Game Design Review: Mega Man X, 2-D Action Platformer, Originally Released in U.S. in Jan. 1994
(ORIGINALLY IN MARCH 2013 EDITION)
Special to the Campus Press ,An Occasional Column on Game Design Reviews
By James Clancy Special to the Campus Press
Mega man X is a 2D action platformer that was released in the United states in January of 1994. Many people at the time thought that this game would ruin the Mega Man series but I think after playing it everyone was satisfied. First thing I would like to talk about is the story. Unlike every other Mega Man games before this one you play as X, a more futuristic version of the original Mega Man that can make his own decisions. Mega Man X takes place years after the original Mega Man series but it doesn’t tell you how many years. Dr. Light the creator of the original Mega Man and created X as a new type of robot that can make his own decisions.
Dr. Light was afraid that humans would be afraid of X with his free will, so Light sealed X in a capsule for years and ran tests that made sure that X would not become evil and turn against mankind. It does not specify what happened to Dr. Light but I assume he eventually died. Years later X was found by an archaeologist named Dr. Cain. Later Cain created an army of robots with X’s free will, and these things were named Reploids. Later a virus was created that made many Reploids turn on humans and they were called Mavericks. This caused a team to form called Maverick Hunters to stop them.
The leader of the Mavericks in this game is Sigma but Sigma used to be the leader of the Maverick Hunters but was later turned into a Maverick by the virus. X joins the Maverick Hunters and Zero (the new leader of the Maverick Hunters) to stop Sigma and his army of Reploids on his quest to kill all humans. The sound track in this game is very fitting to the game. It has a futuristic sound. Many people love the fast-paced melodies so much that people are still covering music the game today. I find it really interesting that each level has an equally great song and it gives the bosses some character.
Next thing I would like to talk about are the visuals in this game. For the limitations of the time this game looks great. For 16-bit graphics its very aesthetically pleasing. It is no surprise that this game looked great because Capcoms’ other games at the time were also very colorful and aesthetically pleasing like Street Fighter II and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
The gameplay is really fun and simple. They did add some cool features in Mega Man X that the original didn’t have. For example: wall jumping, and dashing. Another thing that wasn’t in previous games was capsules left behind by Dr. Light with armor upgrades for X, hidden in the levels. There are four armor pieces total and they are: arm, legs, chest, and helmet. Each armor piece helps X in a different way. Arm lets X charge up more; legs allow dashing; the chest piece halves damage from enemies, and the helmet allow X to smash through things with his head and stops some enemies from damaging X’s head
Other things you can find hidden in the levels are heart tanks that increases X’s maximum health, and sub-tanks that fill with spare health when the player collects health when X’s health is full. A very cool aspect of Mega Man is still in the game is that you decide what level to go to, and which boss to fight.
The game has a lot of replay value because choosing the bosses in a different order can change the game a lot because, when X defeats a boss he acquires that boss’ power, and each boss has a weakness. This adds even more replay value to find out all of the bosses’ weaknesses. This is one of my personal favorite games of all time and I think that if you haven’t played it yet you really should pick it up and try it. A remake of the game was released on the PSP and on the iTunes app store. The Clancy brothers give this four out of four thumbs up!