Mega Man ZX Advent Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Mega Man ZX Advent Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

What was old is made new again

There are no video game characters this side of Mario that can claim as much visibility as Mega Man. As popular as Master Chief is, he has only been in three titles. Mega Man’s starring roles are beginning to become innumerable, although it isn’t necessarily him in the games that feature his name. The latest of these titles, Mega Man ZX Advent, brings a lot of the old school feel that made Mega Man so popular and packages it on the DS, making the old familiar formula feel fresh and new.

Mega Man ZX Advent screenshot

Mega Man ZX Advent allows you to follow the path of one of two characters. Grey is the male protagonist, who is an amnesiac who awakens into peril. Ashe is the female protagonist who is hunting “booty”, as she likes to remind the player constantly during the first few minutes of play. In a reversal of the normal gender roles, Grey’s attacks are faster but less powerful than Ashe’s stronger, slower shots. This alone drastically alters the feel of the game depending on who you choose to play with. Besides the gameplay, your protagonist choice alters the story’s beginning, changing how the character encounters their Biometal for the first time and giving different individual motivations, but other than that, the story pretty much plays out the same way whether you choose Ashe or Grey. With either option, your character becomes a Hunter in search of precious Biometals. The story, while primarily told using the in-game engine, occasionally uses a beautiful animated anime cutscenes that make your characters larger than life and infuse a momentary increase in the story’s interest level. Otherwise, there isn’t much to be gained by paying attention to the story beyond a backdrop for the game’s conflict.

The game plays like most of the Mega Man titles that preceded it with a touch of Metroid-like exploration thrown in. Instead of simply procuring defeated enemies’ powers like previous Mega Man games, your character gains the ability to completely morph into the fallen foe. In doing this, you adapt to the new forms’ speed, handling, attributes, and abilities, and these abilities give you access to newer areas. For example, defeating one of your enemies gives you the ability to climb on plant vines, which allows you to progress further than you would be able to if you didn’t have that power. The use of this method of progression makes the game feel open but the game is deceptively linear, as you have to follow a set path to complete the game, although it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Mega Man ZX Advent screenshot

The different forms all offer different advantages and drawbacks as well as different attacks that correspond to their affinity. One boss is only accessible underwater and cannot be attacked from above, while another has a drill-jump attack but moves slowly. Experimenting with the different forms is a major part of the game’s fun and, if done liberally, can lead you to the numerous secrets and hidden areas that the game boasts.

ZX Advent also has RPG like areas that allow you to converse and interact with people in between missions, getting the chance to participate in minigames, learn information, or have meaningless conversation with NPCs. These areas provide a nice break from the maddeningly frustrating action areas.

Mega Man ZX Advent screenshot

I would like to offer a word of caution to new school gamers that might consider attempting Mega Man ZX Advent. This game is difficult. It has an old school level of difficult that evokes painful memories of defeating all of the Mega Man bosses, only to have to fight them all again…in a row.

Mega Man ZX Advent screenshot

ZX Advent has that level of difficulty, throwing scores of foes at you and not giving you the courtesy of regular save points or checkpoints like the average game. If you die, you are shunted back to your last save…which is probably at the beginning of your current mission. In addition to that, you have the regular Mega Man staples of bottomless pits and spikes that cause instant death, and considering that your lives are limited, you might find yourself resisting an urge to chuck your DS in frustration after coming within inches of defeating the boss character only to be reset to the mission’s beginning because of a misstep.

The voice acting in the game is predictably hokey, with the spoken dialogue being overly expressed. It isn’t groan-inducing bad, and actually seems to fit with the game’s vibe, but don’t expect the voice actors to be nominated for any Oscars anytime soon. The game’s soundtrack is well done, although the tracks aren’t particularly memorable.

The touch screen for ZX Advent allows you to use it in a few ways. One screen allows you to see the various forms that you’ve collected, represented by distinct symbols. A quick tap on the corresponding symbol instantly transforms your character to that form. While handy, it can become cumbersome to switch to the stylus to transform, especially when it can also be performed more simply using a button that lets you cycle through forms. Later in the game, when your transformations become numerous, you are nearly forced to use the stylus method of transformation, but in the beginning it is simply more efficient to simply cycle through. In addition to picking your forms, you can also use the touch screen to navigate through a map screen that works great, allowing you to drag the screen to find your location and your destination with ease and even conveniently teleport to activated transervers with a double tap.

Overall, Mega Man ZX Advent is a solid DS action game. The old school difficult may turn a lot of gamers off, but the gameplay is solid and the power/appearance assimilation is fun. If you’re a fan of Mega Man and have enough self control not to rip out your own hair when a game frustrates you, you might want to give Mega Man ZX Advent a try.


  • Two playable characters – play as Grey or Ash, each with unique abilities and individual, but linked storylines
  • Dynamic Biometal system allows players to transform into several forms — eight bosses, five Biometal forms and human
  • Area expansion — explore and open up new areas with access to additional quests
  • Strategically beat bosses to obtain valuable rare items
  • Touch screen allows players to instantly change forms and switch between subscreens
  • Co-op and head-to-head two player wireless play (two cartridges required)
  • Two-player downloadable mini-game (one cartridge required)

    Great anime styled visuals. 3.9 Control
    Tight controls challenge you. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Good soundtrack with hokey voice acting. 3.5

    Play Value
    Tons of secrets and unlockables, although there isn’t much difference in story for the different protagonists.

    3.5 Overall Rating – Good
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

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