling Shield. This made the final battle much easier. (And shorter!)

And so ends my story about Mega Man X. Afterwards I would go on to rent X2, and didn't take to it right away. I skipped X3 for a long time and then rented and later owned X4 on the PS1. Eventually I would emulate X3 on my laptop and then purchase it from the eshop on my 3ds. I would not play X5-X8 until this year, 2018, when the Mega Man Legacy collection was released. I bought it for my Switch and can now finally say I have played and beaten every game in this series. I agree with those that say the back half of the franchise is the weaker, but I enjoyed 5-8 regardless. I don't know if it's my favorite game of the bunch, but that first X game will probably always be the most special to me. The core Mega Man series would eventually get a proper sequel on the Super NES in the form of Mega Man VII, but for me Mega Man X will always be the game that officially brought the Blue Bomber explosively into the 16-bit era. I can't separate the game from the period of time it came from. After I got my SNES Classic edition, I was playing through Super Mario World with my daughter. After watching me find several secret exits, she asked me if I had to look up where they all were when I was kid. I explained to her that I didn't have the option to look it up. The internet wasn't a thing yet and I never had access to any magazines that helped me out. In fact, I think I had Mario World for around two years or so before I finally discovered all it's secrets. X may not have taken me as long to master, but it's the only game in the series I didn't have any help or information on prior to playing it. Everything felt brand new and it was fun to gradually discover all it hid over time. Plus, to beat it for the first time in front of all my extended family like I did...that was really, really cool. It's also worth mentioning that for a game that used to kick my butt a lot, I nowadays find Mega Man X to be a very easy game.

And that's all I have to say about that. I would like to take a moment and apologize for the delay of this article. I mentioned way back in my first volume of SNES rentals that this would be an article and it has taken a couple years since then for it to be written. And once I started it, it took months to finish. For some reason I struggled to find the right tone and started it over several times. I hope those of you who read it enjoy it. It will be a few days shy of Thanksgiving when this article is posted, so I'd like to wish my fellow retrojunkers a very happy holiday. I hope you all have much to be thankful this year. Until next time, stay retro folks. Thanks for reading.