Welcome back. As I promised in my previous article, here is a brief history on Capcom's Mega Man X series.
Now, Mega Man had several different spin-off series, and this was the first one, which of all the spin-offs is probably as close to the original series as you'll ever get.
"Mega Man X" was a game that was released on the Super NES after "Mega Man 6". It was released in 1993 in Japan and in 1994 in the US. When it first hit the shelves, a lot of people thought it was "Mega Man 10", but little did they know, it was actually a brand new series. The main character in the game simply goes by the name, X. He's basically just Mega Man with a more mature-looking armor.
This series is supposed to take place many years into the future after Dr. Light and Dr. Wily have passed on. In this time, a powerful man named Sigma has taken over the world with some powerful robots he has created known as Mavericks. Mavericks are basically the Robot Masters of this series; they all have special abilities that you obtain from them after defeating them, and they're all designed after animals. Also, compared to the old-school Mega Man games, the Mega Man X games are darker and more intense.
The only other character who is essential to this series is Zero, a more experienced fighting robot who is X's friend and ally. He sacrifices himself numerous times in the series but always seems to come back somehow.
The first "Mega Man X" game in the series was released in 1993 on the Super Nintendo. It has some good graphics and unique music. You'll probably notice that the games in this series are a lot harder than in the original "Mega Man" series. It doesn't help much that you have such a small life bar either, but there are some heart containers to expand it along the way. Unlike the original series, X does not slide. Instead, he is given the ability to dash, which is useful for jumping across big gaps. He can also climb walls just by jumping at them. There are also some upgrades to your armor hidden throughout the stages, but as you fans all know, the rarest one is the Hadoken!
Now, for the bosses, known as Mavericks, the eight that you meet in this game are: Chill Penguin, Spark Mandrill, Armored Armadillo, Sting Chameleon, Launch Octopus, Flame Mammoth, Storm Eagle and Boomer Kuanger. As you can see, they are animals with different abilities.
"Mega Man X2" was released the very next year on the same console.
All I gotta say is the music has improved in this game, but so has the difficulty! Unlike in the first game, X has his dashing ability at the beginning and doesn't need to search for it.
The Mavericks we meet in this game are: Wheel Gator, Bubble Crab, Overdrive Ostrich, Crystal Snail, Wire Sponge, Morph Moth, Flame Stag and Magna Centepede. This is the only Mega Man X game where Zero is absent since he sacrificed himself in the previous game.
"Mega Man X3" was kind of a weird one. This game was released in the U.S. on the Super Nintendo, but in Japan, it was released on the Playstation. I've played both versions of the game, and they do differ but not much.
The SNES version is like the previous two games in the series, it's extremely difficult, (most likely the hardest in the series) and the music is horrible.
In the Playstation version, the music is better, but unlike the SNES version, the Playstation version has some anime cut scenes, which are very well-made.
Regardless, they're both pretty much the same game. In this game, Zero is back, and during gameplay, you can play as him in the levels, but only for a short period of time, and he can't fight bosses, which sucks. The Mavericks we've got in this game are: Neon Tiger, Volt Catfish, Gravity Beetle, Toxic Seahorse, Blast Hornet, Blizzard Buffalo, Crush Crawfish and Tunnel Rhino.
From this point on, the "Mega Man X" games will be released on the Playstation consoles. "Mega Man X4" was released on the PS1 in 1997.
Like the previous game (Japanese version), this game contains some anime cut scenes. This is the first time players have the option to play as either X or Zero in this game.
Unlike in X3, Zero's controls are more fluent, but X has a better advantage in this game than Zero, because in some boss fights, if you play as Zero, you'll have to play your heart out! The Mavericks in this game are Slash Beast, Web Spider, Jet Stingray, Frost Walrus, Storm Owl, Split Mushroom, Cyber Peacock and Magma Dragoon.
This game is also unique as it contains some more dialogue (which will become part of the series from this point on) including conversations between the Mavericks. There are also a lot of really weird bosses (most of which are quite cheap) such as Colonel, Double, Iris, and of course, Sigma (who has so many different forms).
After a rather-extended wait, "Mega Man X5" was finally released in 2000. This game seemed more like an improvement over the past few games since it had a more in-depth plot.
Like in X4, players can play as either X or Zero. This time, a new control feature was added to this game: Now, X and Zero can duck. Zero has a better advantage in this game than X, but that doesn't really matter too much, because out of all the games in the X series, this is undeniably the easiest one!
However, X can be granted all these cool armors such as the Falcon Armor, which gives him the ability to fly and hover, the Gaea Armor, which protects him from spikes, and the elusive Ultimate Armor, which can power up all the weapons you obtain.
As far as the cons go: throughout the game, a member of your team named Alia will keep coming in and giving you info on what's coming up, but that gets really annoying as it could interupt any big jumps you may attempt to make, and she like never shuts the hell up! Also, the Mavericks from this game on are now given these really bizarre off-the-wall names, so I'm going to go ahead and name them the way I name them: Crescent Grizzly, Volt Kraken, Shining Firefly, Tidal Whale, Spiral Pegasus, Spike Rose, Dark Necrobat and Burn Dinorex. Every once in a while, this mysterious guy named Dynamo will interupt your gameplay and challenge you to a fight (he's not too tough).
After the release of X5, Capcom rushed to release the next game in the series in 2001.
"Mega Man X6" is supposed to take place three weeks after X5. This game caused a lot of continuity issues. Many remember that at the end of X5, Zero died and passed his saber on to X, but Capcom tossed that plot out the window when making this game and claimed that Zero was just mysteriously missing, and he's the "hunter" that X is searching for.
Compared to it's predecessor, the music in this game sucks, the difficulty is just about as easy, and Alia still does contact you, but you have the option of not listening to her, which is nice. There's also a character you meet a couple times in this game called High Max, who is probably the most annoying character in the entire series; he is immune to like every single weapon you have (or at least it seems that way)! The main Mavericks in this game are Commander Yammark (Dragonfly), Ground Scaravich (Scarab), Blaze Heatnix (Phoenix), Blizzard Wolfang (Wolf), Rain Turtloid (Turtle), Metal Shark Player (Hammerhead Shark), Shield Sheldon (Shellfish) and Infinity Mijinion (Miji).
In 2003, "Mega Man X7" was released. This game was released on the PS2, and it let the series make a jump into the third demension.
In this game, the war against Sigma has just gotten bigger, and it's up to X, Zero, and a new ally, Axl, to stop him. Axl is a young robot who wants to be a Maverick fighter, but X doesn't trust him very much. Since this game was on the PS2, there is actually voice acting in this game as well as better graphics.
You also are able to play as 2 Reploids in a game rather than one. When you start out the game, you can only play as Zero and Axl, and X will not be available until you rescue at least 64 Reploids. The Mavericks in this game are Tornado Onion, Splash Waterfly, Wind Crow, Vanishing Kangaroo, Stone Gorilla, Flame Hyena, Ride Boar and Snipe Anteator. Playing a game like this, you can easily forget that it's a Mega Man game (or X in this case) because the 3D graphics can really throw you off.
In order to keep this series equal to the original series, Capcom needed to make a "Mega Man X8", which they did in 2004.
This game is similar to it's predecessor; it's well-plotted, but the animation isn't quite as good. This game allows players to play as X, Zero, and even Axl is back (despite what X said in the previous game). Axl's moves have greatly improved in this game.
Another cool thing about this game is you get to choose who you want to communicate with you throughout the game. You can pick one from three different people, and it doesn't have to be Alia. The Mavericks you fight in this game are Earthrock Trilobyte, Gigabolt Jellyfish, Avalanche Yeti, Burn Rooster, Bamboo Panda, Optic Sunflower, Dark Mantis and Gravity Ant. Yeah, I know, I've been tweaking their names, but I think they sound better that way.
I could probably go on about these games, but the "Mega Man X" games have so much more stuff than the old school "Mega Man" games, and there's way too much to cover. I know, there's probably a lot of stuff that I left out, and all the hardcore fans probably know better than I, but I just wanted to give a brief overview of the "Mega Man X" series. So, can we expect a "Mega Man X9"? Well, it's possible, but I won't get my hopes up.
I think I'll conclude this by telling you briefly about the other different Mega Man series. I already talked about the original series, and I just now covered the X series, but now, here are the other series'. Since I haven't played any of these other series', I did a little research on them, and these are all according to the best of my knowledge.:
The "Mega Man Legends" series was Mega Man's first official jump into 3D. These games were available for the 64-bit game systems and for PC's. These are all basically adventure games and are somewhat like RPG's, but they're nowhere near close to the charm of the classic Mega Man series'.
The "Mega Man Battle Network" series was a game series that was available on the Gameboy Advance. This was more like an RPG type of game, and it played out sort of similarly to the Pokemon games. There was also a cartoon series based on this game series, which was only released in Japan.
"Mega Man Zero" is sort of a continuation to the "Mega Man X" series. This game series was made for the Gameboy Advance, and it focuses a lot more on Zero throughout. Zero and X also have much different looks in this series as well.
"Mega Man ZX" is a continuation to "Mega Man Zero", except this series of games was made for the Nintendo DS. The gameplay on these games is similar to the "Mega Man Zero" games, but the skills you obtain throughout the game work a little differently.
The newest series we have is "Mega Man Star Force". This Nintendo DS series is a continuation of the "Battle Network" series, only it takes place several years later and is in 3D.
Well, there's your added value for you guys. Don't expect another Mega Man article from me, at least not anytime soon, because there's way too much more to cover. It's like Batman; you can't talk about it all in one day. I guess I'll see you all later. I'll be back with another fun article.