SONY PSP REVIEW: MEGA MAN MAVERICK HUNTER X

A classic revisiting of a classic game. by Cole Smith

February 2, 2006 - Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X is not so much a port as it is a remake. It's a good game to be sure but the lack of originality on the side of the developers is something that concerns me. Mega Man is already in danger of wearing out his welcome and the rehashing of old games is going to do little to secure him a golden future. Having said that, Maverick Hunter X is a good shooter game that should satisfy newbies.

Based on the SNES game, Mega Man X, Maverick Hunter X contains many of the same environments, enemies and situations with new graphics, new features and an animate anime storyline, all designed to take advantage of the PSP. Much of the old-school gameplay has been preserved which is unquestionably excellent but the new features are bound to elicit a few grimaces from purists that take exception to having their favorite, classic game compromised in any way.

The good news for purists is that the game hasn't been altered all that much. You will still encounter the same enemies, the same weapons and even the same tactics all at any difficulty level that you choose. There is no shortage of challenge on the most difficult level, believe me. I'm sure I would not have been able to complete this review if I continued with the maximum difficulty level. On lesser difficulty levels it's possible to complete this game in an afternoon. There are no online or otherwise multi-player modes. The only form of replay value is unlocking Vile and replaying the games with him. You will also unlock an animated anime feature that is about a half-hour long and explores the motives behind Sigma's revolt.

Events in this game take place years after the original Mega Man concept. In this version he's known as "X" and is a leaner, meaner, high-octane version of the cutesy blue bomber that we've all come to know and love. Sigma is leading the reploids, once servants of mankind, into a revolt to destroy those that they once served. These evil reploids are called Mavericks and it's X's responsibility to destroy them and their bosses, through level after level, in an attempt to crush the rebellion and save mankind.

X's main weapon is his blaster. He is capable of delivering two kinds of blasts, one standard and one super blast. The standard blast is very powerful and capable of some very heavy destruction. X can acquire new weaponry by defeating the bosses at the end of each level and taking their weapons from them. For the most part the enemies are still located in the same places although some of the bosses have slightly altered patterns.

Other upgrades are handled the same way, with X discovering various capsules left in cyberspace by his creator that contain the new upgrades. These new upgrades and abilities include the dash attack, new blaster shots, wall jumping and new armor giving X the ability to take more hits and display less damage. The location of these abilities have been mixed up and don't occur in the same order that they did in the original game. Still, they give you all the necessary powers to make it through the level and defeat the boss.

The game is a 2D side-scroller but features new 3D graphics that really compliment the series. With interactive platforms incorporated into the foreground you'll soon forget that you're playing a side-scroller. This is arguably one of the better looking games on the PSP. It's bright, colorful and very easy to track. You can always tell where X is in relation to platforms and enemies. It's relatively easy to see the incoming bullets and blasts. The characters are well defined and move very fluidly. The half-hour anime presentation is a reward for completing the game and manages to breathe some life into the storyline by giving you plenty of back history. The voiceacting is decent but it's inconsistent, toggling some weak and stilted acting alongside some very believable dialog delivered by inspired professionals.

The music is remixed and brings a new aural dimension to the series. Gone are the cheesy synthesizers replaced by less cheesy synthesizers, but the overall effect is a more epic soundscape - in stereo, no less.

Vile is unlocked once the game has been completed. He's X's arch rival and a master Maverick Hunter in his own right. He's loaded with an incredible amount of weaponry and has blasters located on virtually every part of his body. The difficulty level is ramped up a bit so as not to make this a cakewalk. Vile may be built for offense but he's a little weak in his defense when taking on multiple enemies so he does offer a different challenge than X.

Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X is a good game but it lacks replay value. Hardcore gamers could blast through this in a day so they should be advised to rent it. Beginners and intermediate gamers may find this to be a severely difficult game even on the easiest settings and they are likely to get the most out of it as they progress one level at a time over a few weeks. Regardless of your gaming status, if you own a PSP you have to check out Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X - just for the fun of it.

Features:

  • New graphics - all characters are newly rendered as 3D models amidst vividly updated environments
  • Retooled gameplay features add to the virtual make over for the game
  • Entirely rearranged background music and sound effects
  • Complete voice acting for all cut scenes provides an immersive gameplay experience
  • All new cut scenes precede boss battles
  • Modified level arrangements - item locations, map layout and strategies for completing levels have been updated, offering a new challenge for even veteran gamers
  • New gameplay scenario
  • Upon beating the main game, a whole new story is unlocked where players take on the role of X's arch rival, Vile
  • Play style focuses more on offensive combat action, with an emphasis on technical maneuvers and advanced moves for a hard hitting, intense experience
  • Special animated movie offers deep perspective into the Mega Man X world
  • Movie unlocks after completion of main story mode
  • Get a peek at events that unfolded before the plotline of the first Mega Man X game
  • Gain valuable insight into the motives of enemies and allies, even learning Sigma's reasons for starting his rebellion movement.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (PSP)
4.2
Graphics
Easily one of the best looking Mega Man games and one of the best on the PSP thus far.
4.8
Control
If you like shooting, you're going to love this game. The weapons are easy to use and very effective and accurate.
4.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music and the sound effects are richer. The voice-acting is a mixed bag but not terrible.
4.0
Play Value
If you're a hardcore gamer you're going to want to rent this due to lack of replay value. If you're a newbie, you'll soon wish it was over.
4.0
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PSP
Dev: Capcom
Pub: Capcom
Release: Jan 2006
Players: 1
Review by Cole

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best