Megaman X5 Review

By: John Doe

2D is alive and well and living on the PlayStation. Capcom once again treats fans of the Blue Bomber to a classic side scrolling adventure, much in the same vein as all of the other Mega Man games that have come before it, starting back in 1987 on the NES. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, nor is it a particularly innovative thing; quite simply it's just a Capcom thing. The game development geniuses at the big C sure know the meaning of the words "Reuse and Recycle" because they have a penchant for pumping out sequel after sequel for all of their big game franchises: Mega Man, Resident Evil, Street Fighter etc. For fans though, that's just the way we like it. If it ain't broken, don't fix it!


If you've played any of the Mega Man X series games, you'll know what to expect this time around as well. Oh wait, there is a new move available to both X and Zero: They can duck now, which really comes in handy. In fact, it's so useful I wonder why it wasn't implemented back about 25 games or so. As usual, you can start the game at any level, after the obligatory Intro level. The cool thing about Mega Man has always been that you could beat almost any of the end level bosses with his pea-shooter or X-Buster, but it would take a heckuva lot of skill and luck to do so. The plan is to acquire the bosses weapons once they are defeated and use those implements of destruction against the other bosses. Every boss character's weakness is directly tied to another bosses weapon' it's just a matter of finding out which one to use. That's the magic of Mega Man. Always has been. Always will be.

As you progress further in MMX5, you'll be able to assemble the Falcon and Gaia armors, and if you look hard enough you'll even discover the Ultimate Armor near the end of the game. As you might guess the abilities that the new armor provides, often help you get past that area that you were having trouble with. However, getting these pieces of armor hidden throughout the various levels, proves to be a Herculean feat. This game will kick your ass ten times to Sunday. The best way I can describe the action in this game is "The Freakin' Mega Man Olympics". It will make you pull out every move that you have at your disposal to get to the end of each level (and ultimately to the end boss, Sigma), and will rarely let up. This game will definitely frighten off casual gamers once the intro stage is beaten. It's extremely challenging. It almost seems like Capcom made this game difficult to prove that 2D can still make you controller biting mad. I actually didn't smash any controllers during this review, which is more of an accomplishment for me than actually beating this tough S.O.B. Hey, maybe I'm growing up? Nah.

Graphically the game isn't the second coming by any stretch, but it's bright, cartoony and colorful with the usual big eyed anime style attached to it. The animation is smooth and the control is really tight, culminating in gameplay that just feels so right. The sound will either grate on your nerves or calm you with its nostalgic ambience. Personally, I like the soundtrack. It's definitely old school. In fact, it almost sounds like it was lifted off of the SNES. Either way it's so refreshing not to hear Rob Zombie's freakin'"Dragula". I wonder how Capcom missed putting that tune in?

My biggest problem with the game is the presentation, which you will either love or hate. First of all, I must mention this, because I find it irksome. The bosses names in the manual are obviously taken from the Japanese version (Rockman X5) because they aren't called that in the actual game. Tidal Makkoeen, for example, is known as the simply retarded, Duff McWhalen in the North American version and it doesn't get much better from there. Why didn't they just keep the names from the Japanese version? Also the manual mentions that X can use the Force Armor from the beginning, but in the game it's called Fourth Armor. Sounds like someone in translation at Capcom has a lisp. Furthermore, the manual also states that X can do an air dash, but he can't. Not at all. He CAN do it, if he is wearing the Fourth or Force Armor but not if he is just wearing his normal X outfit. At least I haven't found a way to get him to do one, and believe me I tried.

My other gripes are with the static cutscenes, the incessant button pressing to get through endless dialogue and lastly the infantile script which consists of childish "Hee Hee Hee's, Bwahahahaha's" and other annoying nonsense. Anyone older than 12 is going to have their intelligence insulted by the plot and script of this game; just thought you should know. The dialogue isn't even campy, it's pure drivel, here are some examples of what you'll find (not direct quotes): MMX: We have no time to fight. The Sigma Virus is taking over. Bad Guy: Do you think you can just walk in here and ask for my Crystal Ball? You'll have to fight me! MMX: I didn't want to fight, but if you want to fight, Let's fight! Bad Guy: Then fight we shall! Let us begin the fight! MMX: Fight! Fight!! Fight!!! Bad Guy: Did you say you want to fight me? Well, come on, let's fight! MMX: Yes, I said I wanted to fight you, but only because YOU want to fight ME. If you don't want to fight, then we won't fight. Unless you WANT to fight! Bad Guy: I can't remember, we did we fight already? It seems we've been talking about fighting for hours. Uggghhh. I swear the F word is used about 8 million times in this game. I'm talking about the word FIGHT, by the way. I also disovered a weird inconsistency in the plot. When you start the game you have 16 hours to complete your mission. By the time you get to the part where Zero flies the space shuttle, you'll only have a couple of hours left. However, when the Hunters finally locate Zero, it reads, "A few hours later..." What? A few hours later would be the end of the world folks. Anyway, now I'm just being picky.

Mega Man X 5 is not an easy game as mentioned, but you probably won't have all that much trouble with the boss characters. Aside from the last few bosses, I think I may have had to only replay a few boss battles out of the original 8. And of course, this being a Mega Man game, you'll have to fight them all over again near the end of the game. However, since you are all powered up at the end, this won't be a problem. The challenges of the game, lay in the levels themselves. Some of these levels will reduce you to quivering masses of protoplasm. I honestly spent 2 hours on the hover bike level. And I only ever managed to snag 7 of the glowing spheres, which you needed 8 to open the secret door to get the armor piece. You guys think reviewing is all fun and games, but not only did I have the stupid game counter ticking down, but I had to beat this game before deadline. It's all fine and dandy when you've got the game at home and can play it for a week and take your time. Not so for John Doe. I have Dave here at CCC breathing down my neck, "Where's that review? I gotta post that review. Capcom is freaking on me and wondering where that review is?" AGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!

At the end of it all, sure there are things I wasn't crazy about, but the gameplay kicked real ass. If you were raised on 3D games, then you'll probably wonder what all the fuss is about with MMX5. Well, there's really no fuss, it's just that fans of 2D side scrollers still love to get our hands on quality games that give us our "old gaming days" fix. Any of the Mega Man games (aside from the 3D Mega Man Legends games) will provide it; and it's cool that Capcom still cares enough to throw us a bone every once in awhile. Let me end the review with this anecdote. The year was 1988. I walked into a rental store (I was a late purchaser of the NES) and saw this game box with a cool blue guy on it (he didn't look anything like X or even the short little Blue Bomber that we know). I rented it and thought, "Okay, Mega Man, that's a cool title. I wonder if it's any good?" That game kicked my ass so hard I didn't know what hit me! But man, was I hooked. I didn't even beat the game. It wasn't until I bought Mega Man 2, which I actually beat, that provided me with the skills to go back and beat Mega Man 1! Over the years I've played a lot of Mega Man games. I can't believe that this series has been around for 14 years and it just keeps getting better. If you are a fan, than go out of your way to hunt this one down.






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