Yep, another Mega Man game. Capcom decided to continue
the futuristic plotline of Mega Man X first (before
going back to the original storyline a year later in
Mega Man 7) and while I can honestly say I like the original
a bit better, it's more than just a decent effort.
Sigma, the evil reploid of the first Mega Man X, has
found his way into the scrap heap and unfortunately,
X's poor partner Zero is still gone. The residue of
Sigma's revolution is still abound however, and it's
up to the Maverick Hunters to stop the rest of them.
Just as they think that the evil reploids are done with,
eight new badass robots pop out of nowhere. What's
to be done?
To make matters worse, three new robots (named Violin, Serges
and Agile) have appeared, calling themselves X-Hunters.
Obviously from the name, they want Mega Man X killed, and
have somehow retrieved Zero's body parts. Though Dr. Cain
and X still have his memory chip, another robot with
Zero's powers would be a horrible threat to humanity,
so you'll also have to beat all three of these other
robots to get Zero's parts.
The actual gameplay is pretty much the same as the
first Mega Man X. After the intro stage, you get to choose from your typical
list of eight robots. Like the original, the baddies
are named after animals (Flame Stag, Bubble Crab, Wheel Gator, etc.) After you beat two of them,
those X-Hunter guys show up on the map. They teleport
from stage to stage, where they can be found in some
hidden area. Beating all of these robots is not
necessary, but it will change the outcome at the end
of the game. You have to fight these jokers in the final stages again
anyway, so it's not like you can play through the game and not encounter
them. There's also a speed bike, as shown on the cover, but it
only appears once in the game (the intro doesn't count.)
Of course, X is fairly weak at the beginning of the
game, with a rather low life meter and not too many
special powers (Capcom was nice enough to at least
give you the dashing power right off the bat) and
other power-ups are obtained at hidden points throughout
the levels. Hearts will make your life meter longer,
subtanks can be used to refill lost energy in the
heat of battle, and there are capsules that give
X some neat new powers (an air dash, exploding armor,
a more powerful gun that shoots out two shots as well
as powering up all weapons, and a neat feature that
picks out hidden areas.) Most of these items are
not easy to find however...in fact, many of the hearts
are impossible to get unless you have a special weapon
properly powered up, and plenty of time to practice
getting them. And just like the hidden Hadoken fireball
of the first game, there's a flaming Shoryuken attack
available for X to find near the end of the game.
Capcom developed a special graphics chip for use in
the game called the C4. However, the results are just a
bit underwhelming. All the chip seems to do
is vector graphics...and except for the intro, one
mid-boss, and the final battle, it's hardly ever used.
Other than that, the rest of the graphics are just as
polished and crisp as before. The music is in the same
vein as well, although I personally like the old
tunes a little more.
The game as a whole is just a little teensy tougher than before, which
is bound to tick many hardcore Mega Man fans at the beginning when
they can't blast right through it...but it's a bit refreshing actually.
Some of the obstacles are a bit too annoying to navigate, but otherwise
it's not too bad at all. The levels range from decent sized to almost
obscenely short, but there's a fair amount of secrets to be found within.
Mega Man X2 seems to be a rather rare game, so it's going to be
rather hard to find. It's also full of the fast paced action that makes me
prefer the X series a bit over the original. But it's another great installment in the Mega Man
series, and it captures the spirit almost perfectly!