Sunday, September 11, 2011

Megaman X5

A bit different, but certainly not bad!

Mega Man X4 met with a resounding success, especially for being the first game to allow the player to play as X's partner Zero if they chose to do so. Capcom soon began work on the next in the series for the PS1, Mega Man X5. This game happens to be well-known for the Maverick bosses being named after members of the band Guns 'N' Roses. It also introduced some new gameplay elements which we'll talk about later in this review, which met with some criticism from most fans of the franchise, but they are most certainly not bad in any way. Mega Man X5 still stands as a great Mega Man X game for the PS1, with some arguing it to be the best, other arguing it to be the weakest in the series.

THE STORY: It's been some time since the events of Mega Man X4, and Sigma is yet again revived. He attacks Maverick Hunter HQ and loses on purpose, causing the Maverick Virus to be spread all over, infecting countless numbers of reploids. Sigma sends his newly-hired mercenary Dynamo to keep the Maverick Hunters at bay and to cause the space colony orbiting the Earth, Eurasia, to crash into the planet. Maverick Hunter HQ knows that they must stop this, because it would cause a world-wide pandemic of the Maverick Virus. They decide to fire their giant laser, the Enigma at the space colony. They have a contingency plan as well, to crash a space shuttle in the colony. They only have 16 hours before the Eurasia crashes into the planet. The pieces to the shuttle and the Enigma are currently being held by eight Mavericks, and X and Zero must defeat them to get the parts back. Whether the plans succeed are actually randomly determined by the game and have an effect on future gameplay to some extent. So the story can actually change up a bit depending on what the game feels like doing. Sometimes the laser will do it's job and destroy the colony and if that doesn't work, sometimes the shuttle will work and destroy the colony. It's totally random.

THE GAMEPLAY: Much like Mega Man X4, the player has the option to play as Mega Man X or his partner, Zero. This time, however, You can choose which character you want to play as between levels, so you're not stuck with just one during the entire game. This would become a staple of the series from this point onward. Like every installment in the series, Mega Man X5 is a platformer, and you have to make pixel perfect jumps sometimes and blast your enemies with Mega Man X's X-Buster, or in Zero's case, his Z-Saber. That being said, Zero has more of an up close and personal style to his gameplay, and the weapons gained from Mavericks take the form of new styles of attacks for his Z-Saber. After the intro stage, which the game has to help get players accustomed to the game, you have the option to select from 4 stages. Each stage has their own Maverick boss, and each with their own special ability. Upon beating the boss, you'll gain that Maverick's special ability and a piece for the laser. After defeating the four of them, you fire of the laser and it may or may not work. Then you'll have the option to go through the other four stages which hold the parts for the space shuttle, but not before fighting Dynamo, Sigma's little henchie, just like the fight Colonel in Mega Man X4 that happens after beating 4 stages. Dynamo just loves to talk trash, so give him a good thrashing!
Each stage of the game has a heart tank that can be picked up, which will increase the maximum health that character can hold. Each stage also has a capsule, and upon going in, Mega Man X will be the recipient of armor upgrades. If Zero goes into these capsules, Light tells him that he isn't able to give him any upgrades because he doesn't know Zero's programming, so X still receives the upgrades. 

Though at one point, Zero can receive an armor upgrade that hearkens back to Mega Man X2. There are two sets of armor in this game, hence there being capsules in every stage. This too would become a staple of the series. The characters now also have the ability to duck in this game, a first for the Mega Man series that was met with a ton of criticism. You can also pick up two Sub-Tanks in this game, which act like the E-Tanks in the classic series. When a character has maximum health and picks up health energy, these Sub-Tanks are provided with energy that can be used as reserves later. Upon defeating the eight bosses or destroying the space station, or even using the shuttle before all eight bosses are beaten, you'll gain access to the Sigma stages. These stages cannot be saved in between so be ready to tackle them all at once. And if you've been a fan of the classic and X series for a long time, be ready to see some familiar faces and a level gimmick that was much hated by those who played Mega Man 2. You'll see a couple of familiar bosses as well, one which may make some players cringe if they've ever made it to the end of the first final stage in the first Mega Man game.

THE GRAPHICS: The graphics in this game look just slightly better than Mega Man X4 which is an improvement. The graphics are smooth and the character sprites look fantastic. It should be noted, however, that this game doesn't have as many fully animated cut scenes as Mega Man X4, and most are done in non-animated drawings. The boss design is great as well, as is par for the course in a Mega Man game. Overall, Mega Man X5 has great graphics, and has most certainly aged well unlike some other PlayStation games. It's all just so smooth and well put-together. Also, like Mega Man X4, the "WARNING" sign flashes before fighting a boss, which was a clever trick by the programmers to make it look like they reduced the load times, but it still works great nonetheless.

THE SOUND: The Mega Man franchise is well-known for its great music. The music in this game is often catchy at times, and some remixes of old songs are found in this game, such as Duff McWhalen's stage theme being Bubble Crab's theme from Mega Man X2. There's more than that but I won't spoil it, so expect to hear some more classic Mega Man tunes in this game. The characters in game also have some voice clips and the voice acting was great. Overall it's pretty atmospheric and always sets a mood.
Here is an example

OVERALL: This game gets a lot of hate for several reasons, such as multiple sets of armor, and the ability to duck. Still, it's not really an issue and helps to mix up the gameplay. You'll probably have to go a used store to get this game since it's not available on any current consoles. but if you can play a PS1 game on any of your current consoles, then go ahead and get this game for another, darker chapter in the Mega Man X series, the story certainly isn't disappointing.

SYSTEM: Play Station, PC



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