The everlasting saga of good robots that kill crazy bad robots, multiple resurrections and plotholes that keep piling up with each new game. This is fucking Megaman X.
Since the very first game you will see a notable change in this pseudo sequel of the classic Mega Man series, taking it to a more "Xtreme" approach, favoring action almost above platform. However, taking bias aside, the X series came with some big hit or miss concepts which would take through the whole series to change or reform until it stabilized.
Before starting, one thing I noticed around the MMX fanbase is the usual criticism used for when they don't like a particular game in the series:
But one has to take note that this is explicitly present in every mega man x game to date, so its quite hard to use this to desprestige a game over the other when its on every fucking game. This, in a way, is one of the trademarks in the series, even as far as going into the classic series (albeit not as extreme as rendering boss battle pointless) This article will cover the games not individually but grouped by the consoles which they were released, as each time the series moved to another system, they shaped with each leap until they turned into what we know today.
The very first entries into the megaman x universe are certainly the most solid of the series, maintaining the same screw ups we mentioned above but not as glaring as they are in the subsequent games. This is also the first time we see 3 new things which will define the X series:
- Armor parts which will enhance your abilities, such as giving the trademark dashing, increased defense, power or other effects which get changed in every game.
- The ability to climb walls, thus adding new dimension as far as the platform sections are concerned.
- Being able to charge your special weapons once you get the appropriate armor part. too bad for the most part the charged versions take too long to charge for use on the fly or have awkward functions (this depends on the game though).
X1 takes us on the more action oriented trend by adding stronger enemies than what we have seen in the classic series, while keeping moderately designed stages.
No wonder the game is the most remembered of the whole X series as its quite, not presenting any problems or advantages over the sequels. The weapons are quite good, or should I say, powerful. If there's anything the weapons you get don't lack is killing power and most will have a use for taking down enemies, but sadly many of them function the same way (4 frontal shots weapons, two charged weapons used defensively and one weapons used for grabbing items, one being homing and one with the word "shotgun" in it but it anything but a shotgun or a good weapon). I think this is the only game in the series that also causes certain weapons to the attacks of some bosses, like cutting the tentacles on the octopus boss of removing the shield on an armadillo. The addition of dashing is not much different from sliding on the classic series but the wall climbing adds whole new ways for stage design however the game wont exploit this possibility too much besides from adding you on boss battles.
I feel there's not much to talk about X1, it good and its better but not so much as small update from the classic series except for wall climbing and the armor parts, and having stage designs that sometimes cant keep up with the classic games.
Its certainly a good game but sometimes I feel the stages are either a bit short or are just designed with full focus on killing enemies and no platforming, tough there are some really good ones. There's also an element in which the completion of a stage changes some elements on others stages, most of the time removing some relatively small hazards in stages making an relatively easy section of a stage even easier, and sometimes adding them.
X2 continues the series barely adding any new elements save for dashing on the air, but focuses on making stages more intricate to take advantage of your agile character which climbs walls and dashes.
It really shows and personally this is the best game of the SNES trilogy as it haves a fair balance of good stages (this time much more than linear paths filled with enemies) polished gameplay&graphics and a decent selection of weapons (tough some are too awkward to be of any use regarding killing enemies, so X1 stays stronger on this one).
There's not so much to talk about X2 as it pretty much just a continuation X1 but goes onto polish what's already present on the series, making more complex stages, higher challenge and better used graphics.
The worst of it would be some weapon being somewhat ridiculous (a bubble blower) and bosses going stupid with their weaknesses once again, but as I said before we'll be seeing that in every goddamn game. In this game weapons also have an impact on stages rather than bosses this time, adding a little more use to them sometimes.
Then we get to X3, and this one kinda goes into the bottom, not because its terrible but of some small but awkward elements it has which makes the game seem "weird".
From the start the first addition we get is being able play with Zero, however it comes with some heavy restrictions to compensate his powerful saber slash and, mostly only being able to control him on stages, allowing access to the boss room to X only. Also it should be noted that unless you have a manual or read some guide, it can be almost impossible to figure out that you can use him at all as the game gives absolutely no hints about it, but I wouldn't care as its worth nothing playing as him except for the novelty.
The game adds another 4 hidden capsules used to upgrade you armor further but only allowing you to upgrade only one armor part (except for a hidden capsule that allow you to get all upgrades at the same time). It cool but for the limitation will most likely makes you always choose the armor upgrade that reduces damage even further.
The stages are varied but not by much, and you'll soon notice 2 resilient enemies in particular will be used a lot trough the whole game, along with enemies that repeat themselves too much)
The game also has the weirdest selection of weapons from the trilogy; actually I can think of only 3 or 4 weapons which can be of any use, leaving the other half in disuse. Part of the blame could go to the enemy selection seeing as most enemies are grounded, giving more use to frontal weapons.
Ride armors are also brought back to the game in 4 different variations but first you must find the very first one which is hidden in one stage, and you might even end up playing that stage last, but you are not missing much as the main purpose of the ride armors is reaching hidden heart tanks.
In the end X3 was a weak game to finish the series lifespan on the SNES. Like X1, its not a bad game by any means but taking into account the bad selection of enemies, the one half of useless weapons and the other gimmicks like ride armor and zero make this game a bit off compared to the previous games, however in the boss department its still improves and the hidden secrets like the gold armor, the Z-saber and alternate frostress bosses are well thought.
In conclusion the SNES games are very good. For the most part they don't excel at anything the later games didn't but rather stay stable by not introducing badly implemented concepts like in the psx games, however the stages are not as intricate for the most part to keep up with your characters ninja-like movement.
I wish I could had come up with more things to talk about them but there's isn't much at all. For the most part its what was seen in X1 being polished on the other two games.